By Chuck Cox
When the lights went down a little after 9 p.m. Wednesday at Gexa Energy Pavilion, the loudspeakers started blaring “So Long, Farewell” from the Sound of Music.
Two hours later, the lights came up and those same speakers belted out “My Way” by Frank Sinatra as the huge crowd filed out into the parking lot.
In between, one of the loudest, crudest, rudest rock and roll bands to ever disgrace the planet played Dallas for the final time.
Motley Crue said goodbye to Big D the only way it knows how — with a big, bombastic, loud and thoroughly enjoyable stop on its farewell tour. The band is committed to this really being its final go-round.
Motley will always have a special place in my heart. It’s one of those bands I’ve loved from the word go. I remember being blown away by the band’s second album, Shout at the Devil. After I went back and discovered its first album, Too Fast For Love, it was hook, line and sinker for me.
And Motley also headlined my first big arena rock show. I saw the Crue on the “Girls, Girls, Girls” Tour in 1987 with Whitesnake opening in Shreveport, La. It crossed my mind more than once on Wednesday night that it was my tenth — and quite likely — last time to see the Crue. The nostalgia meter was pegging.
The amazing thing about Motley is Vince Neil is one of the absolute worst live singers you’ll ever hear. He skips tons of words, screeches often and sounds only remotely the way he does on the band’s recordings. Guess what? It doesn’t matter. The band still puts on an incredible show, night-in and night-out.
The set list was solid, although I wish the band had maybe thrown in a few more deep cuts, rather than newer songs like set opener “Saints of Los Angeles” and “Mutherf***er of the Year.”
I thought the early tracks, like “On With the Show,” “Too Fast For Love,” “Shout at the Devil” and “Live Wire” were all highlights. I also really dug the band’s cover of the Sex Pistols’ “Anarchy in the U.K.” and, of course, “Girls, Girls, Girls.”
Bass player Nikki Sixx spent a little bit of time telling the crowd about how the band first came together, which was really cool. Drummer Tommy Lee also did his usual amazing antics, which includes a drum set that rose high above the stage on what looked like a roller coaster track and spun sideways and upside down. That guy is pretty damn fearless.
After closing the main set with “Kickstart My Heart,” the band made its way through the crowd to a small stage in the middle of the house to close the show with “Home Sweet Home.” That stage also rose up high above the crowd after a couple of minutes. Like I said, Motley doesn’t do anything small.
Neither does Alice Cooper, the “Godfather of Shock Rock,” who played for 30 minutes before Motley, yet still managed to work in his trademark snake, Frankenstein and guillotine bits. As always, Cooper was fantastic. That’s really amazing considering he is pushing 70.
Cooper obliged the crowd with all of the biggies — “No More Mister Nice Guy,” “I’m Eighteen,” “Poison,” “Welcome to My Nightmare,” and “School’s Out.” The only part of the show that sucked was it was too short. I expected he would get at least 45 minutes or an hour.
Finally, The Raskins opened the show with a very solid 30-minute set of its own. I wasn’t familiar with the band, but I was glad I caught its show — especially considering it went on 20 minutes before the announced 7 p.m. show time.
I have to admit that I’m going to miss seeing the Crue every couple of years or so. Goodbye, farewell, auf wierdersehen, amen, Motley Crue.