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An Evening in Hell: Opening Night Review

My favorite band of all time is back!

Wednesday September 18 had been a date stuck in my head for months as it marks the opening night of Motley Crues second residency at the Joint at the Hard Rock Hotel.

Of course I had to work that day, but the ever moving mobile billboards touting the show dates kept me focused on the task at hand: getting out of there in time to get ready for Crue!

The Hard Rock was completely abuzz by the time we rolled in about 7:15pm. Just enough time to grab a couple 2 for 1 cocktails and get in line for General Admission.

This is the only sore spot for me. I bought these tickets on American Express Presale and shelled out who knows how much in Ticketmaster fees to be the first to buy tickets. Bad mistake. I bought GA, based on the venue setup of the first residency. At those shows GA was right up front, exactly where it should be. This keeps the true, diehard, and dedicated right where we belong…in the front!

The current set up puts about 15 rows of Gold Circle seating up front, then some space and THEN General Admission behind the sound board. Sucks. This might be acceptable for some, but not for me. Not after last time right at the end of the stage. But, whatever. I learned this the hard way and my next 3 shows will be seen up close in Gold Circle seating.

I’m not sure why they changed the setup? Rumor is that the band wanted more money and they are able to charge more for the Gold Circle seats. If that’s the case they should’ve just charged $130 for GA and left it the way it was before. According to a Tweet some time ago from Tommy (@mrtommyland) this was not a band decision, but a promoter decision. That makes more sense to me. I happened to be surrounded by more than a few high rollers last time that were less than happy about their pricey suits being blood splattered (the blood was later ceased all together). These same cry babies probably didn’t want to stand either. Whatever. We were still in the very front of GA and the Joint isn’t that big so the show kicked ass regardless of the fact that I couldn’t look directly into Vince’s eyes. I did feel badly for the fans that were surprised by this though. I was the bearer of bad news to many in line about the set up change and none were pleased. These were all fans that had been at the previous residency so they really had no idea until I filled them in. For me I had a few months to become used to the idea. Also, I had 3 more shows coming up so cie la vie.

Sooo… on to the show! The ushers were dressed in a sort of flowy, gothic, gate keepers of hell attire. I love it. I seriously enjoy that during these Crue residencies their theme is detailed and carried through every aspect of the experience and every corner of the hotel.

Once our spot was secured and the countdown on my iphone had reached 0 days 0 hours 0 minutes and 0 seconds, the Crue exploded on stage about 10 min later.

They opened with Red Hot! Red Hot people! This is epic. The set list was made for the Crue fan that has been with the band from the get go. Red Hot turned into Wildside and Louder than Hell (are you catching on to the old school theme?). From here Saints of Los Angeles, Too Young to Fall in Love, Same Ol Situation, Looks that Kill, Don’t Go Away Mad, Livewire, In the Begining, Shout at the Devil, Motherfucker of the Year, Too Fast For Love, Primal Scream, Dr Feelgood, Girls, Girls, Girls…and then they said goodnight. Of course this couldn’t be the end though?! Tommy had to come back out and play a baby grand that was smoldering under flames and then the show finished up with the most appropriate Kickstart My Heart.

During this monstrous two hour set the stage lived up to the hype.

The show was inherently more stripped down than the previous residency. Gone are the aerialists, stilt walkers,the backup dancers and backing vocals. This show was the most stripped down I have ever seen Crue. It was gritty and fantastic. In the end what I want to see and hear is Crue and with this new, industrial look inside Hell, that is exactly what you get. Tommy was a bit lost in the hellfire and without the drum roller coaster of the past few years, or the overhead spinning drum sets of many, many, tours ago, and the immense amount of fire all over the entire stage as well as the air above it, visually Tommy was a little lost. Not sonically of course. Just not as visually present as I’m used to seeing him. Also, no drum solo!? In the 20 or more times I’ve seen Crue I cannot recall a time when there was not a drum solo. Not sure if this will remain the same throughout the remaining show? I had heard that there was initially supposed to be some sort of dancing robot situation happening that was nixed by the Clark County Fire Dept. Perhaps they hadn’t had time to develop something new? Perhaps Tommy said “Fuck you. If I can’t do what I want then I won’t do anything at all?” I don’t know. I’m guessing. Makes sense though. On that note, there wasn’t a guitar solo either. Weird. Like I said before: It was a stripped down Crue. It was awesome. The “Evening in Hell” moniker was right on point. There was certainly more fire than I’ve ever seen at a show. Ever. It was hot. It filled the room. I smelled like butane the next morning when I woke up. This is not merely marketing. My friend Monica who was with me that night even looked a bit afraid while she scanned the Joint for emergency exits just in case. I informed her to save herself if necessary. There are worse ways to go out then rocking out at a Motley Crue show. But truly it’s safe. The fire dept is on hand at each show. Don’t be afraid! Although at times the fire seemed to be breathing, it was apparent that things were under control. Twice it appeared that a few spots of fire (one on the drum riser and later one at the top of the back curtain) were not part of the show and they were quickly put out by stage hands. No harm done.

And that bass. Nikki debuted his bass that shoots flames last year. In this show that beast was put to some serious use. Flames were shot out of its neck of whenever Nikki got the chance. Killer!

All in all this show amazed as only the Crue can.

I’m looking forward to Sept 22, Sept 28, and October 5. Last time there were many elements added and deleted between Opening Night and Closing Night. The show evolved and I’m thinking that may remain true this time as well.

But even if nothing changes at all I’m happy with that.

Long live Motley Crue. See you on Sunday!