Mötley Crüe and Alice Cooper at Air Canada Centre

In what turned out to be an incredible night of nostalgia and hard rock, Mötley Crüe brought The Final Tour to Toronto’s Air Canada Centre. Opening the show on Saturday August 22 was none other than Alice Cooper.

Alice Cooper, one of the pioneers and innovators of theatrical rock and roll shows braced the stage and I couldn’t be happier about this.  Alice Cooper paved the way for bands such as Rob Zombie, Marilyn Manson as well as Mötley Crüe and now getting to see Alice and Crüe together was the ultimate double bill.  I had the opportunity to see Alice a couple years ago, front row in a 1700 soft-seater venue. It was small and intimate and one of the best shows I have ever seen to date.  I still have the shirt he got “blood” all over, stupid me wore white, what was I thinking? Now I am sitting in the Air Canada Centre with thousands of fans reliving my youth with a bunch of people doing the same.  When the curtain dropped the screams from the crowd were deafening beyond belief! The ACC was ready for a show and they definitely got one.  Alice Cooper came out and opened his set with The Black Widow and the crowd couldn’t be more pleased.

During the song Dirty Diamonds we were entertained with one kick ass drum solo by Glen Sobel and wow can he play, a screaming guitar solo followed this. The PA system at the ACC was definitely getting a work out this evening. The crowd was on their feet and eating every second of it up.

Starting in the 70’s up to today, I can say Alice Cooper has not lost his touch. I have to give him full props for being an incredible showman, as he knows how to work the crowd and at the young age of 67 this can not be over looked.  

During Feed My Frankenstein, and to be honest the whole show not just that song, the theatrics involved were incredible; monsters, blood, straight jackets and then moving onto a guillotine, which in turn chops off Alice’s head. What more can you ask for? Cooper’s band is, and always will be the original shock rockers. You get your moneys worth when you see an Alice Cooper show, he doesn’t skimp and/or hold back, he leaves it all on the stage every night and you can’t ask for anything more.  Some of the younger generation bands should take note! 

The audience went completely bonkers during Schools Out, I remember back in the day this song was played thru the PA system the very last day of school, this brings back memories for me.  

Alice Cooper, in my eyes will always be the ultimate showman, with every move, swagger, and gesture on stage he believes it and in turn makes you believe it.

Now on to Mötley Crüe, a band I have seen multiple times. They don’t ever disappoint, but seeing them for this last time has significance to me.  I will get on to how the show was, but there is something that I feel is very important to talk about, Mick Mars.  You may or may not know he has a disease called Ankylosing Spondylitis, or A.S. for short.  If you think it is hard to pronounce try living with it.  Now I am not going to bore you with all the medical terminology and what it means because honestly I don’t know what half of it is and I have this disease as well.  

What I will tell you is that it is very debilitating and painful.  What else I can tell you is that A.S. is an autoimmune disease, where the body’s immune system becomes confused and attacks your body.  Mostly the joints in the spine are the targets of the immune attack.  It can also affect your stomach and bowels.  

You may or may not have noticed in videos and pictures that Mick Mars is hunched over and is very stiff, which are some conditions of A.S. It also can affect all the other joints in your body including your fingers. Now think about it, how does Mick Mars continue to play guitar night after night if his fingers are giving him issues? After standing for one song to shoot and four to watch, I had to sit down as it was too much for me, but to watch Mick Mars on stage was inspiring. I will one day meet my idol, hopefully sooner rather than later.  He is tough to catch for photo ops, and never mind sitting to talk with him about his life. But us A.S. Warriors are tough cookies and Mick in my eyes is the toughest one out there.  My editor Sean encouraged me to write about A.S., and I want to thank him for this. There is no cure and the more people are aware, the better it is.  I feel a sense of kinship with Mick even though he has no idea who I am.  Now on with the show.

If you are looking for a show with pyro, fire, concussion cannons, confetti cannons and a ton of lights you have come to the right place! Motley Crüe performed at the Air Canada Centre to an almost sold out crowd on Saturday night in Toronto and they didn’t fail to disappoint.  They brought their “A” game and the crowd ate every second of it up.  I saw the Dr. Feelgood tour in 1989 at the Skydome (ok, so I am aging myself a bit) and what I remember from it was how much fire and pyro there was. Now almost 2 decades later Motley Crüe has not scaled back one bit.  I had to laugh a bit at their intro, this being Motley Crue’s farewell tour, as they played So Long, Farewell by Rodgers and Hammerstien, at a rock show? Ok why not.

Motley Crüe did not leave much out of their set list, as they played quite a few of their most notable songs. They kicked off the night with Girls, Girls, Girls and I was very happy that my favourite Motley Crüe song made the cut, Live Wire. When they played Don’t Go Away Mad, Just Go Away the whole crowd sang in harmony with the chorus, amidst the screams. To be honest this did not stop the crowd during the next song, Smoking In The Boys Room a crowd favourite, singing the chorus with all their hearts. Vince Neil of course encouraged this, and who wouldn’t want to hear and arena full of people singing your songs. It never stopped one song after another the crowd screamed and sung the lyrics. 

Nikki Sixx told us a story as he sat on the edge of the stage and talked about stealing a pocketknife from his dad. He explained how day in and day out he would steal it off the counter.  Then one day he went to steal it again, and there was a pocketknife on the counter it some how “showed” up just for him.  He explained to the crowd that if you want something bad enough you could get it.  Nikki told the crowd that they played in Toronto for very first time back in June of 1984 and said “without you, there is no Motley Crüe, you guys are Motley Crüe”  

Mr. Tommy Lee, what else can I say but that he is the ultimate rock and roll bad boy.  He is every girl’s dream and every father’s nightmare. He was high above the rafters strapped in to a drum kit on a roller coaster.  Tommy played and rode this roller coaster all the way from the stage to the middle of the crowd and back again. I’m not quite sure how he plays the drums upside down with out getting a little vertigo. Not for the faint of heart let me tell you, because you wouldn’t catch me up there.  Tommy played for what seemed quite a while, as this wasn’t a fast roller coaster by any means. Tommy’s drum solo consisted of songs by Bruno Mars all the way to the Beastie Boys and back. 

Of course what is a Mötley Crüe show without some scantily clad women dancing their little butts off in the background. I found this to be a little distracting at times.  I think I would have preferred to see the girls during the song Girls, Girls, Girls, and then had them come out once more as another feature. But to have them on stage the whole time I feel they didn’t add anything to the performance, and I would have rather had them as a quick feature in one or two songs.

Vince Neil was running from one end of the stage to the other and I am quite curious as to what kind of sugar or caffeine diet he is on. The energy he produced Saturday night is something I wish we could bottle up as it could make millions.  Vince is a front man, no ifs, ands, or buts about it.  Interacting with the crowd and he looked like he was having a great time up there, and at one point during the night he told the crowd he loved Toronto, which of course got a great response. Once again I have to thank the crew, because without them there is no show.

Home Sweet Home to me is probably one their most notable songs, and they saved that one for their encore. Mötley Crüe walked through the crowd to get to the middle of the arena where there was a satellite stage behind the front of house.  As they started, the stage rose to the rafters of the Air Canada Centre for the whole entire arena to see them. I have to admit it was a pretty cool sight to see. All four of them for one last time in the ACC singing Home Sweet Home, the crowd waving their cell phones lit up the place. We will miss Mötley Crüe. Thank you for the memories.

Thanks to Live Nation Ontario for media access.

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