Friday, October 12, 2007
Red Robinson Show Theatre
Coquitlam, BC Canada
***Live Review By Lord of The Wasteland
(NOTE: Photo approval was not granted)
Motley Crue’s resurgence in popularity over the past two years brought the band back from a much-needed hiatus to headlining arenas and a successful world tour. While nothing new from the band has been heard since 1999’s largely-forgettable NEW TATTOO, its various members have kept their respective names in the press through different methods. Bassist Nikki Sixx is currently promoting his autobiography, THE HEROIN DIARIES, while (now ex-) drummer Tommy Lee is making DJ-ing appearances and fighting with Kid Rock at the MTV Video Awards. As for guitarist Mick Mars, well, who knows what the ever-mysterious Mick is up to?
Vince Neil, frontman for the Crue, keeps himself busy with his tattoo parlor, Vince Neil Ink, his own brand of tequila, Tres Rios, his vineyard, Skylar Neil benefit golf tournaments, television and personal appearances and the occasional solo show. The latter came into effect during a one-off appearance at the new Red Robinson Show Theatre in Coquitlam, a suburb east of Vancouver. The choice of venue was not the only curiosity involved, either, but would Neil’s notoriously prickly and unstable live performances become an issue?
About two hundred people were in attendance, ranging from the clean-cut and sharply-dressed couples to others sporting vintage Crue tour shirts, leather jackets and mullets. One guy even came out dressed as Vince Neil circa 1987. Scheduled for an 8:00PM start with no opening act, Neil and his band (guitarist Jeff Blando, bassist Dana Strum and drummer Zoltan Chaney) hit the stage twenty minutes late but made up for this with the scorching one-two punch of “Live Wire” and “Piece of Your Action” from the 1981 Motley Crue debut, TOO FAST FOR LOVE. Neil’s vocals, a point of contention in recent years, sounded phenomenal. He hit all the high notes and the band was firing on all cylinders. Chaney, a phenomenal drummer and a joy to watch perform, bashed harder than Tommy Lee and had a smile on his face the entire time. Strum, formerly of The Vinnie Vincent Invasion and currently in Slaughter, was just as vicious on stage as he was twenty years ago, working his bass over like a master to slave. Blando, who is also a member of Slaughter, sizzled on guitar, although something blew at the end of “Piece of Your Action” leaving the band snickering at the befuddled musician and guitar tech. Neil even strapped on a guitar for “Don’t Go Away Mad (Just Go Away)” and “Same Ol’ Sitaution” but the real gem shone through on “Kickstart My Heart,” a song which defies anyone within earshot not to get their adrenaline pumping.
However, this was also the point in the show when things went bad as Neil took offense to someone who allegedly threw a drink on stage. He asked the crowd if they were going to “let a few assholes” cut the show short and warned that if another thing came on stage, the show was over. With that, Neil disappeared for almost fifteen minutes leaving Strum, Blando and Chaney to hammer through a medley of Led Zeppelin and Black Sabbath covers featuring Blando on vocals. Blando, an affirmed Zeppelin junkie, brought out a violin bow for the psychedelic middle solo on “Whole Lotta Love” that was bookended by respectable versions of “War Pigs” and “Heaven and Hell.” Neil eventually re-appeared for “Girls, Girls, Girls” and “Wild Side” but with little fanfare, the show was over after fifty minutes. There was no encore despite loud applause and when the houselights went up, many in the crowd were seen looking at each other in bewilderment, no doubt questioning the length of the show in comparison to the sixty-dollar ticket price.
Let’s take stock of the show so far: a pair of songs each from TOO FAST FOR LOVE and GIRLS, GIRLS, GIRLS, while DR. FEELGOOD got three tracks followed by four cover songs. Considering SHOUT AT THE DEVIL and THEATRE OF PAIN were completely ignored—as well as anything from Vince’s two solo albums—this was an extremely disappointing show. Where were Crue classics like “Dr. Feelgood,” “Looks That Kill,” “Shout At The Devil” and “Smokin’ In The Boys Room” and would it have been too much to ask for “Sister of Pain” and “You’re Invited (But Your Friend Can’t Come)” given this was a Vince Neil solo show after all? For the 30-35 minutes that he was on stage, Neil sounded and looked better than he has in years and the crowd, while far smaller than he has been playing to recently, was really into the show, it remains a mystery why an abbreviated set was the result. Perhaps the fact that there were a lot of empty seats or maybe something else was bothering Neil but padding a show with four cover songs and him only being on stage for barely a half hour left a bad taste in many people’s mouths. Pity, too, because myself, like many others were happy to see Neil playing outside the usual downtown club circuit but this seemed to be wasted night and a big letdown by all accounts.
Piece of Your Action
Rock and Roll (Led Zeppelin cover)
Don’t Go Away Mad (Just Go Away)
Same Ol’ Situation
Kickstart My Heart
Whole Lotta Love / War Pigs / Heaven and Hell (Led Zeppelin & Black Sabbath medley)
Girls, Girls, Girls
***Thanks to Rona and Donnie at Great Canadian Gaming Corporation for the press pass.
Vince Neil—Official Site
Dana Strum–Official Site