Last Night: Mötley Crüe, Poison and The New York Dolls at Gexa Energy Pavilion

Mötley Crüe, Poison, New York Dolls
Gexa Energy Pavilion
June 7, 2011

Better than:
sitting on your couch watching the Mavs win. Sure, the game was dramatic, but not as dramatic as Tommy Lee's drum rig.

motley-crue-poison-new-york-dolls-at-gexa-energy-pavilion.6521932.87.jpg
Alex Scott
Tommy Lee's drum kit was quite literally on fire last night. For more pictures from the concert, check the slideshow.

Let's begin this review by addressing the elephant in the room directly: All the bands on last night's bill featuring Mötley Crüe, Poison and the New York Dolls are old. They built their reputation around being a voice for the hedonistic wayward youth of the late '70s through the late '80s, and these bands lived as hard as they played.

These days, it shows. And it's not always pretty.

But that's completely beside the point. The fans who sold out the Gexa Energy Pavilion last night for the kickoff of this summer tour showed up looking, as Poison might say, for nothin' but a good time, and the bands on the bill made sure that happened in spite of their own shortcomings.

Prototypical punks New York Dolls opened, taking the stage as the sun set. The Dolls are famously unsung heroes in the music world, and this was made painfully obvious by the apathetic reaction of the crowd.

Their first few songs were plagued by sound issues, but when David Johansen and Co. launched into the blistering rocker "Dance like a Monkey," they hit their stride, delivering a solid set that mixed old-school classics with fabulously catchy tunes off the three critically acclaimed albums they've released since reuniting in 2005.

Johansen's Jagger-style strutting and preening, combined with an endearingly snotty disregard for the attitude of the crowd, made it obvious why he is revered as one of the architects of modern rock 'n' roll.

Unfortunately, this was lost on the Gexa crowd, who were there to see Poison and the Crüe.

The crowd began truly flocking into the amphitheater when Poison took the stage. Critically analyzing Poison is an exercise in futility. Poison is what it is. They have steadfastly refused to evolve as a band, which may be a good thing considering what tends to happen when hair metal acts attempt to raise the bar (see: Rose, Axl). They stick to what they're good at, which is playing fun party music, and the audience ate it up, screaming every word of "Talk Dirty To Me" along with Michaels, as tufts of flame burst from the pyro machines at the back of the stage.

Poison aren't the most charismatic live act, but they can sure get the crowd going with minimal effort. Every time Michaels told the crowd to put their hands up, he was met with a sea of outstretched arms as far as the eye could see.

When the headlining Mötley Crüe took the stage, they arrived wiith a literal bang -- shockingly loud fireworks burst as a curtain pulled away to reveal a monstrous stage set.

The past 15 years have found the aging Crüe relying more and more on their stage set to mask the sloppiness of their live playing, and last night was no exception. Singer Vince Neil was a complete mess, forgetting lyrics left and right and getting so out of breath that he even stumbled over the lines he did remember. Nikki Sixx looked like he was going through the motions.

Meanwhile, Tommy Lee, far and away the most talented member of the Crüe, has always had drum rigs that are the stuff of legend, and, on this tour, his kit attaches to a giant circular structure at the back of the stage. When Tommy's strapped into this thing, the whole kit goes up in the air and upside down before descending on the other side. The drum rig, pyro, backup dancers, and costume changes are a complicated act to pull off, and the Crüe took long breaks between songs to adjust everything, which threw off the pacing of the set.

In their defense, though, had they eased up on the gimmicks (which also included Neil at one point donning a Dirk Nowitzki jersey, and the band copvering Cee-Lo's "Fuck You" at another) and just played, their shortcomings -- especially Vince's -- would have been more glaringly obvious.

But it was still a fun show. Really. If you think about it, these bands, with the exception, maybe, of the Dolls, were never about the music.

On this night, the audience itself was the real entertainment, screaming constantly throughout the Poison and Crüe sets and amping up the energy in the ampitheater to the point where it was impossible not to throw the horns and shout at the devil right along with them.

