BIRMINGHAM GENTING ARENA
4th November 2015
When Chris Rea released the single The Road To Hell in 1989 everyone could relate that to a stretch of road close to them. But, as I found out yet again on Wednesday night, the road to hell is indeed the M6 South!
Leaving home 61 miles away from our destination in plenty of time we arrived at what will forever be know as the NEC Arena part way through Dirty Diamonds – just over halfway through their set! We did get to see some of the theatrics that the band is renowned for, a giant Frankenstein monster being created during Feed My Frankenstein, Madame Guillotine made its appearance before the ticker tape and confetti fell for set closer Schools Out.
After 34 years Mötley Crüe are calling it quits. Tonight’s show is the penultimate show on British soil and they have pulled out all the stops for their send off.
With no record to promote tonight is purely a greatest hits set. The lights go down after a rendition of So Long, Farewell and the band kick in with a double of Girls, Girls, Girls and Wild Side.
Straight from the start you can hear Vince Neil struggling with the vocals, missing lyrics here and there and the falsetto parts not even attempted, but the stage show and the near faultless band detract from the fact. Some of the “tricky” vocals are handled by the two backing singers who pad out the vocals well when used.
The negatives from tonight – an unnecessary Nikki Sixx monologue, a rather boring Mick Mars guitar solo – are soon put to the back of the memory banks when the flame throwing bass sets the stage on fire and the pentagram above Sixx is on fire!
And then there’s that drum solo!! By no means the greatest drum solo ever performed, but it’s not every night the drummer is hanging upside down from the rafters behind his drum kit that is also on a roller coaster!
The main set is wrapped up with Dr. Feelgood and Kickstart My Heart – where Nikki Sixx and Vince Neil perform on mechanical arms sweeping over the front of crowd, before the quartet make their way to the small satellite stage for an encore of Home Sweet Home to bring their love affair with Birmingham to an end.
More positives than negatives overall and an event worth seeing for one last time.
The main tour support for the Mötley Crüe tour is the ever youthful Alice Cooper. If he has his full stage show with him then tomorrow night is going to be a truly spectacular event to watch.
December 14th 1989 – my first visit to what was then called the NEC Arena. It’s now called the Genting Arena, but just tell people you’re off to the NEC and they’ll know.
Two school friends and I caught the bus that Mike Lloyds Music – a local record shop – used to run to the bigger concerts for that evenings entertainment. I was a bit in awe of the size of the place as it was the biggest concert I’d been to at the time, then again I think it was only my second ever gig!
Britny Fox and Great White opened up proceedings. Never heard of either of them back then and I’ve seen neither since. I’d not heard much by Alice Cooper beforehand, I had Trash on cassette and the previous albums – Raise Your Fist And Yell and Constrictor – had been copied for me by friends. Obviously the big hits I knew from the Friday Rock Show on the radio or the Power Hour on TV (I’m Eighteen, Billion Dollar Babies, Schools Out, etc) but a lot of the 22 song set went straight over my head at the time.
Poison has been Alice’s biggest UK chart hit to date. It peaked at number 2, being kept off the top slot by Jive Bunny!
So this weeks on stage viewing may consist of these three gigs. As it stands now though I’m not sure about tonight as I’m currently battling “man flu”!!
Monday – Manchester Gorilla.
Massachusetts hardcore band Bane are playing Manchester on their farewell show, calling it quits on a 20 year career. In tow is Pennsylvania hardcore band Code Orange (now they’ve dropped the Kids part!)
Wednesday – Birmingham Genting Arena.
“All bad things must come to an end. The final tour”
Calling it quits on December 31st this year are Mötley Crüe after nearly 35 years of ups and downs and even more downs. Their support is the ever youthful Alice Cooper – the first tour I saw in this venue in 1989 on the Trash tour. This is going to be quite a spectacle.
Saturday – Leeds University.
The annual Damnation festival now in its 11th cycle. From its humble beginnings of Raging Speedhorn and Entombed at the now defunct Jillys Rockworld in Manchester, to Bolt Thrower and Cannibal Corpse last year this indoor festival has grown from strength to strength. I wait years to see Asphyx – now they play the UK twice in one year!!