The patience of Mötley Crüe fans was tested Sunday at the Sprint Center. After standing in line for more than 30 minutes to gain entry to the arena, members of the near-capacity audience stood shoulder to shoulder in concourses for another extended period before being allowed to find their seats.
An explanation from the Twitter account of AEG Live Midwest cited “the massive production load-in and set-up of tonight’s show” as the cause of the delay. An hourlong performance by opening act Alice Cooper began at 8:35 p.m., 95 minutes after the posted show time. Mötley Crüe’s two-hour outing concluded around midnight.
None of the four members of Mötley Crüe acknowledged the delay, but the metal band’s extravagant production certainly looked and sounded as if it required an inordinate amount of time to construct. Deafening explosives, blinding pyrotechnics, fireworks, a flamethrower, confetti, streamers, live video, two stages and a spectacularly mobile drum kit combined to consistently overshadow the quartet’s music.
Midway through his band’s rowdy outing, bassist Nikki Sixx asked fans to sit down as he recounted the formation of Mötley Crüe. Recalling “how much we loved punk rock and how much we loved heavy metal,” Sixx said that “Mötley Crüe was born on January 17, 1981.” A sugary brand of metal and the highly publicized debauchery of its members helped Mötley Crüe sell tens of millions of albums in the ’80s.
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The band has pledged to cease performing after 2015. The glam rockers gave fans plenty to remember on Sunday. In addition to renditions of hits like the power ballad “Without You” and the salacious rocker “Girls, Girls, Girls,” the set list included a sneering version of the Sex Pistols’ punk anthem “Anarchy in the U.K.,” and 10 minutes of electronic dance music punctuated by Tommy Lee as the drummer was slowly rotated on tracks high over the arena’s floor.
The band was glaringly ragged in spots, and vocalist Vince Neil took a few liberties with the lyrics. Yet precision was never the band’s strength. The occasionally chaotic performance was an appropriately engaging reflection of Mötley Crüe’s scandalously trashy aesthetic.
The hilariously hammy shock rocker Alice Cooper provided vaudevillian counterpoint to Mötley Crüe’s high-tech spectacle. Yet the night belonged to the headliners. If the four members of Mötley Crüe maintain their oaths, the cessation of touring will represent an uncommonly dignified act by a notoriously impertinent band.