Mötley Crüe Bids Farewell to a Packed House at the Verizon Wireless Amphitheater

Categories: Show Reviews

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Press Photo

My love affair with Nikki Sixx began in 1985. I was a nine-year-old Catholic schoolgirl -- plaid jumper, Barbie lunchbox, Lisa Frank Trapper Keeper -- and he was the bad boy rocker with jet black hair and a penchant for setting himself on fire. It was an unlikely match, one sparked by my mom's odd willingness to let me sit in front of MTV and watch long-haired, leather-clad men swill Jack Daniels (so long as I got my homework done). Yet here we are, thirty years later -- after all of the affairs, booze, failed marriages, his heroin overdose, my brief dalliance with electronica -- as strong as we were when our eyes met over the small screen to the tune of "Home Sweet Home."

But last night, I had to say goodbye.

Motley Crue rolled its roving spectacle into Verizon Wireless Amphitheater yesterday evening for the St. Louis stop of, at least what is billed as, their final All Good Things Must Come to an End tour. No really, says the band. This is it. The last time Crue-heads will ever flick their Bics (come on -- this crowd wouldn't dare use cell phones) while singing "Without You." The last time for all of the girls girls girls to expose their bare breasts (albeit decidedly lower hanging ones) from the audience. The last time to cheer as Tommy Lee performs a virtual Cirque de Soleil drum solo over the audience, no matter how many times he's already done it (No, bro. This tour was really epic). The last time to see Nikki...well...to see Nikki.

And so, fans of the Crue filed, stumbled and staggered into Verizon with a mix of anticipation and nostalgia. The air had the feel of a free-spirited dead uncle's funeral -- the one who made you promise to "just have a giant party and get drunk." Sure, they came to hear the songs and to relive their glory days, but mostly, they were there to pay their respects. Judging from the Crue's waning performance energy, it's clear it was time.

The Crue played a set that sounded like a greatest hits soundtrack to their 33 years as a band. The show opened with one of their later songs, "Saints of Los Angeles," and what at first seemed like technical difficulties with the vocals. It became clear during the second song, "Wild Side," that the difficulties were with vocalist Vince Neil. Neil dragged behind the music, at times singing what seemed like incorrect lyrics and at others, letting the crowed do all of the vocal work for him. He was so off that he took the wind out of the sails on "Primal Scream," turning the song from an anthem to a whisper. Fortunately, Neil got it together after waxing poetically to the crowd about the band's many years together, with a spirited performance of "Same Ol' Situation." (Sixx later explained that Neil was late to the band's first ever band practice, back in 1981. Was this a jab?)

Despite Neil's and Sixx's "thanks for the memories" monologues, the show lacked the urgency one would hope for when seeing a favorite band for the last time. There was little interaction with the crowd and, tellingly, between the band members on stage. Highlights of the show included nuggets from the band's first two albums. From "Looks that Kill" to "Too Fast for Love," they showed the younger fans in the crowd -- there were surprisingly plenty -- what it was like on the early 1980s Sunset Strip. Bassist Nikki Sixx even paid tribute to his days of lighting himself on fire, although this time he used a flame-shooting bass instead of leather pants and gasoline. Apparently, with age comes wisdom.

On "Kickstart My Heart," Neil proved that when he wants to, he can wail. So did Mick Mars. Form someone who makes the Crypt Keeper look sprightly, his guitar prowess stole the show -- overshadowed only by the pyrotechnics, flames and giant red pentagram that hung over the stage.

For an encore, the band surprised the crowd by playing their power ballad "Home Sweet Home" from an elevating stage in the middle of the seats. Drummer Tommy Lee kicked off the song at the piano, then raced to his drum kit while the stage rose above the crowd. Neil sounded his best during this song, as if he knew it was coming to an end and wanted to give the crowd what they came for.

