Motley Crue / Greenville, SC / 02-20-2005

The members of Motley Crue don’t try to hide the fact that they dislike each other.  It’s proven by the way they arrive to shows; 4 separate tour buses.  When the four original members announced their reunion tour, the band’s hardcore fans couldn’t wait to see Vince Neil, Tommy Lee, Mick Mars and Nikki Sixx together again.  The question is, was it worth the wait or should it have waited longer?  Both really.

Touring in support of their 2 disc greatest hits collection Red, White and Crue, the band stopped in at Greenville, SC’s Bi Lo Center.  With flame columns stretching high into the air, the show kicked off with a pyro heavy “Shout at the Devil.”  The problems began early on.  During the second song, “Too Fast for Love,” singer Vince Neil began singing over Mick Mars’ guitar solo.  If looks could kill, the glance bassist Nikki Sixx shot Neil would have buried him.  Was it just a simple mistake?  No.  The band fudged song endings and even had to restart “Dr. Feelgood” after it fell apart.  Perhaps the band should have postponed their touring plans until the summer in order to log some more practice time.

Tommy Lee’s drum solo has long been the most anxiously awaited moment of the show.  It failed to live up to the hype.  Instead of demonstrating his awesome chops, Lee decided to cop KISS’ Gene Simmons’ move and fly to the rafters on harnesses.  While up there, he banged on trash cans and played weak sampled techno beats.  This solo clearly didn’t stand up to the rotating drum riser seen in the “Wild Side” video.

Sixx’s bass/keyboard solo featured the night’s coolest visual effect.  He blew himself up with pyro.  Unfortunately, he wasn’t really playing much of anything.  It was like they knew going in that his solo was weak and decided to just blow stuff up.  It works for Gene Simmons, but not really Nikki Sixx.

The show wasn’t all bad though.  When the band was locked together, they rocked.  Songs like “Girls, Girls, Girls”, “Don’t Go Away Mad (Just Go Away)” and “Home Sweet Home” were all played really well.  “Primal Scream” and “Live Wire” were especially hard hitting.  Mick Mars played well most of the night and Lee was pounding the drums like he was taking his anger out on his kit.  In fact, the band members played well individually, just not as collectively.  I give the band credit for diving into their back catalog and unearthing such tunes as “On with the Show” and “Red Hot.”  Surprisingly, these songs were stronger than the tried and true hits.  “Kickstart my Heart” ended the show with Sixx taking another play out of KISS’ tourbook and smashing his bass on stage to programmed pyro cues.  Paul Stanley may not have invented the move, but he did perfect it.

The mostly packed audience didn’t seem to mind the overall sloppiness of the show.  Most of them pumped fists, lit lighters and sang along at all the right times.  They loved it.

With this volatile line-up, it’s hard to say if the tour will last a week or a year.  If they can keep it together and actually rehearse, they should be able to pull off a very satisfying show.  If you’ve ever liked Motley Crue, see them now because there’s no telling when it’s all going to blow up.