TVD Live: Mötley Crüe and KISS, Mandalay Bay, Las Vegas, 8/11

The last time that KISS and Mötley Crüe toured together was in 1982. Back then it was under completely different circumstances. KISS were the biggest band on the planet and the Crüe were just getting started. Little did anyone know that these two would tour together again and put on a show so spectacular that it  would simply be known as “The Tour.”

Thirty years since their eponymous debut album, the bad boys of rock n roll returned to Sin City for what is arguably their biggest and best tour ever. Sharing the stage with KISS in full make-up has never been an easy, but Mötley Crüe are up for the task, and they delivered big time.

The band has released a new single called “Sex” that was inspired by their residency in Vegas earlier this year at the Hard Rock Hotel’s onsite venue The Joint. Also in the works is a major motion picture based on the critically acclaimed novel based on the band’s career and over the top escapes with girls, drugs, platinum albums, and various ups and downs along the way.

The Crüe came out guns a’ blazing to the sold out Mandalay Bay crowd with “Saints of Los Angeles” from their 2008 and last studio album of the same title. Next up was the Girls Girls Girls classic “Wildside” and immediately into “Shout at the Devil.”

The stage looked like a cross between post-apocalyptic Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome with a dash of Robocop industrial styling. The band looked in top form. Vince’s voice was stellar, hitting every note from the fan favorites including a blistering version of “Live Wire” which would be the only track from Too Fast for Love, a personal favorite of mine.

Nikki and Tommy took turns rousing up the Vegas audience. Tommy came out on stage and orchestrated a stunning version of “Home Sweet Home” before returning to his drum kit for a mind-blowing solo riding on the famed “Tommy Coaster.”

Tommy’s drum kit was tied to a looping roller coaster where he sat strapped in, and laid down a solid groove stopping only momentarily to announce that there’s an open seat on the coaster and strapping in one lucky fan for the ride of a lifetime.

The rest of the set included “Don’t Go Away Mad,” “Kickstart My Heart, ” “Dr. Feelgood,” and an heavy as hell version of “Primal Scream.”

The bottom line: Mötley Crüe could be the best touring hard rock band around right now in my opinion. I have seen the Crüe many times before, but I cannot remember them sounding better and delivering exactly what the fans were craving.

They have crafted the perfect equation for a rock ‘n roll show: lasers, fire, theatrics, hot girls, and one hell of a powerful setlist that is absolutely unmatched in todays touring market. It’s remarkable how they can give you a sense of the band’s brilliant 30 year career in only 90 minutes.

What can be said about KISS that has not already been said before? These guys never disappoint. Although I am a bit more of a Crüe fan myself, I have always celebrated KISS’s entire catalog.

Being in the photo pit for a KISS show is so much different than any other show I have seen. Gene and Paul really enjoy the photographers and actually take time to acknowledge each one. It’s an incredible feeling to have Gene Simmons point directly at you and unleash the world’s longest tongue for what is sure to be the best photo of your career. It was a remarkable experience.

This was not just a concert, it was a show. The Demon flew up to the top of the stage, spat blood, and delivered all of the antics that scared the shit out of me as a kid. Paul flew majestically on a zip line to the center of the arena and got intimate with the fans. It was KISS at their finest.

The set was full of fan favorites including “Shock Me,”“Shout it Out Loud,”“Detroit Rock City,”and even some more obscure songs including “War Machine.” They even touched on their 80s prime with a spectacular performance of “Lick It Up.” The encore incredible as well as they finished off the night with “Duece” and “Rock N Roll All Night.”

This could be the best show I have ever seen in my life. If you have the chance to see this tour you have to do so. It is a once in a lifetime experience and one that you will be talking about for a very long time.

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