Graham Lee
Motley Crue, Poison, New York Dolls

Tacoma Dome

Friday, Aug. 13

Old habits die hard. Just ask Motley Crue, who, in celebration of


Motley Crue Play Fan Favorites, Pack Plenty of Pyro at the Tacoma Dome

Graham Lee
Motley Crue, Poison, New York Dolls

Tacoma Dome

Friday, Aug. 13

Old habits die hard. Just ask Motley Crue, who, in celebration of 30 years together, put on an old-fashioned heavy-metal show complete with a bajillion pyro blasts, scantily clad backup singers on stripper poles, and a looping roller coaster/drum riser that Tommy Lee rode during his drum solo. Though the previous sentence describes the band's 2011 tour, it could just as easily encapsulate a Motley Crue show circa 1987.

With a set list chosen by the fans, the Crue played nothing but hits for the Tacoma Dome crowd on Friday night. The show started suddenly, startling the crowd, as the band appeared onstage seemingly out of nowhere with no dimming of the lights, no quieting of the house music, just a thunderous set of explosions and the opening drum thwacks of "Wild Side," which sent mingling concertgoers scrambling to their seats. The message was clear: Our set list may be predictable, but we can still surprise you.

The stage set was Mad Max meets Sin City, a sort of post-apocalyptic amusement park with three-story stripper poles, Nikki Sixx's microphone hanging from the lighting rig, and a drum riser that spit flames. The band was in solid form, and though Vince Neil can't hit his notes very well (this was most evident on "Live Wire"), Nikki and Vince patrolled the stage from end to end while a 60-year-old Mick Mars, dark and brooding as ever, lurked in the shadows, occasionally lumbering towards the front of the stage for a guitar solo and some applause.

Speaking of solos, Tommy Lee has made a career out of coming up with unique ways of delivering his drum solos, always the centerpiece of a Motley Crue show. He's hovered above the crowd on a platform in the middle of the arena, spun round and round in a steel cage, and on this tour, performed while being flung upside down on a 360-degree roller coaster track as he plays along to electronica tracks, and later, after a lucky fan hopped aboard the extra seat, "Rollercoaster of Love" from the Ohio Players.

This being a fan-chosen set list, the Crue played only one song recorded after 1991, the title track of the band's 2008 LP Saints of Los Angeles, but this makes sense considering most of the band's hits were during their first decade together.

Fellow hair-metal vets Poison also played, and also mined their early catalog for a set filled with hits. As the band took the stage, drummer Rikki Rockett spray-painted Jani Lane on his two bass drums, a tribute to the Warrant frontman who passed away last week. Bret Michaels was severely hoarse, a by-product, he said, of a terrible flu, but he still managed to entertain, running from one end of the stage to the other, high-fiving fans, and putting on a crowd-pleasing performance despite his sickness. Michaels also thanked the fans for their support during his recovery from a brain hemorrhage last year.

Graham Lee.

Both bands took a similar approach Friday night, playing fan favorites and sticking to the well-worn territory they know best. And with a smart package of bands, which also included glam-rock pioneers the New York Dolls, Poison and the Crue gave their fans the taste of nostalgia they wanted on a much larger scale than the fair circuit that many of the peers have been relegated to.

Unexpected Cee-Lo reference of the night: The Crue inserting his "Fuck You" into the bridge of "Don't Go Away Mad (Just Go Away)."

Gum club: Vince Neil chewed gum throughout his set, joining Dave Grohl in the gum-chewing-singers club.

Kind of like binoculars: When the two dudes in front of you simultaneously hold up their cell phones to record "Home Sweet Home."

Set list:

Wild Side

Saints of Los Angeles

Live Wire

Shout At The Devil

Same Old Situation

Primal Scream

Home Sweet Home

Don't Go Away Mad (Just Go Away)

Looks That Kill

Dr. Feelgood

Too Young To Fall In Love

Too Fast for Love

Girls, Girls, Girls

Smokin' In The Boys Room

Kickstart My Heart

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