Mötley Crüe. Need I say more? The legendary Crüe are finally saying goodbye to their heavy Rock n’ Roll lifestyle. Starting in ’81, the rock stars have been bringing glam metal and hard rock to fans across the world for 34 years and are at last, retiring.
Their final tour “All Bad Things Must Come to an End,” with very special guest, Alice Cooper, began July 2, 2014. During their time on the road, they stopped in Indiana three times. Twice in Indy and once in Evansville.
I was beyond stoked to find out I was seeing them live on October 10, at their stop to Evansville. While on my way I had one everlasting question. Am I the only person of my age group who would be excited to see these old men rocking their hearts out?
The night started out with me looking for others in my age range who looked willing to come see Cooper and the Crüe. Shockingly enough, as I was walking into the Ford Center, I saw not one person my age. But I did see a bunch of children about 10 to 15, ready to rock on, with their parents by their side. As I got to my seat the stadium was still filling up, so I patiently waited to see if other like-minded young adults sat in seats around me. Spoiler alert, none did.
The night’s opener was The Cringe. A band from New York City that put so much energy and heart into their performance that I was almost sure they were just a few teenagers on the road that Cooper and the Crüe thought had a really sweet set. (yes, I was in the nosebleeds and yes, they all looked like small ants on stage). They were actually grown men and their music was funky, groovy and gritty. Lead singer, John Cusimano, knew how to get the crowd loud and excited. Though audience members weren’t singing along to every word, they were clapping their hands to the beat of the music and thoroughly enjoyed the band.
After thirty minutes, Alice Cooper came onto stage and put on the best theatrical act I have ever witnessed. Or anyone in the stadium had ever witnessed, for that matter. He started the night out with “The Black Widow” in a red and black suit and changed costumes while going into “No More Mr. Nice Guy.” This is when I noticed a woman, Nita Strauss, was one of the guitar players for Cooper. This gave the show a bit more relatability for me, as I’m sure it did other women in the crowd in the male dominant genre.
“I’m eighteen and I like it,” Cooper belted out in one of his most well known songs. “I like it! I love it,” the crowd began chanting. Most of whom haven’t seen their teenage years in some decades. For a 67-year-old rock star, Cooper had better moves than any eighteen year old I’ve ever known.
The whole show was full of props, costumes, and personas coming from the legendary shock rocker. Each song had a new prop and a new story. He became a serpent king, handling a real live snake at one point during the show. While performing “Billion Dollar Baby” the guy flung money off of a sword at lucky audience members who paid big bucks to see him right in front of the stage. (If it was real or not, I was nowhere close enough to the stage to tell you.)
He was electrocuted on stage and a giant zombie type character, resembling Frankenstein came out running around, appropriately for “Feed My Frankenstein.” Two executors brought a guillotine on stage as Cooper was performing “I Love the Dead.” The two dragged Cooper to his death and “offed” his head.
“Happy Halloween!” He screamed, closing his performance on stage. After witnessing something of this standard, I believe people need to reevaluate their definition of a show. Not only did Cooper put on one heck of a concert, he put on a show that I would gladly see again. And, again.
Before Mötley Crüe approached the stage “So Long, Farewell” echoed throughout the stadium. A grim reminder that their time as a band, was coming to an end.
At the show I was able to talk with the one and only young adult, other than myself, in the jam-packed stadium, and a die-hard Crüe Head at that. Caitlyn McLary is only twenty years old. What was her reason for coming to see a bunch of musicians who were already heavily influenced in the realm of rock before she was even born? What was her perspective of the show? Did she see the concert in a different light than the 40-year-olds who sat in seats around her?
“It’s sad because it’s over. I knew that’s what they were talking about [while playing "So Long, Farewell"] but it was funny because it’s like them. To do it for the laughs and not to take it seriously,” McLary said.
