Mötley Crüe/Motörhead

Australian Tour Diary 2005

By TMF Staff

06 December 2005

Recent times has seen many a reunion come and go. Some have continued, others have gone by the wayside once again. Then of course, there are those who have just always done what they do and along the way, survived the sands of time and are still going strong today. With the Red, White and Crüe tour of Australia, we're been treated to both - the reunited Mötley Crüe and the godlike Motörhead supported by the fledgling The Casanovas. Robyn Anson was busting out of her skin to review the Sydney show and Simon Milburn made his way to the Brisbane stop and both returned with a heap of words and pictures for The Metal Forge.

Mötley Crüe/Motörhead/The Casanovas - Superdome, Sydney, Australia, 3 December 2005

My throat is horse from singing. My feet are sore from dancing. But none of this matters because I’ve just witnessed the greatest show on earth.

It’s been a long time coming but we’ve finally arrived at the kick off of Mötley Crüe’s Red, White and Crüe tour in Australia. But before plunging head first into the carnival, two worthy support bands warmed up the shell that is the Superdome. The Aussie contingent came in the shape of The Casanovas. They performed a short but rockin’ set to a fair sized crowd.

Motorhead live in BrisbaneMotorhead live in SydneyDrawing an equal card amongst a lot of punters as being the highlight of this tour, Motörhead stepped onto the stage without much fanfare. This is the thirtieth anniversary of Motörhead’s existence. Ripping into a forty five minute set of classics which included Sacrifice, Over the Top, Going to Brazil and Ace of Spades, Lemmy and his cohorts shot straight from the rock n roll hip. Motörhead was once dubbed the loudest band in the world. No argument about this statement. Between axe grinder Phil Campbell, the stony vocals of Lemmy and the machine that is Mikkey Dee, Motörhead was unstoppable.

As the lights dimmed and a hint of movement behind the curtain became evident, the adrenalin rush was almost at its peak. Kicking off the spectacular were the freak show players. Shout At The Devil had the opening pyrotechnic honours and it was full scale mayhem in the front rows. Busting out the old faves first, the set list read like a radio station permanently flicked to the classic rock switch. Crowd pleasers and personal favourites included Wildside, Primal Scream, Ten Seconds To Love and Kickstart My Heart. But what makes the Crüe show a show are the props, the players and the antics that go along with their songs. Whether it be the fire breathing dancing girls in Anarchy in the UK or Vince Neil arriving on a motorbike for the start of Girls, Girls, Girls, Mötley Crüe put on a performance that exuded sex.

Motley Crue live in SydneyMotley Crue live in SydneyMotley Crue live in Sydney

It was hard not to get goosebumps in the opening piano chords of Home Sweet Home, played ever so melodically by the one and only Mr Tommy Lee. We didn’t get to see much of Tommy behind that low sitting drum kit but that man punched out a string of steady beats. If there was any doubt about Vince hitting those high notes, they were dispelled soon after the first few songs. And Nikki Sixx plowed through the songs without missing a beat. He was definitely a crowd favourite amongst the female fans. Mick Mars had this Alice Cooper vibe going on with his wardrobe but he played ever so fantastically and even treated the audience to a fair sized solo.

Motley Crue live in Sydney

If there was a downfall to tonight it was the drawn out shenanigans of Tommy’s Titty Cam. The first thirty seconds were a bit of a laugh but having to convince women to take their clothes off for the camera got a bit tedious as the exercise went on. And for every shy woman in the audience, there was an exhibitionist who had no question about wanting their fifteen seconds of fame.

Was it worth waiting this long for one of the most controversial rock n roll bands? Hell yeah! “We are Mötley motherfuckin’ Crüe”. Amen to that sentiment.

Mötley Crüe/Motörhead/The Casanovas – Entertainment Centre, Brisbane, Australia, 4 December 2005

Motorhead live in BrisbaneOne of the biggest reunion announcements in recent times has to be that of 80’s rockers Mötley Crüe. But it was surprising to see that in the fortnight leading up to what should be one of the biggest gigs of 2005, tickets were being offered as a two for the price of one deal. Such a move is typically an ominous sign. Yet, it’s hard to believe that anything other than bumper crowd would be there to see not only The Crüe but the legendary metal titans Motörhead fronted by the God of Metal, Lemmy Kilmister, as well. But Simon Milburn was soon in for a shock when he arrived at the venue.

