Motley Crue burns midnight oil, fans at fair

July 28, 2015

By COLIN JONES

I love those UPS ads that talk about their dedication to logistics. It’s probably something nobody but those in the delivery biz give a lot of thought to.

Well, the first Saturday night concert at the 2015 California Mid-State Fair was a big lesson on the importance of those logistics and basic event planning. Getting two headlining rock bands from Tacoma to Paso Robles to Montana for three shows in three nights requires the special transportation karma of Star Trek’s Scotty. So it really wasn’t too surprising when the classic rock revival tour that is Motley Crue/Alice Cooper finally strutted onto the Chumash Arena stage at 10:40 pm over three hours late, apparently due to airplane issues.

Motley CrueNow we are talking about a rock concert, which probably ranks just ahead of ants in my sink in the worldly significance category. No one got hurt, died or suffered much beyond a bruised wallet and few hours less sleep.

But annoying it was for sure, even as the balmy night stench of manure and Bud Light and the free-wheeling live music experience that is Paso in July kept the crowd giddy in anticipation. Rock and rollers are the most easygoing, low maintenance people around. Give them some loud noise, strobe lights, plenty of the aforementioned adult beverage, maybe throw in a little skunk weed and they are a happy lot. Most bands know this and take full advantage of their fans’ forgiving nature.

Fortunately, some artists like Alice Cooper get it. You are only as good as your last gig so you had better bring it every night. Sure, he blazed through hit after hit and condensed an hour and a half performance into 45 minutes but everyone loved his theatrical shtick that accompanied all those teen angst songs, roaring their approval.

However, the same could not be said of LA-based Crue, who dominated the 1980s with their unique glam rock/hair metal style. They are in the midst of a farewell tour after 35 years of musical and personal destruction. Perhaps all that hard living has finally caught up with the boys, who were clearly flat in an abbreviated 60-minute set that began just before midnight. The real culprit was front man Vince Neil, who pranced around the stage but could not keep lyrical pace with the thundering rhythm section of bassist Nikki Sixx and drummer Tommy Lee. Even frail lead axeman Mick Mars showed brief flashes of his guitar greatness.

Neil, who has a distinctive falsetto that’s as much a part of Motley’s sound as DLR of Van Halen or Steve Perry of Journey, was clearly the weak link. He seemed to forget words, not enunciate them or just blow them off. Hey Vince, you’re a singer, it’s not a Joe Satriani instrumental thing.

Like Alice opening, Motley Crue rushed through their songs, probably anxious to get back to their hotel conference room to work out the difficult logistics of getting to Billings for a Sunday night show and their next big payday. One hour exactly with no encore after closing the 10-song set with Dr. Feelgood. But a feel good night it was not, reminding me of Johnny Rotten’s classic proclamation at the Sex Pistols final show in San Fransisco. Ever get the feeling you’ve been ripped off?

And you know it’s going to be a long, forgettable evening when Journey’s DSB plays three times on the pre-show sound system loop as the faithful restlessly wait. I think the highlight for my buddies was spotting Ron Jeremy coming out of the bathroom. Bummed I missed out on that.

Local radio hyped the big concert ad nauseam for several months but sadly for about 10,000 rock fans hoping to witness a headbanging band go out with a bang, it didn’t live up to the hype.

Not even close.


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11 Comments

  1. Paso_citizen says:

    Well, I think you got exactly what you deserved if you paid to see this thing called
    a show. But, rest assured , these real, real old farts from the 70’s and 80’s will still
    get it on as long a few thousand dumb a**es will pay to see them. Even if they
    have to put on a ‘Manilli Vannilli’ lip synching show, when their vocal cords give out.

    The ones that really suffered (and that no one mentions) is the hundreds of citizens that
    were tying to sleep at 12 AM or 1 AM and couldn’t due to the God awful noise from
    the Paso Robles Event Center.

    (-3) 21 Total Votes - 9 up - 12 down
    • kayaknut says:

      Yes it is a total surprise that living near a fairgrounds would result in loud noise for several evenings during the summer, at the same time year after year after year….. and many of those same property owners will be renting every square inch of parking space in their yards and certainly reporting all this cash come next April 15th.

      Hint next year, take a vacation during the fair and leave the area, better yet sell your house in Paso if the fair is too much for you and the then you wont need to worry about taking advantage of the all the tax money the fair brings in to your town and area.

      (14) 18 Total Votes - 16 up - 2 down
  2. BeenThereDoneThat says:

    Here is something interesting that just popped up.

    http://www.sanluisobispo.com/2015/07/28/3738927/motley-crue-hole-in-plane-fair.html

    I still don’t think they get it. Yea they were late but I think most were o.k. with it if Vince would have sang and if they would have performed a show, instead of a short routine.

    (14) 14 Total Votes - 14 up - 0 down
  3. r0y says:

    While a decent fan of Mötley Crüe and Alice Cooper, if I am going to see “seasoned” bands / performers, I’ll stick with the guys who I know can bring it: Willy Nelson, Chris Hillman / Herb Pedersen, Robert Cray, etc. Sure, it’s hard to find some of the hard rockers still putting it out (and I am very happy that Alice Cooper seemed to be a hit).

    I’d love to see Queensrÿche or some of the more talented 80’s bands (well, more talent / less show). I do understand the show is a big part of it. Heck, ever seen Ozzy? He’s crazy at his age!

    (-3) 9 Total Votes - 3 up - 6 down
  4. SHADYMILKMEN says:

    I too spent over $250 for two tickets to this CHODE feast. Call me a fool for thinking 80s rockers could still bring it. At least a 70s rocker Alice Cooper still could. The Crue it itself would of been ok if they were truely going to perform a “down and dirty performance”, Without pyrotechnics, except for Vince was out of breath, forgot lyrics or was just over it. At one point he asked the crowd to sing and when they weren’t loud enough if he waved them off and smirked. There was something wrong with the sound system as far a distortion goes. Should the fair of stepped up and refunded after the performance. Maybe. Will they I doubt it.

    (21) 21 Total Votes - 21 up - 0 down
  5. Pelican1 says:

    Bering back Maynard Potter.

    (8) 14 Total Votes - 11 up - 3 down
  6. smile4thecamera says:

    Wow, bad scheduling on the tour manager’s part by booking 3 shows in 3 days from Tacoma, all the way down to Paso Robles, then back to Montana? No way!

    Crue’s Vince Neil was sounding bad a long time ago – that’s always so disappointing when you go to a show expecting good vocals and a great experience. I doubt I would have hung around for 3 hours past starting time myself.

    (11) 13 Total Votes - 12 up - 1 down
  7. sezlittle1 says:

    Rumor has it Crue was partying at Lido. Others say they were wine tasting. Both rumors why they were late. Does anybody have pictures? This can be a way to get refunds. The fair is getting a bad rap for the band being late. Too bad for the fair that they are getting blamed for this.

    (14) 18 Total Votes - 16 up - 2 down
    • SLO12345 says:

      I also heard a rumor that they were partying at Lido. Arrived there around 4pm.

      (2) 2 Total Votes - 2 up - 0 down
  8. BeenThereDoneThat says:

    Yeah I was one of the unfortunate many that thought VINCE sucked!!! And of course Coop nailed it. Thank GOD Motley is hanging it up soon before they screw to many more fans.

    (23) 25 Total Votes - 24 up - 1 down

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