After their seemingly depressing, yet funny, intro died down, the sound of a motorcycle revved in the stadium. Nikki Sixx’s, Tommy Lee’s, Vince Neil’s and Mick Mars’ silhouettes appeared and the audience yelled so loudly and viciously that it overpowered the cycle.
“Friday night and I need a fight,” busted out of Neil’s mouth as their night started off with “Girl's, Girl’s Girl’s.”
They played songs like “Live Wire” from their first album “Too Fast For Love” from 1981, to “Saints of Los Angeles” from their last album “Saints of Los Angeles” released in 2008.
I wasn’t quite sure what to expect when the show started. It was my first time at a classic concert quite like this. Were they just going to sit down in chairs and play their instruments? Were they just going to talk to each other and improv their way through their last few shows?
The guys have been playing most of these songs for 34 years, they’re old and they’re more than likely growing tired of performing them. It has been said that Neil mumbles his way through those songs and gets the audience members to sing the classics for him but I beg to differ. This was absolutely not the case at this show. While he may not have been able to hold his notes out for as long as he used to, he sure was able to hit all the different vocal ranges that he was able to as a teen.
“He never sings the studio version. So people think it’s different but he still hits all the notes,” McLary said, commenting on Neil’s vocals. "They played stuff from the first album from when his voice was really high, but his range was pretty much still the same.”
Sixx had a bass, but on that bass, was a flamethrower. During “Shout at the Devil” he torched a small pentagram that was dangling on stage. But that’s not all, a burning pentagram that stretched behind Lee was caught on fire, which sadly didn’t light up all the way. So, as you can expect, there was lots of fire.
Throughout the whole show, fireworks went off simultaneously with the heavy riffs of Mars’ guitar, and the beat of Lee’s drums.
“I was disappointed that he didn’t run around stage like I wanted him to. But he’s not thirty years old anymore,” McLary said about Sixx's performance. “People always said he wasn’t going to do anything with his life and now everyone knows him.”
Tommy Lee had a chance to prove his mastery on the drum set and though he hasn’t been able to play a few shows recently due to tendonitis, he put his best skills at work. He was strapped into his drum set and began flying over the crowd, even upside down, on a roller coast type contraption.
He drummed to the beat of electronic dance music while colorful lights shot across the audience members. It felt like an entirely different show. I couldn’t tell you just how much the rest of the crowd enjoyed it but I thought it was the best of both worlds. He got to display other types of music he enjoys and produces. Music that is generally geared towards younger listeners.
Right after, I was put into a trance by Mars’ guitar solo. The sounds coming out of his guitar made you want to sit down, relax and let the tunes take you to a happy place. Mars’ had the power to take the audience into a whole new world with his progressive, blues influenced style.
“It was enchanting. I got lost in the music and when they started playing their next song ("Saints of Los Angeles"), it took me a minute to come back to reality,” McLary said. “I thought it was really impressive that he could play like that while still having his [ankylosing spondylitis].”
When they played “Saints of Los Angeles” off of their ninth and final studio album, a lot of fans didn’t know the song. But the audience did not disapprove as Sixx and Neil got on platforms that flew them across the stadium.
They ended the show with a beautiful, emotional, and fitting ballad. The only ballad that the heavy metal rock stars have, “Home Sweet Home.” They went to the center of the stadium on a platform amongst the audience members with Lee on keys and a memoir video playing on the big screens. Some were singing along, while others were hugging and a select few sobbing. And with that, the band performed their final song to Indiana.
“It was like a grieving process. I have just recently gotten into them. It was my first and last time that I was ever going to see them. That’s what I get for not being born earlier,” McLary Said. “I listen to music now and a lot of them are pointless lyrics. Nikki wrote most of their songs and I knew they were about life experiences. Not just songs that are catchy,” she said. “I think it has a lot to do with my parents. I grew up listening to a lot of older music. My dad always had connections with the songs and I always thought it was cool. He was always jamming out to Meatloaf, Kiss, and bands like that. And he always had fun listening to that. And it translated to me. It makes me happy and gets me excited about older bands.”