Mötley Crüe, Poison and the New York Dolls at Target Center 6/24/11

Categories: Last Night
Photos by Erik Hess
Mötley Crüe, Poison and the New York Dolls
June 24, 2011
Target Center, Minneapolis

One of the biggest tours of the season, the triple glam rock assault of Mötley Crüe, Poison and the New York Dolls blew through town Friday night to a sold-out Target Center. Adding to the circus of downtown Minneapolis on the first night of summer and Gay Pride weekend, the leather and laced metal faithfuls brought even more color, concocting a light beer infused spirit of revelry, gender bending and pleasure seeking amongst the many already stumbling about in search of "Nothing But a Good Time" several hours before anyone had even hit the stage.

The night before coming to Minneapolis Nikki Sixx, bass player for Mötley Crüe, put out a warning on his twitter feed:

 Nikki Sixx 

Paying homage to the true pioneers of glam metal, Mötley Crüe wisely enlisted the legendary New York Dolls, which includes original and only surviving Dolls singer David Johansen and guitarist Sylvain Sylvain, to open the evening of debauchery with a set that included material from their most recent record, Dancing Backwards in High Heels as well as their most emblematic songs, "Trash," "Jet Boy" and "Personality Crisis." Though the arena was still filling up, the band's short but satisying set illustrated where this music all really came from before the allure of big time '80s power ballads popularized and then essentially ruined the genre.

What became immediately evident upon the Dolls taking the stage was a theme that loomed throughout everyone's set for the evening -- the idea that despite many years of full throttle excess, personal abuse, a litany of venereal diseases and at least one ozone layer's worth of hairspray, all these guys still deliver in one over-the-top way or another. The fact that any of them, especially Crüe guitarist Mick Mars, who's long suffered from bone disease, are even still standing is as much a tribute to the form as anything.

Photos by Erik Hess

Poison "Talk Dirty To Me"

Despite having diabetes, a recent brain hemorage and heart issues, not to mention possibly too-tight-for-circulation denim jeans, Poison lead singer Brett Michaels popped up from the stage like a jack in the box as his band of 25 years broke into a strong run through the band's biggest hits.

Continually rousing and working the crowd in sing-alongs, Poison gave the fans what they came for, displaying their finest anthems and visual attributes from their gaudy neon-laden, extra effeminate past to the receding hair line present.

Giving nods to their own musical influences with some of the cover songs they made famous, "We're An American Band" and "Your Mama Don't Dance," the band even busted out a little Gary Glitter before working their way back into crowd pleasers "Unskinny Bop" and the inevitable "Every Rose Has Its Thorn."

While witnessing the underrated Rikki Rocket, who'd spray painted "Twin Cities" on his bass drums, deliver a nice little workout during his drum solo and throughout the night, I used the opportunity of guitarist C.C. Deville's paint by numbers spotlight to escape the glitz and glam for a moment to get a cup of fries at the concession stand.

Photos by Erik Hess

Mötley Crüe "Girls, Girls, Girls"

One cool element of the evening was a constant scroll on display during the breaks that allowed fans to text in messages that would appear instantly on the screen. Most likely the result of technology savvy Nikki Sixx, who is more or less the force behind Mötley Crüe, it invoked another theme of the tour of connecting with fans without the music industry middle men -- their set was even determined in advance by voting on their website.

"This is the church of Mötley Crüe," Sixx iterated mid-set, "I want you all to take a seat." He bowed for the audience, who he maintained has made it all happen for the band who've survived for 30 years now.

Though made up of somewhat predictable songs, the Crüe hammered through a generous and exhausting 90-minute set of pyro, fireworks, sexy back up singers and the long running tradition of drum solo insanity from Tommy Lee, the most animated member of the night.

Aside from doing double duty on piano and drums during "Home Sweet Home" -- which Lee dedicated to his late father, a native of Duluth, MN -- there was his famous, patented upside-down drum set. He built up momentum as it shimmied back and forth and ulimately looped around like a roller coaster to dizzying effect, giving fans, including one he took from the crowd along for the ride, a cheap thrill as he kept playing.

Tommy Lee's drum solo

Mötley Crüe "Home Sweet Home"

Now dirty old men, Mötley Crüe still know how to put on a show and keep the crowd going. With gimmicks like a dude falling from the scaffolding and videos of all the models they'd probably ever banged, the band still assaulted the senses with high octane sounds and showed no signs of letting up despite some of their shortcomings, particularly in Vince Neil's vocals and guitarist Mick Mars, who despite his fraility will likely outlive them all.

Coming out for an encore of "Kickstart My Heart" at the end of the night you could say they proudly are still kicking ass. A perfect night to kick off another hot summer in the Twin Cities.

Photos by Erik Hess

Critic's Bias: I sort of have to admit I really just went to this show to in hopes of making a Kat Von D sighting.
The Crowd: Totally sold out and completely nuts, though a surprisingly more wholesome than I'd expected crowd.
Overheard in the Crowd: "Dude, last time I saw them Vince was so wasted he just stopped singing and started making out on stage with one of the dancers."
Random Notebook Dump: Why does Nikki Sixx keep spitting water on people in the front row?
For more photos: See our full slideshow by Erik Hess.

New York Dolls
Lookin' for a Kiss
Dance Like a Monkey
Cuz I Said So
Talk to me Baby
Who Are the Mystery Girls?
Personality Crisis
Jet Boy

Look What the Cat Dragged In
Ride the Wind
We're An American Band
Your Mama Don't Dance
Fallen Angel
Unskinny Bop
Every Rose Has Its Thorn
Talk Dirty To Me
Nothing But a Good Time

Mötley Crüe
Wild Side
Saints of Los Angeles
Live Wire
Shout At the Devil
Same Ol' Situation(S.O.S.)
Primal Scream
Home Sweet Home
Don't Go Away Mad(Just Go Away)
Looks That Kill
Dr. Feelgood
Too Young to Fall in Love
Girls, Girls, Girls
Smokin' in the Boys Room
Kickstart My Heart

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Ok, first of all, Nikki spits BLOOD, NOT WATER, and he and Kat have been broken up for nearly a YEAR now! Jeez!

Alpha Bitch
Alpha Bitch

As a whole, I thought your review was quite good.  However, a couple of things... you mis-spoke when you said they did an encore of "Kickstart." Motley doesn't do encores, that was just their last song.  Also, have you been living under a rock?  Nikki & Kat haven't been together for almost a year now.  Mick Mars does not have any shortcomings as a guitarist.  He is highly underrated and still shreds like the Guitar God he has always been.  And regarding your "Random Notebook Dump", as a diehard and faithful parishoner of the Church of Motley Crue (for well over 25 years) we WELCOME the baptism of expelled water and blood from Nikki.  Bottom line the show ROCKED from beginning to end.  All three bands still have it and can probably do it better than most of the no image, no flash, no showmanship bands that are out today.  LONG LIVE THE CRUE!!

Maureen O'Gara Merz
Maureen O'Gara Merz

It's not WATER he's spitting it's BLOOD...and Nikki and Kat Von D have been broken up for some time now BTW...

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