February 15, 2012
The Joint at the Hard Rock Hotel
One of the first videos I can remember watching as a young impressionable music fan was “Live Wire” by Motley Crue. The video had all the right elements. The wafting smoke, Nikki Sixx setting himself on fire, pentagram adorned drum kit and a scorching guitar riff. I was instantly a fan. Fast forward some thirty years later, Motley Crue still are going strong and packing in an arena size spectacle into the cozy confines of the Joint for a nearly two week residency.
It was fitting the band started with “Live Wire” as I instantly felt like a kid again listening to my old cassettes. Mick Mars was deftly crunching the riff on his Fender Stratocaster as Vince Neil furiously ran about the stage actively engaging the audience. It was an all out assault on your senses with all the pyrotechnics, scantily clad female dancers and huge video screens.
“Wild Side” punched you in the face with its jackhammer bass from Nikki Sixx's Gibson Thunderbird while Tommy Lee pummeled his Pearl drums perched high in the middle of the stage. The burning crosses during the song also added a nice touch. Throngs of fans around me sang along every word of “Too Fast For Love” as Neil would hold out the microphone into the crowd to capture their energy.
Videos of spinning pentagrams swirled during “Shout At The Devil” as the stage was bathed in red light setting the mood for the song. The cowbell frequently made appearances throughout the evening and who doesn't like cowbell these days? Coming out into the crowd on a circular platform that descended from the ceiling, the band did a mini acoustic set that included “Without You” and “Don't Go Away Mad”.
“Looks That Kill” sonically killed as Mars attacked his guitar with vicious whammy bar dive bombs and screaming harmonics while Tommy Lee did some mid swing drumstick twirls. Mars was apparently warming up for his guitar solo slot as he worked his wah pedal for some blues inspired guitar runs punctuated with swarms of nasty feedback.
Neil had a good laugh with Sixx commenting how they have been writing the same song for thirty years before they launched into “Piece Of Your Action”. The visual bombardment was unrelenting as an aerial artist descended from the ceiling in chains during “Primal Scream”. Tommy Lee had his moment in the spotlight as he performed a drum and bass inspired solo while going upside down inside his specially designed circular drum roller coaster. The amount of fans with their phones in the air recording it was as ridiculous as the performance itself.
The hilarious part of the evening was during “Girls, Girls, Girls” as a picture of Justin Bieber was sly incorporated into a barrage of pictures of lusty women on the video screens. Stilt walkers, fake blood and more explosions made “Kickstart My Heart” a song to remember. A fitting ending to the evening was the classic ballad “Home Sweet Home” that momentarily made me wish I lived in Las Vegas to catch the show a few more times.
Personal Bias: Nostalgia is a powerful thing.
Random Notebook Dump: The carnival clowns walking around the venue creeped me out.
“Too Fast For Love”
“Saints of Los Angeles”
“Shout at The Devil”
“Same Ol' Situation (S.O.S)”
“On With the Show”
“Don't Go Away Mad (Just Go Away)”
“Looks That Kill”
“Piece of Your Action”
“Smokin' In The Boys' Room”
“Girls, Girls, Girls”
“Kickstart My Heart”
“Home Sweet Home”