Vince Neil and crew shake up the Chumash

January 16, 2012

Vince Neil


If a tree falls in a deserted forest, does it make a sound? That’s a tough one. But how about a famous lead singer backed by session musicians playing his band’s hit songs, does that qualify as the real thing?

Thursday night at the Chumash Casino, Motley Crue lead singer Vince Neil put that question to the test in a 75-minute set before a half-full but enthusiastic rocker crowd of all ages and genders.

If you closed your eyes or just wrapped that bandana around them, you would swear the extremely tatted-up Neil was up on stage with Mick, Nikki and Tommy and their gang of four.

As my friend Larry likes to say, “don’t let perfect get in the way of good enough.”

Sure, the Hollywood-born rock singer mixed in some songs off his recent solo effort ‘Tattoos and Tequila’ but this show was all about the bad ass aura of Motley Crue. Let’s call it Crue Lite.

Neil’s drummer did his best Tommy Lee impersonation, sans the revolving drums and pyrotechnics but jumping and flailing away like mad. And the two axemen ably served the fist-pumping Neil and his distinctly high-pitched, almost whiny vocals.

After opening with more obscure Crue numbers ‘Live Wire’ and ‘Piece of Your Action,’ Neil dove into classic hits ‘Dr. Feelgood’ and ‘Looks That Kill.’

And it all worked to create a festive concert vibe that followed with the ubiquitous lead guitar solo, this one actually featured a violin bow…or fiddle stick if you will. It was a medley of Led Zep’s ‘Whole Lotta Love,’ ‘Stairway to Heaven’ and Sabbath’s Heaven and Hell, a postmortem nod to Dio. It was kind of odd that Neil left the stage for the entire medley but I figure you can have a pretty good time in ten minutes with backstage all to yourself.

When Neil triumphantly returned, concertgoers surged to the front courtesy of the generous security staff but they may have regretted it because as soon as the band launched into ‘Kick Start My Heart,’ several guys and a few ladies jumped on stage only to be swiftly escorted off. One dude managed to stage dive back into the crowd before they could grab him.

The frenzy continued with ‘Girls Girls Girls’ and ‘Wild Side’ and that was it, over and out. So where else can you see a heavy metal icon and have this much fun on a school night for the price of a few watered-down cocktails in an overpriced downtown bar?

Even better than the real thing? Maybe not, but who cares.

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I love Motley Crue, and know all the songs you mentioned (really, “obscure Crue numbers ‘Live Wire’ and ‘Piece of Your Action,’?” – both are excellent songs, especially live).

I sure wish I could have gone, but my kids aren’t old enough to appreciate it, and the wife always has other plans for me…

Great write-up, though; thanks for not going “foodie” on us in the style.

I’m not a Vince N. nor a MC fan but I enjoyed the writing in this article. Well written but I still wouldn’t drive a mile to see Neil. Besides that, in the seventies we had identical hair and I always resented him for that. :)

pix or it didn’t happen! ;-)

(just want to see your Vince Neil hair)

To doo was something I’d rather forget. Vince N. and I both had bad case big hair.

Great review man. The Crüe Wants You!!