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Concert Reviews:
Motley Crue, Poison, New York Dolls deliver glam-bam joint anniversary show at DTE
 

By GARY GRAFF
of the Oakland Press

» See more SOUND CHECK

INDEPENDENCE TOWNSHIP -- Right after Motley Crue romped through "Dr. Feelgood" on Wednesday night (June 29), bassist Nikki Sixx gave the sold-out crowd at the DTE Energy Music Theatre some reason to feel good itself.

"Motley Crue. Thirty years. We won't die," Sixx declared. "We figure at this point we might as well keep (expletive) going."

That was just fine with the fans, who got exactly what they wanted from the Crue's 85-minute set -- a hit-filled exposition of rock that weaved together strains of metal, glam, pop and punk, atop grooves as fit for a strip club as they were for arenas. Best of all, the quartet (bolstered by two female backup singer/dancers) was in as good a shape as it's been in recent years; frontman Vince Neil's voice even held up for more than half the show, allowing him to let loose with his trademark screams of yore during "Saints of Los Angeles" and, of course, "Primal Scream."

And then there were the visuals, typically over the top as is Motley Crue's wont. The show started with a bang -- literally -- as concussions ushered the group onstage before the house lights even went down for a pounding version of "Wild Side." More pyrotechnics were laced throughout the show, along with extensive video production and a crew member who "fell" from the ceiling at the end of "Girls, Girls, Girls."

And drummer Tommy Lee outdid himself during his drum solo, riding a circular, 360-degree track that dangled him perpendicular to the stage and then upside down. He even brought a contest-winning fan along for the ride at one point.

Beyond Sixx's comment, however, there was little in the way of 30th anniversary sentiment from the Crue. The group members did sport some face paint, recalling its earliest days, at the start of the show, but it only pulled out one song -- "Live Wire" -- from its 1981 debut album "Too Fast For Love." Then again, there was plenty of ground to cover as the group whipped through favorites such as "Shout at the Devil," "Same Ol' Situation (S.O.S.)," "Looks That Kill," "Too Young to Fall In Love," "Kickstart My Heart," the ballad "Home Sweet Home," a version of "Don't Go Away Mad (Just Go Away)" that incorporated some of Cee-Lo Green's "F*** You" and the Crue's hit cover of Michigan band Brownsville Station's "Smokin' in the Boys Room" that was bookended by Gary Glitter's "Rock and Roll, Part 1."

Going on before the Crue, fellow Sunset Strip veterans Poison was a bit more demonstrative about its 25th anniversary, with commemorative scrims decorating its stage and the group members fashioning vintage band T-shirts. The quartet (plus a side-stage keyboardist) was also solicitous of its surroundings: drummer Rikki Rockett came on stage first to spray paint the words Rock and City onto his double bass drums, and frontman Bret Michaels -- sounding hoarse but looking healthy after his health maladies of 2010 -- expressed so much Motor City love that you would have thought he was interviewing for a job with the Detroit Convention Bureau.

After dawdling backstage Poison did have to shorten its set from a planned 65 minutes to 50, but it still managed to include a few deep cuts -- "Look What the Cat Dragged In" and "Ride the Wind" -- among hits such as "Fallen Angel," "Unskinny Bop," "Every Rose Has Its Thorn" and "Talk Dirty to Me." It also included a cover of Grand Funk Railroad's "We're An American Band" from its new "Double Dose: Ultimate Hits" compilation, and any of the missing favorites will likely be back in the set when the group returns to DTE on July 26.

The New York Dolls, celebrating their 40th anniversary this year, didn't let the small early audience dampen its exuberance. Though it's likely many in the Crue and Poison crowd don't know the about the group's notorious history (or its influence on their heroes, for that matter), the Dolls offered up a 45-minute crash course in old school glam, reaching back for 70s genre-builders such as "Lookin' For a Kiss," "Trash" and "Personality Crisis" and also touching on recent fare such as "Talk to Me Baby" and "Cause I Sez So." The current Dolls lineup, which includes well-credentialed veterans Earl Slick on guitar and Kenny Aaronson on bass, was tight, and while frontman David Johansen seemed a bit detached, guitarist and co-founder Sylvain Sylvain entertained with his amiable Big Apple bravado.

Tickets for Poison's July 26 return to DTE are on sale, priced $48 and $28 pavilion, $10 lawn. Some free pavilion tickets have been set aside for members of the military and their families; they can be obtained at the Palace and DTE box offices with current military ID or proof of service. Call 248-377-0100 or visit www.palacenet.com.

Web Site: www.palacenet.com

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