@Newcastle Metro Radio Arena, November 2 2015
The warning was there for all to see: All Bad Things Must Come To An End.
At least Motley Crue peppered their farewell tour posters with an honest appraisal of what the masses might come to expect from their final Newcastle show. But it wasn’t all bad.
In fact some of it – the spectacular light show, the rollercoaster drum kit with typically ambitious Tommy Lee solo and the songs that bookended a bombastic show – was quite good.
Those familiar with Crue and their four-decade stay at hard rock’s top table didn’t expect a band strong on style but short on substance to arrive on Tyneside transformed.
Nobody turned up dreaming of a faultless, note perfect, ultra-professional take on an occasionally ropey back catalogue rooted in 80s sleaze. This was supposed to be a supercharged send-off, a fun farewell and a grandiose party built on daft choruses and even dafter posturing.
In that respect it ticked all of the boxes and more.
Vince Neil stayed the course by relying heavily on his band mates, backing singers and the crowd to supplement some of the squeakiest vocals in rock. Nikki Sixx played his part as the energised focal point on stage, Mick Mars impressed until a laborious guitar solo temporarily killed the mood and Lee, as is his wont, carried the show (albeit often shrouded in darkness).
A bold one-two of Girls, Girls, Girls and Wild Side set a pugnacious tone and, for a few minutes at least, hopes were raised that this would be the ‘special’ show fans had been waiting for.
But even by the time Smokin In The Boys Room was brought to an abrupt halt the cracks were beginning to appear.
It wasn’t long before Lee stepped in to save the day – ferociously beating his skins as he sat suspended from a stunning contraption that stretched from the stage to the middle of the arena. Fusing everything from Beastie Boys to Mark Ronson, it was a spectacle almost worth the admission money alone.
Home Sweet Home called time on this last ever (the contract has been signed to confirm there’s no way back) Newcastle show and the relief was palpable both on stage and off it.
But if the Crue are retiring their unique brand of party rock then Alice Cooper simply refuses to bow down gracefully. Thank goodness.
The godfather of shock rock was always a brave choice as ‘support’ and a hit-laden romp through the ages set the bar impossibly high. If a 50-minute set left fans wanting more it simply reinforced the old adage that form may be temporary but class is permanent.
Cooper has class in spades and continues to dig deep in the face of advancing years (and multiple beheadings).