You know the saying all good things must come to an end, so too must all bad things. Last night Motley Crue stopped in Ottawa with their friend Alice Cooper for one last party before they hangup their costumes and turn of the pilot lights once and for all.
After a summer of country music invading Ottawa it was time for rock and roll to make it’s return to the Canadian Tire Centre and New York based rockers The Cringe wasted no time kicking off the party last night with a high energy set for the small group of fans that opted to come in and give them a listen rather than stand in seemingly endless lines for beer and food. I had never heard of these guys before but after last night I’ve added them to my favourites on Spotify and will be taking some time to listen to them a bit more in-depth and hopefully catch them out on the road again soon.
Alice Cooper took the bar set by the Cringe and raised it even higher with his deliciously creepy sideshow. The show was almost note for note the same show Ottawa saw at Bluesfest a few years back, even the set was almost identical. But who cares, it’s Alice Cooper and regardless of how little the set changes you are guaranteed that the performance and presentation does not. When Alice played Bluesfest in 2012 his set was still during daylight hours which took a little bit away from the show, things that go bump in the night are a little less scary when the sun is still up, so seeing the show again last night at Canadian Tire Centre was perfect.
Kicking things off with “Black Widow” and taking the audience on a thrill ride that included hits like “Poison”, “Feed my Frankenstein”, “I’m Eighteen” and, of course, every student’s spring anthem “School’s Out” with a little bit of Pink Floyd’s “Another Brick in the Wall Pt. 2” mixed in. There’s no question Ottawa is in no hurry for Alice Cooper to retire from touring if the massive standing ovation at the end of his set was any indication. Even Alice appeared a bit moved by the response (worth noting that at the end of the night when Motley Crue finished the crowd simply stood up and left).
Considering that this is “allegedly” Motley Crue’s final tour we were told going into the night that they were pulling out all the stops. I guess it was time to clean out their warehouses of all left over special effects and fireworks from their previous tours and put them all into one show. Prior to going on stage the sound system played a famous clip from the Sound of Music by Rogers and Hammerstein “So Long, Farewell”. They wasted no time switching gears from the mellow Von Trapp family singers to displaying their explosive setup with fireworks and pyro going off early in their first song “Girls, Girls, Girls”.
Over the next 90, or so, minutes the crowd was treated to one of the most explosive, high energy shows I’ve ever seen (and for the record I’ve seen a lot of shows including Guns N’ Roses, Metallica, Bon Jovi, Iron Maiden to name just a few). This was my first experience with Motley Crue. This was my genre of music growing up, I was never a huge fan of Crue but had always heard incredible stories about their live shows and until last night had never managed to catch one. I can’t recall a show in which I’ve experienced as much pyro as last night, everything from Nikki Sixx’s flame thrower guitar to a burning mic stand. By the end of the night the Canadian Tire Centre was so full of smoke it was almost hard to see the band.
The highlight of the night for me was the infamous drum solo by Tommy Lee, talk to anyone who has ever been to a Motley Crue show and they’ll always tell you that his drum solos are far from ordinary. Last night’s setup had Tommy on a platform that rose up from the stage and took a track out over the crowd, but that’s not all. While on that track his platform would actually roll completely upside down and through it all Tommy never missed a beat. Now I don’t know about you but I have a hard time staying in rhythm while on level ground and am not a huge fan of hanging upside down in general so to do it while drumming and looking down on thousands of fans was pretty impressive. The night had plenty of moments including a heart to heart from Nikki Sixx where he thanked the fans for their support and told them if you want something bad enough never stop trying and you’ll get it, great advice from a rocker who has had a successful career that has spanned 3 decades.
The band capped off the main performance with “Kick Start My Heart” during which Vince Neil and Nikki Sixx climbed onto platforms which then lifted them out over the crowd. At the end of the song there was yet another massive explosion of fireworks on the stage that made the Canada Day fireworks on Parliament Hill look lame (not quite but you get the idea) followed by ticker tape exploding out over the crowd and a giant anarchy symbol being lit on fire on the stage, impressive to say the least.
After a short break, long enough for the band to make their way from the main stage to a smaller stage setup near centre ice behind the sound stage, the band members took to the centre stage to perform “Home Sweet Home”. But this stage was no ordinary stage, this stage had a row of seats for some really lucky fans, and an elevator lift that lifted the stage, and the fans, high off the stadium floor to cap off a night that won’t happen again in Ottawa, at least that’s what Vince and the boys are insisting. If this is truly it for Motley Crue for me they go out on a high note. I’ve read a few reviews so far today and many are quick to point out that the vocals weren’t always perfect, so what. To me the presentation was A+, if I want perfection I’ll stay at home and listen to the CD in air conditioned, non smoky comfort. But I, and thousands of other fans, went for a show and a show is exactly what we got from start to finish. Vince, Nikki, Tommy and Mick enjoy retirement or whatever it is you plan on doing after this tour wraps up, it was a good run.
Special thanks again to Live Nation Ontario and the Canadian Tire Centre for having us out last night, already looking forward to next time. The All Bad Things tour continues on to Montreal tonight before heading south of the border for a few months but fear not they return to Canada for a show in Quebec City in October and have 2 dates in Alberta in mid-December before the tour wraps up in Los Angeles at the end of the year.
The next big rock show is just over a week away when AC-DC explodes into TD Place on September 3 for a sold out show. Although not confirmed as of yet, we hope to be there with full coverage and pictures.