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Mötley Crüe are synonymous with debauchery and excess. On the first of two Melbourne stops of their Final Tour down under they lived up to that reputation with an over-the-top display of hair-metal showmanship that had a sold-out Rod Laver Arena Shouting at the Devil well into the night.
Special guest Alice Cooper opened proceedings and the 67 year old godfather of shock-rock put on a hard-rock master-class, integrating nightmare inducing visual effects, pyrotechnics and inspired costuming into a hit-filled 50 minute set that had the audience screaming along with every word.
Cooper has a magnetism that simply demands attention, and it proved impossible to take your eyes off of him as he and his rockin band (guitarist Nita Strauss is a stand-out) ran through note-perfect versions of the likes of Department of Youth, No More Mr Nice Guy, Feed My Frankenstein, Poison and Welcome To My Nightmare.
Nothing happens by accident and every vocal inflection, hand gesture, prop change or explosion is used to accentuate rather than distract from the performance as such that even the most over-the-top theatrical moments (like the sparking contraption that turns Cooper into a monster in Feed My Frankstein) seem completely appropriate.
None of this would matter if the songs weren’t good, and Cooper’s set is a testament to the one thing that often gets lost when discussing his legacy as a performer; the man has written a large amount of great rock songs. Closing with the iconic Schools Out (complete with a section of Pink Floyd’s The Wall) Cooper exits having taught us all a lesson in rock.
As So, Long Farewell (from The Sound of Music) bled out from the speakers, Mötley Crüe took the stage looking every bit the (albeit ageing) rock stars they are and launched immediately into a spirited opening trifecta of Saints of Los Angeles, Wild Side and Primal Scream setting the scene for the a memorable two-hour journey through their back catalogue of classic rock radio staples.
As vocalist Vince Neil prowled the stage and Mick Mars kept the riffs coming, Nickki Sixx and Tommy Lee lived up to their trademark bad-boy shtick, entertaining the crowd with a variety of antics as they moved through killer versions of Looks that Kill, On With the Show, Smokin In The Boys Room and Too Fast For Love .
Lee remains a hard-hitter and his mid-set solo, performed upside down from aboard his roller coaster drum kit, proves the night’s absolute showstopper.
It wouldn’t be a Mötley Crüe show without some skin being shown and scantily clad backing singers that accompany the band throughout bring the risqué factor. They also provide cover on high notes Neil can no longer reach. All while an endless array of pyrotechnics, fire and glitter brought a sense of bombast.
Highlighted by megahits Dr Feelgood, Shout At The Devil, Girls, Girls, Girls, Kickstart My Heart, and the full crowd sing-a-long/encore Home Sweet Home, the Final Tour sees Mötley Crüe go out with a bang.
Image: Mötley Crüe Live In Melbourne 2015 / Photo: Andrew Briscoe