I'm not sure if I consider last night closure. Sure, there were final words and a few tears, but it wasn't the goodbye I had in mind. Still, it was clear this was the end of the road for Nikki and I. As bleary-eyed fans made their way back to the parking lot, some still singing along to the permanent Crue soundtrack that plays in their heads -- hopefully performed better than the show they just witnessed -- I knew that each and every one of us said our own special goodbye last night. It was never going to be pretty. Breakups never are.

Follow Cheryl Baehr on Twitter at @CherylABaehr. E-mail the author at Cheryl.Baehr@RiverfrontTimes.com.

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29 comments
Andy Saigh
Andy Saigh

So glad I could be there to see them before it was too late. Awesome show!

Scotts Contracting
Scotts Contracting

good show. I've seen them many times. I appreciated the background info that the band talked about in the early days of the band in Cali.

Cameron Drese
Cameron Drese

Oh Mark Finocchiaro aka markuss u have no idea my friend let's just say me and Tyler Kollmeyer might be YouTube famous we went ape shit at the final tour my friend

Scott Miles
Scott Miles

Vince sucked. It's not that he can't hit the high notes, it's that he leaves out half the lyrics. It was a final "give us your money" tour. Blah

Maria Fontana Franklin
Maria Fontana Franklin

I was there and I totally agree with this article. Crüe had little interaction with the audience or each other. And Vince was out of shape and out of breath. He either let us sing or the girls carried him. When he was young he could SING! Now not so much. I heard him flub lyrics at least twice. I'll miss them but I was expecting a show with more energy and emotion.

Radena Clark
Radena Clark

VN has dents and scratches who doesn't? It was more nostalgia for me. Alice cooper has 13 years in age and blew him away yes, but I will always be a Crüe girl! I took my 15 yr old and had a great time! I'm thankful to have made a memory of a lifetime! FYI if some of you people would of hung up your phones and looked up from it...you might of had a good time! What a shame.

'Dewayne Clacks
'Dewayne Clacks

Yes, I was there and it was a great show. Both bands were good. To anyone still talking the Vince Neil sounded like this and that crap... it was a Motley Crue show. Not Celine Dion. If you want to hear a 50+ year old man hit high notes like he did in 1981, do see an opera. You're obviously not a fan of Motley Crue if you've ever thought Vince Neil was some choir-boy type of vocalist. Be realistic in your expectations and stop whining.

Nik Vojicic
Nik Vojicic

For a couple of hours, it felt like 1987 again and thats all that matters. After that much sex, drugs, and porn stars..I'm amazed they sounded as good as they did actually!

Julie Gentsch
Julie Gentsch

Alice Cooper stole the show. Crue did not have it together until after mars solo

Steve Brumleve
Steve Brumleve

I've been told by numerous people that Alice Cooper stole the show

Robert L Massie Sr
Robert L Massie Sr

No. And I probably couldn't pick out three of their songs if I had to.

Brian Boyd
Brian Boyd

Vince sounded like shit. Otherwise it was a good show.

Mike E. Moses
Mike E. Moses

Sounded like a blast, ( ! ) \U0001f4a8\U0001f4a8\U0001f4a8\U0001f4a8\U0001f4a8\U0001f4a8\U0001f4a8

kristymenn
kristymenn

Alice Cooper was way better. And I heard mixed stories concerning the lack of a Tommy Lee drum solo.  The rigging didn't arrive in time.  Or the venue couldn't handle the rigging.  Either way....adjust!  You are one of the best drummers ever.  Improvise something.  Don't leave it out completely!!

Michele Grace
Michele Grace

Alice Cooper was way better!!! I would have rather had two hours of him. Actually left before Motley Crue was even finished because they were not putting on a great show.

David Knoblock
David Knoblock

I too was disappointed in the vocals. Actually liked Alice Cooper better and I'm not a fan of his songs. His show was just more entertaining.

Laura Tisher
Laura Tisher

It was goodbye to Motley but Nikki will be back, he is just getting started with Sixx AM! I am hoping for a much smaller venue :)

Nik Vojicic
Nik Vojicic

Stephanie Evangelopoulos Vojicic Glykeria Evangelopoulos

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