MÃ–TLEY CRÃœE, SECC, Glasgow
Thursday 16 June 2005
A riot of wigs, bondage trousers, warpaint and body art - and that was just the audience. For no-nonsense rock fans of a certain vintage and younger acolytes who have been raised on the folk tales, this latest and largely unexpected reunion of Eighties metal's greatest survivors is a communal event. One, it seems, which it's only too appropriate to attend in a costume inspired by Rocky Horror.
That's not too unfair a comparison, as the Mötley Crüe story could surely compete with even the most unlikely works of fiction in terms of pure against-the-odds drama. Among a catalogue of death-defying, sordid escapades that would fill many a book (and already have, in fact) there have been drugs, groupies, famous wives, band splits, walkouts and an unlikely fascination with golf on the part of certain band members. Not to mention a brief period spent clinically dead by the bassist Nikki Sixx.
The somewhat crazed quartet - Sixx, the vocalist Vince Neil, the guitarist Mick Mars and the drummer Tommy Lee (ex-husband of Pamela Anderson) - formed more than 20 years ago, and, given that they have indulged in every vice in the rock'n'roll rulebook, it's remarkable that nobody died or went insane in the interim.
The theme of this show, much like the title of the latest greatest hits collection, is Red, White and Crüe, so the band were playing under a set resembling a similarly coloured big top. That's appropriate, because the eccentrically dressed foursome resemble a freakish circus act as much as anything, with towering songwriter Sixx and the bare-chested, face-painted Lee an odd rhythm section in that they're more conspicuous than Neil or Mars.
To ram the carnival point home in typically unsubtle Crüe fashion, there were fire-breathing showgirls, girls on trapezes, a girl spraying sparks from a grinder placed next to her metallic bodice - as much semi-clad vaudevillian flesh as could fit on stage.
Such an undeniably sexist edge plays a large part in Mötley Crüe's repertoire, with Lee the ringleader as he filled a midsong break by hunting for girls in the crowd willing to expose theirs breasts to his video camera. Much like the soft-porn video for "Girls Girls Girls", it could have been seen as offensive - yet the number of girls willing to submit tells its own tale.
Elsewhere, the Crüe's excitable knuckleheadedness is just daftly entertaining, and there's a certain innocence in their willingness to go for the crowd-pleasing money shot every time. Neil's single-minded sneer and the trademark motorcycle guitar roar of "Looks That Kill", "Live Wire" and "Dr Feelgood", for example, certainly thrilled, while a speeding encore of The Beatles' "Helter Skelter" and The Sex Pistols' "Anarchy in the UK" (in front of a huge demonic clown's head, naturally) saw this most seemingly indestructible of bands off with a pyrotechnic bang.
Touring to 21 June
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