Mötley Crüe : New York Madison Square Garden
You’ve read the book, now feel the rock as the original hair metallers resurrect “the best fucking show ever”...
Who expected Mötley Crüe to be alive in 2005, much less
playing live? Certainly no-one who read their heinous confessional The
Dirt (and if you haven’t, shame on you). But now, supporting a new
Greatest Hits album with, mercifully, only three new songs on it,
they’re sharing a stage for the first time in six years. In case you’ve
forgotten what that means, here’s a hint: there’s girl-on-girl action in the
first five minutes of the show. Oh, and motorcycle-riding midgets.
Following a bizarre movie short in which a claymation Crüe attempt
to save the world from imminent asteroid impact by playing “the best
fucking show ever!” (wariness of bombast was never their strongest
suit) the band step onto Madison Square Garden’s mammoth stage –
decorated, appropriately, like a giant circus tent – while a trio of
G-string-clad lady contortionists writhe suggestively to the immortal
strains of ‘Shout At The Devil’. Throw in booming pyrotechnics,
clowns, and buxom trapeze artists, and you’re about as far away from a
Coldplay concert as it’s possible to get without actually being in
Fred Durst’s brain.
That’s the good news. Sadly, all of this over-the-top spectacle is
necessary, for time has not been kind to the Crüe. Twenty-five years
ago, they were the spandex-skinny kings of Sunset Strip; men who went
through cocaine like there was no tomorrow and hairspray like there was no
ozone. Now, things are different. Vince Neil, who was recently the
too-fat-for-love star of VH-1’s reality show, Remade (in which
he was given a facelift and a personal trainer), sounds fantastic but looks
self-conscious; Nikki Sixx, carrying an extra stone or three, gives
new meaning to holding down the bottom end; Mick Mars wears a mask
for several songs (possibly to conceal the evidence that he is, in fact, 96)
and creeps to and fro like a wind-up granny (although to be fair, he’s just
had a hip replacement). Only Tommy Lee is, well, Tommy Lee.
And, of course, he’s the star of the show – partly because he’s the only one
who appears to be having any fun.
The evening’s best moment? When Lee ‘flies’ between two suspended
drumkits, bashing out a 15-minute drum solo which can only be described as
performance-art-meets-The Chemical Brothers-with-extra-swearing,
until one of the kits explodes into sparks and smoke. The worst: when
Lee turns a camera on girls in the crowd and insists that they remove
their tops, screaming, “It’s the titty cam! Get your fucking titties
a way that borders on sexual harassment. Not that Lee isn’t all about
equal opportunity – at Sixx’s suggestion, he pulls out the most
famous part of his own anatomy, twirls it around with a shriek, and stuffs
it back in his trousers.
They play some songs, too. Two hours’ worth. The scorching ‘Dr
Feelgood’, the hair metal-defining ‘Girls Girls Girls’, the
indelible ‘Too Fast For Love’ and… all the others that aren’t
nearly as good, like unremarkable new single ‘If I Die Tomorrow’. The
grand finale is a cover of ‘Anarchy In The UK’ (altered, oh so
cunningly, to “USA”); which is appropriate, considering that
Mötley Crüe have unashamedly admitted that they’ve patched up their
legendary differences for one simple reason: filthy lucre.
And it’s worked. The shows have sold so well that they’ve added another
50 dates. Evidently, there is life after death. And it’s a hell of a