Monday, November 7, 2016
MUSIC REVIEW OF THE DAY: MOTLEY CRUE - THE END LIVE IN LOS ANGELES
They have been that, and much worse over three-plus decades, with behavior that would make Trump blush. Somehow (well, through complicated legal negotiations), the original members were still on board for the final jaunt: Singer Vince Neil, drummer Tommy Lee, bassist Nikki Sixx, and that guitar player nobody talks about who looks like death. This is the last-ever show, long planned for Los Angeles, the band's home, in a metal frenzy-filled Staples Center on Dec. 31.
This won't be any surprise to Mötley Crüe fans, but as we see on the DVD, it's a night awash in pyro, fireworks, leather, tattoos, biker chic and profanity. And that's just in the audience. Vince Neil is a man unable to say one full sentence without inserting "fuck" into it. "Happy fuckin' New Year, motherfuckers!" he said, the traditional salute borrowed from the late Guy Lombardo I believe. There are also two leather and cutoffs-clad backing singer/dancers who throw their hair around in a fitting homage to 1980s videos.
It's a grand spectacle, and just as much about defiance as it is music. These are not conformists, on stage or in the crowd, and are there to happily raise a middle finger to anyone who tries to make them clean up their act. Tommy Lee takes the mic at one point to actually make a speech to the audience in the middle of a rock show, telling them to never give up, always follow your dream, or something like that, it somehow involves him stealing a knife from his grandfather.
Then you have the drum solo, featuring Lee and his entire kit travelling upside-down along some hydraulic roller coaster. In the 17th Spinal Tap moment of the show, it breaks down partway through its trip. "What the fuck, Los Angeles?" shouts Lee, before having to climb down from his perch. Lee says they left it in the film because it was entertaining. I'll say, it's the best part of the night.
The show ends with a gigantic pentagram burning away, fireworks and flame pods exploding, Nikki Sixx being circled high above the stage on a crane (which didn't break), and Neil telling the crowd "Always remember Los Angeles, we're Mötley Fucking Crüe." You sure fucking were.