Jul 20, 2012

KISS / Motley Crue - Jiffy Lube Live

By Bob Suehs

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KISS / MOTLEY CRUE

July 20, 2012

Jiffy Lube Live

Bristow, VA

“You....You Got the Best, The Hottest Band in the World, KISS!” That’s how the KISS set started & it was a reminder that the human element of mistakes & flubs were bound to happen on the opening night of the tour. I’m skipping way ahead of things though so let’s start with Motley Crue’s set first.

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Motley Crue Set List:

Saints of Los Angeles, Wild Side, Shout at the Devil, Same Ol' Situation, Looks That Kill, Don't Go Away Mad, Sex, Drum Solo, Home Sweet Home, Primal Scream, Dr. Feelgood, Girls, Girls, Girls, Kickstart My Heart

Motley’s set started while it was still daylight out & I didn’t even realize that Nikki, Vince & Tommy were walking through the crowd carrying large “MC” flags accompanied by their security & show workers....Crue took the stage in a military style that set the pace for a set that covered all the “hits” Crue had to offer with one new song tossed in the mix.

Everyone except Vince was covered in white war paint & made to look like evil mimes or KISS gone wrong make-up wise and the choice to open with “Saints of Los Angeles” was an odd choice in my opinion considering they needed to really blow the crowd away if they were going to out do KISS.

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Motley’s set started off rough & I don’t think the band were really hitting their stride till midway through the set...things seemed to be all over the place and “Wild Side” was a good 2nd song of the night BUT “Shout at the Devil” was the 3rd song in the set & the one that made EVERYONE go crazy!

“Looks That Kill” started off with an abbreviated opening that started with the vocals rather than the guitar intro and my general comments about the individual band members are as follows:

Vince Neil is looking really bloated these days...a bit more than usual & he has potential but needs to take care of himself...he’s wearing obvious cover ups onstage to hide his weight and the thing I will say is that he came onstage sober, didn’t slur his words, he gave as much as he could and this was one of his better performances vocally.

Nikki Sixx cut his hair a bit shorter than it’s been & he has this weird bead/braid thing hanging down on side of his head....you’re not black Nikki, get rid of it, it looks goofy!

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Mick Mars looks like a zombie Blues Brother and he’s the coolest guy on the stage for sure because he’s the best player & despite small flubs my only gripe about Mick would be how sloppy his finger tapping was during the solo in “Dr Feelgood”.

Tommy Lee.....STOP forcing your love for techno & hip hop on us! If we wanna see Tommy Lee DJ or do his “dance” music there’s a place for it, it’s called a Tommy Lee solo DJ show! Motley Crue concerts are NOT about the techno stuff and I wish he’d realize that most of the crowd was bored during that mess of a drum solo where he turned the rock concert into a dance hall. In theory the roller coaster drum kit seems cool BUT once you see it go in a circle 2 times it gets boring and I’m being brutally honest here when I say that the current Tommy Lee drum solo break is the moment in the night when you can get a beer, go to the bathroom or do something else and it’s because Tommy’s drum solo/techno break is just not that much....it’s down right boring!

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What Tommy fails to realize is that he’s forcing his dance & hip hop stuff on the Motley crowd and they don’t care for it. Tommy’s only a rock drummer to them and if you doubt that fact I can point out the absolute FAIL of his DJ show that took place here in Maryland a year or so back...there was no more than a dozen people tops in attendance to see Tommy DJ & he was so upset by the lack of attendance that he didn’t even DJ, he saw the empty room & bailed!

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Motley played a new single called “Sex” and the song itself was oddly forgettable because it had no really memorable moments and it’s a song that you have to hear a few dozen times before you even form a real opinion on it. The guitar solo in “Sex” kinda reminded me of a Loverboy song too which cracks me up.

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I will warn you, IF you decide to get a close seat for this show you WILL get drenched because throughout Motley’s set both sides of the stage are adorned with high powered water cannons ala Ozzy Osbourne & the Motley Crew that work for the band come out at various points of the show & soak the crowd. The spoiler for the end of the set is that the bands roadies place 4 large buckets on the edge of the stage and you guessed it....again, ala Ozzy Osbourne each member of the band minus Mick Mars pick up the buckets & SOAK the crowd so don’t say you haven’t been warned....if you see this tour & get a floor ticket that’s within the first 10 rows of the stage YOU WILL GET SOAKED by Motley Crue!

Motley’s set closed with a 2 song encore of “Girls, Girls, Girls” & “Kick Start My Heart” and the 2 most interesting things about the encore are as follows: During “Girls Girls Girls” Vince came out & gave his little speech about how great Summer was & how he loved to ride his motorcycle with a girl behind him, etc., then he looked for this “magic wand” that was to be used for the bike revving intro. When Vince found it the premise of the bit was the wand was supposed to spit out mini fireworks or something and what happened was the wand worked for about 3 seconds and then died!

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Vince played off the fail pretty well but you could clearly see it didn’t go as planned and he was laughing at the mistake.

