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Review: KISS and Motley Crue, Blossom Music Center (9/12/12)

     “The Tour” rolled into Blossom Music Center in Cuyahoga Falls, OH on 9/12/12, with living legends KISS & Mötley Crüe on the bill. For many rock fans, this is a perfect pairing of bands. For me personally, being a lifelong, die-hard KISS fan, having Mötley on the bill was just a killer bonus. By the end of the night, things took a bit of an unexpected turn.

     Mötley Crüe’s stage entrance was easily one of the best entrances I have ever witnessed. The whole entourage, band, dancers, etc., made a slow “procession” to the stage right through the crowd. There were Mötley flags and banners being waved, swinging incense burners, and female dancers hoisted up on the shoulders of the male members of the group. Once everyone made it up to the stage, the sonic and visual assault began with a blistering version of “Saints Of Los Angeles.” Singer Vince Neil appeared to have suffered some sort of foot injury (more on that later) right from the start, as he was limping badly, but trying to work through it. “Wild Side” followed, with guitarist Mick Mars effortlessly cranking out the main, unforgettable riff. Bassist Nikki Sixx and drummer Tommy Lee were both locked in a constant groove, cranking out hit song after hit song. Sixx prowled the stage like a rabid animal looking to infect someone, often directing one of the entourage to use a high powered water gun to douse the crowd. He also spent a considerable amount of time spitting, but all in the name of rock and roll. Lee’s drum solo was one of the many highlights, with the drum kit being hooked up to a large circular track that the kit rolled around while he was pounding away. A lucky female audience member even got to take a ride in the seat next to him. They closed out the set with the triple-threat of “Dr. Feelgood,” “Girls, Girls, Girls,” and “Kickstart My Heart,” which highlighted Mars ripping through the adrenaline-pumping riff. Between the dancers suspended in the air by chains, the incredible pyro and lasers, and the elaborate staging, I felt like I was watching something akin to Cirque Du Soleil, just maybe a slightly more chaotic and evil version. Watching Sixx blast people up front with full buckets of water was another highlight of the evening.

     KISS needed to bring their “A Game” to try to keep pace with the Mötley spectacle, and they gave it a good effort. They descended down to the stage from a moving platform, opening the show with the classic “Detroit Rock City,” complete with Paul Stanley badly messing up the lyrics. I could see if it was a deep album cut rarely performed live, but “Detroit Rock City?” That would be like me waking up in the morning and forgetting how to put my socks on. They tried to regain the momentum, but the pace of a few of the songs seemed slightly slower than normal, as was the case with “Shout It Out Loud.” A high majority of the setlist was predictable, including other standards like “God Of Thunder,” which was preceded by Gene Simmons spitting blood and flying up to the rafters. “Love Gun” had Stanley flying out on a zipline to an auxiliary stage in the middle of the crowd. Closing out the main set was “Black Diamond,” featuring drummer Eric Singer on lead vocals. This was definitely a highlight, as Singer’s voice is very strong and versatile. The encore featured “C’mon And Love Me,” which may be a rarity for this tour, but hardly a rarity overall. That was definitely one of Stanley’s vocal standouts of the night. Of course, the night would not be complete without the ever present “Rock And Roll All Nite,” complete with confetti shower.

     When all was said and done, I tried very hard to not compare the two sets. The problem was, Mötley’s set was so strong, so visually and sonically powerful, that it was burned in my brain and clouded my judgement about anything that could have come after it. As I mentioned earlier, Vince Neil was obviously in pain within the first two minutes of the set. It was revealed the next morning that he had two broken bones in his foot, but the guy was running on adrenaline, and obviously did not want to disappoint the fans, so he gutted it out for the next hour and twenty minutes. Simply awesome. Tommy Lee, what can I say? The guy is a MONSTER drummer and incredible entertainer overall. Nikki Sixx’s stage presence absolutely ruled. And Mick Mars…wow. His health condition makes it difficult for him to be mobile, and it looks like he is in pain, but once that guitar is strapped on, look out! I walked away from the show thinking how cool it was to have KISS as a bonus after The Crüe. My love and support for KISS will never die, but this night belonged to Mötley in my book. My friend that I went with turned to me about four songs into Mötley’s set and said “This is so amazing that I’m actually tearing up!” Amazingly, a few minutes before he said that, I felt the exact same sensation. Who knows why we were so emotional about it, but in my book, that means something was being done right.

