Mötley Crüe Live at the Jones Beach Ampitheater 8/16/2005
Concert review by Fredrik Roberts


Let's get one thing straight, right from the get go. I love Mötley Crüe, and have since the first time I heard them almost twenty years ago. Now that we've got that on record, let's talk about the show . . .

If I had to describe Mötley Crüe's Carnival of Sins in a single word, it would be: Awkward. Apparently no one told the band that mixing eighties metal with nineties cool still put you about half a decade past your shelf life. It seemed like they were trying very very hard to replicate what they used to do twenty years ago with no effort at all, and for my money, it didn't quite work.

It was kinda cute in a nostalgic way when the guys rode out onto the stage on massive motorcycles at the start of "Girls Girls Girls," but then it was pretty sad to see Mick Mars hobble out after them. For those that don't know, Mick, the band's guitarist, has a rare disease which is causing his spine to fuse together. He can barely move, and had to undergo a double hip replacement in order to do the tour. And throughout the night, it became exceedingly clear that he wasn't 100%.

That brings us to one of the major problems I had with the show: stall tactics. Throughout the almost two hour performance, at least a quarter of the time was spent without the band, or the entire band, on the stage. First there was some weird puppet movie that had nothing to do with anything. Basically, the puppet Mötley Crüe were planning to play a concert as a "planetoid" smashed into earth. It came back on later in the first set, and continued to make no sense. That was the last we saw of it, and the planetoid situation was left unresolved. The first set? Yeah, they played two sets . . . well, sort of.

After about six or seven songs, like thirty minutes into the show, the band left the stage for a ten minute break. It was awkward. Why the hell were they taking a break? Why were they taking it at precisely the point of a rock show, five or six songs in, where most bands really start to hit their stride. Who knows? I just know it was weird, and everyone thought so. At least I got to go get a cup of coffee for five dollars. I needed it because I was falling asleep during "Louder Than Hell."

Other, "hey look something's happening on stage and it's not Mötley Crüe playing a song" moments included something with midgets, something with acrobatic strippers, and Nikki Sixx, their bassist, giving a very long speech about why Mötley Crüe was better than Duran Duran and Ashlee Simpson (his comparison, not mine). And then there was Tommy Lee.

Tommy, the band's drummer, provided the two biggest stalls of the night. First, was his drum solo. It was a fifteen minute ordeal which featured Tommy flying back and forth between two drum kits suspended some fifty feet above the stage on either side. Again, awkward. It was part cool and part really cheesy. And it was battling itself to decide if it was lame or not. I think cool would have won, if only they hadn't given Tommy a microphone. "Yeah!" "Alright!" "You Ready?" "Fuckers!" Repeat those four words/phrases in random order, saying one about every twenty seconds, for an entire fifteen minute chunk of time and you get the basic idea of the drum solo. It was maddening. Hey Tommy, I love you man, but SHUT THE FUCK UP!

Then came the winner of the most awkward moment of the night award, the "Mötley Crüe Titty Cam." This is the part of the show were Tommy Lee takes a camcorder which is wired to the giant screens on and around the stage, and paces back and forth for ten minutes asking (well more like demanding), well okay, begging the girls in the audience to flash the camera. It's the kind of thing, again, that would happen without the band literally asking for it, if it were 1987. A few women were drunk enough to oblige Tommy, and one relented and bared it all after she flashed her bra and he angrily cursed her out. "I've seen a million fucking bras, I want to see fucking titties!" I must admit that it was nice seeing gigantic breasts projected six times over, but it was also strange because the venue is so uptight they won't sell you a beer or even let you barbecue in the parking lot. But when all was said and done, it was once again just awk . . . well you know.

The finale of awkwardness was when the band tore into the encore, The Sex Pistols' "Anarchy In The U.K." and got twenty seconds into it before they realized that Mick Mars was not playing, and not even on the stage. They laughed, as he slowly made his way out and then restarted the song. They laughed, but as I remembered seeing Mick stalking across the stage at the Moscow Music Peace Festival fifteen years ago, pumping his fist in the air and banging his head, I could have cried.

In the end, Mick's problems aside, when the band actually was on stage, and were actually playing, they were great. They opened with "Shout at The Devil," they closed with "Kickstart My Heart," and in the middle they played all the stuff you'd expect like "Live Wire," "Wild Side," "Same Ol Situation," and a medley featuring three ballads, "Glitter/Without You/Home Sweet Home." I only wish they'd reign in the hokey showmanship a touch, and stop letting Tommy open his mouth . . . then again, he's got a reality show starting soon where he goes to college, so maybe next tour he'll quote Shakespeare as he floats from drum to drum.

Photos by Andy Costello


Printable version | Back to Archives | e-mail this review