By Chuck Cox
As I’ve told you guys before, I’m a big Motley Crue fan. It’s a band that I grew up with in the 1980s. And it’s also the band that headlined the first really big rock show I ever saw, back in 1987, in Shreveport, La. So, the Crue will naturally always have a special place in my heart.
I remember hearing the band was playing a show at the Choctaw Casino Event Center, in Durant, Okla., but it honestly kind of slipped through the cracks for me. That was until my buddy Stuart, who goes to more shows than I do (no, seriously), texted me on Thursday morning and mentioned he was going to the gig that night. I checked to see if there were any tickets left. Sure enough, there were a handful remaining in the back of the venue.
So, I grabbed one and headed up north that afternoon to meet Stu, who lives in Sherman, to see one of my favorite bands in a very different environment. Another interesting aspect of the concert, for me, was I had not yet been to a show at Choctaw, although I have been to numerous concerts at WinStar.
The room was much different from the one at WinStar, which is essentially a big ballroom. Choctaw looks more like a traditional arena, with installed seats on the sides and in the back, along with several video screens, and even a small food court. It’s also interesting to note the hall is not actually in the casino — it’s across the street. Between the two, WinStar does get the edge on sound. The entire show sounded muffled from where I was sitting. That was kind of a bummer, but I wouldn’t really say it prevented me from enjoying the show. And what a different kind of Motley Crue show it was.
After Eddie Trunk from That Metal Show came out and said a few words about the band before the show, the Crue hit the stage at 8 p.m. sharp. Unlike every other Motley show I have ever been to, there was not much banter from the band. Drummer Tommy Lee normally has several minutes in front of the crowd by himself, along with his usual drum solo. Not on Thursday night. There were also no pyrotechnics, which I’m absolutely sure has never happened at a Motley show I’ve seen. In a lot of ways, it really didn’t feel like a Crue show. And the only solo was from guitarist Mick Mars during the short encore, which was fine with me. I think the idea of two or three long solos at a metal show has become antiquated.
That’s not to say there weren’t some cool things about the concert. I really liked the set list, which started with “Red Hot.” The band stuck very close to the greatest hits while playing 17 songs in 90 minutes. But it had been a while since I heard Motley play “Red Hot” and “Louder Than Hell.” Pretty solid. And I saw some younger fans who were really into the show, which is always pretty neat to see with an old-school band I’ve followed a long time.
Thursday’s show was one of three in Oklahoma this week, leading up to the band’s 12-night residency at the Hard Rock in Vegas. I could have never imagined back in the 1980s that Motley Crue would be playing Durant and Miami, Okla., one day and Vegas the next. But that’s the world we live in. I think this is the first time I’ve ever seen what amounts to a legitimate warm-up show, and it was pretty fascinating. It’s definitely a Crue show — my ninth — that I won’t forget.
I’ve got Mumford and Sons next Wednesday and Depeche Mode next Friday, so come on back to “The Front Row.”