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Motley Crue & Alice Cooper Concert Review, Cedar Park, TX, July 15, 2014

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Last night marked the second time I’ve seen Motley Crue (1989) and Alice Cooper (1996).  Crue was OK that night…better to say that the band was just fine, but Vince Neil wasn’t.  He’s been awful the 2 times since then that I’ve seen him with his solo band.  Cooper’s show back then was awesome as expected.  I’m not the biggest Crue fan and really only like the first 2 albums, but they do put on a decent show.  I pretty much love all Alice Cooper.

Crue announced recently that they were calling it quits for good and that they signed some sort of silly contract stating that there would be no more Crue shows after this tour.  We’ll see.  I probably wouldn’t have gone to see this had it not been announced that Alice Cooper was opening.  DONE AND DONE.  I got the presale code from Alice’s website and scored decent seats in the front center section of the relatively new Cedar Park Center.

My close friend, Trans Am (TA), and I arrived around 6PM and I was surprised at how small the venue was from the outside.  It’s pretty small inside, too.  But it’s really cool.  Not really many bad seats in the place.  We hung out in the parking lot for a few then made our way in.  We both ran into a ton of folks we know, of course.  This is the type of show that you’d see pretty much everyone you know.  We found out last minute that there was an opening band.  They weren’t worth mentioning.  zzzzzzzz.

Cooper’s front curtain goes up and his intro music begins.  We rush back into the venue, the curtain drops and they open with Hello Hooray.  Alice sounded great.  He’s not young but he still moves around like he is and his voice is still quite strong.  Since he was the opener, his set wasn’t that long but he played some of my faves like Billion Dollar Babies and Ballad of Dwight Fry.  Killer and I love the Dead were only partials which is unfortunate.  With From the Inside being my favorite Cooper album, of course I wanted some songs from that, but such is life.  His band was solid and his drummer, Glen Sobel, was awesome.  That’s no surprise since Alice never hires any slouches for his band.  They close with School’s Out and that was that.  The crowd was into it and Cooper just sounded so good.  I really hope he does another headlining tour.  I’ll travel for it if I have to.

Crue hits the stage and opens with Saints of Los Angeles.  Lots of lights for this show.  They move right into Wild Side and Primal Scream.  I will admit that Vince sounded better than I had heard in recent years…at least for the first 3/4 of the show.  The band sounded solid although I thought their mix was a little muddy.  I think that may have been on purpose.  Mick was relatively mobile, surprisingly.  The show was obviously done with backing tracks as I heard lots of rhythm guitars that weren’t being played by Mick.  Lots of additional vocal tracks beyond Vince and Nikki and the newer version of the old Nasty Habits backing singers.  On With the Show, Too Young To Fall In Love and Too Fast for Love were highlights for me.  By the time they started playing Shout at the Devil, Vince’s voice started to give out.  He’s always been good at letting the crowd sing a lot for him and last night was no different.

They had lots of pyro which was pretty cool.  Nikki had a flamethrower bass set up that was fun…and hot.

Overall the show was good and we had a blast.  What a great venue, too.  Next month I’m seeing Chicago and REO Speedwagon there.



Twisted Sister & Vince Neil Concert Review, ROT Rally, 6/15/2013

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I don’t think I’ve talked about Twisted Sister on this page much, most likely because I haven’t seen them live since 2004.  That 2004 show in Richmond, VA was absolutely incredible.  I never got to see them in the 80s which was unfortunate.  I also saw Widowmaker and Dee’s SMFs.  Both of those shows were great, too.

Twisted Sister and Vince Neil (opening) got booked for the 2013 Republic of Texas Biker Rally.  Tickets were $60 ($67 after all fees) which included access to the rally for the whole weekend.  While I’ve owned a couple of Harleys over the years, biker gatherings never appealed to me.  It’s unfortunate that you couldn’t just buy a pass for the concerts that were happening over the weekend, but oh well.  I decided to just suck it up the day before the show and buy it.  Twisted Sister is great live and I knew they would deliver again.

We got into the Travis County Expo Center and parked seemingly on the other side of the place and walked through all of the biker madness where the campsites and RV parking were located and saw all sort of debauchery and silliness.  By the time we got to the amphitheater, Vince Neil was already playing.

I’ll just say this: VINCE NEIL SUCKS.  Period.  I saw Crue on the Dr. Feelgood tour and he sucked.  I also saw him solo in 2003.  He sucked then, too.  But the dude can still make a living playing the biker fests and letting the crowd sing half of the lyrics.  And don’t get me wrong, I adore those first 2 Crue albums, but Vince sucks live and seemingly always has.

