Mötley Crüe, Poison and the New York Dolls

Susquehanna Bank Center, Camden, NJ

by Noel Edge (July 16, 2011)

In 5 Words or Less The Susquehanna Time Machine...
Affiliation with KNEW GEN None
Genre Metal, 80's hair metal and old-school rock & roll/early punk rock
Performance & Production Susquehanna Bank Center is an excellent venue to see a show, especially when the lawn is open and the place is packed like it was Saturday night. While the outdoor amphitheater has a large capacity (about 25,000), the orchestra sections have an intimate feel to them (check out some pics here). This gig was trüly a trip back in time.

The New York Dolls opened the show. David Johansen and Sylvain Sylvain are the only original members left, but the new additions fit in well. A decent set capped off by a good rendition of "Personality Crisis". An interesting choice by Mötley Crüe for an opening act - nice!

Poison hit the stage next. It turns out that 2011 is their 25 year anniversary. It's hard to believe they've been around that long. How have they held up you ask? Of course everyone's aged and Bret Michaels has had some serious health problems in the recent past, but that did not affect their performance. Plenty of energy and a tight set that included all the hits ("Look What the Cat Dragged In", "Talk Dirty To Me", "Every Rose Has Its Thorn", "Unskinny Bop" and "Nothin' But A Good Time") as well as a couple of well-done covers ("We're an American Band" and "You're Mama Don't Dance"). The band put on an excellent show, largely due to Bret's vocal performance and showmanship, and C.C. DeVille's rippin guitar work.

It was about 9:30 when Mötley Crüe set the crowd on fire with a rendition of "Wild Side". They followed that with a steady flow of best-of-Crüe tunes like "Shout at the Devil", "Live Wire", "Home Sweet Home", "Looks that Kill" and "Dr. Feelgood".  Their performance was solid and entertaining, with lots of crowd interaction. Justin Beiber also made a guest appearance (i.e. his was the only male face to grace the video backdrop during "Girls, Girls, Girls") - hilarious! The set-stealer of the night was "Kickstart My Heart" (the closing tune) even though the sound system went out for the last half of the song, only to come back on for the final few seconds. During the PA outage, the crowd sang along with the band as they were powered only by their stage equipment. Overall, a great show!

As expected, time has taken a bit of a toll on Mötley Crüe (except Tommy Lee, who may be sipping the same drinking water as Dick Clark). While a couple of the boys have gained some weight and have a little less energy and endurance, Mick Mars' performance was noticably effected by his ailments. Even his walk looked rigid and painful. His guitar work has also suffered slightly. I give him a ton of credit for continuing to perform given all he's been through. Vince Neil is still able to hit the notes, but his lung capacity isn't quite what it used to be. That said, the band has fared well after living 30 years of the "Mötley Crüe lifestyle" (which is definitely NOT endorsed by the Surgeon General).  

I was a little disappointed with the muddy sound quality at this gig. The last show I saw at Susquehanna Bank Center was Alice in Chains and the sound was loud and much cleaner. But the stage production for both Mötley Crüe and Poison was fantastic and made up for the sub-par sound. The light show was good for Poison, but Mötley Crüe had full access to all the cans and automated fixtures. Poison made some good use of pyro and multiple backdrops. Mötley Crüe, as the headliner, took stage production to the next level. It was as good as it was back in the 80's. Dancing girls, fireworks, pyro, video backdrop and a drum kit "roller coaster"...yes, you heard me, a kit coaster. Tommy's drum kit faces the crowd, but it's mounted on a circular coaster. I've never seen a drummer do a solo upside down and doin' loops. Trüe Crüe production!!!
What Else You Should Know To put it mildly, I've never really been a fan of Poison. But after their show tonight I vowed never to make fun of the band again. When I say "band" however, I don't mean the individual members, because C.C. DeVille did something on stage that I've only seen one person do before (i.e. Lexxi Foxxx from Steel Panther (in gest of course)) and that was go over to his amp and check his hair in his hand-held beauty mirror prior to his solo (he also "baby powdered" his fingers). I literally laughed out loud. It's open season on C.C.!!!

Contact Noel at noeledge@knewgeneration.com