Mötley Crüe and Alice Cooper – 11/22/14 – Spokane Arena, Spokane, WA
Review, photos and video by thenaturalstoner
When I think of all the cities up here in the great Northwest, I honestly feel like Spokane, Washington is the most ‘Mötley Crüe’ kind-of-town of them all, and last night saw the final show of the 2014 leg of the bands ‘Farewell Tour’ finally come to the sold-out Spokane Arena. With Alice Cooper on board to open the festivities, Vince Neil and Co. brought a huge 20 song set full of hits spanning their entire 30+ year career. From opening up with the relatively newer ‘Saints of Los Angeles’ and closing with the great ‘Home Sweet Home’, diehard Crue fans would be very pleased with the song selection, with the notable exception of the absent ‘Without You’ – where was that?!
There was actually a third band that opened the show, who we never got to see or hear because of the terribly lengthy lines of people trying to get in the venue and escape Spokane’s frosty winter temperatures. Once we finally got inside, saw some old friends, and got situated with beverages in hand, we made our way down to our floor seats right as Alice Cooper came out and opened with his classic ‘Hello Hooray’, my favorite Cooper tune (Judy Collins cover, be damned). Alice would continue on with ‘No More Mr. Nice Guy’, ‘Under My Wheels’, and hugely popular sing-along ‘I’m Eighteen’ to start our night.
I saw Alice Cooper a couple years ago, also in Spokane, and absolutely loved it. So I was pumped when this tour was announced and I got another chance to see him play close to home. Alice would make it pay off, continuing his set playing a plethora of big hitters, including ‘Welcome to My Nightmare’, ‘Feed My Frankenstein’, and another favorite of mine, ‘Ballad of Dwight Fry’. After a dozen or so songs, he would close out his opening set with ‘School’s Out > Another Brick in the Wall Part 2 > School’s Out’ with got the Spokane Arena in a pretty decent frenzy. The venue would explode, kind of literally, just a short time later however.
Once Mötley Crüe came on the stage, lit fireworks, and threw some fire balls around, everyone that had forgotten them was wishing they had brought their earplugs because this was determined to be a LOUD show. As previously mentioned, 2008’s ‘Saints of Los Angeles’ opened the set before ‘Wild Side’ really got the crowd going. Vince Neil sounded pretty good for these first couple songs, but as the night wore on his vocals became less and less notable. There were no backing tracks for him, as I had heard there might be, but there were a couple background singers helping (along with the numerous crowd sing-alongs) most of the night. Mötley Crüe has a huge stage setup, lots of fire and fireworks, plus Tommy Lee has his gigantic ‘Crüecifly’ drum rollercoaster that looms high above the crowd on the floor, so these dudes know how to put on a big arena rock show. But there were a couple things that didn’t quite ‘seem right’, for a lack of a better term. Vince’s vocals throughout the night were one of those things.
The set continued with plenty of hits and older songs including ‘Same Ol’ Situation’, ‘Dr. Feelgood’ and a raucous ‘Anarchy in the U.K.’ cover, which I personally found a little odd (some people in the crowd didn’t even recognize the song). About two thirds through the set we got to the band member stories and solos, first with Nikki Sixx (from Jerome, Idaho!) telling the tale of how the band originally met in Los Angeles and then Tommy Lee getting his turn with the massive ‘Crüecifly’ system. This rollercoaster type track 50 feet above the crowd is one of the more impressive gadgets I have ever seen at a show. Tommy, and drum set, get to ride above the crowd while spinning upside down, shooting confetti, and drumming wild the whole time. My video doesn’t do the sound much justice, but I think it provides a pretty cool visual of the machine at work. Tommy got to go above and over the crowd to a platform near the back of the floor. He would then drum away as the machine went backwards above the crowd and back to the stage. Once his solo was over, Mick Mars got his turn with a scorching guitar solo of his own, which would lead back to the full band on the stage and blasting their first ever single from its debut Too Fast for Love album, ‘Live Wire’.
A few more songs would finish the set, including ‘Girls, Girls, Girls’ and the closing ‘Kickstart My Heart’. The Spokane Arena would give a huge ovation as the band took bows and walked off the stage. “Crüe! Crüe! Crüe!” chants would flow around the Arena as the band would eventually come back and walk through an aisle in the crowd towards Tommys platform in the middle of the floor to play the ‘Home Sweet Home’ encore everyone was hoping to hear. I have always been under the impression Tommy Lee played the piano live for this song, however the piano track started playing before Tommy had even sat down to the keys, which left a strange taste in my mouth. It also made me wonder what other parts of the show may not have been played live. Regardless, the fans loved the finale and the Crüe sent everyone home with big smiles on their faces and their ears ringing. I thought the set was pretty fun and I got to see several long lost friends which is always great, but I am not sure where this show lands on my “Top 10 Sets of the Year” list I am compiling. But I am totally glad I went and the band put on a huge stage production with lots of fun songs I have never seen live before.