Who cares if Vince remembers the lyrics? The fans remember them for him, and sang along with every word. These bands realize that it is all about their fans, and they are there to give the fans what they want.

Critic's Notebook
Personal Bias:
I am a huge Crüe-head, so putting on the critic's hat during this show wasn't easy. I'm firmly of the belief that a show can be good if you don't pay attention to how much the band sucks (see: 90 percent of punk bands). I did have an absolute blast, though, and was shouting and screaming along with the Crüe in between note-taking.

By The Way: If you ever get a chance to check out the New York Dolls in a smaller setting, do so. Their set would've been greatly enhanced if performed someplace like the Granada, which is where the Dolls played (to a much more receptive audience) the last time they came to town.

Random Note: To the lady who walked past us during the Dolls set: There must be a story behind your faded "Theater of Pain" tattoo. I was intrigued, and also happy that you had an occasion on which to show it off and have it appreciated for what it is.

Location Info

Map

Gexa Energy Pavilion

1818 First Ave., Dallas, TX

Category: Music


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24 comments
hair band wholesale
hair band wholesale

Hair provides the great look and personality to the girls and women. If they use hair accessories such as hair band and hair clips then they look so pretty and beautiful.

Mr. David
Mr. David

" . . . and the band copvering Cee-Lo's "Fuck You" at another) . . ."Makes me giggle that a piece about a sloppy performance would include this sloppy editing.  What is "copvering"?

Jokermtb
Jokermtb

 I'm not surprised most didn't "get into" the Dolls.......Still, for the true fans of the NYDs, it had to have been a most tasty treat.

Alexis
Alexis

Sad that the fans didn't respond to the Dolls. Hell, they were one of the chief proponents of glam in their day, and Crue and Poison and every other hair metal band owe them a debt of gratitude. -Alexis

just sayin'
just sayin'

Vince Neil's fat ass has been skipping half the lyrics for years. The funniest thing about the Crue is how Nikki actually thinks that they are any more relevant than Poison. They both started out painted up like girls and transitioned into motorcycles and cowboy hats. And I would wager that nobody in the crowd was singing along to any of their newer stuff.  I still like "Don't Go Away Mad", though.

dingusmcg
dingusmcg

Maybe we were at the same show. Maybe you're experience was better than mine. Certainly I would've enjoyed it more had the friggin Aryan brotherhood drunken idiot burnout brothers decided to practice turning the knob at their Tilt-a-Whirl jobs last nite instead of wasting oxygen, spilling beer, and stepping all over me. Fortunately, for the rest of us in Section 202, they got their dumb asses cuffed & tossed between the Poison & Crue sets. Notwithstanding that, which is not the fault of any of the bands...well, Bret Michaels is a great showman. He knows what his audience wants & goes out of his way (unless it involves removing the bandana) to deliver. As you say, they are what they are. If you like their product, it has been remarkably consistent for 25 years, If you hate them, they've remained remarkably consistent over the last quarter century.Crue...hmmm.  Well, it was quite the spactacle. But if I'm gonna shell out $95 for my non-media seats at a metal show, I'd really appreciate a singer who doesn't require an oxygen tank and a Tele-e-Prompter. Seriously, Vince, mix in a salad and a couple minutes on the treadmill every now & then. Nikki was great. You gotta respect a guy who has been declared dead, comes back to life, then goes home to shoot more junk. Rock on, Frank. Yes, the set list was a Crue fan's wet dream, but overall - with the roller coaster drum set and the burlesque dancers (with flame throwers, no less) - I couldn't help it was much more flash than substance.Who am I kidding? That's what Motley Crue has been about for 30 years, isn't it?  Feelgood, indeed.

JR JR 2011
JR JR 2011

Vince forgetting lyrics is like a newspaper "writer" forgetting how to spell or structure a sentence. Seriously, in your collegiate music criticism class was there an actual unit that instructed you that all reviews of 80's rock bands must include put-downs of the musical ability. You are such a caricature, it's pathetic.

GAA
GAA

Good show.  Lots of energy from the crowd.

