It was free.
A free show and apparently how Vince Neil wanted it.
Neil, no longer fresh off of retirement as lead singer of Motley Crue, has stayed active and kept busy since the bad boys from LA called it quits in 2015, touring with his “new” band consisting of bassist Dana Strum, guitarist Jeff Blando, and drummer Zoltan Chaney a trio he has spent much time with in the past. And, he still packs a house, even if it’s a glorified bar with free admission.
Neil played to probably 1,000 people packed shoulder to shoulder on Saturday at the Muze Lounge inside the Ilani Casino in Ridgefield, WA just north of Portland, OR. Supposedly he had the option of the casino’s larger, actual concert setting with assigned seats in the Cowlitz Ballroom, but Neil preferred the smaller more intimate setting. Free to anyone who wished to go.
Nothing grandiose, nor does he play all that long (just an hour last night) but the fans still came and got a chance to hear directly from one of the 1980’s biggest rock stars. All Motley Crue hits too, none of Neil’s solo work, and he did a pretty solid job. “Dr. Feelgood” opened then a clear crowd favorite in “Shout at the Devil” and by the time “She’s Got Looks That Kill” got rolling it felt a lot like a Motley Crue concert.
Not the veteran Motley Crue with extravagant stage production and sound quality, more like, hmmm, was this how it was back in the day when they first got started playing small clubs in and around Los Angeles? Maybe. The sound was hardly spectacular, not so much Vince Neil’s issue but more the venue and/or the sound system. You needed ear plugs more for the high pitched sometimes piercing tone rather than the decibels. But regardless, Neil pumped through song after song including “Home Sweet Home” and the great “Don’t Go Away Mad (Just Go Away)” before taking a break after “Same Ol’ Situation S.O.S.” to let his band shine a moment. This was expected as it had the same set-up as his last show (and probably every Vince Neil concert) but thankfully (not meant as a criticism) Strum, Blando and the octopus-like Chaney of Slaughter fame cut it short after a song (I think a Dio cover) instead of a 15 minute guitar solos and cover mixes. Neil returned with a rocking “Kickstart My Heart” and finished the evening with “Girls, Girls, Girls” and “Wild Side.”
Quick, efficient, a “Best of” Motley Crue (10 songs total, nine Crue songs) and free! Neil sounded good, not great but some of that had to do with the sound. Most of all he clearly enjoys performing and it shows. Don’t expect a Motley Crue concert by any means, but he’s not mailing it in and despite probably playing most of these songs now over and over as he tours, he plays them fresh and tries to incorporate the crowd. Yes, he’s gained weight even more since I saw him last. Enough to mention only out of concern. It’s not a healthy look but he’s still got great energy even if by the end he was a bit out of breath.
This was my first time seeing a concert at newish Ilani Casino and I wondered about the Muze Lounge setting. Neil was, as far as I can tell, the biggest act to date and I got there just a few minutes after show time (Neil arrived about 10 minutes later) standing just inside the casino’s primary walkway. Every few minutes I moved up as the crowd pushed in or others left and by the time Neil called it a night I was fully inside the lounge about 15 feet or so closer but still a ways back from the stage. Despite the “bar” setting it was no different than any other general admission venue where first comes gets first served and you stand the entire evening. Not bad for a free concert and hardly a complaint here.
Vince Neil Setlist at Ilani Casino:
- Shout at the Devil
- Looks That Kill
- Home Sweet Home
- Don’t Go Away Mad (Just Go Away)
- Same ‘Ol Situation (S.O.S)
- Guitar Solo/Cover song
- Kickstart My Heart
- Girls, Girls, Girls
- Wild Side