Mötley setlist:

Saints of Los Angeles

Wild Side

Shout At The Devil

Same Ol’ Situation


Don’t Go Away Mad (Just Go Away)

Home Sweet Home

Live Wire

Primal Scream

Dr. Feelgood

Girls, Girls, Girls

Kickstart My Heart


KISS setlist:

Detroit Rock City

Shout It Out Loud

I Love It Loud


Hell Or Hallelujah

War Machine

Shock Me

God Of Thunder

Love Gun

Lick It Up

Black Diamond

C’mon And Love Me

Rock And Roll All Nite

About Mike's Music And Concert Blog

Music and concert freak...and proud of it!

19 responses to “Review: KISS and Motley Crue, Blossom Music Center (9/12/12)

  1. I had the privilege to see “The Tour” and meet the Crue, back in July. Both bands “performed” amazingly!!! The key difference I experienced is that for KISS, they seem to be there to perform well and market themselves, whereas with Motley Crue, they perform through PASSION!!! Compare it to the art of making love, both bands are experts at getting/giving off, but with the Crue there’s an intimate relationship with the audience that feeds the soul.

  2. Evie ⋅

    I have seen the Crue 4 times. They have the best show that I have ever seen! They blew everyone away that they toured with. I believe that they are the best live show that I have ever seen,

  3. Ida Dingess ⋅

    great review!! I was actually wondering how many ppl there went as kiss fans and left as motley crue fans. I have seen the crue a few times so I knew what to expect and they NEVER dissappoint. fYI: I read your review cause motley crue /nikki sixx posted the link on there FB pages…AWESOME

  4. Mike Lantz ⋅

    Really good review–you nailed it. I saw the show too, figuring Kiss would blow Crue away, but it didn’t happen. After Flying acrobats, lasers, fireworks, girls on stilts, water cannons, girls, girls, girls, and a rollercoaster drum kit, Kiss’ stark stage set up was kinda lame. Gene’s fire breathing, blood spilling even felt ‘ho hum’. My first time seeing either band and I’ll definitely see Crue again. Vince Neil mentioned that he thought he broke his foot during the first song. Explains why he hobbled around the stage all night–that’s dedication!

  5. Tracy ⋅

    Motley Crue was awesome! I felt they should have closed the show to begin with, but at least it let me leave early and beat the traffic. I also think their stage entrance was phenomenal! Love you Nikki! 😉

  6. Tanker

    I’ve seen the Crüe 6 x’s since 1986. There was only one WTF show and this is the best I’ ve seen them in years. Vince is almost skinny! Hats off to over 30 years of producing a great time, for guys that by all rights could be dead.

  7. Wow! this was the best review and I couldn’t of written it or said it any better myself! I can relate to the tearing up when Motley Crue played in West Palm Beach Florida on July 27th 2012. Although Vince wasn’t hurt @ that time. I personally am not a Kiss fan, Yes they were good.. But I have to be honest they should have opened up for Motley Crue. Nikki Sixx certainly sets the stage just with his presence.. He is absolutely amazing to watch on stage! Everything about them and their show is just amazing… From Nikki’s flame throwing bass solo to Primal Scream, Vince’s energetic self, Mick Mars god bless him, even through his Illness and pain he still gives it all he’s got and with such grace! Tommy Lee has to be one the funnest and exciting Drummer in the world, Nobody and I cannot stress that enough Is a better drummer then he is..

    • Wow! Thanks for the nice compliments, Dawn. It’s strange because I have been to a pretty ridiculous amount of shows, but they usually don’t stick with me for many days later like this one has. The Crüe pulled out all the stops to make sure that when you walked away, you would never forget that performance.

    • Hi Dawn. I’m not on FB, but I went on Nikki’s page to look at comments, and I saw you were trying to get people to comment on the review page. Just wanted to say that was really nice of you! Take care…Mike

      • ⋅

        your welcome I was trying to reply to you on that review page but it says my fb time is expired..

      • ⋅

        Your very welcome Mike.. Although it is awesome that the fans are commenting on Nikki’s page, It would be even better on this page that you wrote this wonderful review of them on.. We should keep it going, and this is the perfect place! Hell even Nikki Sixx and Motley Crue both have posted your review personally, So yes everyone should write a review of their experience of “The Tour”

      • I am still stunned that the review struck a chord with the band. Started with Tommy re-tweeting it, then took off from there. The best part by far is the nice comments!

      • ⋅

        mike this is dawn i am trying to post this comment below and one i just replied to.. but it is telling me my page expired so it is showing only my email address How do i fix that?

      • Interesting. No, I don’t. Sorry…wish I could help!

  8. mary

    Couldn’t agree more!! Last night was my 27th Motley show. Honestly I was dissapointed in the last 2. But this tour was freakin amazing!!! The boys know how to put on a show!!! We had 1 friend who wasn’t really a fan and was just along for the ride…and Motley KICKED her ass!!! It was awesome to watch! Can’t wait for the next show!

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