Motley Crue’s purportedly last tour All Bad Things Must Come To An End hit Wells Fargo Arena in Des Moines, Iowa on July 11, 2014.
Because Des Moines has become a “drive-by” city (one where many of the bigger rock bands drive right by because of Des Moines’ central location–but few plan an actual tour stop), there was a general appreciation felt by many when the Crue decided to include Des Moines in their tour.
But early reviews of the show just a week earlier had “train wreck” written all over it. Would they work out the kinks by the time they played Des Moines?
Alice Cooper is part of Motley Crue’s last tour, and used his 45 minutes wisely, playing a good selection of his hits including No More Mr. Nice Guy, I’m Eighteen, Poison and School’s Out. His set was heavy on props and theatrics, and he gave the crowd a good show. One of the highlights of the night was his sexy Lita Ford-ish looking guitarist, Nita Strauss (guitarist for The Iron Maidens) who replaced Cooper’s former female lead guitarist Orianthi. Strauss is not only fun to watch, dressed in leather with the stage fans blowing her long blonde locks around, but she can also shred on the guitar.
Motley Crue kicked off their set with Saints of Los Angeles, and continued the night with primarily their hit songs from their 30+ year career including Wild Side, Same Ol’ Situation, Looks That Kill, Too Fast for Love, Smokin’ in the Boys’ Room, Without You, Dr. Feelgood, Shout at the Devil and Kickstart My Heart. True Crue fans would have appreciated a greater range of songs on a final tour, not just the ones everyone who’s heard of Crue knows.
The set started off rough with this tour bringing a heavier, out of shape Vince Neil. He was often out of breath and either forgot lyrics or possibly just skipped them to save his breath. He disappeared off stage during and between songs to do who knows what.
Nikki Sixx appeared in the best shape of his life, healthy, energetic and still spry enough to handle tour life even at 55 years of age. He carried the show much on his own, his playing nearly impeccable.
Tommy Lee was strangely hidden out of view behind his kit until his drum solo. It could have been anyone playing as no lights shone on him. During his solo Lee rode his drum kit down a roller coaster setup, drumming while upside down at times. While it was cool to watch, the song selection was a poor choice. Instead of Lee drumming along to Motley Crue material, he played along to rap/hip hop songs; it was more like drum karaoke.
After Lee’s drawn out drum solo, Mick Mars contributed his own solo, which again lasted way too long. By the end most people had sat down in their seats and were checking their phones or talking to one another.
Second to Sixx, Mars was the best thing about the Crue that night. Mars has not been in good health for some time. Bless his heart for getting back up on that stage. He really shouldn’t be, but we all know these boys love rock-n-roll, their fans and the stage. He was a trooper, focused intently on his playing.
By about midway through the set when they hit the song Without You, they were sounding better. Neil could handle the slower songs a bit better. When the Crue ended the show with Home Sweet Home on a second stage in the midst of the crowd at the end of Lee’s rollercoaster, it was a nice surprise. You could see the appreciation for their fans on their faces as they looked around at the crowd and said their good-byes.
Despite the previous bad reviews, the boys had cleaned up their act quite a bit by the time they played Des Moines.
You have to commend them for giving their fans one last run. For those that love Crue maybe it really didn’t matter how they performed onstage. It was a sendoff, one last time to see them, a chance to say goodbye.
Photo Credit: Toby Schuh
CLICK HERE to view more photos from the show.