Motley Crue/Alice Cooper

Entertainment Centre, Brisbane, AUS, 19 May 2015

By TMF Staff

02 June 2015

Guest contribution by Dan Jensen

I’ve been a Mötley Crüe fan since 1989, eight years after they first formed the band. It dawned on me recently that this means I’ve been loving their music for 26 years, over half of my life. Nikki Sixx was a huge inspiration for me back when I thought I could make it as a bass player, and his influence remained through art and photography long after I pawned my Thunderbird, sadly realizing that I was never going to set foot on the stage of Wembley Arena. On my bookshelf you’ll find The Dirt, Tommyland and The Heroin Diaries, and I’m eagerly awaiting the upcoming biopic based on The Dirt. I’m saying all this so you don’t think I’m some half-assed fan that only knows a few of their more well-known songs and couldn’t tell you what Mick Mars’s real name is. (Bob Deal. See? Totally knew that one.)

Last night’s concert at the Brisbane Entertainment Center was my third time seeing the band, but I knew I had to be there for their last ever show in that city. There was a sentiment of being present for a historic performance – “yes, grandkids, I was there when they played their last ever Brisbane show, now fetch me my slippers” – and all the talk I’d been hearing about how Alice Cooper was blowing their show away just had me thinking reviews were being written by hardcore Cooper fanatics. I mean, it’s the Crüe! Sure, I like a lot of Alice Cooper’s stuff and I do recognize his importance in the rock n’ roll hierarchy, but….. it’s the CRÜE!

Having said all that, when Alice’s show drew to a close my mouth was agape and I was honestly wondering how Mötley Crüe (or any band on Earth) could live up to the spectacle I had just seen. His show exploded with energy, the band members interacted with one another perfectly and displayed joyful camaraderie, and the theatrics were so much fun. That’s the key word – fun. His show was one of the most entertaining things I’d ever seen and I wished it went longer. Still, the Crüe were on next so it wasn’t all bad.

Tommy Lee’s Cruecifly tracks dominated the interior of the Entertainment Center; a massive rollercoaster track along which his drum kit would roll out and tumble over the audience. I know for a fact that I wasn’t the only one who was highly anticipating watching it. Prior to the band coming on I kept looking at that thing and imagining how awesome it was going to be. The lights went out and Mötley hit the stage with Saints Of Los Angeles, and it didn’t take long for me to start feeling as though something wasn’t right. Three songs into the show I worked it out – the chemistry between the band members was gone. Not just dwindling, but gone entirely. Whereas Alice Cooper’s band all appeared to be having the time of their lives, here was four guys who came along to do a job and couldn’t wait for home time. Now don’t get me wrong, the music sounded good. Even Vince Neil’s vocals weren’t quite as bad as I was expecting, although I’ve heard rumours that there was a backing track involved which wouldn’t surprise me. Some songs did sound like he was singing in some exotic alien language, though. (I really enjoyed "Shou Adda Devoh".)

The pyrotechnics were impressive, the light show supreme, Nikki still looked like a rock god, but rather than pumping my fist in the air I was sitting there critiquing the show in my mind. Not a good sign. The usual crowd interaction from Sixx and Lee was absent (Nikki didn’t say one single word) and I couldn’t help but feel that the stage was too big for them, as being spread apart just added to the lack of cohesion. But hey, still had that Cruecifly to look forward to, right?

Nope.

At the start of the much-anticipated drum solo Tommy’s kit raised about two meters off the ground before stopping. I was thinking it was part of the show until I saw technicians climbing out onto the tracks attempting to repair whatever was stopping it (by the way, well done, guys! Very brave!) Then my heart sank as I realized that’s as far as it was going to go. In 2011 they couldn’t fit his circular rollercoaster on the stage so we missed out. In 2013 it didn’t work properly and only went part way up. I truly believe there is some sort of curse present in Brisbane regarding Tommy’s drums.

The band played out the remainder of the two-hour set but at the end I felt like this was an aged pet with terrible arthritis and loss of bladder control, and putting it to rest was an act of kindness. I will always love Mötley Crüe and they’ve left behind a legacy in rock history that not many bands can boast, but despite being happy to have seen the last show I walked away feeling disappointed. Anyway, enough of this – I have Alice Cooper videos to search for on YouTube!

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