Live: Entertainment Or Death

Motley Crue

Motley / Beyond Records, 1999

REVIEW BY: Paul Hanson


Motley Crue, like Kiss, is making a fortune on their previously released songs. Name a song from each of these band's most recent releases and you have to think. Name a song that you hear on the radio and "Rock And Roll All Night" comes to mind for Kiss and "Kickstart My Heart" comes to mind for the Cruesters.

So it is not very surprising that on this, their first live two-CD set, the band encapsules songs we've all heard on CD, if we've bought their albums, or heard in concert if we've been (un)fortunate enough to see the band live. I've seen the band twice in concert and, despite all the Circus magazine polls the band has won as "Best Live Band," I must have been seeing and hearing the Crue's pale imitation of themselves: I walked out of both concerts unimpressed.

On CD, with the wonders of mixing audience levels and tweaking EQ knobs, the band sounds decent, but barely and not without some major problems. First, Vince Neil cannot sing fast. He tries hard, I'll give him that, but his vocals on "Shout At The Devil" are sloppy. His voice gets softer on "Public Enemy #1" when he sings out of breath. Likewise, when he has to string together lyrics in the anthem "Wild Side." Some classical training in breathing while singing might help.my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

Neil's between song babble is limited to getting the crowd to shout "Fuck yeah!" when he proclaims, "I've been screaming my ass off all night tonight. Are you ready to do some screaming Tuscon?" Equally amatuerish is his intro to "Public Enemy #1." Neil rambles that some people came up to him and said, "Motley Crue, you people are pretty bad. You tear 'em up. I said, 'Hey, you should see our fuckin' audience.'"

Third, the choice of songs has to be questioned. The band includes no material newer than the 1991 release Dr. Feelgood. This is strikingly curious why such stellar tracks as "Afraid" and "Hooligan's Holiday" (both included on their recent Greatest Hits release) are missing.

Instead, we get the God-awful cliche filth that is "Merry Go Round," one of their weakest songs along with the equally moronic "Starry Eyes." Why this CD wasn't released eight years earlier is a question I can't answer since the band seems to forget they've released music in-between.

When the band is in the middle of their songs, though, is when the real magic of this set comes out. The tight stops and starts of "Live Wire" and the outrageous bass groove throbbings of "Dr. Feelgood" are definite high points. "Kickstart My Heart" is as suitable of a closer as opener "Looks That Kill" is a disc opener. Guitarist Mick Mars constructs solid feelgood riffs and bassist Nikki Sixx supports him with rumblings.

Overrated drum beater Tommy Lee has some strong points early in the CD but eventually gets mired down by his own style. Hearing the same basic rock pattern, played at different speeds, does NOT make him a good drummer. His intro to "Live Wire" and performance on "Shout At The Devil" provide some real glimpses into why people might believe he is a drumming God, but his performance on "Girls, Girls, Girls" and "Starry Eyes" quickly negate those high points.

In the end, though, this is a collection where the negatives outweigh the positives. There is nothing new or "collectible" here except live versions of songs you've probably heard before. There's no "hidden" cover song or anything fans of bands have come to expect.

There's no "fun" here. While I wasn't impressed with the Crue's music in concert, it was still a "fun" show. That doesn't translate to anything here except for some vulgarity and cliche-driven "Let's go!" types of shouts in-between songs. Spare me, please.

Rating: D-

User Rating: Not Yet Rated



© 2000 Paul Hanson and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of Motley / Beyond Records, and is used for informational purposes only.