Toronto Molson Amphitheatre

You can't really criticise this for not being high art - this is Mvtley Crue...

It’s been the battle of the excessive ’80s bands this week at the Molson Amphitheatre. [a]Duran Duran[/a] were in Saturday, and look who we have here – .Mvtley Crue. Everyone must remember the urban myth about the barfight these two acts supposedly undertook – perhaps they should have considered a joint tour to increase sales. It’s hard these days to be an ’80s band when there’s all that pro-wrestling to compete with.

Still, there are at least 5,000 hardcore Crue fans in attendance tonight, though many look visibly pudgier than when they first bought those ’84 tour shirts.

Cancelled warm-up act Anthrax are sorely missed, leaving the somewhat less fun Megadeth as the sole opener on this ‘Maximum Rock Tour’. Much of the crowd has come to see Dave Mustaine et al, yet little of their Metallica-baiting, slam-dancing past gets revisited. But it’s ok – that’s why they’re called warm-up acts.

As the sun finally descends over Lake Ontario, the crowd is getting noticeably drunker (thanks once more to Molson‘s plentiful beer stalls). The lights go down and Frank Zappa‘s ‘Crew Slut’ is blasted from the PA (the irony-conscious Zappa is probably turning in his grave at this point), before the Crue‘s seductive-looking backing singers emerge.

The Crue too finally appear on the stage (which somewhat resembles a Bangkok shooting gallery), breaking into ‘Kickstart My Heart’ and ‘Same Old Situation’. It’s unsure whether these song choices are a joke or not – after all, these lads are the new oldies on the block. But it doesn’t show too badly (as usual, they’ve followed Kiss‘ lead, and hired some crack make-up artists) – Vince Neil‘s looking a little unshaven and haggard, but otherwise animated; Nikki Sixx moves a little more robotically than he used to; while Mick Mars is looking even more ghoulish than ever.

Tommy Lee – who refused to join in with the Crue reformation – is not being missed much at all either – especially with the added glamour of Hole drummer Samantha Maloney, who’s sitting in for ailing drummer-for-hire, Randy Castillo. Despite her alt-chick associations, Maloney is clearly enjoying herself, bashing out all the boy-rock fills in ‘Dr. Feelgood’, ’10 Seconds To Love’ and ‘Piece Of Your Action’.

As the night progresses (perhaps that’s the wrong choice of words) there’s lots of stupidly dazzling pyro, more than enough neanderthalic riffs, and a particularly pointless, unaccompanied guitar solo. But one can’t really criticise this for not being high art – this is Mvtley Crue. Like a Big Mac, you know it’s going to taste cheap and nasty, but you eat it anyway ([I]Except for vegetarians maybe? – Pedantic Ed[/I]). And you’ll probably go back for more. Antacid, anyone?