When The Casanovas took the stage, the word “stunned” barely describes my reaction to the venue upon entry. It’s very empty and has had its capacity significantly reduced accommodating for around 4000 or so keen for tonight’s hard rock and metal injection. But for the few that were in there early, they were treated to a brief and entertaining set of straight up rock courtesy of the Melbourne (AUS) group and the crowd responded accordingly.

Motorhead live in BrisbaneMotorhead live in BrisbaneThe wall of full size Marshall stacks on the stage meant that things were going to get loud when Motörhead took the stage. The floor area was packed and the cheers went up as soon as the house lights dimmed. Lemmy, Phil and Mikkey appeared and it was straight down to business as they ripped into Dr. Rock and Stay Clean which was quickly followed up by Killers from their latest album Inferno. In the year that is their 30th anniversary, Motörhead put on a stunning display of balls out rock that simply took no prisoners and left everyone wanting more. They showcased their career and their latest album as much as they humanly could in the space of 40 minutes. After Lemmy declared that the Brisbane audience was twice as loud as Sydney and that we had half as many in attendance, the crowd began to cheer even louder.

Sacrifice featured a stunning drum solo (complete with excess drum sticks coming from behind the kit to add to it) from Mikkey Dee, whose performance was flawless throughout the entire set. Phil Campbell never missed a note as he strutted around the stage whilst Lemmy…well Lemmy was Lemmy and that’s exactly what everyone wanted from this true icon of metal. As you would expect, the set wasn’t short of the classics like No Class, Killed By Death and the mandatory Ace Of Spades. However, Eat The Rich was a notable omission. Before rounding out their brilliant set with Overkill, Lemmy thanked Mötley Crüe for taking them out on this tour and declared that “Not many bands want to follow us.” How true that would ring later in the evening.

Motorhead live in Brisbane

Motley Crue live in BrisbaneMotley Crue live in BrisbaneThe circus curtains revealed a wall of fire and pyro and scantily clad women strutting around the stage as the reunited Mötley Crüe appeared to a huge reception. The classics were immediately delivered with Shout At The Devil opening the show and Too Fast For Love and Live Wire getting an early showing. The mix was poorly dominated by Tommy Lee’s pounding snare and Nikki Sixx’s rumbling bass. Decked out in full Alice Cooper like wardrobe, Mick Mars’ played like a demon although his guitar tones were a little low in the mix. The same can’t be said for vocalist Vince Neil who, as energetic as he was bounding around the stage, seemed short of breath during some parts and flat in the upper part of his vocal range during others.

The first real surprise of the night was the ten minute intermission that came after the first 50 minutes or so. Never, in all of my rock and metal concert going years, have I ever experienced such a thing and it was a complete momentum killer. Although the band returned with the semi-naked women and a great rendition of Girls, Girls, Girls, the music soon came to another abrupt halt after almost a half an hour or so. The band proceeded to kill any further momentum with around 20 to 30 minutes of long winded band introductions (although Sixx introducing vocalist “Vince Lee” did get quite a reaction from band and audience alike), over indulging freedom of the mic (Neil and to a much greater extent Lee and his excessive ranting) and the abuse of a handy cam. The latter also refers to Lee with his “titty cam” coercing the ladies in the audience to bare their breasts and generally carrying on like a pre-pubescent teen who has just found out about them.

Motley Crue live in Brisbane

Motley Crue live in BrisbaneEventually the band decided to play another song before Mars propped on a road case to deliver his guitar solo before the band launched into the much anticipated and highly well received Kickstart My Heart which was loaded with pyro towards the final strains of the song. By this stage, I was over it and I didn’t stick around for their encore performance of The Sex Pistols’ Anarchy In The U.K.

What started out strong and with plenty of promise turned into disappointment. From the intermission onwards, Mötley Crüe lost the plot with the second half of their set and never recovered. In the process, they completely undid the good of their opening set. I’m sure I wasn’t the only one bored during their excessive break from what they should be doing. Lemmy was right. Not many people can follow Motörhead on stage and after tonight’s performance, Mötley Crüe can be added to that long, long list.

Motley Crue live in Brisbane

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