Nikki’s bass spits flames during the encore & you can see it in the picture I posted with this review. Nikki wears a backpack and the bass spits flames spuratically...it’s a cool visual and an interesting add to the Crue show.

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Motley were a hard act to follow because they played all the hits back to back to back and what I will say after witnessing this entire show is, hands down this is a nostalgia tour, it’s 2 bands giving the fans abbreviated sets from 2 rock icons in one evening. Motley came on after 8 PM & were finished after 9 PM then KISS took the stage at 10 PM and were done at 11:13 PM. The notion that both bands really trimmed the fat & played much shorter sets than they are known for was an interesting concept because for Motley I think they could have done a longer set and it would have been interesting whereas with KISS I think the shorter set worked because it really made them get up there, play hard, pull out all the tricks and give a bigger bang for the buck since the set was much shorter than usual!

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KISS set list:

Detroit Rock City, Shout it Out Loud, I Love it Loud, Love Gun, Firehouse, War Machine, Shock Me, Tommy/Eric jam, Hell or Hallelujah, Gene Solo/Blood, God of Thunder, Lick It Up, Paul Solo, Black Diamond, Rock N Roll All Nite

There’s so many interesting things about this KISS show but I’ll start off with the comment that Paul made which had me laughing. Paul commented that he knew the set was shorter than usual and he goes, “I wanna put as much IN as I can for you people!” Oh Paul Stanley, your stage banter is the best even at 60 years of age!

The large black curtain was used to cover the stage as usual so the band could have a big intro & the “You Wanted the Best” spoke intro was messed and all the crowd heard was, “You....You got the best, The Hottest Band in the World, KISS”.

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The band really beefed up their set by playing “War Machine”, “I Love it Loud” & “God of Thunder” all in the same set. Over the past few years the band has not done all 3 songs in one show but for this set they focused on the heavier material as a way of keeping up with Motley Crue and it worked pretty well if you ask me!

Seeing Paul go into the crowd 4 songs into the set was a bit odd because usually “Love Gun” is played midway through the show but the band cut right to the chase with this show & pulled out all the stops from the get go and I definitely believe KISS owned the show over Motley on this night!

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“Shock Me” featuring Tommy on vocals could have easily been cut from the set because it’s still considered an Ace song to KISS fans but the guitar solo/jam Tommy & Eric did in the middle of “Shock Me” was pretty cool because Tommy pretty much stripped away all the Ace Frehley rip offs and the solo has a small passage of Ace styling but for the most part it’s just Tommy & Eric jamming together and after Tommy’s guitar shoots a few pyro bombs Eric grabs a fake bazooka & fires it...it was cheesy but definitely entertaining.

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When Gene flies to the top of the arena during “God of Thunder” his boots spit out sparks and that’s a new addition since the last time I saw the band.

Gene’s make up looked a bit odd to me on this night, it’s hard to explain but the side of his face was either too big for his make up or his chin/neck have started to sag more because Gene’s make up had a big gap which made his sagging chin/neck look obvious and odd.

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The backing visuals were new & updated...during “War Machine” they had animation depicting robots wearing KISS make up which marched along to “War Machine” and the background visuals on the screen throughout the show were as interesting as the band because it was all new stuff!

I’m not sure if Tommy was wearing a wig or utilizing his own hair but it was quite odd to see the “Space Man” character with wavy/curly hair onstage and if you see KISS in concert at this point it’s obvious that Paul & Gene are giving Eric & Tommy more of a role in the band. Tommy even used the cherry picker all by himself during his solo in “Shock Me”!

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The merch booths were all over the place with $40 tour shirts from both Motley & KISS. My only complaint was that they had no joint tour shirt with BOTH bands on it...you had to choose either a Motley or a KISS shirt and the KISS shirts were the same ones they sell on their web site while Motley did have a few new designs for this tour including a retro red “Shout” era shirt which looked pretty cool.

At the merch booth on the right side of the stage the members of The Treatment hung out, signed autographs and took pics but only a few people really cared about them because the crowd was clearly there for Motley & KISS.

All in all the show was a hit and here’s a few random tidbits before I close out this review:

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1. Rumor has it this tour will go into the Fall with the next leg being an arena run for KISS & Motley.

2. I saw more KISS shirts being sold than Motley shirts.

3. At the merch booth you could buy an autographed Tommy Thayer pic that came with 3 guitar pics for $30 OR an autographed Tommy Thayer guitar strap for $30; these were available on the last tour and it almost appeared as if they were left over because I saw NO ONE buying anything Tommy Thayer related. They also had autographed Eric Singer drum heads & Sticks but I saw no one buying them either! Gene & Paul should realize the KISS fans want stuff signed by the original guys, NOT the clones!

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4. This was actually NOT the first show of the tour because the night prior, July 19, 2012 they played a VIP/Invite only show for the military which served as a full dress rehearsal for the tour and they had cool shirts made up which said the date/venue & were ONLY sold for that VIP event so technically the first night of the tour was really July 19 although they said it was July 20!

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