The last time I saw Vince Neil perform was in Los Angeles at the last ever Motley Crue show, New Year’s Eve, 2015. On this evening I am about to see him again, this time on a stage in a parking lot. It’s a long way from a sold out 3-night stand at the Staples Centre just 7 months ago. This is my first time at Empire Square, billed as an outdoor venue holding 3600 people. What it really is is a stage in a parking lot with an area of seats fenced off from the bar tents and the standing room only section.
Vince‘s stage is simple, adorned only with a black backdrop featuring a giant “V” and a skull. None of the fancy lights and massive pyrotechnic display of his Motley days was present.
Vince opened the show with “Dr. Feelgood” wearing a Batman t-shirt, jeans and a denim vest with a cool U.S. flag on the back. He looks a little heavier than when he was on tour with Motley Crue however he appeared to be in good form and happy to be on stage.
After “Dr. Feelgood” Vince promised we (the audience) would know every single song and encouraged us to sing along. Well, the reason we knew every song was because every song was a Motley Crue song (except for a medley in the middle that I will get to later). Now I’ve seen Vince enough times solo (50 plus) to know he has for many years only put Motley Crue songs in his setlist. However the press release for the concert said, “Expect the best of Motley Crue and electrifying tracks from his new solo album Tattoos and Tequila”, so I actually held out hope that maybe, now that Motley Crue is finished as a touring group, Vince would start to think more seriously about his solo stuff. No such luck; all 9 tunes were from the Motley catalogue. At the very least I thought he would do “You’re Invited (But Your Friend Can’t Come)” which was a minor solo hit for Vince in 1992, but not this tour.
Vince‘s band is the same one that he has had for the last several tours. Basically, it is Vince fronting Slaughter instead of Mark Slaughter; Dana Strum on bass, who in the past has been in the role of Vince‘s personal assistant, Zoltan Chaney on drums who is a show of his own and Jeff “Blando” Bland on guitar. Jeff Bland and Dana Strum get to take over the stage for the medley of Led Zeppelin and Black Sabbath songs in the middle of the show. Although Bland‘s vocals are great I didn’t pay to see him. I don’t understand why, when you play only an hour and fifteen minutes, you need to take a ten-minute break. Vince spends enough time off stage whenever he is not singing.
The cheese factor went through the roof when Vince‘s girlfriend, Rainbow, struts her stuff on stage to hand him his guitar for “Don’t Go Away Mad.” She does her best to look sultry however the whole thing comes across as comical and much too cliched.
I would give the show a 7.5/10. The predictable setlist and too brief show are not enough enticements for me to drive 4 hours to see Vince the next night in Mattawa, Ontario. However he sounded good and the crowd seemed to enjoy the Motley songs.
Several years ago at a show, Vince asked me what I wanted to hear. When I answered “You’re Invited (But Your Friend Can’t Come)“ Vince told me the band didn’t know it. Don’t you think it’s about time they did learn the tune?
1. Dr. Feelgood
2.Piece of Your Action
3.Looks That Kill
4.Home Sweet Home
5.Don’t Go Away Mad (Just Go Away)
6.Same Ol’ Situation (S.O.S)
7.Whole Lotta Love/Heaven and Hell/Stairway to Heaven
8.Kickstart My Heart
9.Girls, Girls, Girls