Mötley Crüe takes fans for a rock on the ‘Wild Side’
FARGO - M'tley Crüe’s place in the pantheon of great rock ’n’ roll bands can be debated, but if their stop in Fargo Sunday night is like the rest of their farewell tour, they’ll be remembered fondly.
The group’s farewell tour sees them going out just as they came in more than 30 years ago - with a bang. A lot of them, actually.
The bad boys of rock may be in their 50s, but they still turn their guitars and amps (and cowbells) to 11.
“Primal Scream” wasn’t a huge hit in 1991, but it blew the Fargodome away with fire shooting out of speaker stacks and fireworks popping above the stage.
The Crüe played more than just the hits, working in “On with the Show” and “Two Fast for Love” from their 1981 debut.
The latter showed that maybe that’s exactly how the members lived. Vince Neil seemed to be saving his voice for the squeals and yelps that left him well over a decade ago. Instead, the singer often preferred to let the crowd take the lead on sing-alongs.
Neil got help from two backup singers/dancers on “Wild Side” and “Dr. Feelgood.” He got even more help from teleprompters at the base of the stage, perhaps something he should’ve used more as he seemed to get lost on “Shout at the Devil,” though no one may have noticed as that’s when Nikki Sixx was shooting flames out of his bass guitar.
“You guys sound great tonight,” Neil told the crowd, which wished it could return the compliment.
Neil was the only member who sounded worse than the last time they played Fargo in 1999. Noticeably better was Mick Mars. The guitarist, who suffers from a debilitating form of arthritis, was moving better than on his last visit, and where it counts, he was crunching out the riffs with ease.
Ever youthful, – or juvenile, depending on your take – Tommy Lee continues to add twists to something as tired as the obligatory drum solo. Lee and his drum kit climbed onto roller coaster tracks that saw him rotate out over the crowd thumping along to pop and hip hop radio.
Lee’s solo was followed by Mars shredding out his own excessive solo which offered a good bathroom break. Thankfully Nikki Sixx didn’t insist on a bass solo, though he did kill about seven minutes with a rambling history lesson about the band, or the most F-bombed motivational speech ever. It’s hard to say as I quit listening.
The Crüe got back on track with “Livewire,” which still buzzes and crackles effectively, as does “Too Young to Fall in Love.”
Ending the set with a double dose of their signature hedonism, "Kick Start My Heart" (inspired by Sixx's heroin overdose that stopped his heart) and "Girls, Girls, Girls," the national anthem for strip clubs. Of course, they had to play their biggest hit, "Home Sweet Home." They did so on a small stage on the back of the floor and They sounded tired and ready to go home. As the number ended, they thanked their fans once again and walked through the crowd as the lights came on to Frank Sinatra's "My Way." Picking Alice Cooper as an opener wasn’t only a nice nod to the influence the shock rocker had over the younger band, but also as an act to get the crowd excited.
Many on the floor stood for Cooper’s hourlong set, which included as many wardrobe changes as hits.
Cooper’s 1970’s gems were just as electric as when they came out, like “No More Mr. Nice Guy” and “18,” though the crowd cheered loudest for the ‘80s tune, “Poison.”
The singer still knows how to put on a great show. Anyone who had seen him before was still cheering during “Feed My Frankenstein” and the guillotine act.
The Crüe learned a lot from Cooper (too bad they didn’t follow his lead on sobriety earlier) and it was fitting he is along for their final tour.
For the band’s final visit to Fargo, it was fun to see them bring the big show to the biggest room in town – even if it was scaled down to a half-Dome show.