Alice Cooper / Motley Crüe – Auburn WA: July 27 2014

Night two this weekend of a classic rock double header, tonight with Alice Cooper and Motley Crüe at the White River Amphitheater in Auburn.

This was one of the most absolutely incredible, balls to the wall, over the top shows that I have seen in a long time. I think with this being purported as Motley Crüe’s final show, both bands pulled out all the stops and had an energy level not seen on previous tours. Alice Cooper seemed much more dramatic during his psycho theatrics and Motley Crüe’s show had more pyrotechnics (both flames and fireworks) than any other time we had seen them in the past. Tommy Lee’s drum contrivance (the cobra) just went beyond insane with full 360 degree rotations along a rollercoaster rail at 60 feet out above the stage…I mean, who does this!

I was a little concerned about the Alice Cooper show as the way the venue is set-up, the late afternoon sun shines directly onto the stage, and as I recall from the last time I saw his show, the darkness of an enclosed arena really added to the dramatics of the show. But even in the sun, he put on a great show with all the standard sword wielding, snake kissing and head-chopping guillotine shenanigans as ever, but last night with what seemed to be a heightened level of anger (in a good way). His band played incredibly. Having three lead guitarist absolutely gives his band that heavy, melodic structured vide that is so iconic. I was a little bummed that Orianthi was no longer with his band, but she was replaced by an equally powerful female guitarist (Nita Strauss) who jammed out many of the stinging solos last night. The set-list was pretty standard, with Hello Hooray starting off the show followed by No More Mr. Nice Guy and Under My Wheels. They closed out with everyone’s favorite School’s Out…it is amazing to think that since the early seventies, high school seniors all over the world have been cranking out this song and making it a defining memory of a pivotal point in their lives – Keep it up Alice!

What can I say about Motley Crüe other than HOLY CRAP! As I mentioned above, they went way over the top on this show, from the flames and fireworks, the dancing girls, Tommy’s drum kit and volume so loud that our clothing vibrated and teeth shook. This exceeded everything I had ever experienced in any previous Motley Crüe show. The show started about 9:30 with Rodger’s & Hammerstein’s So Long, Farewell playing over the house speakers, then crashing into their opening song Saints of Los Angeles. The show was packed full of their hits spanning their 33 year history and even included some influential covers such as the Sex Pistols Anarchy in the U.K. and Brownsville Station’s Smokin’ in the Boys’ Room. Tommy’s incredible drum solo on the full rotation, rollercoaster drum kit to a downright funky, dance infused rock composition was nothing short of awe inspiring. Mick Mars continues to amaze me on what he can do with a guitar and all of the crazy sounds he can get out of it – simply mesmerizing. Nikki Sixx had a flame throwing bass guitar that shot flames 30 feet into the air, totally shaming every other firework or smoke emitting guitar ever done in the history of pyrotechnic instruments. They closed the show with Home Sweet Home played on a small, stage set up in the center of the theater…throughout the show from the beginning through Nikki Sixx’s detailed spoken history on how the band met and into their final song, they continued to genuinely thank the fans and talked about how important the fans were to their history. I think they will miss playing these live shows as much as their fans will miss seeing them.

Black Sabbath August 24 2013


OK… Should I start with the good or should I start with the bad and get it out of the way? I think I will start with the good.

First of all the Gorge in George Washington is an incredibly beautiful place to see a show. The Venue is set up with reserved seating up front and terraced lawn in the back looking out toward the Columbia River as a back drop to the stage. This was only the second time I have seen a concert at the Gorge (My first being The WHO in August of 2000) and was Toni, Ryan and Nicki’s first concert there.  Their impressions were slightly mixed (see the “low lights” below).

