MÖTLEY CRÜE / JOE PERRY / AIRBOURNE
Tuesday, January 26, 2010
Calgary, Alberta Canada
***Live Review By Lord of The Wasteland
The frigid January weather outside did nothing to quell the heat inside Calgary’s Pengrowth Saddledome as an evening of unabashed rock and roll took over the city. Legendary hedonists Mötley Crüe brought along Aerosmith guitarist Joe Perry and Australian rockers Airbourne for the second date on the aptly-named “Dead of Winter Tour” and with a solid turnout for a Tuesday night, things began to sizzle pretty quickly.
Airbourne burst on to North American shores with 2007’s RUNNIN’ WILD and with their “party hardy” attitude and blistering live show, made a name for themselves quickly. The band’s sophomore record, NO GUTS, NO GLORY, is due for release in April and a pair of songs—“Born To Kill” and “No Way But The Hard Way”—were debuted showing no sign of deviating from the formula that made RUNNIN’ WILD such a success. When I saw Airbourne tear the roof off Vancouver’s Plaza Club back in April 2008 (read review HERE ), it was immediately apparent that this band was an instant crowd-favorite. In the ensuing two years, vocalist/guitarist Joel O’Keefe has honed his on-stage charisma and had no problem winning over the arena crowd with the anthemic “Too Much, Too Young, Too Fast,” “Cheap Wine & Cheaper Women” and the title track from RUNNIN’ WILD. Parallels to fellow Aussies AC/DC have dogged Airbourne since its inception but rather than distance itself from that band’s perceived three-chord simplicity, Airbourne has embraced the similarities and directed the press’ pigeon-holing in its favor. In the live setting, Airbourne is perhaps better suited to a small, sweaty club but showed no sign of being overwhelmed by the stage size. Undoubtedly, this string of dates will do great things for Airbourne as its music is a perfect fit for Mötley Crüe’s audience, which showed as many people watched the openers raise the bar for the seasoned veterans to follow.
Stand Up For Rock ‘n Roll
Cheap Wine & Cheaper Women
Diamond In The Rough
Born To Kill
Too Much, Too Young, Too Fast
No Way But The Hard Way
Joe Perry was the biggest draw for me personally, not just because of his history with Aerosmith but also for his criminally-underrated solo career. Supporting his latest effort, HAVE GUITAR WILL TRAVEL, Perry wears his blues influences on his sleeve with extended jams, slinky riffs and some dusty covers. “Walkin’ The Dog,” “Train Kept A Rollin’” (an old staple in Perry’s arsenal), and the lesser-known “Somebody’s Gonna Get Their Head Kicked In Tonite” from HAVE GUITAR WILL TRAVEL filled out a 45-minute set of originals drawn from his Aerosmith and solo catalogues. “Walk This Way” and “Toys In The Attic” kept the Aerosmith fans happy but it was tracks like the funky “Rockin’ Train” from Perry’s first solo album, 1981’s LET THE MUSIC DO THE TALKING and the swaggering “Slingshot” from the new album that really commanded attention. Whether playing behind his head, wielding a mean slide or throwing some Hendrix into his solo, Perry demonstrated he is more than the radio hits Aerosmith has spent the last twenty years churning out. Getting back to the focus of what drives rock and roll—the guitar—has given Perry a renewed energy and his long-time fans some hope that the guitarist still has some fire burning in his belly.
Let The Music Do The Talking
Toys In The Attic
Walkin’ The Dog
We’ve Got A Long Way To Go
Scare The Cat
Somebody’s Gonna Get Their Head Kicked In Tonite
Train Kept A Rollin’
Walk This Way
When the “Dead of Winter Tour” was first announced, it was a sigh of relief to see the opening acts chosen by Mötley Crüe were actually of interest. Their last two stops in Calgary have been as headliners of their own “Crüefest” and whoever thought Drowning Pool, Papa Roach and Theory of A Deadman would open up Mötley Crüe to a new audience was sadly mistaken. The Crüe’s long-time fans were alienated and the people coming to see the modern-rock openers viewed the Crüe as aging rock dinosaurs. So maybe it was the fact this was an actual Crüe audience that lit a fire under the band because this was the most energy I have seen them put into a show in quite some time. Accompanied by loads of pyro, the opening chords of “Kickstart My Heart” got the crowd charged right off the bat and Mötley Crüe never let up through its nearly two-hour set. People came for the hits and that’s exactly what they got. “Shout At The Devil,” “Dr. Feelgood,” “Home Sweet Home,” “Girls, Girls, Girls”…all the bases were covered, including the obligatory two songs drawn from 2008’s SAINTS OF LOS ANGELES. Besides that pairing, nothing newer than 1989’s DR. FEELGOOD was played, proving once and for all that even the band has chosen to forget the unfortunate GENERATION SWINE and NEW TATTOO records.
Vince Neil, whose breathless vocal performances and phoned-in stage banter has been the subject of much criticism (including a first-hand account by yours truly HERE http://www.metal-rules.com/zine/content/view/1078/28/), seemed to be on his game this evening, impressively nailing the high notes of “Live Wire” and even strapping on an acoustic guitar for “Don’t Go Away Mad (Just Go Away).” Neil still relies on the crowd to sing many of the choruses and his tendency to skip some lyrics altogether is frustrating but as he approaches fifty (and with a new solo CD coming out this year), he shows no sign of slowing down. Mick Mars, easily the most musically gifted member of the band, tore through a lengthy guitar solo early in the set displaying a dexterity that made anyone within earshot forget about his declining physical health, a sight never more prevalent than when the band took its bow at the end of the show. Tommy Lee, at his dunderheaded best here, left the “Titty Cam” at home but offered a few (un)fortunate souls at the side of the stage to share a few swills off his bottle of Jägermeister (H1N1 could be the least of their worries, at this point). The pared-down stage show has also made Lee’s extravagant drum solos a thing of the past, which may be a good or a bad thing depending upon who you ask. Near the end of the show, bassist Nikki Sixx, still a dominant presence on stage, led the crowd in a group prayer, stating that if God can keep Mötley Crüe from killing each other, they would indeed be back next year for…get ready…its thirtieth anniversary tour. Mötley Crüe…thirtieth anniversary tour. Who would have ever guessed those words be uttered together?
Kickstart My Heart
Shout At The Devil
Saints of Los Angeles
~Mick Mars solo~
Mutherfucker of The Year
Looks That Kill
Don’t Go Away Mad (Just Go Away)
Same Ol’ Situation
Louder Than Hell
Girls, Girls, Girls
Home Sweet Home
A night out at a Mötley Crüe show is always a treat. Among the guiltiest of pleasures, the sights and sounds on stage are bested only by those in the crowd. Cougars, mullets (both real and fake) and, for some inexplicable reason, families can be seen lapping up the surroundings, taking in the over-the-top atmosphere that comes with being a Mötley Crüe fan. Incredibly, many of these same people will be back in 2011 to celebrate the thirtieth birthday of Mötley Crüe, some of whom bought the original Leathür Records issue of TOO FAST FOR LOVE in 1981 and others who were a mere twinkle in their parents’ eye when the original Bad Boys of The Sunset Strip first wreaked havoc upon Hollywood’s burgeoning hard rock scene. But the one thing everyone will have in common is the irresistible urge to go crazy as Mötley Crüe takes the stage.
***Thanks to Ryan Balaski at Live Nation (http://www.livenation.com) for the press pass and to Bob Godun for his help at the show.
Mötley Crüe—Official Site (http://www.motley.com)
Joe Perry—Official Site (http://www.joeperry.com)
Airbourne—Official Site (http://www.airbournerocks.com)