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Mötley Crüe, Poison, and New York Dolls
St. Petersburg Times Forum
Tampa Bay, FL
July 6, 2011
Motley Crue
Mötley Crüe
New York Dolls
New York Dolls
Motley Crue
Mötley Crüe

Story by Brittany Fornof
Photos by Nick Masuda

Rock concerts aren't for the faint of heart. Rock concerts featuring the likes of Mötley Crüe, Poison, and New York Dolls certainly aren't for those who can't stomach the sound of ear-piercing guitar solos, smell of beer in the air, and sight of rock legends in skin-tight jeans doing what they were born to do: perform.

The New York Dolls kicked off the show with a solid performance, featuring some of their most popular hits, including: "Pills" and "Kids Like You."

In his zebra striped shirt and Mick Jagger-like hair and mannerisms, lead singer David Johansen walked towards the audience with a too-cool-for school lethargy, which perfectly matched the civil disobedience tone of "'Cause I say so." With a playful smirk on his face, Johansen belted the lyrics, "Everything I do is on the video...I hear they lock you up for smokin' a joint."

Performing "Talk to Me Baby" off their 2011 album Dancing Backwards in High Heels, the New York Dolls introduced a softer, slower sound to the crowd. Johansen's raspy voice, perfectly accented the rhythmic, instrument-driven song, which highlighted Kenny Aaranson's bass-playing and Sylvain Sylvain's piano skills.

In true glam-punk fashion, the flashing red stage lights highlighted the curtain backdrop, which featured the band's name written in their signature red lipstick cursive. The New York dolls closed their act with one of their edgiest hits, "Personality Crisis," which featured a kneeling solo by guitarist Earl Slick.

Poison's performance started when drummer Riccki Rockett raced onto the stage and spray painted, "Tampa FLA" across his drum set, an act that was met with a roaring applause by the audience. Then, in his dark jeans and shiny shoes, CC DeVille entered the stage, picking the strings of his bright electric guitar with every step he took. Bobby Dall joined them on stage, and the band played the introduction of "Look What the Cat Dragged In." Just in time to see the opening lyrics, Brett Michaels rose from the darkness on a hydraulic riser at the back of stage. With a burst of green flames at his side, Michaels screamed into his microphone, "Oh my god, look what Tampa Florida dragged in!"

The band's set list included their classics "Ride the Wind" and "Talk Dirty to Me."

Michaels, in his signature red bandana and a pair of lightly-flared jeans with three crosses stacked stitched on the side, pounced around the stage with the same energy and vitality that he did twenty years ago, living proof that rock legends never truly age.

After performing a cover of "We're an American Band" off their newest album, Michaels breathed into the microphone, "Let me blow a little blues on this...just one second." Michaels drew a harmonica towards his lips and blew out a bluesy tune. After an emphatic pause, Dall responded with a keyboard solo, and the crowd cheered in approval. Standing over an air vent, CC's hair flew around his face as Rockett tossed his sticks in the air and caught them. Michaels screamed "Tampa Florida," and an explosion of fire lit up the stage.

The song ended with CC taking the stage for a prolonged guitar solo. With his head bowed low, CC's fingers meticulously race across the strings, producing a shrill, but astonishing sound. In a fit of musical genius, CC tore his guitar to shreds, and the audience ate it up.

Poison performed their 1988 hit "Fallen Angel" from their album Open Up and Say...Ahh! before ending their set with: "Every Rose has It's Thorn" and "Nothin' But a Good Time."

Mötley Crüe has always had a niche for the wow factor. At the St. Pete Times Forum, however, Mötley Crüe went for the shock factor. After Poison exited, Mötley Crüe's road crew erected a huge cloth tent while they created the set for the next performance. During the interlude between the acts, the forum's overhead speakers blasted a compilation of classic hard rock tunes from over the years. During the chorus of one such song, the room went dark, fireworks crackled in the background, the tent dropped, and guitarist Mick Mars stood at center stage.

Stationed within a giant wheel of metal, drummer Tommy Lee chimed in to the song. Clad in metallic pants, lead singer Vince Neil belted out a verse from a balcony two-stories up before gliding down a pole to the stage. Two scantily-clad women, resembling rock and roll versions of flamenco dancers, slid down the pole after him.

"Are you ready?" Neil asked the audience.
A sea of "rock on" signs rippled through the audience in response.

Throughout their extensive set, Mötley Crüe performed such hits as "Shout at the Devil," "Same 'Ole Situation," "Primal Scream," and "Home Sweet Home." Complimenting the fiery performance delivered by the band, the special effects were startling. Fire explosions preceded, proceeded and interrupted every song while the lights affixed to Lee's overhead drum circle defiantly flashed beams of colorful lights across the stage and into the audience. The burlesque-ish girls sashayed saucily across the stage, dancing on the poles and interacting with Neil.

Mars, stooping so that his guitar hung around his knees, walked the stage with a persona of laidback confidence that had a tint of well-deserved arrogance. In "Dr. Feel Good," Mars' head-nodding duet with Neil was above par, and the wry smile never left his face.

The highlight of the show came when Tommy Lee engaged in his gravity-defying extended drum solo. Like a toddler throwing a temper tantrum, Lee pounded the skin off his drum set as the audience egged him on. Strapped in for a coaster-like thrill ride, Lee and his drum set swung back and forth, left and right, and then did a complete 360-all while keeping his rhythm perfectly on pace. Lee's solo culminated with him hanging at a 180 degree angle as fiery explosions went off around him.

But Lee wasn't finished yet. He chose one lucky victim from the front of the stage to join him on his pleasure ride.

"What's your name?" Lee asked. "Jason? Ok Jason, are you high? Well, you're going to be." And with that, Tommy Lee took front-row Jason for the ride of his life.

Mötley Crüe ended the show with such immortal classics as "Smoking in the Boys' Room" and "Girls, Girls, Girls." Completing their 32nd performance in the Tampa Bay area, Mötley Crüe gave more than a simple show. They produced a spectacle. They produced a riot.

Related articles:

Cruefest 2009 - Concert review - Tinley Park, IL July 2009
Motley Crue / Sum 41 / The Exies / Silvertide - Concert review - Milwaukee, WI August 2005
Motley Crue - Concert review - Rosemont, IL March 2005
The New York Dolls / We Are the Fury - Concert review - Chicago, IL February 2008
The New York Dolls (Voodoo Music Festival) - Festival review - New Orleans, LA October 2005
The New York Dolls - Concert review - Chicago, IL May 2005
The New York Dolls - Morrissey Presents The Return of the New York Dolls:
Live From The Royal Festival Hall
- Album review

Motley Crue
Mötley Crüe
New York Dolls
New York Dolls
Motley Crue
Mötley Crüe
Motley Crue
Mötley Crüe
New York Dolls
New York Dolls
Motley Crue
Mötley Crüe
New York Dolls
New York Dolls

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