CrüeFest 2 @ PNC Bank Arts Center

HOLMDEL, NJ—Let me start by saying that although most of you know how I feel about Mötley Crüe, I had my doubts about how playing the Dr. Feelgood from front to back would fare. For those of you who were at the PNC show, I don’t have to tell you—they f’n rocked! That may have been one of the best Mötley Crüe shows that I have ever seen, and I’ve seen a lot! Playing Dr. Feelgood in its entirety was genius on their part since it was the 20th anniversary of the CD’s release. Dr. Feelgood may not be every Crüe fan’s favorite CD, but every one of those songs was fun, and you can’t help but get into them. Many of the songs have never been played live before, and I have to tell you, it brought me back! Memories of being a young metal head and listening to Dr. Feelgood on tape came flooding back. Plus, I have a new found respect for the CD, since my girlfriend pointed out that every single one of those songs— is perfect for stripping! Hmmmm, Mötley Crüe singer Vince Neil questioned the crowd, “Who owned this on vinyl?” After playing “Without You,” Vince joked, “Now, for side two!”

Mötley Crüe’s stage setup always has a theme with extra added theatrics. This time the lights dim and out walks a “naughty nurse” pushing a giant wheelchair! Center stage, out of the wheelchair seat pops another hottie dressed in a straight jacket. A few extras in lab coats come running out to give her a big needle—as her scream echoes through PNC Bank Arts Center—lights go out and the curtain drops to reveal Mötley Crüe cutting into the title track from a stage setup to look like a giant padded room— yes, cheesy but so awesome! The two naughty nurses became leather-clad backup singers. To keep consistent with the them, even the managers and guests watching the show from the side of the stage wore lab coats.

Regardless of the two backup singers, in my opinion, Vince didn’t even need them! His voice actually sounded strong and he pulled through every single song like a champ singing every word! Unlike many of the Crüe shows in the past, Vince did not overkill the audience participation thing! The audience did not finish out the songs, and it was nice to see Vince live up to expectations. Mötley Crüe was “on” for every song, their energy bled into the crowd and from where I was everyone was out of their seats screaming and dancing for the entire show. They did two encores after finishing up the Dr. Feelgood CD. The first consisting of “Wild Side,” the title track of their latest CD, Saints Of Los Angeles, and “Shout At The Devil.” The second encore opened with “Home Sweet Home” and wrapped up with “Girls, Girls, Girls.” Another surprise was that since Mötley Crüe drummer Tommy Lee’s hand was injured, and he couldn’t play, his bud Morgan Rose of Sevendust filled in—which was still awesome because it sounded like Tommy was playing. He is an amazing heavy-hitting drummer that can play his ass off and mimic Tommy’s style. Sevendust is one of my favorite bands, so I was excited to see him playing Crüe songs. True to his “I never slow down” tradition, Tommy just couldn’t keep away! He kicked Morgan out of his seat for a few of the slower songs, and he played control freak on most of the other songs. Again, another reason why he is just so damn cool!

Now I didn’t really make it in to see all of the great opening bands at Crue Fest 2 like Charm City Devils, Theory Of A Deadman, or Drowning Pool because it was a workday, but I did get to see Godsmack, who always sounds phenomenal! As a long-time Godsmack fan, I have to say that they were consistent! Their sound was amazing! They rocked with all that they had, but I felt that their stage presence fell a bit short! Yes, there was pyrotechnics, and sweat, but aside from Sully and a couple of twirling drumsticks, there is a definite lack of energy. I can’t seem to stay focused through their entire set. They hit the stage strong and ended even stronger with a dueling double drum solo in which Sully played the bongos and drums. During that, my eyes were glued to the stage.

Overall, Crüe Fest 2 was a success, as far as the show goes. I understand that they are trying to make this an Ozzfest-type of event, but they’re missing the mark! It just doesn’t have that same “all day metal festival/music for the masses” vibe. It just feels like a show! The two stages, the concession stands, opening the venue early—all these items are meant to contribute to the festival mentality but I’ve seen it done better for Warped Tour and Bamboozle. Now that there is no more Ozzfest, what is our big metal head summer festival? C’mon Mötley Crüe, make me prouder than this!