LOVELAND — There are, generally speaking, two schools of thought when it comes to Mötley Crüe.
The first sees the group as nothing more than mysogynistic meatheads looking for a good time. Then there’s the second view, which glorifies the four-man band as the formula for musical genius.
There were compelling arguments for both theories Sunday night, as the Crüe joined forces to make a stop on their national Red, White & Crüe Tour at the Budweiser Events Center.
The Crüe — lead singer Vince Neil, guitarist Mick Mars, bassist Nikki Sixx and drummer Tommy Lee — joined the list of always punctual artists who have performed at the events center in the past. With a scheduled curtain time of 7:30 p.m., the lights didn’t go down until about 8:30 p.m., making way for a giant screen that dropped from the ceiling.
After a few minutes of Claymation entertainment — a short movie clip showing the four band members preparing for a pre-apocalyptic show — the red and white striped curtain was lifted, revealing a stage Barnum and Bailey would have admired.
An assortment of impressive pyrotechnics and scantily clad aerial artists welcomed the boys to the stage as they played the opening of 1983’s “Shout At The Devil.”
This wasn’t the haggard, washed up ’80s hair band critics likely expected; Neil’s vocals were solid, his screams uninhibited.
Neil followed the tune with an expletive-loaded greeting, to which the audience responded in kind.
Within minutes, Mars — dressed in his signature black, top hat — was showing off the guitar riffs that brought the Crüe to the mainstream in songs such as “Too Fast For Love” and “Ten Seconds To Love.” And for those unimpressed with the extravagance of Mars’ solos, an entourage of barely clothed waifs grinding against a set of ladders leading to the arena’s ceiling probably grabbed the audience’s attention.
It didn’t really matter to this crowd. The Crüe could have spewed razor blades into the audience and it would have cheered. These were longtime, hardcore fans, many of whom arrived drunk before the party even began. Beyond that, many were caught in a time warp, donning black spandex, imitation stonewashed jeans and verifiable mullets.
Likewise, members of the Crüe donned the hairstyles similar to those worn in their prime, when the hottest album was 1987’s “Girls, Girls Girls.”
That album kicked off the second half of the show, which opened after a 10-minute intermission with the record’s title track. And, as might be expected, there were many girls to be found on stage, most of which were featured in pornographic, bare-chested style on an overhead screen.
The group broke into “Wild Side,” also on the 1987 album, before playing songs from 1989’s “Dr. Feelgood,” the band’s best-selling album to date.
The crowd was emphatic: when Vince Neil sang, “Don’t Go Away Mad (Just Go Away),” audience members jumped in the aisles. “Dr. Feelgood,” inspired air guitar field day throughout the arena. And later, when the band busted into the ever-popular “Home Sweet Home,” there wasn’t a lighter present that wasn’t lifted in the air.
Tommy Lee enjoyed a drunken display as he was hooked to wires that allowed him to fly from one percussion-filled booth to the next to show off his drumming skills.
“Do you guys have any ... idea how much I love to play drums for you?” he asked the crowd. “ I ... live for this. ...”
For all the show’s glitz and glamour, its selling point ended up being the music itself.
“We’ve seen more than 450 shows,” said Denverite Rob Lacey. “This is by far one of the best ones we’ve seen.”
Valerie Singleton can be reached at 303-684-5319, or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.