Friday Night: Kiss & Mötley Crüe at The Woodlands

Kiss, Mötley Crüe Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion August 3, 2012

"I used to rock and roll all night and party ev-er-y day. Then it was every other day. Now I'm lucky to find half an hour a week in which to get funky."

-- Homer Simpson

Getting old can be a drag, to paraphrase some guy, but how you've treated yourself to that point can affect how well you manage the inevitable descent into decrepitude. Those who find acceptance in their station in life also tend to weather their autumn years more gracefully than those who cling to past glory.

And that intro would've worked great if Mötley Crüe had put on as half-assed a show as Rocks Off was expecting on The Tour with Kiss last Friday night. Truth be told, they were better than anticipated, giving us probably the second best of the four Crüe shows we've seen (the first being 1987's Girls, Girls, Girls concert at the Summit), making a swampy August evening in the Woodlands a little more tolerable.

Oh, and Kiss was pretty damn good, too.

Don't get us wrong, Mötley Crüe has still lost... several steps in the years since their '80s heyday. But that's to be expected; we're all more bloated (tattoo sleeves do wonders to hide lack of arm definition, by the way) and lacking in stamina these days. Talk-radio commercials blame something called "low T," we blame decades of alcohol and heroin abuse.

But you've gotta hand it to them, even with a mercury that must've topped out at 120 degrees onstage (and that's not even counting the pyrotechnics), Vince, Nikki, Mick and Tommy were noticeably enthused. Even Mick seemed to be getting around better, which is encouraging given his condition.

He still walks with difficulty, but his solos anchored most of the band's set. He's rock's Crypt Keeper, and we love him for it. We almost felt bad for Tommy, stuck back there with the pyro and no ventilation, until we realized he's one of those genetic freaks who can unendingly abuse his body and still look like a dude in his mid-20s. Provided you don't squint too hard.

So maybe we didn't really feel that bad for him. The backup singers (do they still call them the "Nasty Habits?") on the other hand...leather outfits? In August? In Houston? Someone in promotions needs a firm finger wagging.

And the shortened set probably helped their attitude (Neil was able to make it to the third song -- "Shout at the Devil" -- before letting the audience provide the bulk of the vocals). The only unknown quantity in the Crüe's repertoire was the new single "Sex," which only served to heighten the dissonance caused by a bunch of fiftysomethings (going by average: Tommy is 49 and Mick Mars is 61) singing about fornication.

Between that and Neil's "I Support Single Mothers" vest, complete with stripper pole graphic, it really warmed our heart that so many folks decided to bring their children to the show. We hope they were able to fully participate in Tommy's "When I say 'fuck,' you say 'you'" routine at the end.

For Mötley Crüe, there's little danger left in a bunch of grandfather-aged dudes posturing like rock and roll badasses, and the capacity crowd at the Pavilion honestly didn't appear to give a shit. And a good thing too, considering who was coming up next.

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Peter Vonder Haar writes movie reviews for the Houston Press and the occasional book. The first three novels in the "Clarke & Clarke Mysteries" - Lucky Town, Point Blank, and Empty Sky - are out now.
Contact: Pete Vonder Haar