MOTLEY CRUE LAY 34-YEAR CAREER TO REST WITH “THE END’,

Concerts, Music reviews

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Farewell tours are tricky affairs. Bands come and go—and come back—members leave and return in revolving door fashion and some bands have only one original member left. In short, its not always pretty. In the process certain artists hurt their legacy by staying in the game too long. Mötley Crüe wanted a different kind of farewell.

Mötley Crüe shocked the world in January of 2014 when they announced to decision to call it quits. The Saints of Los Angeles had chosen to end the party sooner rather than later. The band signed a cessation of touring contract, a first in rock history, prior to embarking on a two-year long farewell. In true Crüe fashion, the event served as a tremendous publicity stunt. With displays of “RIP Mötley Crue”, complete with tombstones that read each band member’s name, it would prove to be one can’t miss funeral.

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The End press conference, London, England, 2014. Photo credit: Rolling Stone

If The End has taught us anything, it’s that Mötley Crüe was a wild, untamed beast for more than 34 years. A Mötley Crüe show remained a spectacular, reckless and even chaotic event right up to The End.

Complete with big choruses, pyrotechnics, stage production values, female backup singers and dancers in scantily clad outfits, tears and displays of emotions from the band and fans alike, The End is an exciting visual memento and the end of an era. From the bombast and fire that begins with “Girls, Girls, Girls” to Nikki Sixx adressing the audience, Tommy’s roller coaster drum solo, the flamethrower bass and Vince Neil in tears during the last song of the set “Home Sweet Home”, it’s a relentless, unforgettable journey. It’s one last big, epic, blow-out to top off a truly memorable career.

Let’s get one thing out-of-the-way. Anyone who’s been to a Crüe concert in the last decade can attest that frontman Vince Neil’s voice is not what it once was—by a long shot, some would say—and its true [It becomes especially evident on the live CD of the concert]. In the dysfunctional environment that is Mötley Crüe, however, it works.

Vince Neil’s voice and charisma is part of what made the band so successful. Neil remains one of rock’s ultimate frontmen. Even if his voice isn’t quite up to par at times, the energy and excitement level is there.

Nikki Sixx does a commendable job of looking like one of the coolest human beings on the planet. These are his songs and this is his band. The flamethrower bass bit would make Gene Simmons blush.

Tommy Lee lays down a beat like only he can, providing a solid groove and backbone for the band. While performing a drum solo on his roller coaster contraption, the whole stops unexpectedly in mid-air, Lee’s reaction is nothing short of exceptional.

Perhaps most impressive of all is Mick Mars, Crüe’s sole guitarist. Mars often falls under the radar whenever the band is mentioned, but his playing never ceases to impress even after all these years.

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An emotional Vince Neil in tears during “Home Sweet Home”.

Mötley Crüe’s imperfections are exactly what made them a perfect rock band. Rock was never about perfection. Somehow, when these four beings come together magic happens. New year’s eve 2015 would be the last time this magic would be displayed. Thankfully, the Crüe’s send-off was captured in high-definition for the whole world to relive over and over.

The End comes in standalone DVD or Blu-Ray edition and in DVD/CD, Blu-Ray/CD packaging.

Objectively, the live CD is not incredible—most of the blame can be attributed to Neil’s singing— but the excitement of Mötley Crüe’s last concert was captured and that’s enough. The heart wrenching version of “Home Sweet Home” is almost worth the price of admission alone.

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Nikki Sixx, litterally in the heat of the moment. Photo: Motley.com

The cinematography however, is among the best I’ve seen in a concert film. The cameras capture every bit: the action, emotions and pyrotechnics with beautiful wide angles, just enough slow motion bits, subtle close-ups and depth-of-field shots that would make any rock band envious. Concert cinematography has always been about the emotion and feel, less so about the visuals. The End stands in a category of its own. It sets a template for the next generation of live rock documentation.

There’s a documentary portion just before the concert that serves as a reminder of the dedication fans have for this band. It also legitimizes how big of a draw and band Mötley Crüe really was. The End comes with a few extras. Nikki Sixx talks about his flamethrower bass and Tommy Lee details the history behind his roller coaster drum set.

