With New York Dolls and Poison
Hard Rock Live, Hollywood
July 5, 2011
Better than: Perogies on a rainy day.
Last night at the Mötley Crüe show, the tweets from the crowd appeared, typed and all streamed together on the big screens that flank the stage. There were all sorts of shared messages, from things like "step off - girl in 203" to "this guy is RETARDED" to "scream if you think Tommy Lee is/was a babe." Only about three ladies screamed. Maybe no one was looking at the screen, as fascinated with technology as we are, or maybe Tommy's lost it? Not a chance. The Crüe proved it may soon be playing on the oldies station, but it's still in the game.
If this had been 22 years ago, seeing Poison would have been the highlight of this girl's universe. Bret Michaels, even looking like a half-lady, was really kind of a hair-band babe back in the day. After 25 years, it's easy to see Poison as just four older guys in a little too much makeup, fluffing the crowd for a band with more hair and more tattoos. But they're not without their charm, and "Every Rose Has Its Thorn" remains the best power ballad of all time.
Two huge green flames exploded toward the ceiling as Michaels rose up from the depths of the stage. The band took a few minutes to get warmed up. After playing a few classics like "Look What the Cat Dragged In," Michaels donned a cowboy hat and they covered Grand Funk Railroad's "We're an American Band." He then hit up the harmonica and even shook a little maracas. No lie, Bret Michaels even threw a little rap in there at some point. It was a little like hearing your dad try out the hip-hop.
Up next to the Crüe, it was apparent how poppy all of Poison's music is. It's fun, light, and a little bluesy, but it's pure pop music with an electric guitar. There was both a C.C. Deville and a Rikki Rockett solo, and then at about "Unskinny Bop," the room started to get in the groove of things. Michaels asked us to raise our hands in the air like we just didn't care. Again, it was very fatherly, not like the Rock of Love Michaels of which we'd grown so distasteful. He thanked the audience about a thousand times for being so supportive when he was sick. He had a stroke like a year ago. Poor guy.
Then, out of nowhere, sometime during "Nothin' but a Good Time," Lita Ford comes onstage and attempts to sing along. We couldn't actually hear her, but she looked good, bouncing down the stage.
The soft and colorful nature of Poison (yes, we just used those words) was highlighted by the smoky, spooky, and dark world of Mötley Crüe. The stage went from looking like an '80s Ed Hardy T-shirt to the Double Down Saloon. It was a little hard to see everyone up there through the billowing smoke from the offensively loud fireworks. The spiraling visuals were hypnotic, including the twirling pentagram during "Shout at the Devil" that appeared behind Tommy Lee's 360 drum roller coaster. The stage setup was impressive. During "Same Old Situation," a gothic, dust bowl, silent film with a midget and kissing ladies screened, in line with a Nikki Sixx aesthetic. Two sexy ladies, one black, one white, danced about. At one point, Vince Neil stole a kiss from one, making him look like he's still got it.
Mötley Crüe's been around and touring, the same four dudes, for 30 years. They've been to South Florida, by Neil's estimation, 32 times. For this tour, they surveyed their fans for the most popular tracks, and they played them, so we got to hear the goods. Neil's got some piercing screams. Most men's voices grow harsher with age, gravelly, but not this one. He's got the voice of a toddler.
The second power-ballad moment we'd been waiting for arrived when Tommy Lee, his face covered in white paint, walked out onto the stage and yelled, "What's up, fuckers?" Some guy threw him a Greek flag, and Lee informed us of his Greek heritage and also gave us a little insight into the financial crisis in Greece with "Shit is fucked up over there now." He then sat down at a grand piano that was shiny like a disco ball to play "Home Sweet Home." Lights from all around the room shot down at the huge instrument (not the one in Tommy's pants), and it glowed magically. The whole band came together for a moment of camaraderie, touching hands in this light, and then they performed.
The "Fuck You" and "Girl Don't Go Away Mad (Just Go Away)" mashup sans Cee-Lo didn't seem to impress the Broward crowd, but the 360 drum roller coaster did. How it works is Tommy Lee is strapped to his drums, and they all go up and around in a circle, upside down and all, while he's playing drums to heavy electronic beats. It was pure Cirque du Soleil. Then, potty-mouthed Lee brought a girl onstage to get on this crazy thing with him. He told her, "You're about to get your ass strapped in, bitch." Her name was Jackie, and it was possible he called her Cathy at one point.
Another highlight of the show was during "Girls Girls Girls." Photos of women flashed on the screens, and besides Lindsay Lohan and Paris Hilton, there was definitely a picture of Justin Bieber in there. The finale was insane, and there were fireworks everywhere and people with flame throwers. Picks and drumsticks were thrown in the crowd, as were buckets of water. The crowd left satisfied. It was apparent why these guys, old as they are, are still pleasing their fans. We'll probably see them the 33rd time they come around these parts.
Personal bias: Biggest 10-year-old Poison fan ever.
Random detail: Bret Michaels and Rikki Rockett have been friends since middle school.
The crowd: Imagine a sea of 40-year-old guys, dudes in band T', and ladies with shorts and heels with blown-out blond hair.
Overheard: "I just want you to mention these guys are awesome."
Look What the Cat Dragged In
Ride the Wind
Your Momma Don't Dance
Every Rose Has Its Thorn
Talk Dirty to Me
Nothin' but a Good Time
Saints of Los Angeles
Gettin' Hard (?????)
Shout at the Devil
Same Old Situation
Home Sweet Home
Girl Don't Go Away Mad (Just Go Away) with Cee-Lo's Fuck You
Looks That Kill
Too Fast for Love
Girls Girls Girls
Smokin' in the Boys Room