With Alice Cooper and the Cringe
American Airlines Center
Wednesday, October 7, 2015
For all the promotion that this is Mötley Crüe’s final tour, their nearly-two hour set Wednesday night didn’t quite come across as a farewell. Rather, it was a band that essentially played their Decade of Decadence greatest hits compilation live. That’s not to say the show was bad. Far from it, actually. You wanted a dazzling show with plenty of pyrotechnics and songs you could sing your heart out to? That’s what the filled American Airlines Center got.
This show had to be full of the familiar hits. As much as the band touted their time together of 34 years, they understandably looked over the 11 years where frontman Vince Neil and Tommy Lee were not in the band at various points. (Don’t come to this tour hoping to hear “Hooligan’s Holiday,” “Misunderstood” or “New Tattoo,” you die-hards.)
After “So Long, Farewell” from The Sound of Music played on the PA as an introduction, the band ripped into the strip club staple, “Girls, Girls, Girls.” The band was in fine form as they followed it with “Wild Side,” “Primal Scream” and “Same Ol’ Situation." Frontman Neil, dressed in black with a sleeveless jacket and bell-bottom pants, sounded spot-on for most of the set, hitting all those high notes in songs like “Primal Scream,” “Looks That Kill” and “Shout at the Devil.” (Only “Dr. Feelgood” found Neil a little out of sorts with the tempo and rhythm.) Granted, pre-recording backing vocal tracks and two scantily-clad dancers/singers filled some dead musical space in a number of the songs, but the majority of the show was pulled off live.
Mick Mars still played well despite longtime issues with spinal arthritis. His face was covered by a big black top hat and he slowly crept around the stage in thick platform boots. Lee remains one of the best hard rock drummers alive. He might never live down his tabloid star personality, but he can still play some killer, funky grooves, and you don’t usually notice how complex they are. As for bassist Nikki Sixx, the key songwriter of the band throughout these 34 years, he remained a presence onstage. Back when he started the band, he wanted to take his love of Cheap Trick, Sweet, the Runaways, the Sex Pistols and the Raspberries and turn that into something gritty but accessible, and that’s what could be heard throughout the band’s set.
Sixx took the microphone to share a personal story after they played the relatively new (and intentionally misspelled) “Mutherfucker of the Year." He talked about how when he was younger, he wanted a pocket knife for an entire summer and he never gave up wanting it. He parlayed that to the audience as a tale of "keep doing something until you get it." On the surface, it could seem like cheap, bumper-sticker philosophy, but Sixx is living proof you can do what you want as long as you don’t give up.
Lee continued to live out his dream of playing a drum solo on a rig that took him into the audience and back. Playing along to a medley of dubstep, Black Sabbath, Led Zeppelin and Beastie Boys songs, the crowd went nuts for (and pulled out their smartphones to record) the spectacle.
“Kickstart My Heart” ended with confetti, lots more pyro and Sixx and Neil going into the audience on floating rigs, but the crowd knew this would not be the final song. Reappearing on a small stage toward the back of the arena floor, they played “Home Sweet Home” as a fitting end to the night in their advertised final Dallas show. Who knows if Mötley Crüe is truly done with touring and recording, but if this was the final Mötley Crüe show in Dallas, at least it didn’t suck.
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Earlier in the evening, unadvertised opener the Cringe quickly ran through a handful of songs that sounded influenced by the Foo Fighters and Alter Bridge. Essentially a soundtrack to people finding their seats, they ended their set with a cover of Thin Lizzy’s “Jailbreak.”
Alice Cooper wasted no time in delivering a predictable yet highly entertaining set. With a three-guitar army along with a bassist and drummer, the original rock ‘n’ roll villain spit out the songs you expect to hear (like “No More Mr. Nice Guy,” “Under My Wheels” and “I’m Eighteen”) and had a lot of fun. Of course there was the Frankenstein’s monster gag in “Feed My Frankenstein,” the snake on “Go to Hell,” the straight jacket and guillotine on others, but it was great. Cooper remains an enjoyable act, no matter how many times he recycles these tricks. And as an added bonus at the very end, Cooper reunited again with his original band members, Neal Smith, Michael Bruce and Dennis Dunaway, for a loose version of “School’s Out.”
Mötley Crüe’s Set List:
“Girls, Girls, Girls”
“Same Ol’ Situation”
“Don’t Go Away Mad (Just Go Away)”
“Smokin’ in the Boys’ Room”
“Looks That Kill”
“Mutherfucker of the Year”
“Anarchy in the U.K.”
“Shout at the Devil”
“Louder Than Hell”
“Saints of Los Angeles”
“Kickstart My Heart”
“Home Sweet Home”