His backup band consisted of Dana Strum on bass who has some serious street cred, shitty Slaughter aside.  The dude has been around and been a part of some big things behind the scenes over the years.  Slaughter’s Jeff Blando handled guitar duties and was fine.  He’s actually a pretty good singer, too.  Drummer Zoltan Chaney handled the “drumming” duties.  I put that in quotes for a reason.  I hate this style of drumming.  I consider this guy more of a circus clown than a drummer.  But, I understand why Vince has him in the band because he needs a show backing him because he’s such a shitty singer.  Zoltan is a very visual  drummer that basically acts like a chimpanzee behind the kit.  I can’t stand that.  I’d much rather have seen Tommy Lee.  Tommy’s flamboyant as well, but not to this degree.  And Tommy is super solid.  Vince played to his crowd with the awfulness of Girls, Girls, Girls and Wildside.  I really don’t know what other Crue songs they played as I just couldn’t care enough to pay attention.

Halfway through the set, Vince disappeared from the stage and his band goes into some Zeppelin and Black Sabbath.  Their version of Heaven and Hell was actually pretty good and thankfully Vince was nowhere to be found.  After doing a little research, this seems to be a regular part of Vince’s show.  This article gives a little insight and I agree with the sentiments presented in it.  I just couldn’t wait for them to finish so we could see Dee and the band.

The crowd thinned out quite a bit and we moved right to the center and just 4-5 back from the barricade.  After a chopper giveaway, The Pledge of Allegiance and a salute to the military, Twisted Sister hit the stage.

They opened up with You Can’t Stop Rock and Roll and just crushed it.  Dee’s voice was a little rough for the first 2 songs or so, then it was all dialed in.  The rolled right in to Shoot ’em Down and just killed it.  Those guys have been playing together since the late 70s and it showed.  They were incredibly tight and you can still get the feeling that they all hate each other.  But it didn’t matter.  They all played incredibly well and the show was awesome.

They rolled through Stay Hungry, Beast, The Price and a track that was a surprise to me, The First Still Burns from Come Out and Play.  They also of course played We’re not Gonna Take It and I Wanna Rock as expected.  You Can’t Stop Rock and Roll is my favorite album by them and also getting The Kids are Back and We’re Gonna Make It made me happy.  The whole show made me happy.  I could have done without I Believe in Rock and Roll but oh well.  No Destroyer?  At least they didn’t play Leader of the Pack!  After closing with I Wanna Rock, they took a short break and came out for one more song.  Dee mentioned that it was a song they don’t play often and it was fitting for a biker rally and I was getting excited because I thought they were going to play Ride to Live, Live to Ride.  Seriously, I was almost in freak out mode until they went into Steppenwolf’s Born to Be Wild.  *heavy sigh*.  I get it.  They were playing to that specific crowd.  No worries.  They were absolutely incredible as I expected them to be.  And I just want to say that AJ Pero is such an incredible drummer.  He sounded better last night than in the other 2 times I had seen him play in he past.

Along with Bruce Dickinson, Jason McMaster, and Ronnie James Dio, Dee Snider is in that class of ultimate frontmen.  Dee even gave a speech on vaginal dryness and how they licensed We’re Not Gonna Take It to a PMS company for use in their commercials.  It was pretty funny.

Jay Jay French spoke that in 1983 on their first US tour, the first show was in Austin, exactly 30 years to the day from last night’s show and that they hadn’t played here since.  According to my friend Ben, he saw them in 1984 at City Coliseum a year later.  But hey, memories get fuzzy after all those years, eh?  The crowd never filled back in for Twisted Sister like the crown Vince had, which was unfortunate.  But it also made it more comfortable as it was pretty warm and humid last night.  Sister’s tour manager is Danny Stanton who I had met several times over the years as he managed Thin Lizzy and Loudness on their US tours in the late 90s to mid 2000s.  He sang for the NY band Takashi.  Unfortunately I didn’t get a chance to say hello this time.  Dee also took a couple of good potshots at Vince Neil.  It was hilarious.

Dee Snider is 58 and can still rock out like nobody’s business.  He’s a beast of a frontman and I really hope to see them again.  It was another great concert filled with awesome music and good friends all around.


