Mötley Crüe, Alice Cooper - Ak-Chin Pavilion - 7/19/2014
Maria Vassett Mötley Crüe's final show in Phoenix. Full slideshow here.
'80's hair metal kings Mötley Crüe held very little back in the production department when their supposed final tour made its stop at Ak-Chin Pavilion on Saturday night to a sold out crowd. While there were enough pyro, flamethrowers, female dancers, and a lighting spectacle that would make a Nelson show exciting, the real question was would it be enough to distract fans from Crüe singer Vince Neil's often lackluster vocal chops or would he rise to the occasion. Luckily if the band tanked like it did on the opening night of the tour a couple weeks ago, opener and Valley legend Alice Cooper would save the day.
Maria Vassett Alice Cooper
Local fans of Cooper have become so accustomed to his annual charity Christmas Pudding event where the singer transforms from shock rock icon into philanthropist nice guy and tones his show down for the suits and ties who donate to his Solid Rock Foundation. This was not the case during his set, which started with a cover of Judy Collins' "Hello Hooray" and fiery sparks and plenty of stick tricks from drummer Glenn Sobel. Cooper wasted no time digging into his bag of crowd-pleasers with "No More Mr. Nice Guy." From that point, his dominance was on display during his hour long set. "I'm Eighteen" sounded very relevant as the 66-year-old had the crowd screaming the chorus. "Billion Dollar Babies" followed, and it was clear that Cooper wanted to give the hometown fans a treat.
While the 1970s were Cooper's golden years, he also included '80s tracks like "Poison." He tossed out silver beads to the crowd during "Dirty Diamonds," which featured a shredding guitar solo by new guitarist Nita Strauss and more impressive drum work by Sobel. Cooper staple "Welcome to My Nightmare" had the singer sporting a large top hat and boa constrictor wrapped around his neck. He was out for blood during his other visit to the '80s with "Feed My Frankenstein," as he sported a bloody butcher coat as an over-sized 12-foot zombie roamed the stage. Probably the most surprising part of the Alice set was how well his voice has held up after all these years.
The theatrics continued during "The Ballad of Dwight Fry" when Cooper was dressed in a straight jacked as he performed the song, with wife Sheryl Cooper joining him onstage dressed as a spooky nurse diagnosing the singer. Eventually Alice would make his way out of the straight jacket and strangle the nurse. It was a perfect segue way into partial versions of "Killer" which Cooper was be-headed on a guillotine before only the head of Cooper was present during a portion of "I Love the Dead" before a roadie tossed the headless Alice across the stage. The impressive set ended with a rocking version of "School's Out" with each of the three guitarist in the band trading off solos. Strauss was a beast on guitar duties, and she may have been the best replacement of former lady shredder Orianthi as she fit right in. The band also for in a portion of Pink Floyd's "Another Brick In the Wall Part 2" into the track as balloons filled the pavilion as closed things down. The Crüe clearly had their work cut out for them.