It’s easy to be a little jaded when it comes to farewell tours. All too often, it seems to be a money grab, and once the tour is over, the band magically decides it’s rejuvenated and gets back together. Kiss and The Eagles, for instance, have been doing farewell tours for what seems like 15 years.
Mötley Crüe brought its farewell tour, dubbed “The Final Tour: All Bad Things Must Come to an End,” to the Pepsi Center on Saturday night. The tour goes on through November, and will have dates in 2015. The band has signed a “Cessation of Touring Agreement” that goes into effect at the end of 2015, and in all interviews, the band seems serious about calling it a day at the end of 2015.
Was the show perfect? No. Was it memorable? Hell yes. It was so over the top, filled with enough shooting flames, fog, explosions and the like that it was an amazing spectacle. That’s not to mention Tommy Lee’s upside down roller-coaster ride (more on that in a minute).
After piping “So Long, Farewell,” from “The Sound of Music,” through the PA as the lights dimmed, the band got things going with “Saints of Los Angeles,” before kicking into the party metal of “Wild Side.” While Vince Neil’s singing couldn’t always be heard over the pounding tandem of Lee’s kick drum and Nikki Sixx’s thudding bass, it was evident that Neil can still, for the most part, hit the screaming highs he did in the band’s mid-’80s glory years.
Guitarist Mick Mars, looking somewhat frail at times, can still nimbly spin the riffs that made the Crüe famous, including a fiery “Looks that Kill.” On “Shout at the Devil,” Sixx had a flamethrower attached to his bass and shot flames about 30 feet in the air throughout the song, setting fire to his decorative mic stand that hung from the rafters.
Early reports from the tour were that they sounded rusty, but for the most part at the Pepsi Center, the band sounded tight. Sixx gave Neil a mid-show break by telling the story of how he left his old band in 1981 and was determined to start a new one, and first met Lee at a show at the Starwood, then recruited Mars through a newspaper ad, then found Neil at a show at the Starwood. Sixx explained that the band wanted to mix the sounds of punk and metal before the Crüe launched into a cover of the Sex Pistols “Anarchy in the U.K.”
After a long pause mid-show to get everything set up that really seemed to almost kill the momentum, Lee launched his drum solo. Launched literally, that is, as Lee’s drum riser is attached to a roller coaster that went far out into the arena. The drum riser rode the rails, and all the while it rotated so that Lee was at various points completely upside down about 100 feet in the air. The ride eventually stopped near the back of the arena, and Lee shouted a greeting to those in the back, saying, “You’re the front row now,” before riding back to the stage. At one point, Lee was drumming along to Bob Marley’s “Could You Be Loved” piped through the PA.
Neil dedicated “Girls, Girls, Girls” to the “girls in the audience tonight” while also taking a moment to point out the two women who were onstage at various points in a variety of barely-there costumes. The two sang backup on a couple of songs, but mostly seemed to be onstage to titillate and perform stripper type moves for the crowd.
After closing with a solid take on “Kickstart My Heart,” the band encored with “Home Sweet Home,” which they played on a second stage out by the soundboard. During the tune, the stage rose about 30 feet in the air and then dropped back down with the closing chords, bringing it full circle.
Alice Cooper opened the show, proving to be ever the showman. Hopefully, Cooper gets a good deal on his props, because he threw his cane, costume jewelry, and his whip out to the fans during “No More Mr. Nice Guy,” “Dirty Diamonds,” and “Poison,” respectively. The huge snake draped around Cooper’s shoulders during “Welcome to My Nightmare,” slithered around, and the over-the-top Frankenstein set on “Feed My Frankenstein” resulted in a 12-foot-tall Frankenstein stalking the stage at the end of the number.
Saints of Los Angeles, Wild Side, Primal Scream, Same Ol’ Situation (S.O.S.), Looks that Kill, On With the Show, Too Fast for Love, Smokin’ in the Boys Room, Without You, Anarchy in the U.K., Dr. Feelgood, Shout at the Devil, Drum Solo, Don’t Go Away Mad (Just Go Away), Guitar Solo, Live Wire, Too Young to Fall in Love, Girls Girls Girls, Kickstart My Heart, E: Home Sweet Home
Hello Hooray, No More Mr. Nice Guy, Under My Wheels, I’m Eighteen, Billion Dollar Babies, Poison, Dirty Diamonds, Welcome to My Nightmare, Feed My Frankenstein, Ballad of Dwight Fry, Killer-> I Love the Dead, School’s Out