Head pounding explosions pummeled GM Place last night, as the motliest of crews took charge. A three band performance had Airbourne, The Joe Perry Project and Motley Crue lighting up the night. With mostly minimalist stage setups, and the speakers cranked to ten, those who came left deaf and rocked to the core. The pyrotechnics filled the arena with heat wave after heat wave, as chanting fans gazed in awe. The evening was a middle tier show, nothing over the top or memorable but nothing really disappointing.
[singlepic id=920 w=320 h=240 float=left]To start the night Australian rockers Airbourne took to the stage. Their dirty rock style, follows the path of that of AC/DC; pounding you with simple catchy metal rhythms. The true sound of this band is the demon throated Joel O’Keeff, whos vocals are like a pile driver into your ears. The moment they took the stage their sheer energy grabbed the crowd by the hair and slapped them in the face. The arena was only half full, but those were in attendance paid full attention to these rockers. The bassist, Justin Street, and the rhythm guitarist, David Roads, were in constant motion like a couple of fully charged electrons. They lept around the stage, twisting their long hair around to every beat. While Ryan O’Keeffe, on drums, slammed the songs into your soul, with aggression and precision. Joel was in fine form, and powered through his vocal set. Finishing the ending of every song with a Vedder’esque style jump kick in the air. This band is in my top 10 for must see live, if you haven’t seen Airbourne perform, then I ask only “Why the fuck not?”
[singlepic id=923 w=320 h=240 float=left]During the intermission the crowd doubled in size. Although this was a sellout show, I would note that the upper deck was not open. This was only about a 10,000 person night. After a brief hiatus again the stage was alive with the sound of rock. Joe Perry and his current embodiment took before the mass; with a less than stellar performance. Joe Perry at best is a solid session guitarist. His lack of enthusiasm and the ability he has to suck the life out of originality is almost mind blowing. Not only was his show boring and lacking anything I would say was note worthy. He also played Aerosmith songs. I mean if I wanted to hear Aerosmith songs, I would go to rehab and get Steven Tyler. Having some second rate singer covering the vocals while Joe Perry plays remember-when-I-was-popular on stage, is not my idea of a good time. Overall it was terrible but if you looked at the parts individually they were half decent. Nothing meshed together, the band might as well have been in separate countries. They had no chemistry, the vocals were good but never inter played with the guitar. The drums were static and boring, because they never tied in with the feeling of the song. For me Joe Perry is little even when he is with Aerosmith, on his own he might as well be a clerk at Walmart, its just not interesting.
After the pain of enduring Mr.Perry, it was finally time for Motley Crue to take the stage. In usual fashion they showed up about 20 minutes late to the stage. Once they took to the stage it was a no hold barred rock show. Starting off the set was the usual fire canons, blasting 50 foot streams of red hot flame into the arena sky. Vince broke out right away into some heavy vocals, and right away he toned back. It was obvious from the get go he was having vocal issues. It is hard to sing like that when you don’t have a steady stream of coke to numb it every night. Nikki was very interactive with the crowd, almost youthful in the way he carried himself. Tommy was powerful as usual, he is a very udner rated drummer, but he can keep up with what ever is thrown at him. The shining star was Mick Mars, he was fully mobile during the show. He walked around the entire night, not with his usual painful hunch.
Through out the show there was lots of interplay with the band members. They would poke fun of each other, and it tied in the crowd nicely, making it feel a little more intimate. During the set Tommy stopped the show for a brief second, having a moment of silence for the tragedy in Haiti. Surprisingly enough almost the entire stadium was silent for nearly 5 seconds. It was quite eerie. The set was nothing too imaginative, this is how most Crue sets turn out. It works though, they can power through the same songs and every time the crowd will eat it up. Another moment to note during the show was the point where Nikki mentioned that next year would be ther 30th anniversary. Who would have believed that the most depraved band of the 80s would be alive for their 30th. Nikki also had the crowd pray to god, he had them pray that the band members wouldn’t kill each other before next year.
Overall the night was what you would expect from a Motley Crue concert. It was loud, aggressive, and left you satisfied. The newest aspect for me was the minimalist stage. They had no giant Crue banner in the background, or girls dancing in cages or over the top hooks. It was a band on stage doing what they love. It wasn’t musical perfect, nor would you want it to be. It was raw and real and to the point. They came to rock your socks off, and I guarantee their weren’t many who left unrocked. Motley Crue is the embodiment of luck. They survived break ups, member replacements, near death experiences, drug problems, actual death experiences and a whole bunch of other stuff. Motely Crue may just be the luckiest band in the world, a title not many can contend with.
Photographs by Jamie Taylor