There are a few more interview that will no doubt be interesting and give insight to fans. Take this particularly one with Nikki Sixx for instance:

“The fact that we’ve lasted is a miracle. Maybe that’s why we’re putting a bullet in its head…We know it’s inevitable that we’re going to break up or blow up or something. Maybe we’re just doing it before it happens anyway. We shouldn’t have lasted this long,” says Sixx in the interview portion of The End.

If anything, The End is a proper send off for Mötley Crüe and one heck of a burial. One final motorcycle ride under the sunset for one of the all time great rock bands. It’s reassuring to see a farewell done right in the world of rock, a landscape where the word “retirement” isn’t always taken seriously. I’ve never been this happy and sad watching a concert on home video.

RIP Mötley Crüe, 1981-2015, you will be missed.

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LIVE DVD TRACK LISTING:

1.) Intro
2.) Girls, Girls, Girls
3.) Wild Side
4.) Primal Scream
5.) Same Ol’ Situation (S.O.S)
6.) Don’t Go Away Mad (Just Go Away)
7.) Rock N Roll Part II / Smokin’ In The Boys’ Room
8.) Looks That Kill
9.) Motherf***** Of The Year
10.) In The Beginning / Shout At The Devil
11.) Louder Than Hell
12.) Drum Solo
13.) Guitar Solo
14.) Saints Of Los Angeles
15.) Live Wire
16.) T.N.T (Terror ‘N Tinseltown) / Dr. Feelgood
17.) Kickstart My Heart
18.) Home Sweet Home
19.) My Way (Credits)

LIVE CD TRACK LISTING:
1.) Intro
2.) Girls, Girls, Girls
3.) Wild Side
4.) Primal Scream
5.) Same Ol’ Situation (S.O.S.)
6.) Don’t Go Away Mad (Just Go Away)
7.) Smokin’ In The Boys’ Room
8.) Looks That Kill
9.) Mutherf***** Of The Year
10.) Shout At The Devil
11.) Louder Than Hell
12.) Saints Of Los Angeles
13.) Live Wire
14.) Dr. Feelgood
15.) Kickstart My Heart
16.) Home Sweet Home

Not my cup of Crue

Music reviews

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Generation Swine, Motley Crue, Elektra, 1997.

Generation Swine is an interesting album to look back on. It was the Crue’s reunion album with singer Vince Neil -thus reforming the original lineup- and it was released in 1997 when being an artist from the 1980’s meant death in most cases and Alternative music was all the rage.

Younger bands at the time were rapping and experimenting with electronic sounds that were so popular in alternative and industrial music. Obviously the finished product is not your average Motley album. Vince Neil is back but clearly the songs were written for his departed replacement John Corabi. Neil tried to squeeze and fit in as best as he could but the mold was already cast and Swine is not a triumphant return by any stretch of the imagination.

It’s hard to imagine a fan of the band’s 1980’s heyday rocking out to this or enjoying it that much at all really. It’s a very different Crue album, perhaps more so than any other in the Crue catalog.

The self titled album with John Corabi on vocals was still a heavy album all throughout, but Swine is radical in that it introduces electronic elements, Nikki Sixx and Tommy Lee both sing songs on this one and the even re-record one of their classic songs with “Shout At The Devil ’97” (neither the electronic or Nikki and Tommy’s singingwould be brought back on the band’s next albums, or re-recording a previous song again or that matter) all of which make for a pretty unusual and interesting Crue record

“Find Myself” right from the get-go lets you know that this is very different Crue. It has that alternative sound mixed some NIN-like Industrial sound which is more or less a preview of the rest of the album. It’s not a terrible song but when you’re main lyrics are stuff like “I gotta find myself some drugs, I’m a bad mother******…”, well yeah. I’m not a fan of that voice that sings with Vince either.

I’ll give credit where credit is due. “Afraid” has grown to be one of my favorite Crue songs, it’s alternative alright and it reflects the scene of when it was recorded, but it’s honest, heavy and it rocks. Nikki’s lyrics are just great and out of all the songs this is one that feels the most like Motley.

