MY SUMMER VACATION: MÖTLEY CRÜE, POISON, & NEW YORK DOLLS
I am old and married to a kindergarten teacher, therefore, I can only go to concerts during the sweltering months of summer.
This is my summer vacation (Part I).
WHO:MÖTLEY CRÜE, POISON & NEW YORK DOLLS
WHERE: AT&T Center — San Antonio, Texas
WHEN: June 9, 2011
I can’t say I was too excited to check out this bill. I did give Mötley Crüe a solid review for their 2008 Crüefest that scooted into the now-defunct Verizon Wireless Amphitheater under the scornful eye of a vicious summer storm, despite the fact Buckcherry, Sixx A.M., and Trapt opened up for them. This time around, I can’t say their choice for major support would cause me to sport a woody. I mean, c’mon… Poison? 4srslz?
At least Nikki Sixx had the commonsense to choose glam/sleaze rock progenitors New York Dolls to open up. I made a special point to get my ass down to the massive arena to catch the Dolls as I missed them earlier in the year at SXSW. I have to admit, I was not familiar with their work at all. I was only aware of their reputation. Of course, I knew of David Johansen, but more famously in his role as Buster Poindexter and the ubiquitous “Hot, Hot, Hot.” I felt it was my duty, as a former ’80s hair metal fan to check out the Godfathers of Glam and am I ever glad I did. Johansen and original Dolls guitarist Sylvain Sylvain played before an uninterested house that was only about 25% full by the time they took the stage. Nonplussed, Johansen led the Dolls through a lengthy barrage of Dolls’ classics such as “Jet Boy” and “Stranded in the Jungle.” The Old Farts may not have moved around the stage very much, but they did kick much ass.
Next up, sadly, was Poison. I like Bret Michaels. Well, Celebrity Apprentice Bret Michaels, that is. Never watched Rock of Love. Hated Poison with a passion back in the day. Once saw Rikki Rockett at Dark Delicacies, the greatest horror book store on the planet, when I lived in Hollywood, so there’s that. Sorry Bret almost died in San Antonio last year. Now he makes his “triumphant” return. Could have done without the Bret Michaels Cruise pimping right before the band went on stage. C.C. DeVille looked like a Goth crack baby. Bobby Dahl looked like he should be doing my taxes. Lots of fire, explosions, silly banners. If I were a drinker, I would have been drinking. Oh, and the crowd (which was at full capacity by now), loved every second of it. See this short video of Bret talking and talking and…
Of course, the big dogs of the night were Mötley Crüe. I have, in nearly equal amounts, praised (also here, here, and here) and poked fun (also here, here, here, and here) at the band while writing for MetalSucks; but the bottom line is I will always be a Crüe fan. It’s nights like this, however, that make it tougher and tougher to do so. This was the supposed “Fans Pick” tour wherein you, the ever trustworthy and loyal Crüe fan, were to pick the band’s setlist for the entire tour. I picked songs only from the band’s first two albums, so I knew I was in for some serious disappointment. After a cool non-intro round of shotgun blasts and unglamorous drape droppings, the band jumped into “Wild Side”…
…and then “Saints of Los Angeles.” Hmmm, somehow I don’t see the second choice as a fan favorite, but whatever. Things picked up with the next two selections, going way back in time with “Live Wire” and “Shout at the Devil.”
Then, out of nowhere, the entire show took a truly sucky trip down the crappy vortex of dunderheaded crappy Crüedom. First up was the horrible pop claptrap “Same Ol’ Situation (S.O.S.), which was followed by “Primal Scream” (who voted for this one?),and the why-the-hell-did-they-stick-this-at-the-front-end-of-the-set-cheeseball-o-rama-let’s-all-gather-’round-the-pretty-white-piano inanity known as “Home Sweet Home,” and topped with the middling treacly piece of poop known as “Don’t Go Away Mad (Just Go Away). Side note – all parenthetically titled songs shall forever just go away. Talk about a total momentum crusher.
And what do they do to resurrect the boredom? TOMMY LEE DRUM SOLO!!! More like Dubstep for Dummies meets Astroworld’s Greased Lightnin’. The first half of the solo was fairly entertaining with Mr. Lee rotating around 360° while rocking out to an ultra-simplistic 4/4 beat. Doing it in upside down, however, makes it challenging and fun, in a sort of Casey Anthony jury kind of way. The second half of the solo featured an obvious plant, lots of “Fucks” and “Bitches” from Mr. Lee, and massives cheers from the crowd. Take a peek:
Thankfully, the Crüe redeemed themselves by digging further back into their not so vast catalogue. The very tired bunch of rockers trotted out actual crowd favorites such as “Looks That Kill,” “Dr. Feelgood,” “Too Young To Fall in Love,” and “Ten Seconds to Love.” Unfortunately, that minor run was sabotaged by more Mötley flüff including “Girls, Girls, Girls,” their Brownsville Station cover tune “Smokin’ in the Boys Room,” and the set closer “Kickstart My Heart.” A rather feeble ending to a rough night for the band who are most definitely showing their age.
Of course, being Old Farts didn’t stop new York Dolls from stealing the entire show. Not that the San Antonio crowd would have known.
© 2011 – All videos and photo by Corey Mitchell
Corey Mitchell is a best-selling author of several true crime books and is currently helping Philip H. Anselmo write his autobiography.