Thirty years ago today--on November 12, 1985--Motley Crue played the Pacific Coliseum, so I volunteered to do the review.
Hey, it wasn't like I had to armwrestle Alex Varty for it!
“Excuse me women…I mean ladies,” said Nikki Sixx as he pushed through the hordes of groupies backstage at the Coliseum last week. The Motley Crue bassist wasn’t zeroing in on any one in particular–his aim was the group’s massive portable tape deck. When he got there he pulled out Whitesnake‘s Slide It In, slipped in AC/DC‘s ‘74 Jailbreak, and cranked it up. As Bon Scott roared on about being sentenced to “sixteen years in hell” Sixx picked his Heineken back up and, smiling, waded back into the fray.
Earlier in the night Sixx–along with singer Vince Neil, guitarist Mick Mars, and drummer Tommy Lee–had put the pedal to the metal for their young fans, playing tunes like their latest single, a remake of Brownsville Station’s “Smokin’ In the Boys Room”, and their first big hit, “Looks That Kill”.
The latter tune opened the show, and when Neil ran to the front of the stage to welcome the crowd, somebody caught his leg and pulled him right off. The band’s personal bodyguards dove in and soon Vince was back up–having missed a few lines, but none the worse for wear.
Another eye-opener was Tommy Lee’s drum kit, which sloped forward on a 90 degree angle, so that seat-belted Lee actually faced the floor of the stage as he pounded away. Next time Motley comes I hope he’s learned to play upside down–that would be even better!
The group finished with a rowdy version of “Jailhouse Rock”, which they announced was being recorded for an upcoming album. “So if you want to be on the next Motley Crue record,” warned Vince, “you better make some f***ing noise!”
This old trick worked of course–my 15-year-old nephew screamed himself hoarse–and the band finished with nine sonic booms, shooting flames and sparks.
The kids were more than pleased.