Concert Review: Motley Crue and Kiss: Nothin’ But a Good time

Motley Crue could very well be the 8th wonder of the world.

Four very broken individuals, who have battled drug and alcohol addictions, survived overdoses (in one case an actual near-death experience), and partied hard enough for several lifetimes are not only still alive but managing to carry-on and play their brand of hard rock music so-well defined in the 80s.

I never saw an 80’s Crue concert therefore I cannot attest to whether or not singer Vince Neil, drummer Tommy Lee, bassist Nikki Sixx and guitarist Mick Mars should be labeled as “you should have seen them back in the day.” Their antics are legendary (as re-told in Motley Crue: The Dirt) and it’s hard to imagine anything listenable coming from four extremely intoxicated and high individuals. However, based on Sunday night’s show at Sleep Country Amphitheater in Ridgefield, WA the music now takes over where the party finally stopped.

Sure the band still very much admires the ladies (scantily clad dancers and acrobats), really pushes it loud (like watching a fireworks show at times) and strives for over the top (Lee’s 360 drum set) their music is not only solid but well-played and downright fun.

Neil looking nowhere near his 51 years has lost little if any of his range. All through-out the 14-song (including drum and guitar solos) nearly 80 minute set Neil hit all the usual high notes and breezed through hits like “Wild Side,” “Same ‘Ole Situation (S.O.S),” and “Kickstart my Heart.” Sixx was solid on bass and Mars, 51, who has battled ankolosing spondylitis (a form of arthritis) since the age of 17, has lost no dexterity in his fingers. If he had not publicly disclosed his condition so many years ago, no one would be the wiser. He was indeed master of the fret board.

Lee, who was unfortunately allowed to talk since he seems to know only words that start with the letter “F” and perhaps turned off many parents who brought their children to the show (likely for Kiss), was also one of the stars. In what can only be described as a vertical roller coaster loop, Lee, securely strapped in his seat, performed a dazzling if not jaw-dropping drum solo that had him upside down, with his drum kit as the coaster car, and Lee still drumming.

Despite their notoriously debaucherous reputation, Motley Crue also has a softer, gentler side with “Home Sweet Home” and set-opener “Saints of Los Angeles,” while not a ballad, is one of their best crafted and melodious songs. Can’t forget “Dr. Feelgood” which pounds in one of the all-time best rock intros.  As the opening act to Kiss, Crue’s set list seemed abbreviated but the band covered all the high notes and even performed a new song.

Headliners Kiss pretty much provided everything Kiss is known for and delivered the goods to the Army faithful. The band sounded tight and together and were of course the loud spectacle Kiss fans love. Lots of fire and fireworks, rising platforms, a flying Gene Simmons rising above the main stage and playing atop the stage lights, and Paul Stanley taking a zip-line of sorts over the crowd to a second stage near the back of the amphitheater.

Neither band gives rock operas, concept albums or overly complex time changing riffs, but for Motley Crue and Kiss that’s not really the point. It’s really all about nothing but a good time.

Motley Crue Portland Setlist:

1. Saints of Los Angeles

2. Wild Side

3. Shout at the Devil

4. Same Ol’ Situation (S.O.S.)

5. Sex (new)

6. Don’t Go Away Mad (Just Go Away)

7.  Home Sweet Home

8.  Drum Solo

9.  Guitar Solo

10.  Live Wire

11.  Primal Scream

12.  Dr. Feelgood

13.  Girls, Girls, Girls

14. Kickstart My Heart

Kiss Portland Setlist:

1. Detroit Rock City

2. Shout It Out Loud

3. I Love It Loud

4. Firehouse

5.  Hell or Hallelujah (new)

6.  War Machine

7.  Shock Me

8. Guitar, Drum and Bass Solos

9. God of Thunder

10. Love Gun

11. Lick It Up

12. Black Diamond

13. Strutter

14. Rock and Roll All Nite



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