Most coverage of Mötley Crüe’s MSG freak show honed in on the spectacle, condescending for a moment of cheese while indulging itself in the fantasy that messed-up gender BS only happens on revival stages, amid pyrotechnics. Gee, Mötley Crüe sure are decadent. Did you watch their Behind the Music? Nikki was pronounced dead! Me, I thank the guy who played me Decade when I went punk in eighth grade, 1993. That guy is a huge loser now, lives in Ohio, works a real job, and I bet he and I like the band just the same—with Klosterman-style slack-jawed fawning. While I went to the Garden with my cool metal friend, I was really there with my swing-state skater boi.
The Crüe moved through two dozen songs—”some old shit,” relatively speaking, and their ’80s jukebox jams. Glam holdout Nikki Sixx pandered like a karaoke regular, rubbing against Vince Neil’s workingman tux and lining up for solos with Hot Mick Marrs. Marrs most recently shopped for a new hip and is the band’s human soul, so I grant him license to vibe Hot Topic. Tommy Lee had on some clothes, to avoid baby-arm rope burns while soaring between aerial drum kits in one of several regrettable instrumental interludes. And when time called for the Lee-palmed “tittie cam,” Vince baited Lee to balance it out by showing the junk. A small gesture, but enough to release me from the panic that I really should have been downtown at the Sleater-Kinney show.
Girls figured prominently in the performance. They went away on “Don’t Go Away Mad (Just Go Away),” just like Neil’s voice, which got filled in by 20,000 fans. They were aerialists beyond the pole on “Girls Girls Girls,” and acted out their Eve on “Same Ol’ Situation.” There were songs about drugs too, but none of the Crüe’s other famous genre—odes to E. praecox—which may prove that while they certainly are old dogs, they’ve mastered one decent new trick. At 24 years old, they lasted nearly two hours. I wonder if the same is true of my little skater. ‘Cause if so, I’d be willing to blaze a flame to “Home Sweet Home” again on the Crüe’s summer sweep-up.