Monday, September 01, 2008

Motley Crue: Fear and Loathing in the Garden of Ether

SARATOGA SPRINGS -- Motley Crue didn't appear on the musical stage of the Saratoga Performing Arts Center on Friday night as much as they attempted to blow it to hell in a bombastic ferocity of sound and vision that thrilled an adoring crowd of more than 12,000 followers.
The four-man band performed a 90-minute set that trampled through the group's quarter-century long songbook, from the early 1980's "Live Wire," "Shout at the Devil" and "Home Sweet Home," to "Saints of Los Angeles," fresh from their recently released album of the same name.
Their most popular songs, like "Girls, Girls, Girls," were greeted by the faithful with arms extended high and forefinger-and-pinky raised devil-horn salutes.
Devils and angels were featured prominently in both song and on giant video screens that framed the stage, where carnal images lusted in a garden of pyrotechnical ether before climaxing in an orgy of hairspray and tattoos.
The 14-song Motley Crue set showcased the virtuosity of guitarist Mick Mars, who stepped into the stage lights and from beneath his big skull-and-cross bones top-hat and performed a worthy six-string tribute of the Jimi Hendrix song “Voodoo Chile.”
Drummer Tommy Lee took his moment at center stage, armed with his triple-X cam, to convince female concertgoers to reveal themselves for the camera.
Their shirtless images soon followed, streaming across the video screen and alternately displaying either the medical advancements of modern surgery or scientific truths of the time-wearing effects of gravity.
The double-barrel sonic blast of on-stage explosions and revved amplifiers soared to ridiculously high levels inside the amphitheater, rendering the high, piercing squealings of vocalist Vince Neil nearly inaudible indoors, providing fans on the lawn outside a better-sounding show that they could actually hear.
Nobody seemed to mind, however.
The concert is part of a summer-long tour dubbed “Crue Fest” and also included the bands Papa Roach, Trapt, Sixx: A.M. -- featuring Muppet-haired Motley Crue bassist Nikki Sixx -- and Buckcherry, who thrilled the crowd with their set-ending song “Crazy B----” that included an oddly appropriate infused melody of the early 1980s Billy Squier hit, “The Stroke.”

text by Thomas Dimopoulos
image by Erin Reid Coker
Published in The Post-Star, Aug. 29, 2008.