Nicholas Cobraetti
Nicholas Cobraetti

GnR were never a "hair metal" band, which is what set them apart from bands like Crue, Poison, etc. (see: Reviewer, Ignorant)

Rocker
Rocker

I agree with the review, Vince had a hard time hitting all the notes and he definitley stumbled on lyrics. That crowd was more amusing than anything. I thought WOW I left this party 25 years ago and several of these people never left. It was wild and I loved every minute.

Cliftondugas
Cliftondugas

with all due respect, I disagree on your characterization of Motley's performance.  Having seen them at least 10 times, I found this to be one of their most energetic performances in the last 8 years.  Vince actually looked happy to be there for a change, and while his singing always leaves a little to be desired, I found last night that he wasn't as lazy vocally as he normally is.  I think this was one of their best performances I've seen in quite some time, and this is coming from a Crue lifer.  GREAT show.

Laura
Laura

Which is why they're on the tour.  Nikki's a huge Dolls fan.  I am a huge Alexis fan - miss you much!

Laura
Laura

You'd be surprised - the one new song they did, "Saints of Los Angeles", had everyone singing along.  The friend I went to the show with has seen the Crue like 20 times, starting in the early eighties; he says they've always been like this, the only difference was that in the eighties they were so effed up that it was excusable.  I have the '83 US festival performance on my computer at home, and my friend is right, they moved around onstage more in the eighties, but Vince was messing up the lyrics back then, too.  They went over because they looked like "Road Warrior" and their songs were good ("Too Fast" and "Shout" are both great albums).  People don't love the Crue because they are relevant; they're only relevant because people love the Crue.

Laura
Laura

heh heh.  you said "unit".

Iceberg
Iceberg

i see you took hate 101 in college.  looks like you did well.

Laura
Laura

I've heard the same argument used for every hair band out there except Poison.  I've heard Crue fans go off on me for calling the Crue a hair band, and they're some of the original ozone depleters. GNR played '80s L.A. sleaze rock just like all the other hair bands; the only thing that set them apart was that GNR were more talented.  Why is "hair metal" such a taboo term?  It doesn't automatically mean "bad music", which is what lots of fans associate it with.

Laura
Laura

The Crue may have sucked less than they have in the past, but saying that is like when Starbucks has those "reduced fat" muffins that contain a billion calories, but they're "reduced" from the two billion calories of the non-reduced fat muffins.  and that's coming from a fellow Crue lifer; in writing this, I had to turn one of my personal sacred cows into cheeseburrgers.  agreed: great show.

Guest
Guest

Well, yeah, but GNR was also a little deeper in their song subject, weren't they? Hair bands were mostly about "Party! Party! Party!", while GNR examined some of the darker aspects of life. There's a difference between "Mr. Brownstone" and "Nothing But a Good Time". 

Iceberg
Iceberg

fyi - i mean original OP lobbing out insults, not you laura...  :)

Iceberg
Iceberg

intesesting discussion. wish we could dive into these things w/o having to insult another opinion, however. "hair band" on it's own is just that. "hair band". you couldn't swing a dead cat in the '80s without hitting a "hair band" as the term has really generacized into bands who have long curly hair that hides 30% or more of their body really. people tend to look at a single lable as being all defining and inclusive and it just doesn't work that way. it's merely a starting point to the next step. trying to reserve a specific term for how you and only you feel about it is like the gay community getting mad people now call things gay that feel is "stupid". in the 1920s an artist coined "gay 90s" and i'm pretty sure the word meant something different than it does today, so i see no reason to stop a word form evolvoing or changing over time to save it to our own memories/experiences. so when someone uses a term in a manner you're not familiar or in agreement with, you could always go learn and broaden your own perspective. or you can go (see: Reviewer Ignorant) and feel happy with yourself.

Laura
Laura

You are correct - "Appetite" was all about the dark side of the Sunset Strip.  The subject matter covered by GNR and Poison are flip sides of the same coin.  They all went to the same party and came out with different reactions.  But, in the end, it is the same party.

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