Live reviews

Motley Crue, Birmingham NEC

Lesbian acrobats, fire breathing midgets and a middle aged man in corpse paint persuading women to bare their breasts for his camcorder, while he shows the footage to thousands of Midlanders. But enough of my uncle’s wedding; let’s review Motley Crue at the NEC!

The show started with a bang. Actually no, the show started with the first support band who I’d never heard of, can’t remember the name of, and wasn’t even at the venue in time to see. Probably one of the Crue’s bastard offspring. ANYWAY, I was there in time to see Killing Joke. I’ve got one of their albums and it’s wicked. But live they were the dullest, most tedious band I’ve ever seen. Seeing as they’ve got a back catalogue that stretches back to Roman Britain you’d think they would have enough material to play a set of songs that didn’t all sound exactly the same. But you’d be wrong.

I don’t think Killing Joke even played any of their hits. Motley Crue did. In fact, that’s all they played. Brilliant! Why the hell would anybody want to see a band that was popular decades ago play new stuff? Basically they played their greatest hits album from start to finish and one new song. That’s what every single person that bought a ticket wanted to hear and that’s what we all got. We also got an animated short film of the band that was actually funny, more fireworks than bonfire night, a giant inflatable clown’s head, lesbian acrobats, and fire breathing midgets and yes, a drummer obsessed with filming naked breasts and showing them live on the big screen at the back of the stage. Now that’s what I call value for money!

I am of course referring to the infamous titty-cam. The strangest thing is that loads and loads of naked breasts were shown to the camera with the absolute minimum of persuasion. It was one of the most surreal experiences of my life. I really don’t want to piss off any feminists here, but the whole thing came across as quite innocent and not in any way exploitative. It was totally pointless and incredibly childish, but in no way at all did it come across as sexual. No mention was made as to the size of breast/ attractiveness or age of the women. I think overall I found it kind of depressing, the same way I find page three depressing. Now if Britney Spears had a cock-cam…

Oh dear lord, I just realised that I’ve not even mentioned the band’s performance or their music! How can I make amends?

Well the thing about Motley Crue that staggered me the most was how self aware they seemed to be. But the more I think about it the more this makes sense. When it comes down to it the only reason they are able to play arenas at all these days is because of their tell-all autobiography - The Dirt. The only reason I ever listened to them was because I read it and I’m sure I’m not alone in this. I reckon the band know this as well. They clearly love playing big gigs and there must have been a time a few years back when they thought they’d never get to do it again. So now that they’ve been gifted this second chance (or should that be third, forth, fifth, sixth, seventh…) they’re not doing anything other than what the people want and you can’t help but love them for it. Motley Crue have become their own ultimate tribute band and they know it. They know that people are holding up lighters for “Home Sweet Home” ironically and they know that girl on girl trapeze action and pyro-dwarfs are the absolute least politically correct additions to a concert. That’s why they’ve employed them. If the Crue can’t have midgets, who can? Towards the end of the show bassist Nikki Sixx steps up to the microphone, looks the crowd in the proverbial eyes and informs us that even though they’ve played all over the motherfucking world, nowhere motherfucking rocks like motherfucking Birmingham! Some people laugh, some people roll their eyes, some people even forget they’re English and cheer. Everyone knows he’s lying. Nikki knows he’s lying. Nikki knows that everyone knows that he knows he’s lying. It’s like the best in-joke in the world and we’re all a part of it. Everyone goes nuts and feels happy and warm inside. Then he tells us that he’s eternally grateful for everyone coming out to see the band and letting them do this again. And that’s even better, because you know he’s telling the truth.

Chris Campbell


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