Motley Crue shock Minute Maid to the core on Friday night with a theatrical performance of their glam rock hits.
The band, established in 1981, performed for Houston with their original lineup intact, an impressive feat for a band that’s been in the industry that long.
The most notorious band on earth
The show began with the startling sound of an emergency alert signal. On the screens, a news report played. The anchor noted a plethora of cult-like gatherings across the nation, the largest being in Houston. For the next few hours, the only broadcast on the faux news channel would be Motley Crue music in an effort to unify the world.
The screens went black, then came back to life in reds and blacks as the band came on stage. They opened with “Wild Side,” but you could barely hear the first minute over the roar of the crowd.
Always a theatrical performance
Known as the most notorious band on earth, they have always added an element of theatrics to their shows. Newer audiences may be surprised to know that the set was tame compared to years prior.
Drummer Tommy Lee would play from a custom roller coaster, Vince Neil would sing from a crane and bassist Nikki Sixx would light himself on fire. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg. However, that is not to say that their current stage is dull. On the contrary. There were set pieces and risers everywhere. The AV team ran to film live shots of the band, which the engineers edited live for the big screens. Three gorgeous dancers/back-up singers alternated from risers to stripper poles depending on the song. Even in spite of the smoke and lasers it was impossible to keep eyes off the band themselves.
Guitarist Mick Mars stayed by his mic stand for most of the night, but he remained a powerful presence in every song. As usual, his melodies were a pillar of the band.
Neil never failed to interject raunchy comments in between songs, checking in with the crowd to make sure everyone was still having a good time. For a band known for excess in sex, drugs and rock n roll, their songs certainly reflect it. It’s easy to forget they are family men.
Sixx could be seen kneeling at eye-level with his daughter while Neil introduced the next song, “Don’t Go Away Mad.” He kissed her goodbye, then got back to the show.
Sixx took the mic from Neil halfway though the show, something that’s been part of the show for decades. The songwriter thanked the audience for their presence and support thought the years. Not wanting to get too sappy, he finished with a classic mom joke directed at an audience member.
The only visible lull in the set was during “The Dirt,” a song written for the Netflix movie of the same name. The audience reacted well to the song, but many noticeably disengaged during Machine Gun Kelly’s verses. Although the musician’s performance as Tommy Lee in the film is certainly praiseworthy, there is a reluctance to embrace him into rock culture by fans young and old.
Home Sweet Home
Lee had an intimate moment with fans on the thrust of the stage before the start of “Home Sweet Home.” An audience member took their shirt off for him, which made him laugh and reminisce about years prior. He played the start of the song surrounded by the band, then ran back to his drum kit for the finale. Mars, Sixx, and Neil carried the rest of the song as the audience lit up the stadium in cellphone lights.
The band closed their set with “Kickstart My Heart,” Neil walking out in an Astros jersey.
Motley Crue matched Houston’s energy every step of the way, leaving them satisfied. You can still catch Motley Crue, Joan Jett and the Blackhearts, Def Leppard and Poison on their stadium tour in a city near you.