“Generation Swine” the title-track is not a bad song, a good attempt. It doesn’t compare to anything on say, Shout at the Devil, but on its own it’s a good song and it’s fast paced and brutal.

“Glitter” is the obligatory ballad and I’m on the fence about this one. It seems like too obvious an attempt to write another “Home Sweet Home” or “You’re All I Need”. Some of the lyrics lack imagination and the pop noises are erringly reminiscent of the Backstreet Boys. It comes off as a sappy, yet honest attempt, Vince puts a lot of emotion into his singing.

“Beauty” actually makes good use of the electronic sounds and it’s not a bad song, its probably one of the better tracks here in fact.

“Shout At The Devil `97” is an interesting take but wasn’t necessary and it doesn’t improve on or surpass the original, but it’s there and for what it is it’s not bad it’s actually faster and good but at the core it’s just unnecessary reworking of an old song.

“Brandon” is received negatively by a lot of fans. It’s Tommy Lee’s piece for his son Brandon and although some of it is cliché and lame (I love you/ I love her/ she is your mother/ Brandon my son). It’s still very honest and even heartwarming in some way. I can’t say that it fits on a Motley Crue record however, it just seems out of place.

Then there are songs like “Anybody Out There” and “Rocketship” that are under or barely two minutes and are not long enough to either go someplace or let the listener get lost in the music or make up his mind about the song.

Then there is bonus material on the remasters. The remix of “Afraid” is for all purposes worthless, it doesn’t do much except add a part of industrial sounds here and there and it seems to bring down the volume of the guitars a bit but the original is far better.

“Wrecked” is a little too overtly sexual even for Motley (the chorus goes “Sex me, wreck me, give me your head, sex me, wreck me, give me your bed”), but it’s actually the song that sounds the most like Motley Crue which is ironic, but garage band version.

“Kiss the Sky” was also one of the better songs that I felt could and probably should have been on the record and replace something that wasn’t as good.

I can’t say that I care much about the demo of “Rocketship” however.

The times had changed in music and the brand of music Motley was known for was un-cool to like in 1990’s and it would be a few more years before it became “acceptable” to have anything to do with the ’80s again.

Away from the band Vince Neil released two solo albums but was reduced to being an opening act for other artists and had personal turmoil with the death of his daughter Skylar.

Although Motley’s self-titled album was a great, solid album that sounded unlike anything they had done before, it wasn’t accepted in the mainstream because it was attached to the name Motley Crue (even though the music reflected the change of music scenery rather well while still being their own thing). On the flip-side lot of Crue fans couldn’t accept it because it was too big a change in sound and of Neil’s departure.

Even though both parties had gone separate ways it was clear that it wasn’t working out so well for either. During the recording process for Generation Swine they reunited although no one was really happy. Neil replaced Corabi’s vocals on the album and it’s clear that those songs were fitted for him and that he helped shape them which makes a unique scenario as the material didn’t fit Neil.

I think this was clearly more of a John Corabi Motley Crue album. It obviously would have been better with him handling vocal duties, this songs were suited to his voice, not Vince Neil’s. I think it’s safe to say this one is only owned by hardcore and die-hard Crue fans and I don’t think even they play it much. Honestly it’s not an album that I’m too fond of and it’s certainly not an album that stood the test of time; it wasn’t great in 1997 and time hasn’t been kind to it.

This one is in the competition with New Tattoo (2000) for the title of worst Motley Crue album. New Tattoo comes out as a somewhat honest attempt at going back to their roots for just like Generation Swine was an attempt to keep up with the times and move forward. The problem is this is a true mish-mash and mess of an album with no clear direction. Even the band would agree agree I’m sure. It doesn’t sound much like Motley which wasn’t such a problem on the excellent 1994 self-titled album but it is here.

Generation Swine does very little for me and besides “Afraid” I can’t find a lot to onlike unfortunately it seems this one is largely forgettable and mainly serves for hardcore fans who must own everything Motley Crue. Even the cover’s bad. 1/5 star. I tried.