GIG REVIEW: MOTLEY CRUE & ALICE COOPER Live At The Genting Arena, Birmingham
The legendary American glam metal band Motley Crue announced its final tour would conclude on December 31, 2015, entitled “All Bad Things Must Come to an End”, and brought along the classic shock rocker Alice Cooper as the tour’s main support act. I attended the second-last date of the tour’s UK leg, at the Genting Arena in Birmingham, England. I missed the opening band, The One Hundred, however.
The set that Alice Cooper played was essentially a greatest hits set, although notable tracks including “I’ll Bite Your Face Off” were missing. Regardless, many of Cooper’s most loved songs were included in the setlist, including “Poison”, “I’m Eighteen”, “No More Mr. Nice Guy”, and of course, “School’s Out”. In terms of the production side of Alice Cooper’s set, it was able to retain its original horror-influenced aesthetic with the inclusion of the snake, a deranged and murderous nurse, and the well-received execution scene in which Cooper was decapitated using a guillotine. Towards the end of “School’s Out”, the band took the time to please the Pink Floyd fans in the audience (myself included) by including a snippet of Floyd’s classic 1979 anthem “Another Brick in the Wall (Part 2)” from their album The Wall. In terms of the lesser known tracks that the Alice Cooper band performed, the list included various songs such as “Dirty Diamonds”, “Feed My Frankenstein”, “Ballad of Dwight Fry”, “Under My Wheels”, and partial versions of “Killer” and “I Love the Dead” during the guillotine scene.
The elephant in the room was that this tour was Motley Crue’s last, which meant that this was the second-last show the band would ever perform in the United Kingdom. Nonetheless, this didn’t stop Motley Crue from bringing a full-stage show in the vein of Kiss to the Birmingham Genting Arena. This aforementioned stage-show included “the Cruecifly”, which allowed drummer Tommy Lee to have his drum kit moved from the stage above the crowd using a roller-coaster rail positioned against the venue ceiling.
In terms of Motley Crue’s setlist, it included the obvious hit songs that have come to define the band for the past three decades of prominence in rock music – opening with “Girls, Girls, Girls”, the band fired things into full gear with “Wild Side” before raising the crowd energy through the roof with “Same Ol’ Situation”. Around the half-way point of the setlist the band performed two cover songs; “Smokin’ in the Boys Room” (originally by Brownsville Station), and “Anarchy in the UK” (originally by Sex Pistols). Both of these covers went down a storm with the fever-pitch crowd who had amassed to watch Motley Crue perform.
The final third of the Motley Crue set featured prominent solo sections from guitarist Mick Mars and drummer Tommy Lee (thanks to the Cruecifly), before launching head-first into a trio of the band’s most iconic songs – “Dr. Feelgood”, “Kickstart My Heart”, and an individual encore performance of Motley’s power-ballad “Home Sweet Home”, which was performed by Vince, Mick, Tommy and Nikki in the middle of the arena crowd. The closing performance of “Home Sweet Home” was particularly poignant as it served as an appropriate conclusion to the concert, and drew Motley Crue’s remaining days in the United Kingdom even closer to an end.
To sum up, Motley Crue’s show at the Genting Arena in Birmingham, England was an overwhelming success and a clear representation of why Motley Crue is considered to be one of America’s finest rock and roll bands. This was my first time seeing Motley Crue, and it is also unfortunately my last. Alice Cooper as a support act was also especially triumphant, and it was a pleasure to see such a legendary frontman perform in all his horror-inspired glory.