Memory being what it is, I can't rightfully say whether my first concert experience was Gordon Lightfoot or Motley Crue, but for the sake of this column, I'll go with the latter. I do know it was the band's "Dr. Feelgood" tour in 1990 at Selland Arena.
I was 12 years old and my knowledge of heavy metal at time came from a Geraldo Rivera Halloween exposé on American Satanists. I knew there was concern that Judas Priest records were causing kids to shoot their faces off. So the swirling laser-light pentagrams in the band's opening number, "Shout at the Devil," coupled with the decibel levels of both the band and the audience, was the scariest thing I had ever seen. It wasn't until a year or so later that I realized it was pretty awesome, too.
So I took note this week when the '80s hair-metal band announced it was calling it quits. But not before embarking on one final kick-ass 72-date tour, which kicks off July 2 in Grand Rapids, Mich. There's no Fresno date, sadly, though the tour has three California dates. VIP and fan club tickets are already on sale and general admission tickets are on sale 10 a.m. today.
There is a lot to like about this news.
Tickets start at $25.
This is the last time fans will get to see Motley Crue live. It's a safe bet that promoters could have set prices at $100-plus and still had people eager to pay. Keeping tickets at a reasonable price (the best seats are under $200) seems oddly outside current practice. If you're going to make this the last hurrah, it makes sense to invite everyone, I guess.
It will probably be a good show.
The band's catalog of hits is certainly vast. And while I've seen enough hair-metal bands to know they can be train wrecks (cough, Whitesnake, cough), I've also seen Judas Priest and Iron Maiden and can attest that being a musician isn't the same as being an athlete. You can get better with age.
Singer Vince Neil is the wild card here. One hopes his voice holds.
The addition of Alice Cooper as the opening act makes this a show with major appeal (at least for me). Especially with a $25 starting ticket price.
There's little chance of the band reuniting.
Merely announcing the band's demise (even with a formal news conference) means next to nothing. The band headed off any speculation of future reunions by signing a legal agreement. It was right there during the news conference with the band members' respective attorneys on hand.
The agreement stipulates that the band will not tour after the farewell tour ends in 2015. "We always had a vision of going out with a big (expletive) bang and not playing county fairs and clubs with one or two original band members. Our job here is done," said Tommy Lee.
Dang if I don't respect that.
You've got to hand it to the guys. They've come up with a nice publicly stunt that seems true to form and kind of astute. It seems oddly professional and mature from a band notorious for its debauchery (Tommy Lee's sex tape, Nikki Sixx's multiple drug overdoses).
This columnist can be reached at (559) 441-6479, firstname.lastname@example.org or @joshuatehee on Instagram and Twitter. Read his blog at Fresnobeehive.com