Wiltern Theater, Los Angeles; 12/15/98

Reviewed by R. Scott Bolton

...MOTLEY CRUE fans are some of the luckiest fans in the world. Their favorite band is still virtually the same as when they started rocking a looong time ago. Sure, some of them may be a little thicker than before and, yeah, some of their newer material doesn't really compare to some of their older classics, but this band still knows how to kick some serious rock'n'roll ass. And they proved it at this sold-out show in their home town.

With a stage set so huge and complex it looked like it belonged in a sports arena and not in the smaller, classier Wiltern Theater, the Crue hit the stage to the killer bass notes of "Dr. Feelgood," and then preceded to wind their way through virtually every song on their just released "Greatest Hits" CD (click here to see our review). "Live Wire" was a highlight, as was "Girls, Girls, Girls" and especially "Wild Side" (during which drummer Tommy Lee declared, "Nobody better try to tell Vince, Nikki, Mick and I what's wild. We've done it all!"). Lee also endeared himself to the standing, fist-pumping crowd by offering seemingly genuine gratitude and relief at being out of jail and by spraying down a dozen or so bare-breasted beauties with a fire extinguisher. "Don't make me go to San Francisco tomorrow night and tell them I didn't see any titties here," Lee said. And the crowd obliged. (With a little hired help, perhaps? We don't know for sure, but the deck certainly seemed to be should excuse the expression).

Things slowed down somewhat when the band flowed into "Home Sweet Home," a ballad that, of course, must be played during a Motley Crue show but a song that can't help but slow the pace. Things perked up a bit with "Smokin' In the Boys Room" and the evening closed with a blistering cover of the Sex Pistols "Anarchy in the U.K."

When all is said and done, we can all be thankful that Vince and the rest of the band made nice and are a single unit again. Motley Crue is only Vince, Tommy, Mick and Nikki - any other combination just doesn't work. With this lineup, Motley Crue continues to be a major force in hard rock/heavy metal - catch their show when they come to your town and see if you don't agree.

Thanks to a management snafu that left a half dozen photographers (or more) standing at the extreme left side of the auditorium, snapping photos of the band at an angle that allowed for badly-lit profiles only, we don't have any pictures of the Crue show. Hey, it's rock'n'roll. These things happen (but it sucks when you drive 60 miles to a venue and find out you don't have a ticket).

Opening act LAIDLAW is a Southern Rock quintet that owes more to the music of MOLLY HATCHET than LYNYRD SKYNYRD. They played a few songs from their previous CD release and a couple songs from their new album, due early next year. LAIDLAW played good, solid, powerful rock'n'roll with a Southern flavor and warmed up the audience nicely for the Crue.

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Copyright 1999 by R. Scott Bolton. All rights reserved.
Revised: 23 Aug 2016 22:57:15 -0400.