posted on August 28, 2012 14:16
Monumental excess. I think those 2 words best describe "The Tour" featuring legendary rock acts KISS and Mötley Crüe which rolled into Verizon Wireless Amphitheater on Monday night for a co-headlining bill. The kings of rock pageantry combined forces for an unlikely tour this Summer and delivered all of the thrills, hits and pyro you would expect from bands with more than 60 combined years on the road. The crowd was a sea of painted KISS faces and Crüe t-shirts from the past 3 decades and from the opening notes, they were certainly ready for a rock show. And a big, loud rock show is what they most definitely received.
As a large clock behind the stage counted down the arrival of Mötley Crüe, the anticipation in the venue was palpable. When the clock struck zero, large robed stilt walkers took the stage with an ominous intro. Shortly after, the band made their way to the stage with a mini-parade through the crowd flanked by scantily clad women on shoulders carrying flags emblazoned with the bold MC. Vince, Nikki, Tommy and Mick entered to a kings welcome and they came exploding out of the gate with big energy of "Saints of Los Angeles", "Wild Side" and "Same Ol' Situation (S.O.S.)" without taking their foot off the gas pedal. From spandex wearing backup singers to pyro to water cannons and explosions, the set was just what you would hope to get from Crüe, a night filled with sex and hair metal we all remember and can sing along with.
Often criticized front man Vince Neil did a strong job leading the circus as the band grabbed a hold of the venue and did not let go for the duration of their 15 song set. They brought it down a notch and let everyone take a breath mid-set as the band gathered around a sequined piano for the Crüe classic "Home Sweet Home". The toned down moment did not last long though as drummer Tommy Lee took back to his kit and absolutely destroyed a drum solo mixed in with some DJ cuts as he and his drums went around on a circular track which almost seemed like a roller coaster. Huge energy from Lee and most certainly one of the most memorable moments of the show as he screamed "Fuck! I love this fucking shit!".
The band continued to roll through with an absolutely on fire version of "Live Wire" which seemed to work the venue into a frenzy and even brought the energy up a notch....somehow. It was definitely a set highlight. A strong bass solo from the always cool Nikki Sixx led the band into "Primal Scream" and another heavy dose of pyro, lasers and, yep, you guessed it, more girls flanked the band on all sides. The 90 minute set worked towards a conclusion but not before the biggest songs of the night were kicked in the teeth. Crüe favorites "Dr. Feelgood" and "Girls, Girls, Girls" had the place a sweaty mess with their high energy sound and memorable hooks. The band ended their show with a huge version of "Kickstart My Heart" as the crowd went nuts screaming and fist pumping without missing a beat. With that, the Crüe thanked their fans and doused them with buckets of water and left the stage. With a great stage production, strong setlist and high energy, the Crüe most certainly delivered what their fans came to see and then some. The only thought in my mind after the Crüe wrapped up was how can KISS top that?
After a 30 minute intermission, it was time for the magic of KISS to take a St. Louis stage for the first time since 2004. As the band was shown on the screen making their way to the stage, the venue lost it. With the familiar announcement of "You Wanted the Best , YOU GOT THE BEST! The Hottest Band in the World — KISS!", the black curtain dropped and the classic rock titans descended from the ceiling and ripped into a blistering version of "Detroit Rock City" backed by huge lights, the trademark KISS logo on 2 story screens behind and big pyro. The energy didn't stop as Paul Stanley quipped "We're about to have a party! Make some noise you wild animals" before stepping in to the KISS classic "Shout It Out Loud" which saw fists in the air and rock horns a plenty.
Over the next 90 minutes, the band displayed all of the trademark pageantry that has made them cult favorites for generations of fans. Songs like "Firehouse" and "War Machine" saw the bands trademark flare and were surely early set highlights. A "war of solos" on raised platforms between Eric Singer and Tommy Thayer was quite a spectacle ending with drummer Singer pulling out a fake rocket launcher and shooting out the lights. Not to be outdone, legendary bassist Gene Simmons pulled out his trademark fire breathing and bloody mouth routine before being lifted to a perch above the stage for "God of Thunder".
Having been such a long time between St. Louis shows, the band called back to old memories of "playing the old Kiel and the Checkerdome" before breaking into a shredding version of "Love Gun" that saw front man Paul Stanley fly over the crowd to a rotating circular stage perched above the soundboard to perform. "Lick It Up" was next in the set and at that point, the crowd was simply in the palms of the rock demons hands and was eating up every second of it. A cool version of "Black Diamond" started off under a giant disco ball and eventually exploded into energy and pyro and finished out the main set with the bands trademark pose at center stage.
KISS returned shortly after for an encore of
Strutter "Deuce" and the classic rock anthem "Rock and Roll All Nite" which featured more white confetti being shot into the skies than I have ever seen and explosions in all directions. Quite a moment to close down the show and almost bring down the house. With that, the band waved and left the stage to thunderous applause and cheers from their painted rock congregation.
With over 30 years of rocking under their belts, KISS most definitely know how to put on a show and deliver for their legions of dedicated fans. And for guys that are over 60, you really have to give them credit for not only their showmanship, but their musicianship as well. Having never had the experience to see either of these bands live before, this was truly a concert experience that I will not soon forget. If you have a chance this summer, don't miss "The Tour" if it comes your way. Most definitely a rock experience that you will find nowhere else. I think Gene Simmons summed it up perfectly when asked to describe the tour when he said "Come out, we’ll blow shit up, go home and fuck your girlfriend, that’s it." Exactly.
SETLIST - Mötley Crüe
Saints of Los Angeles
Shout at the Devil
Same Ol' Situation (S.O.S.)
Home Sweet Home
Girls, Girls, Girls
Kickstart My Heart
SETLIST - KISS
Detroit Rock City
Shout It Out Loud
I Love It Loud
Firehouse (Gene breathes fire)
Hell or Hallelujah
Shock Me (with Tommy And Eric Jam)
Bass Solo (Gene spits blood and flies up … more)
God of Thunder
Love Gun (Paul flies out over the audience)
Lick It Up
Rock and Roll All Nite
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