Black Sabbath came on a little after eight following the opening act, Andrew W. K. who got the crowd primed with a pretty good D.J. set of classic metal. Sabbath started the show with one of their most powerful classic songs “War Pigs” which really set the pace for the rest of the night. It was great to see Tony Iommi play all of the old classic signature riffs which made Sabbath so great. Geezer Butler was a mad-man on the bass powering through lightning fast solos and maintaining that distinctive Sabbath vibe. Ozzy did an incredible job with vocals of course.. we thought he was even better than the previous two  times we had seen at his solo shows. He seemed much more active and animated than at previous shows, shuffling across the stage from one side to the other.. tossing buckets of water into the audience and doing many of his famous frog hops. Bill Ward (Original Drummer) is not touring with the band during this tour, but the current drummer (Tommy Clufetos) was absolutely phenomenal. He had about a 20 minute solo, which I am sure was designed to give the rest of the guys a short break to rest for a bit. But no matter, he ripped it up and blew us away. After this solo the band returned and went into playing “Iron Man” which was probably my second favorite song of the night next to “Fairies Wear Boots” which has always been my favorite Sabbath song.  They played until a little after 10:00 (set list below) which seemed just right for covering most of their classics as well as a few from their new album “13”. Certainly the show was worth seeing even given the crowd issues I will now get into.

Where to start…. Maybe with all the drunk 40-50 somethings. My God, these people just could not maintain any kind of civility or consideration of other people’s personal space. I swear we had at least a half dozen different groups of drunk people coming and going behind us. Worst of which was a guy Ryan applicably named “Ass Hat Guy”. This guy I swear was pushing 50, drunk and stoned out of his mind and trying to what we think was dance. Of course he could only bounce his sweaty shirtless body off people around him including, Ryan and Nicki. I hollered at him once to mellow, but I think he just thought I was commenting on how well he was dancing.. He finally left, but “best friend guy” quickly took his place. This guy grabbed my shoulders a number of times wanting to make sure that I knew I was seeing vintage Black Sabbath.. well I was trying anyway! The guy next to Toni apparently didn’t like standing in front of his seat and decided Toni had a better view of the stage and stood in front of her.. I mean what’s up with that! “Big Biker Dude” came down our aisle and stood right in front of Ryan. Instinctively I hit his shoulder and told him to move, which I immediately thought might not have been such a good idea.. but he actually moved and didn’t kill me. I know marijuana is “legal” in Washington now, but really.. was there anyone in the crowd not smoking but us? I also think we were the only people who had actually paid for the seats we actually sat at. People were coming and going all around us…..which makes my rant from an early post even more appropriate. Not only do we have to pay big bucks to scalpers who Ticketmaster and Live Nation allow to buy up all the good seats, but when those bozo “brokers” can’t sell them, it leaves them open for posers who stream passed the nonexistent venue security like rats. Anyway, I think this will probably be the last show we see at the Gorge. I don’t think I have ever been to a show with so little crowd control or a so few people who actually care for the music and the show. Seemed all everyone were interested in was to just get blasted drunk.. I mean we have seen bands like Iron Maiden, AC/DC, Metallica and Judas Priest and have never run into a crowd so out of control.. Not sure if I can fully blame the venue for enabling this, but they certainly don’t discourage it.

Set List:

  1.    War Pigs
  2.    Into the Void
  3.    Under the Sun/Every Day Comes and Goes
  4.    Snowblind
  5.    Age of Reason
  6.    Black Sabbath
  7.    Behind the Wall of Sleep
  8.    N.I.B
  9.    End of the Beginning
  10.   Fairies Wear Boots
  11.   Rat Salad
  12.   Iron Man
  13.   God is Dead?
  14.   Dirty Women
  15.   Children of the Grave
  16.   Paranoid

Metallica August 25 2012

Metallica August 25 2012

Rogers Arena in Vancouver Canada for the filming of “Through the Never”.

Motley Crue – Auburn WA: August 18 2012

Motley Crue opening for KISS in Auburn Washington at the White River Amphitheater. August 18th, 2012.

Iron Maiden – Auburn WA: July 30 2012

Iron Maiden at the White River Amphitheater, July 30th, 2012.

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