Mötley Crüe & Alice Cooper

Mötley Crüe & Alice Cooper

Sequinned hotpants, fishnet stockings, black bandanas sporting pentagrams, punk-spiked hair, face paint, heavily tattoed, denim and leather 20 somethings jostled with 60 year olds for position outside Perth Arena on Saturday night. They were on a mission - a mission from their heavy metals gods to see Mötley Crüe perform for the last time in Perth before their final hurrah at the Staples Centre, New Years Eve 2015.

Appropriately named the "Final Tour" the 34 year music veterans are crossing the globe to bid farewell to their devoted fans, a number of whom weren't born when Mötley Crüe were first making their infamous mark on their native USA and the world. The doors to the Arena opened and the crowd spilled through, straight into the next queue - this time the one at the bar.

The openers Amberdown, a local group making a large noise around town, won the competition to open the night and although they played to a largely deserted arena, they did everything they could to make their voices and instruments count in the 14,846 seat space. They kicked off their 25 minute set with 'Disaster', making that stage their own from the get go. They concluded their power-set with 'Miss Mediocrity', bass guitarist Jason Donoghue throwing his guitar onto the stage in true rock god style.

Mötley Crüe & Alice Cooper

Although the crowd were ostensibly there for Mötley Crüe, the buzz was that as many were there to see Alice Cooper, accompanying Mötley Crüe on their tour. Anticipation built to a crescendo when finally the curtain lifted and Alice Cooper crashed into 'Department Of Youth' - the cane-wielding, beloved godfather of shock rock appeared, his voice strong and true from the beginning, moving round the stage in his red and black (think Beetlejuice) outfit like he was indeed still eighteen.

'Billion Dollar Babies' heralded the theatrics he's so well known for as Cooper crammed notes into his sword then rained them down on the rapturous crowd. 'Poison' had every voice joining in on the chorus and on 'Dirty Diamonds' Cooper threw NOLA mardi gras type bead necklaces out over a sea of eager hands, while ace drummer Glen Sobel literally had flare-flames coming out of his drumsticks.

Mötley Crüe & Alice Cooper

However the real visual fun started with 'Welcome To My Nightmare' and with the first of a number of costume changes, a top-hatted Cooper emerged with a python coiled around his neck, smoke rolling and boiling off the stage like mist off Table Mountain. Then in keeping with his gory reputation, Cooper reappeared, wearing a white surgeon's gown daubed with multiple bloody hand prints, the music never missing a beat. 'Welcome To My Nightmare' segued into 'Feed My Frankenstein' as green smoke billowed along with more dizzying visuals of gas masks, coffin and pyrotechnic effects until finally a giant singing Frankenstein hilariously emerged.

'Ballad Of Dwight Fry' was something else with Cooper tied in a strait jacket, at the mercy of a sexy nurse (Cooper's daughter Calico) who injects him at which point Cooper (still singing) breaks out of the jacket, tries to strangle the nurse who stabs then "beheads" him with a guillotine. The guard then macabrely carries his head round the stage. The incredible stage show ended with 'School's Out', a sea of bubbles and giant balloons and a crowd very reluctant to let the maestro and his more than worthy band, go.

It was always going to be a very brave act indeed that hoped to fill the shoes Alice Cooper had just left but Mötley Crüe almost did it. The deceptively sweet (yet appropriate) strains of 'So Long Farewell' from The Sound Of Music filled the arena giving way to our first sight of the band we'd all come for. And Mötley Crüe they were - bearing all the telltale marks of decades of touring and wild partying but still standing strong.

Mötley Crüe & Alice Cooper

Beginning with 'Saints of Los Angeles', they moved through a catalogue of their greatest hits, all the while the impressive shape of the roller coaster "Cruecifly" hung over our heads along with the promise of Tommy Lee being suspended upside down, allegedly and surely impossibly still drumming up a storm.

In between, most of us were torn between being mesmerised by the bordering-on-stripper-moves of the gorgeous glittering go-go dancers and the equal glitter coming off Vince Neil's fabulously bejewelled microphone, prompting one of the other reviewers to mutter "Jeez, Vince has got more bling going for him than I do". The seated section of the arena witnessed many a fight between fans who wanted to stay seated to drink in every moment of the farewell to others who wanted to stand and dance throughout the set, effectively blocking anyone behind from doing anything but watching the action from the big screens or changing seats.

Neil's voice was occasionally very strained and thready on a few songs, bearing witness perhaps to the relentless pace of the 2 year tour or perhaps just the ravages of time while the dimly lit Tommy Lee back of stage played with all the relentless, robust vigor of a 20 year old.

Sex was always going to thread it's delicious way through the set and when it finally erupted,full-bodied, it was in the form of a busty brunette taking her bra off, the camera crews lingering long enough for everyone to take an appreciative gawk. The band loved it and the cameras continued to scan, putting not-so-subtle but humorous pressure on the next beautiful woman they focused on to do the same.

The patter from Neil was practiced, designed to keep the crowd electrified but occasionally he had to prompt hard "are you still alive out there?", "let me see those hands", "sing" and they did their best, responding in the moment but subsiding into silence in between. Notable exceptions were the full throated singing and joyous fist pumping on their cover of 'Smoking In The Boys Room' and the very catchy 'Don't Go Away...' – no prompts needed there.

Mötley Crüe & Alice Cooper

Neil recounted how their early influences were Led Zeppelin, Deep Purple and AC/DC (obligatory crowd roar) and "a creepy little guy called Alice Cooper", segueing into a question "who loves punk rock?" which heralded a great homage to the genre with a cover of the Sex Pistols’ 'Anarchy in the Uk'. The crowd roared approval particularly when several water-gun wielding, dungaree clad men emerged, spraying them with water.

The stage lights darkened while the most famous segment of Carl Orff's 'Carmina Burina' played, the lights finally dramatically lifting for the promised Lee drum solo. It was as we had been told and Lee and his entire drum kit rolled the roller coaster, way above our heads, never missing a beat even while suspended upside down. It was jaw-dropping, spectacular stuff. "Make some fucking noise....What's up fuckers" he yelled with typical humour before he rolled and tumbled his way back to the stage, seemingly into a sea of fire.

Other notable moments included a blistering, scorching guitar solo by Mick Mars, his frail body bathed in twin pools of hell-red fire spotlights. No matter that Mars is battling chronic illness, his performance on the night was flawless and heroic. Nikki Sixx too never disappointed and added visuals aside (including flames belching out of his guitar on 'Shout At The Devil') his ability to make music remains strong.

The finale included Tommy Lee whoop whooping as he kicked drumsticks out into the crowd and streamers fluttered down on upturned faces. If there was any question about an encore, doubts were laid to rest when the band came back to a much smaller stage behind the sound deck and Tommy Lee played 'Home Sweet Home' on a grand piano while the band joined in and the stage raised halfway to the roof. It lowered again and Mötley Crüe bid us farewell for the last time "We'll miss you Perth, we'll miss all of Australia, you motherfuckers".

YouTube fan footage from the Melbourne show by SeaBassVamp.
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