at Oslo Spektrum, Norway, June 10, 2005

MÖTLEY CRÜE (Live at Oslo Spektrum, Norway, June 10, 2005)
Photo: Per Olav Heimstad

The Mötley Crüe circus is touring Europe. That’s totally all right for quite a few fans. The long awaited reunion tour has been expected for years, and now, finally, Vince Neil, Nikki Sixx, Mick Mars and Tommy Lee are back on the stage.

Their setlist was quite chronological. It took them six songs to leave their two first albums, Too Fast For Love and Shout At The Devil, until their third album, Theatre Of Pain, was represented by “Louder Than Hell.” During the first twenty minutes, the audience was able to go crazy to classic numbers like the opener “Shout At The Devil,” “Too Fast For Love,” and the very well-worked “Looks That Kill.”

The Crüe members may no longer be at the top of their game, especially Nikki Sixx, who, except from being good at looking good and making cool grimaces to the audience, falls through as a musician. However, one can’t take away from him that he’s the one who’s penned down most of the band’s biggest hits. Still, as a bass player, he could never be compared musician-wise to the second half of the rhythm section embodied by the great Tommy Lee, who absolutely never fails to lift every single song sky high with his tremendous drumming skills. Even though Tommy’s drum solo from the USA version of the tour is left out, he got the opportunities he needed to prove to the crowd that he rules!

Vince Neil, on the other hand, struggled hard to keep up with one of a singer’s main tasks, remembering the lyrics … He even had to look at a lyric sheet during “Too Fast For Love,” a song he’s been performing for about two and a half decades. On numbers like, for example, the great “Primal Scream” and the encore “Helter Skelter,” he skipped a lot of words. However, he deserves a heap of kudos for putting considerable effort in running around on the stage trying hard to engage the audience … and, even though his squeaking vocals from time to time sounded like an alarm clock from hell, there is no doubt, there is no Mötley Crüe without Vince Neil! — the signature voice of all signature voices in Rock.

People have been speculating if Mick Mars’ health issues have forced him to hire some guitar player to help him out from behind the stage. He has probably not. Mick Mars is probably clutching himself to what he knows best with all his remaining strength, and he sounded as solid as one could possibly expect. Despite his rather recent hip operation, he moves around on the stage surprisingly often, and even tough he’s not communicating orally with the crowd at all (unlike the three other guys who talk regularly), Mars speaks with his edgy and raw guitar sound just like he’s always done. He especially impressed on the guitar solos of “Dr. Feelgood” and “Same Ol’ Situation,” when he makes it all sound like Mötley Crüe’s good old heydays.

Their European stage show is rather trimmed compared to the USA version. Except for a midget, three dancers, and some pyro, they’ve brought with them quite a few visual effects. Anyway, people had come to hear the Mötley Crüe songs, and most fans should be happy about the band’s selection of songs. “Kickstart My Heart,” “Girls, Girls, Girls” and “Dr. Feelgood” were all huge moments. One big challenge for the band was to make the outdated and overrated “Home Sweet Home” turn out all right in 2005. They managed so quite successfully. “Live Wire” was another highlight, even though Neil was a bit passive. During the same song Sixx, on the other hand, finally managed to play his instrument notably enough to stick out. He also came surprisingly alive music-wise when doing the new song “Sick Love Song,” a number that worked out surprisingly well among the rest of the material. The biggest let down had to be choosing the cover songs “Helter Skelter” and “Anarchy In The UK” as encores, the weakest numbers in the line (made even worse of an ending by Sixx’s immature straight arm in the air Nazi salute to the crowd as he left the stage).

Tommy Lee got some chances to talk to the crowd during the show. He spent the time on either encouraging the girls present to flash their tits or to express an honest gratitude to everybody who had showed up to support their tour. However, the most pleasing message was conveyed by Nikki Sixx, screaming ”This is not a fucking farewell tour!” Good to know!

Watch this space as Metal Express radio soon will post a streaming audio interview with Mötley Crüe’s own Mick Mars, where he speaks about the life on the road, past and present times, his health issues, which actor he would like to play the role as Mick Mars in the upcoming movie “The Dirt”, the next Crüe album, and about how his eventually solo album will sound … plus a lot more!


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