Thirty-five years after first tearing up the Sunset Strip, Mötley Crüe wound down its career just ten miles down the road with three shows at the Staples Center. Though all were instant sellouts, the December 31, 2015 edition was significant in that it was the both the beginning of a brand new year and also a completely fresh chapter for front man Vince Neil, guitarist Mick Mars, bassist Nikki Sixx and drummer Tommy Lee as they said farewell to the band forever.
No, Mötley Crüe was never been a critic’s band or one that garnered any major award, but more than 100 million record sales later with a full house of fans from all over the world, the core four said farewell on their own terms, and outside of the fact that they didn’t sound as strong as say 1989, they basically went out with a bang.
Even so, fans got a bonus chance to say goodbye (for real) as the concert movie “Mötley Crüe: The End” stopped by ShowPlace ICON at Roosevelt Collection and several other theatres around America. Not only did the guys sign an official “cessation of touring agreement” agreement, but as Tommy Lee mused during the documentary portion of the program, the group accomplished absolutely everything on its bucket list and it’s time to move onto other musical ventures.
Prior to doing just that, the heavy metal foursome poured their hearts into their most monstrous production to date, even if Neil’s voice wasn’t up to par with his peak and there were probably only about 90 minutes of actual performances throughout a little more than two hours of film. Nonetheless, the typically acrimonious act put all their differences aside and stormed through heavy hitters such as “Girls, Girls, Girls,” “Wild Side,” “Shout At The Devil,” “Dr. Feelgood” and “Kickstart My Heart” as flames flew, strobes blinded, confetti rained, balloons dropped and hydraulics propelled the players around every possible vantage point in the venue.
In spite of all the action, “Mötley Crüe: The End” was often derailed by the interview interruptions after every few songs, all of which were genuinely fascinating, but would’ve been better served either at the beginning or end of the program. Members were unbelievably honest in their assessments of one another and the mixed emotions surrounding the swansong, with Sixx perhaps most candidly stating “we’re not enemies, but we’re not friends.”
That unvarnished approached continued during Lee’s drum solo on a literal roller coaster that started at his traditional kit, went over the audience and looped until he was supposed to land on a b-stage (though the trip was cut embarrassingly short when the conveyer belt malfunctioned). Lesser rock stars would’ve thrown a fit (or edited it out of the final cut), but the beat keeper tossed his sticks to fans, cracked a couple jokes and climbed down the emergency exit scaffold.
A little later, everyone finally made it to that center platform by simply walking for the fitting finale “Home Sweet Home,” while the audience sang and cried like there was no tomorrow. No, Mötley Crüe was never been a critic’s band or one that garnered any major award, but more than 100 million record sales later with a full house of fans from all over the world, the core four said farewell on their own terms, and outside of the fact that they didn’t sound as strong as say 1989, they basically went out with a bang.
For additional information on Mötley Crüe, visit Motley.com.
For a list of upcoming Fathom Events screening, visit FathomEvents.com.