(From the Scotsman, UK daily, 16 June 2005.)
by Fiona Shepherd
ROLL up, roll up for the premier rock 'n' roll circus of our times. For over 20 years, US hairspray rockers Mötley Crüe have revelled in their reputation as "most cretinous band in the world", but this was Scotland's first opportunity to witness the freakshow first hand.
Inviting industrial-strength rockers Killing Joke on to their tour displayed a good taste which Mötley Crüe have never applied to their own oeuvre. Their brutal, relentless powerhouse was not the obvious warm-up for what lay ahead, but frontman Jaz Coleman did at least go to town with the warpaint, looking like Slipknot's grandad.
After a short animated sequence, which lampooned various Crüe stereotypes, the flaps of the big-top stage set opened to reveal a band who have cheated death, law enforcement and market forces, and often their fans, to remain on their precarious perch as brainless old-school arena rockers.
Bassist Nikki Sixx and drummer Tommy Lee are wearing well, considering the trail of debauchery they have left in their wake. Vince "we have the technology to rebuild him" Neil was recently the subject of an extensive TV makeover, but there was clearly nothing they could do to bolster his girly vocals. Guitarist and - judging by his appearance - Frankensteinian ringmaster Mick Mars was a poor old soul who kept having to hobble backstage to get his pain medication.
Thanks to their mediocre back catalogue, the momentum of the show fluctuated. Shout At The Devil, Dr Feelgood and Girls, Girls, Girls were inane but rousing. The bloated ballads were just inane. There was a reliance on sideshow diversions such as pyrotechnics, aerial acrobatics from girls in fetish gear and Tommy Lee's "titty cam" which allowed this overgrown schoolboy to zoom in on female fans baring their breasts. Sixx indulged himself too, with a ridiculous Emerson, Lake & Palmer-style keyboard solo as a prelude to Kickstart My Heart, that sensitive exploration of the time he overdosed and had to be shocked back to life.
A giant inflatable clown looked down malevolently on encore proceedings, including a rabid version of the Beatles' Helter Skelter, with much excess riffage from Mars and a pantomime take on Anarchy In The UK, embellished with fire-eaters and a dwarf clambering on Sixx's back. The audience expected nothing less. They probably deserved more.