RIP Jani Lane

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Let’s be clear…I fucking hate Warrant…always have.  I hated 99% of all that sissy hairband bullshit.  I saw Warrant open for Crue on the Dr. Feelgood Tour.  Crue wasn’t that great live but it was the only time I ever saw them and it was enjoyable at least.  But Warrant?  Fuck ’em.  At that show all I really remember is Jani Lane talking a bunch of retarded bullshit between songs.  It was annoying as hell.  There were a lot of folks in the crowd that were yelling at him and flipping him off.  Someone even threw a shoe at him *cough*.  They blew.

Crue, again, did alright, but Vince kind of ruined it.  No surprise there.  The one great thing about that show was this little redhead who wanted up on my shoulders.   Of course I put her up there for a few songs and she even got topless.  Nikki Sixx threw 2 bass picks our way, I caught them both, I don’t think the girl even noticed them.  After I let her down my buddy put her up.  Or maybe she was on his shoulders first.  Doesn’t matter.  I scored 2 picks!  I ran into the girl in the hallway after the show and gave her one of the picks.  “One of these belongs to you.”  She gave me a quick kiss and a hug and we parted ways.

Damn she was cute.

So Lane was 47?  No secret he had been spiraling for years but I never quite saw this coming.  Hopefully there’s a decent story with some hookers attached to it.  RIP dude.  Sending good vibes to your family and friends.

Warrant?  Really?  Sheesh.

Crue stub and Nikki Sixx pick. Was always a little miffed that the ticket-taker gave me the short end of the stub.

Written by The Metal Files

August 11, 2011 at 9:47 pm

So come now, children of the beast, be strong and…

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Shout at the devil!!!

My first recollection of hearing Crue was probably on the radio (K-94 or FM-99) when they first played Looks That Kill.  Maybe it was on Metal Shop?  Not really sure.  But I do specifically remember when I first heard the album in its entirety.   It was late fall of 1983 and I was on a camping trip with the Scouts.  Hunter March, one of the older guys in the troop, said, “Hey Sean, you like metal, check this out.”  So I popped the Shout at the Devil tape in my Walkman and freaked out.  The opening track sort of wigged me out.  It was pretty evil for the time.  Then they started singing about the devil and things seemed right in the world again.  hahaha.  I listened to the tape all that night and was hooked.  This band had quite a different sound.  A good sound.

Now, if you’ve been paying any attention at all to my older blogs, you know that my mom didn’t approve of the metal in general.  She got swooped in by some other parents at my church that it was of the devil.  You know, the whole KISS = knights in satan’s service type crap.  We had to be subjected to some anti-heavy metal seminars from guys like Albert Long who would stand on stage in front of us showing metal videos, album covers and reading lyrics trying to convince us that rock and roll was going to send us to hell.  Little did he know that he was opening us up to a whole new world of bands!  Thanks Albert!

One weekend we took a church trip to somewhere in North Carolina to see one of his seminars.  While there we visited some mall and I bought 2 7″ records…Huey Lewis’ Finally Found a Home (b/w Walking on a Thin Line) and Crue’s Looks That Kill (b/w Piece of Your Action).  Funnily enough I am pretty sure Mr. Long was pounding on the Crue during his seminar.

That stuff was pretty jank, ya know, those seminars.  Hearing him say that Angus Young was possessed by the devil was absolutely hilarious.  One of my favorites was when he showed the video for Twisted Sister’s You Can’t Stop Rock and Roll.  Satanic?  Really?  Dude.  C’mon.  Anyway, I wish I still had that Crue 45.

I really love this album except for Helter Skelter.  I’m not a Beatles fan in the least and don’t really care to hear covers of their songs (exception being Sacred Rite’s Eleanor Rigby).  Danger, Ten Seconds To Love and Too Young To Fall In Love are my faves.

There is a pretty funny and somewhat embarassing story attached to Looks That Kill.  I went over to Kelz’ house as his band was jamming.  They ripped into Looks That Kill and I grabbed the mic and started singing it (poorly, I’m sure).  Kelz’ mom busts in the jam room and asks what song that was and if we knew the lyrics.  Like a dumbass, I spoke up.  D’oh.  It’s not like it’s a bad song, but the fact that it was Crue sent her over the edge (again).  She was pretty much the mastermind of the “metal is evil” campaign.

I guess they all meant well but at the time it sucked for us.  Having to hide tapes and trade them secretly really sucked.

Anyways, Crue ruled on this album…not so much afterwards.