Mötley Crüe, Tesla, Hinder destroy Rock USA

When the headliners for Rock USA 2012 were announced I was very excited to say the least. Mötley Crüe, Shinedown, Kid Rock; these are all very talented bands and concerts to spend your hard earned money on. Who wouldn’t want to attend this all-star line up in the middle of summer?!

Openers for the second day of Rock USA included Drowning Pool, Hinder, and Tesla who all contributed their best to make the wait for Mötley Crüe an enjoyable one. Daytime performances usually aren’t as fun as the later ones because most fans just want to see the headliner. Since VIP is in the front two sections, many of these bands end up performing for hundreds of white chairs which is a little demoralizing and awkward to say the least.

During Drowning Pool the white VIP seats weren’t as full as they could’ve or should’ve been. For such a rocking band there were a lot of people who missed out on this 4:30 act in the front section. Drowning Pool is probably best known for “Bodies,” a song they saved for last.

Hinder was also a similar experience. They cracked out a few of their hits including “Get Stoned,” but most of their show was pretty mellow and not as entertaining as Drowning Pool or Tesla. The guys of Hinder are pretty talented, but for much of their show there wasn’t a lot going on. VIP slowly started to fill up during Hinder, but it wasn’t until Tesla when fans started to pour into their seats.

Tesla’s show was alright as well, though I am not a fan so I might be a little more critical. Their guitarists were amazing and sounded similar to the style that Eddie Van Halen coined in the late 70’s. There was one song I recognized though and that was “Signs.” There weren’t any big hiccups during their show and I thought they were a great opener for Mötley Crüe. Their music is from a similar time period and they both scream classic rock.

Although it isn’t the 80’s anymore and Mötley Crüe might not have that time period luster to them anymore, they didn’t disappoint a single soul in the crowd on the second day of Rock USA.

I have to admit I was a bit worried during the day when I didn’t see construction of Mötley Crüe’s stage progressing between the opening band’s breaks. There was no day long building of the stage like KISS had going on last year so it got me thinking that Mötley Crüe might not have brought the whole production.

Later in the night after the last opener though, road crews quickly built a wall of speaker cabinets on each side of the stage and rolled in Tommy Lee’s drum riser in the middle.

When Nikki Sixx, Tommy Lee, Mick Mars, and Vince Neil’s figures were illuminated on the stage the crowd went wild. Mick Mars kicked off with “Live Wire” shortly leading to the first I’ve ever heard of Vince Neil’s vocals live. I was very impressed. They sound just like they do on their albums and was exactly what I expected. Mick Mars looks like he’s doing a lot better than in previous years. He moves around a lot more and was very energetic at the Rock USA show.

The show was amazing. There’s just no other way to put it. I suppose that’s what you get when you buy tickets to a very high profile and accomplished “superband”. Though there was some controversy at the end of the show when Mötley Crüe threw buckets of red paint on fans and security. Of course there were some who didn’t mind, but there were also a few who didn’t find it funny when red paint stained the $40 Mötley Crüe t-shirt they just purchased at the merch tent. I have mixed feelings on this as well. Is this really okay?

Things are a different at Rock USA in terms of crowd seating. There is not a general admission pit in the front by the stage. It’s more or less reversed at Rock USA and Country USA. VIP seating is up front and general admission in the back. So when fans of Mötley Crüe ran up to the front barrier as they took the stage, security went wild, taking the better part of two songs to clear them all out.

Though this was a dreaded soundboard photo shoot and I didn’t get any photos that are worthy of my taste, the disappointment of that was eased when Mötley Crüe played “Shout at the Devil,” the first Mötley Crüe song I ever heard and also coincidentally the one that became my favorite.

If you and your friends weren’t able to make it to Rock USA to see Mötley Crüe headline, you can catch them when they tour with KISS through this summer and fall. For you Wisconsin natives, they will be stopping by Alpine Valley on September 8th. If you enjoyed KISS at Rock USA last year and Mötley Crüe this year, I would suggest you grab some tickets to this historic tour.



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