Wednesday, September 19, 2012
Kiss, Crüe rock a rain-soaked Montage Mountain
By Josh McAuliffe (Staff Writer)
Kiss and Motley Crüe, sharing the same stage.
Can you say sensory overload?
The glam metal icons brought their co-headlining tour to a rain-drenched Toyota Pavilion at Montage Mountain on Tuesday night, putting a bombastic exclamation point on the 2012 summer concert season.
The weather no doubt kept some people at home, but the thousands who turned out were treated to a double bill of nonstop bells and whistles - with some pretty decent music thrown in for good measure.
The Crüe was first, arriving at 7:45 p.m. to a stage adorned with huge video monitors, pyromania, a menagerie of scantily clad dancing women and a mini roller coaster (more on that later).
They opened their 80-minute set with "The Saints of Los Angeles," which might be one of the most ironically titled songs in rock history, considering the band's debauchery-laden past.
Next was the driving "Wild Side," then the decibel-shattering "Shout at the Devil." Lead singer Vince Neil's voice doesn't quite have the punch it once did, but it's still got a nice whine to it.
His bandmates played loud and well. Bassist Nikki Sixx, resembling a character from "Mad Max" with his painted face and imposing height, laid out one big churning groove after another. Elfin goth guitarist Mick Mars had several good solos, particularly on "Same Ol' Situation."
And then there was the irrepressible Tommy Lee, who, as always, took his drum kit for a nifty ride around the aforementioned Tommy coaster. It's not every day you get to see someone drum while airborne and upside down. One lucky (is that the word?) audience member got to take a ride with him.
Other highlights included "Dr. Feelgood" and the power ballad "Home Sweet Home," which found Mr. Lee briefly leaving his kit to play piano. The grand finale, "Kickstart My Heart," was the ultimate show stopper, a barrage of smoke, fire, laser lights and guys in red jumpsuits and masks spraying water on the crowd.
Tough act to follow, indeed, but the audience wanted the best, and they got it at 9:40 p.m. when the face-painted godfathers of glam metal took over amid a flurry of pyrotechnics.
Kiss put on a clinic for their appreciative army, opening with the thunderous power chords of "Detroit Rock City," followed by the catchy power pop of "Shout It Out Loud."
The maniacal Gene Simmons brought the noise on "I Love It Loud," and Paul Stanley bantered with the crowd incessantly. Lead guitarist Tommy Thayer and drummer Eric Singer were solid and left the showmanship to their famous bandmates.
It was an exuberantly entertaining spectacle, and expertly choreographed, from Mr. Simmons' patented fire breathing and blood spewing to Mr. Stanley flying out into the middle of the audience to perform "Love Gun."
Mr. Simmons and Mr. Stanley have several years on their tour mates, but the Crüe could learn a thing or two from their elders.