By Marissa Baecker
The last time a Crue tour came roaring my way, I was given the assignment to photograph them. After seeing the show element of their Carnival Tour, I certainly wasn’t going to miss the next opportunity for the photo assignment as they announced the opening of their Canadian tour about an hour from my hometown.
As they band would be opening their tour in Penticton, B.C., they would be in town for at least three days. To extend some hospitality of the motorcycle kind, I offered to take any of the members of the band riding while they were in the Okanagan. Jeff Vanderzalm of Kreater West Motorcycles agreed to hook them up with bikes and world renowned custom bike builder, Roger Goldammer extended an offer to drop by his shop as well. No time for the band and they declined the invitation.
Maybe they knew I was not a huge Crue fan (they are a little raunchy and drop the f-bomb a bit too much for my liking) but their showmanship is pretty impressive.
The band entered the arena, to the delight of their fans, at the back of the floor. They made a parade criss-crossing through the floor audience, with stilt walkers, beautiful girls and heavy security high-fiving fans all the way to stage front.
They opened the show with Saints of Los Angles – fitting for their roots and their overly patriotic attire detailed with Americana. During the shows opener, two gals performed from silks over the drum kit of Tommy Lee. They performed acrobatic maneuvers gracefully as though floating, then by song’s end, had wrapped themselves up like mummies at the top of the lighting only to fall completely to the stage as the silks unraveled and spit them out to their feet. Truly amazing to watch in a heavy rock setting.
Photography access was restricted to the sound board this time around as opposed to stage front. Either they don’t care about the publicity or they are self conscious about their appearance because, just like their aging fans, they have put on a bit of weight. So what? To me, that makes them more relateable. Even rock stars have to battle the bulge as they age – even more so now that they don’t do drugs and actually eat. Even band lead Vince Neil acknowledged the demographic of their fans by asking “How many old mother f–krs are here tonight?” to which 5,000 of the some 6,000 fans raised their fists.
As they performed a bit of a medley of Wildside and Shout, you could see the outlines of the stage that brought the band members as close to every part of their audience as they could get without being grabbed.
The show continued full steam ahead with several numbers I didn’t know and a couple I did. About mid-way, the band left the stage for a break but Tommy Lee kept on drumming. As he performed an extensive drum solo, his whole kit, with him still playing, began to circle the metal track around him. At one point, he stopped completely upside down, and still playing like a mad man. Naturally, the audience ate it up. When the kit came back down to stage level, Tommy got up, walked over to the front row and asked “Which one of you crazy mother-f**krs wants to go for a ride?” One crazy fan – Trevor – came running up on stage, was strapped into a harness by security and belted behind Tommy Lee and the drum solo continued, as the kit once again began spinning and two sets of hands where hanging in the air.
After the wild drum show, the band re-emerged but at a noticeably slower pace than before the break. Three more songs before I recognized Dr. Feelgood and it appeared that Neil was having a mic trouble.
At the start of Girls Girls Girls, Neil got the entire audience mocking riding motorcycles as they all revved their right wrists in the air and the motorcycle sound began to play over the speakers. Right after that, Mick Marrs did a mini-guitar solo and right into the chords of Kickstart my Heart – one of my hockey game favourites. This would be song that would close out the show but not before Sixx would spit beer on the audience and then (although I missed this part as I was in the elevator down from the suite), the band apparently threw buckets of red paint on the audience before making a run for the tour buses and not returning. No encore despite the crowds best attempts at coaching them back to the stage.
Checkout my gallery of images from the first three songs.
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