Mötley Crüe / Alice Cooper Rexall Place, Edmonton AB, December 12
Published Dec 13, 2015How was it determined that Alice Cooper would be not co-headlining but opening for Mötley Crüe on what is deemed their "Final Tour"? The Detroit shock rocker benefitted from the arrangement anyway — he came out energized, playing a shortened set meant for immediate impact. Despite a voice that's now grizzled by age, Cooper was still able to bark through the proceedings as his capable band played a set leaning on early, beloved material and recent additions such as "Dirty Diamonds." There were some costume changes and theatrical segues — Cooper sang in a straitjacket, transformed into a massive Frankenstein's monster that towered over the stage and his bandmates, and even had his day at the guillotine. There was nothing truly shocking about it, but it was entertaining nonetheless. Cooper may have pulled off a remarkable act of upstaging the headliners with a performance of "School's Out" deemed incendiary enough to draw the crowd to its feet, a goal hard to achieve for any opening act.
Is this truly the last we'll see of Mötley Crüe? Having just played Edmonton a year ago, this farewell performance had a hint of deja vu, even when vocalist Vince Neil made a big deal of noting there were about 11 shows left on a final tour that's taken the band around the world in a year-and-a-half. Nobody seemed truly upset they were back, given how packed Rexall Place seemed to be.
Kicking it off with "Girls, Girls, Girls," theirs was a performance that left no room for subtleties. When in doubt, simply add more pyro. Mötley Crüe's best days are clearly behind them — there's little menace left to truly pull off songs like "Looks That Kill" or "Same Old Situation," and their cover of "Anarchy in the UK" was prefaced with a strange motivational speech courtesy of bassist Nikki Sixx that threatened to derail it completely. Yet for all the pyro, steam and dry ice in the world, the band can play to a reasonable degree to make this a show well worth it for the crowd, even if it may fall flat of their own expectations.
In any case, it didn't feel like they went out with a bang, but it was more than the expected routine whimper.