Sunday, January 13, 2008

Motley Crue, Rapid City, SD

I'm sure over the years Motley Crue has had some individually memorable concerts. This one in Rapid City February 28, 1990 probably doesn't stick out in their minds, but it does in mine.

I was backstage before the show with folks from KSQY radio because they had held a drawing to give away a Harley-Davidson motorcycle with the band's "Dr. Feelgood" album cover painted on it. The band was giving the winner the keys. Nikki Sixx, Mick Mars and Tommy Lee were very friendly and stood around and chatted about motorcycles, guitar playing and the Sturgis Rally. Lead singer Vince Neil however walked right past and didn't acknowledge anyone even when their stage manager called out to him. Perhaps he was in a bad mood that night as we shall see...

Here are Nikki and Mick.

As the show started and Motley was into about their third song, someone in the audience threw a cup of ice onto the stage. Vince Neil had a fit about it and said some things about kicking someone's..., but kept playing.

Here are Nikki and Mick again.

And Vince with the crowd in the palm of his hand, he thinks...

And then it happened - a tennis shoe came flying out of the crowd and nailed Vince right in the head. He turned around to the rest of the band, yelled, "STOP!" Then he said the some things about the audience that aren't appropriate in a family blog, threw his microphone stand into the crowd and walked off. The rest of the band looked at each other, shrugged their shoulders, and walked off too. The crowd began to boo, things looked like they could turn really ugly, and the lights came back up.

After about 10 or 15 minutes of booing and chanting, a tour manager or someone came to the stage and said that the band would come back and play, but would not put up with any more things being thrown at them. They did play another handful of songs, but with no gusto, just going through the motions.

So Tommy's rotating drum set that hung from the ceiling and slid out over the audience was never used that night, which was what I had been waiting to see. I'm sure the roadies were as unhappy as anyone else, having to put that thing together and take it back down for no reason.

Talking with people afterwards, opinions were mixed about whether to blame the audience or the band. Some people pointed out that throwing things had become kind of a problem with Rapid City concerts in recent years, so maybe a lesson was learned. Others felt the band ripped off their fans by only giving half a show. I see both sides. Even now years later, I'm not sure what I think should have happened, except that people should never throw things at performers. If you've never stood on a stage with a spotlight shining in your eyes while the rest of the room is dark, you don't know how blind you are up there. There was no chance for Vince to duck that shoe, or anything else that may come his way.

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