Motley CrÃ¼e rocked the Coliseum with their ’80s heavy metal
The expansive Greensboro Coliseum is packed elbow to elbow with fans waiting for a Motley CrÃ¼e concert, something that hasn’t taken place in Greensboro since they were banned seven years ago. A large red-and-white-striped circus tent made to look old and mildewed, its curtains closed, takes up the entire stage. As the crowd of mostly 30- and 40-something rockers mingle and guzzle large cups of beer a pre-recorded Coliseum announcement comes on. No flash photography; no weapons; and then.. ‘“profanity is not permitted in the coliseum.’” This causes a wave of chuckles across the arena. An occasional note from a hidden bass or guitar brings on wild cheering, but the crowd is made to wait until almost 8:30 before the show begins.
After a short claymation introduction on two large side screens, the lights go down and Mighty Mike, a midget who travels with Motley CrÃ¼e and uses his size as humor, comes out dressed as a killer clown with evil facial features and large, sharp teeth. Then two scantily clad women appear, bending over a large wooden crate and caressing each other. The crate opens and singer Vince Neil rises through the top and the curtains to the tent open revealing the rest of the band members. A large sign that imitates Ringling Bros. hangs overhead reading ‘“Evil Entertainments Presents the Loudest Show on Earth.’” The music starts. Their ’80s sound is distinctive. Tommy Lee throws in lots of double bass licks on his red velvet-covered Ludwig drums; Mick Mars, face painted white with the look of death, runs his fingerss up and down the fret board all the while looking solemn; Nikki Sixx makes wild facial expressions at the crowd while pounding the bass; and Vince Neil runs from one side of the stage to the other as he tries to engage the massive crowd. What’s noticeably missing is the teased hair of the ’80s, the spandex and the pretty-boy makeup.
The band cruises through all the familiar songs that were on the radio during the hair-band metal days: ‘“Shout at the Devil,’” ‘“Dr. Feelgood,’” ‘“Girls, Girls, Girls’” and ‘“Wild Side.’” Huge columns of fire shoot toward the ceiling and loud booms emit showers of sparks and, during ‘“Girls, Girls, Girls,’” two women spin and swing from chains and ropes hanging from the rafters. During a guitar solo in another song Mick Mars looks as if he’s counting or singing the notes to himself. At the end of the solo he hands the pick to a front-row audience member.
Vince Neil addresses the crowd at one point: ‘“I just wanna thank you f*ckers for coming out here tonight. Without you f*ckers there would be no rock and roll.’”
Tommy Lee turns around from his kit to play the beginning of ‘“Home Sweet Home’” on the keyboard. Flickers of light begin to appear across the arena as fans pull lighters from their pockets.
‘“Light this place up,’” says Vince. ‘“Make it look beautiful.’” The coliseum looks candlelit and Tommy Lee spins around to kick into the song with the drums.
The guys still have it. They were exceptional at their craft and put on a good show. Although Motley CrÃ¼e was better behaved than the last time they appeared in Greensboro they were still Motley CrÃ¼e. The audience was barraged with profanities and an intermission video showed a disturbing assortment of images ranging from exploding heads to claymation porn.
Some concert goers appeared to be there out of nostalgia for days gone by while others were hard-core CrÃ¼e fans. There were also a few younger fans who weren’t around during the era of Motley CrÃ¼e. There were also several parents who brought along kids that appeared to be younger than about 12 and the CrÃ¼e concert was definitely not appropriate for such an age group.