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Motley Crue @ NYC: 03-03-05

Artist: Motley Crue
Venue: Madison Square Garden, NYC
Opener: n/a
Date: 3-3-05

I have to start this Concert Review by letting you all know that I was not going to this show. The reason being was because I did not have a ticket until about 2 hours before the doors opened to the venue. Yep, somehow this sold out for months show had last minute tickets made available to the public. Securing one in the eleventh hour was an amazing stroke of luck as I was lamenting this fact and simply decided to go online one more time and see what would happen. I guess what bothered me most was being a New York bringer of Metal News to the world and here is a reunion of one of the seminal bands in Hard Rock history. Top it off by having this at Madison Square Garden which is one of my favorite venues. This would no longer be an issue, on to the show I went.

The stage was covered with a giant big top, for the band has showcased that they are traveling with the “Carnival Of Sins” (as they labeled it). There would be no opening act and I admit enjoying this fact as too many openers for large tour efforts like this had been disappointing to me. Instead of an opener, a screen across the top featured a claymation sequence about Motley Crue’s last concert before the Earth was to be destroyed. It was quite silly and amusing at the same time. Suddenly from below the stage came “Mighty Mite”, a little person in clown gear (and most garish at that) to announce that Motley Crue was here. Explosions followed and the group was back in all their glory. This was a great start to see and honestly they sounded excellent. The numerous interview copy from the various members about the reunion were leaving such a negative taste in my mouth that while I wanted to go, I really did not expect to be as excited as I ended up. Within the first 3 songs they had won me over once again. Vince Neil was in good form and his voice still had strength to it and he was not making the audience sing entire sections of the songs. Tommy Lee was in full force on his drums and Nikki Sixx the consummate Rock Bad Boy again was in full swing in the group that had made history. Mick Mars while riffing the tunes we all loved was a different story altogether. Even from my vantage point, one could see that Mick Mars was very limited in his movement. Reports had been circulating about his health problems and a very bad illness he is saddled with. He pretty much stayed in one spot moving only slightly but with obvious difficulty. I give him credit for being able to work through the pain he described. Money while a great motivator does not cure the amount of pain he wrote of.

Throughout the evenings set, the audience was treated to the antics of the Carnival Of Sins. They consisted of the Mighty Mite who did various stunts and acrobatics as well as fire-breathing. There were also three beautiful gymnasts who climbed, swung and performed all sorts of death-defying activity above the band. Incredible to see and the fact that they were so sexy made it fit right in with the Crue mystique. The Road Crew were made up as Clowns and this worked for they could walk right onstage and seem more part of the show rather than the assistants that they are. The whole Carnival atmosphere made it all the more interesting to watch. There was literally something happening every minute during the show.

The set list was something that left little wanting in your mind. While everyone has their favorites, the band made sure to knock out more than a sufficient number of tunes. Some highlights of them in brief was the Boys driving choppers onstage at the onset of “Girls, Girls, Girls” and when “Home Sweet Home” was played, the entire Garden was singing the verse before Vince had come in. It looked like Tommy Lee was losing it while he played the piano portion, so much that he had to stop and stand up and applaud the audience. I think it really moved him. Earlier in the set Vince spoke of playing the sold out Garden once again and said that the last time the group had done this was 20 years ago. As someone who attended these shows back then, I could hardly believe that this much time had passed.

When the time came for Tommy's drum solo I was juiced, until he actually did it. The lead up to it was Mr. Lee playing a simple pattern while triggering some vocal samples of him saying "lets get ready, let’s get fucked". He played some standard fills and then comes frontage and flies to the rafters in true Gene Simmons fashion and does random percussive solos on two different drum kits. Of the two kits positioned above, one looked barrels and pipes. This was very interesting in the visual sense while at the same time being very disappointing musically. I felt this was the case since Tommy Lee is listed among the most talented hard rock drummers of our time so I watched this expecting a little more. Not long after this Tommy did his “Tommy’s Tit Cam” spot as he ran around the stage and had large numbers of the audience lovely’s show off their goods. After a few minutes of these antics Tommy returned to his drums and whipped out his most known area for a second. Nikki walked to the microphone and said “we do that because they tell us not to every single night”. Tommy joked that everyone has seen it by now anyway. Some things with these Dudes will never change. Nikki Sixx did an interesting solo using a keyboard and a Theremin (used a lot in Led Zeppelin stuff). His solo was crazy and they triggered sparks and smoke while he played until the climax where the explosion literally blinded me for several seconds. Oh and about those last minute seats I purchased – well, they were a short six feet from Nikki’s area of the stage, so he was in close view at all times.

I really felt that this show included something for everyone. There was no way you could attend the performance and not have a killer time. I was sad not to hear “Smokin’ In The Boys Room” or “Public Enemy #1”, but when you consider they still did a 2.5 hour set and had all that pyro and the Carnival there is really very little one can do to gripe about the evening. This is a thrill ride that I think any old school hard rock fan should get to before they decide to return to their solo endeavors. I plan on going again myself. I wonder if I will have the same luck next time. You never know.

--Ken Pierce

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