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MOTLEY CRUE

Motley Crue - Photo by Maree King
Motley Crue – Photo by Maree King

Alice Cooper/Amberdown
Perth Arena
Saturday, May 23, 2015

Judging by post-show debate, one’s enjoyment of Motley Crue’s final tour seems to hinge on how accepting you are of Vince Neil’s vocals. Never the strongest voice in town, Neil has developed an, ahem, laid back style, and with his vocals placed well down in the mix, he was sometimes difficult to understand.
Still, one doesn’t go to McDonalds looking for filet mignon, and what Crue give us was an explosive two hours of hits, pyro and theatre.

First up were local lads Amberdown, who made the most of the opportunity with a confident set of muscular originals.

Alice Cooper only getting a fifty minute set seems a travesty, and many would have preferred the headliners and his band trade places, but his band deliver a set that makes full use of every minute, cherry picking classics that his triple-guitar-attack frontline – guitarists Ryan Roxie and Tommy Henrickson trade solos and spotlights, but defer to blonde rock chick Nita Strauss more often than not – flesh out with all the showmanship you’d expect.

Apart from a longer set, no-one could have asked Alice to bring more from his bag of tricks: live snake; guillotine; Frankenstein’s monster; a psychotic nurse; straight jacket… his set is undiluted rock n’ roll theatre, especially during an epic Ballad Of Dwight Fry when he is beheaded.
Culminating, as always, in a riotous School’s Out, Alice Cooper, rock’s ultimate showman, comes extremely close to showing up the headliners.

R.I.P. Motley Crue. After three and a half decades they are (allegedly) hanging up their leather codpieces and quitting touring. If this is the case, then they threw Australia a booming farewell party.
Opening with the biographical Saints Of Los Angeles, the foursome made a fiery entry to the stage before channelling the carnal spirit of 1987, with scantily dressed leather-clad young ladies on backing vocals, pyro, chrome, leather and decibels all in abundance.

Following a similar all-killer-no-filler mandate, fans were thrilled with old favourites Wild Side, Smokin’ In The Boys Room, Dr Feelgood and Shout At The Devil, but as the two hour set wore on it became clear that distributing the time a little more evenly between Cooper and The Crue might have made for a more vibrant show.

Nikki Sixx may be the primary songwriter behind Motley Crue, but Mick Mars proves himself the musical heart and soul of the band. Extracting progressive and defiant sounds from his guitar, he radiates disdain and punk energy – unlike the band’s neutered cover of The Sex Pistols’ Anarchy In The U.K., (roadies spraying the front rows with water guns=the least punk thing, ever), and an unconvincing Motherfucker Of The Year.

The Crue were students of Alice Cooper and KISS before they were a band themselves, and made sure that guitars and microphones and half the set were ablaze with jets of fire that could be felt right to the back of the cavernous room.

Tommy Lee’s Cruecifly drum train takes him on a journey not only over the heads of the crowd, but also revolving him 360 degrees while playing. It’s as pointless and gratuitous as the empty techno music he plays along to, but it’s a fun spectacle none-the-less.

The set picks up towards the end with a searing Live Wire and Kickstart My Heart. For their encore the band walk through the crowd to a B Stage riser as Tommy Lee plays the piano intro to Home Sweet Home. It’s a nice touch and regardless of your thoughts on the vocals, it’s impossible to deny that the kings of sleaze rock have put on a great show.

SHANE PINNEGAR