Motley Crue & Alice Cooper

August, 29 2015

Charlotte, NC

Time Warner Cable Arena

Review by Joseph Hett

Motley Crue With Alice Cooper Go Out In Style In Charlotte

Motley Crue made a slow march towards the gallows on Saturday night at the Time Warner Cable Arena as part of “The Final Tour.” After signing a “Cessation of Touring Agreement” in 2014, 2015 is slated to be their last year touring, ever. They let everyone know that they were going to go out in style, and that’s exactly what they did. The legendary Alice Cooper was the opener, and he brought his A-game to the “funeral” in Charlotte.

Alice Cooper and his band came out first and went into the haunting “Black Widow.” They soldiered on with “Under My Wheels” and the classic “I’m Eighteen.” The innovator of theatrical shock rock provided the theatrics and backed it up with the power of the one-two-three punch guitar attack in his band.

Cooper had plenty of goodies to throw to the crowd like fake money on a sword during “Billion Dollar Babies” and pearl necklaces during “Dirty Diamonds.”

Cooper went straight for the jugular with the shock factor. Even though the shock has worn off over the years, it still is a mesmerizing sight.

He was up to his old (and much loved) antics with stage props. He adorned his signature boa constrictor during “Go To Hell,” and he then traded it in for a whip. There was a mock electrocution during “Feed My Frankenstein,” which turned him into a 15-foot high Frankenstein that ran around onstage in a creepy fashion. And between “Ballad Of Dwight Fry” and “Killer” there was Cooper’s signature beheading with the guillotine.

Cooper closed his abbreviated set with, what else, “School’s Out.” Bubbles filled the arena along with giant bouncing balls. Once a ball headed back to Cooper, he would pop them with a dagger. His signature song would also contain an interlude of Pink Floyd’s “Another Brick In The Wall (Part 2).”

It was a set of straight-ahead rock and roll aimed to get the fans ready for Motley Crue. The hour set made fans thirsty for a full Alice Cooper theatrical production in the near future.

Now it was time for Motley Crue to come out and say their final goodbyes to the fans in Charlotte, even though their “Final Tour” brought them to Charlotte last summer at the PNC Music Pavilion. They brought a huge spectacle and large scale production to town. There were video screens on the side of the stage with the hashtags of #RIPMotleyCrue and #Charlotte, where fans could chime in on social media on this momentous occasion.

“So Long, Farewell” played as the arena went dark. Vince Neil, Nikki Sixx, Tommy Lee and Mick Mars pranced out onto the stage for an eruption from the crowd. The band then came to life with the fast-paced hard-rocking classics “Girls, Girls, Girls” and “Wild Side.” The pyrotechnics were plentiful and ear jarring throughout the night.

Mario Lopez from “Saved By The Bell” and “Extra” fame could even be seen walking through the crowd to his floor seats slightly after the show began. Even he wanted to get one final piece of the Crue.

During “Primal Scream,” Neil and Sixx engaged the crowd to say “Yeah!” on demand. Balls of fire were shot out of cannons – where the crowd could feel the heat throughout the arena. Sixx’s signature hanging mic holder caught on fire, as planned, and the Motley Crue circle-star logo burned for several minutes.

Speaking of Sixx, he was a monster on bass all night long. He even told a symbolic story about playing with his Grandfather’s knife as a youth and then receiving a new knife of his own. He compared the band to a “knife” and a “scar” to the Motley Crue music embedded within them.

There has been much said about Neil’s voice over the recent years. Well, it’s not perfect, but he gets the job done. Many bands (ones that shall not be named) these days use vocal tracks while performing live but not the Crue. This is what makes them so powerful and raw.

They included a Sex Pistols cover of “Anarchy In The U.K.” – where masked men in orange jumpsuits ran on the stage to shoot water guns at the fans in the first few rows.

Mars did a stellar job on guitar as usual. While the guitar mix wasn’t great, Mars delivered as he always does during a live Crue show. The mix kind of had the guitar drown out with drums, especially during “Shout At The Devil.”

Lee has finally conquered the drum solo during a nearly 10-minute performance. His drum kit rode along tracks from the stage to the top of the arena all the way to the back of the venue to the mini-stage. Lee ended the ride behind the sound board all while twirling along the way. He soloed to rock, rap and dance music. Lee then rode the “Cruecifly” back to his original position on the stage.  It was truly an amazing sight.

They kept the Crue classics coming with one of their earliest songs “Live Wire” and the radio anthem “Dr. Feelgood.”

They closed the set out with the up-temp “Kickstart My Heart,” where they brought out all of the stops. Sixx and Neil jumped on lifts from the rafters and were raised up to their respective sides of the crowd while white confetti and red streamers filled the entire arena.

For the encore, they made their way through the crowd to the mini-stage in the back for “Home Sweet Home.” VIPs were seated directly in front of the stage. The stage and the audience section platforms rose high up as the song picked up speed. It lowered to the original position as the song ended. Motley Crue bowed to a standing ovation.

Frank Sinatra’s “My Way” played as they disappeared into eternity. Motey Crue music will continue to be played forever as long as rock is alive. The Crue has cemented their legacy as one of the biggest and influential bands from their era. If this was really their very last tour, then it will leave them more of a legacy of going out on top. That Motley Crue scar is with everyone for life, whether that’s a good thing or bad thing. Well, all bad things must come to an end…