The much anticipated combo tour of heavy metal icons Mötley Crüe and KISS made a stop Monday in St. Louis at the Verizon Wireless Amphitheater, playing to a packed house.
“The Tour”, as it is being called, is a co-headlining tour that is filled to excess from two bands that have nearly 70 years between them to show off. “The Tour” has anything and everything a solid rock show should have, and more.
After a nice brief opening set by the British band called The Treatment (a band heavily influenced by Def Leppard, AC/DC and Aerosmith, to name a few) Mötley Crüe came out unannounced by parading through the seating area with members of their crew carrying flags and banners with the MC logo. After setting up the flags onstage, the band kicked it off with “Saints of Los Angeles” and “Wild Side”.
True to Crüe form, they were accompanied by lots of pyro, scantily clad dancing women, smoke, more scantily clad women doing trapeze-style stunts and artistic acrobatics on chains high above the stage and lasers cutting through the smoke. There were even a couple of water cannons on either side of the stage drenching the crowd.
But the Crüe wasn’t all about the visual. They sounded better than they did last year when they rolled through town on their 30th anniversary tour. Lead singer Vince Neal actually got through most of the show before he started skipping words (whichwere picked up, by the way, by a very eager audience that didn’t care and kept rocking).
Drummer Tommy Lee performed his solo as his drum kit flew around a ginormous wheel that resembled a roller coaster spin. In fact, after his initial solo (which was heavily laden with techno beats) Lee was accompanied by a contest winner who was allowed to ride on his contraption for a few minutes in a special 2nd seat right behind his seat, while the song “Roller Coaster” played.
Bassist Nikki Sixx performed his solo with a bass that was equipped to shoot fire out of the stock head before they plowed into “Primal Scream”.
With guitarist Mick Mars shredding the axe and leading the way with killer solos the band sounded as tight as ever, making it difficult to pick just one highlight.
With such a tough act to follow KISS was up to the challenge.
It’s hard to imagine why KISS has been passed up for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Their career has spanned nearly 40 years, with 28 Gold Albums (more than any other American rock band), and they have influenced so many current artists including Metallica, Bon Jovi, Megadeth, Poison, Garth Brooks, and Mötley Crüe, among many, many others. It seems the RRHoF voters don’t take KISS seriously. But if they would actually see an entire KISS show they may think otherwise.
Making a grand entrance that started with a solid black curtain emblazoned with the KISS logo dropping with the iconic phrase “You wanted the best, you got the best…The hottest band in the world: KISS!” the band emerged on a platform lowered to the stage from the rafters as they stormed into “Detroit Rock City”.
Striking rock star poses and hamming it up for the photographers the band certainly knows how to perform. And while they may have tons of flames, explosions, lasers, rising platforms, fireworks, and other assorted pyro the band knows how to keep a party going with just their music too.
They are masters at combining the visual with the audio, like with bassist/vocalist Gene Simmons getting into his Demon character with such gusto that the blood spewing never gets old. He was then hoisted up to a small platform high in the rafters to sing the intense and broody “God of Thunder”.
Not to be outdone, guitarist/vocalist Paul Stanley rode a rigging setup just above the fans’ outstretched arms to a spinning satellite stage that rose above the soundboard where he sang “Love Gun” to the adulating fans below.
With lead guitarist Tommy Thayer and drummer Eric Singer each getting a chance to shine in the spotlight with “Shock Me” and “Black Diamond”, respectively, Simmons and Stanley aren’t afraid to share the spotlight.
They are truly a collective unit with a knack for playing a very tight set with a ton of eye pleasing visual effects. And after nearly 40 years they could probably play a show in their sleep, but the showmen inside them would never allow a phoned in performance.
KISS is set to release their 20th studio album in October called “Monster” and they performed the first single “Hell or Hallelujah” with Stanley commenting that he bought the single on iTunes “because I support the band”. Stanley also got a rise out of the audience as he harkened back to the bands early days playing in St. Louis for the first time in 1974 at the KSHE Kite Fly, as well as the Kiel Auditorium and the Checkerdome.
With such longevity from two top bands with reputations for spectacular live shows, other acts are bound to check them out. On Monday Lajon Witherspoon, lead singer of Sevendust, was spotted taking in the sights. Monday night proved the old guard can teach the new dogs some wise old tricks.
Mötley Crüe Setlist
1) Saints of Los Angeles
2) Wild Side
3) Shout at the Devil
4) Same Ol’ Situation (S.O.S.)
6) Don’t Go Away Mad (Just Go Away)
7) Home Sweet Home
8) Drum solo
9) Guitar solo
10) Live Wire
11) Bass solo
12) Primal Scream
13) Dr. Feelgood
14) Girls, Girls, Girls
15) Kickstart My Heart
1) Detroit Rock City
2) Shout it Out Loud
3) I Love it Loud
5) Hell or Hallelujah
6) War Machine
7) Shock Me
8) Bass solo
9) God of Thunder
10) Love Gun
11) Lick It Up
12) Black Diamond
14) Rock and Roll All Nite