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Live Review: Cruefest 2 in Las Vegas, NV

5 August 2009 19 Comments

By: Darius

Crue Fest 2 rolled into Las Vegas this past Saturday and played the Joint, which is a 4,000 capacity venue within the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino. This is the smallest venue booked for the entire tour. I was in attendance and watched Godsmack and Motley Crue perform to a packed house in Sin City.

This was the first time I’ve seen Godsmack in 8 years, when they were touring in support of their sophomore release, Awake. I saw two of their shows that tour, in which they were supported by Staind and Cold, and had a blast at both of them. However, I never saw them again because I hated all their subsequent records, primarily because many of the songs sounded alike and terrestrial radio played them endlessly. Well, I am happy to report that these issues have been cast aside because Godsmack absolutely KILLED it on Saturday.

Godsmack (l-r): Robbie Merrill, Shannon Larkin, Sully Erna, Tony Rambola

Godsmack (l-r): Robbie Merrill, Shannon Larkin, Sully Erna, Tony Rambola

You could say it was a “greatest hits” setlist, and that was fine by me. What was refreshing to see was that Godsmack didn’t let their stage show grow stale over the years. The band now utilizes a double-decker stage with various microphones placed on both levels in multiple spots, allowing frontman Sully Erna to move about while performing.

Furthermore, Sully has brought his drumming sideshow to a whole new level. When I last saw Godsmack, he played a standing percussion set alongside former drummer Tommy Stewart during the band’s usual dual drummer routine. This has been revamped in a huge way, as Sully is now playing a full drum set that rotates and moves about the stage, alongside current drummer Shannon Larkin.

Overall, it was a hell of a show. Godsmack exceeded my expectations 100% and have reinvigorated my interest in the band. I even enjoyed watching them close the set with “I Stand Alone,” a song I have despised for years. They kicked ass in Vegas and I am absolutely on board to go see them again. If you have not seen Godsmack live, I recommend that you do so as soon as possible.

Afterwards, I had high expectations for Motley Crue, considering they were to play the seminal album, Dr. Feelgood, in its entirety. Well, I am proud to report that the band went onstage and delivered another high energy, incredible performance.

Vince Neil

Vince Neil

The night started with album opener “Dr. Feelgood”, being played within white padded walls. The band members were wearing lab coats as strobe lights were going crazy. Yup, it was badass. Afterwards, the walls were lifted, the coats were taken off, and the band delivered hit after hit.

Motley Crue at Cruefest 2

Motley Crue at Cruefest 2

Hearing the Dr. Feelgood tracks that are rarely played live, particularly “Slice Of Your Pie” and “Sticky Sweet” made the $100 ticket price well worth it for me. Playing the album in its entirety was a genius move by the band and revived the usual greatest hits + “Saints of Los Angeles” set that they’ve been playing for the last couple of years.

The second set brought on many of the non-Feelgood hits that we love, including “Live Wire,” “Shout At The Devil,” and “Girls Girls Girls.” One curious omission was “White Trash Circus,” which I thought was supposed to be the theme of the tour and feature the other Crue Fest 2 singers on stage to sing the chorus. Maybe they canned the idea because the song really isn’t very good.

“Home Sweet Home” was an especially poignant moment as the band all surrounded Tommy Lee’s piano and played side by side. In years past, Tommy would play the piano alongside his drum set, but now the piano is front and center and he literally ran back and forth between them. I loved seeing this legendary band of 30 years playing together with such conviction. Overall, it was another killer performance by one of the greatest bands in rock music and a fantastic night overall. Honestly, I could not have had a better time.

Godsmack Quick Hits

* Bassist Robbie Merrill looks like he begs for food outside the New York City subway instead of playing bass for a multi-platinum selling metal band.
* I love watching Sully Erna and Tony Rombola do their thing.
* Shannon Larkin is an absolute monster behind the kit. He’s sick and is 1000 times better than Tommy Stewart. You’re insane if you argue otherwise.

Motley Crue Quick Hits

* Vince Neil does not sing every word, and hasn’t for years. However, the man still has charisma, knows how to engage the audience, and he hits most of the high notes that defined his career.
* Mick Mars has to be one of the most underrated guitar players in the world. He’s incredible! Remember when his health issues were of concern and people speculated that Dave Navarro would play for him during the initial reunion dates? Now don’t get me wrong, I LOVE Navarro’s playing but he can’t hold a candle to Mick Mars. No way.
* Nikki Sixx, despite hating the internet, continues to be the man.
* You know, Tommy Lee is kind of a D-Bag. A lot of the songs end with him shouting “What’s up bitches!” into his mic and he does stupid chants (“When I say Motley, you say Crue!”) on stage, but I’ve come to accept and even embrace it. He’s the drummer for Motley Crue so he gets a pass. I saw the Crue with Samantha Maloney behind the drums years ago and it sucked. Without Tommy Lee, you don’t have Motley Crue, therefore Tommy rules.

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  • 1942 said:

    I know what you mean. I was there. It was a disgusting end to a great show.

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  • Administrator (author) said:

    I wish I was at the show. I agree with SMASHERDEVOURER and 1942 when they say Tommy is annoying as all hell. Darius is right, he does get a free pass because he’s in Crue.


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  • Dennis said:

    Darius … Shannon or Tommy behind the kit?

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  • AKROnym said:

    Darius — I’m a Navarro fan so in the spirit of asking you questions: What did you think about Rexall?

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  • hatuespatue said:

    I thought the same thing of Robbie. He does look unkempt.

    Solid show review.

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  • slayers said:

    Why was it a “genius” move to play DrF in full?

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  • darius said:

    1) at first i was going to say shannon larkin, based on pure talent. but tommy lee is the man, so i just don’t know.

    2) i haven’t listened to Trust No One in a long time (*cues up Rhapsody), but ya, i do like “Rexall”. dave navarro has always annoyed me because of his persona, but i can’t deny talent, and the man is a sick guitar player. plus, i’m a huge Jane’s Addiction fan.

    3) playing Dr. Feelgood in its entirety was genius because it added the single most unique aspect to the entire tour. it was fantastic timing because of its 20th anniversary and it forced the band to get off their asses and rehearse songs that haven’t been played in many years. it single-handedly shook up the greatest hits setlist + occasional SOLA track. also, when you see it being performed like that live, you really gain a huge appreciation for the record as well as the Crue. Dr. Feelgood is one of the greatest rock records ever created, so its cool that it gets such a fitting tribute.

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  • Dennis said:

    Thanks for the answer.

    All I thought was how bad ass it would be to see Tommy, Shannon and Sully on stage together. I saw Taylor Hawkins and Dave Grohl do it on kits next to each other.

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  • yiggernes said:

    godsmack been getting raved about on this tour. why? lolz

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  • ArchedIsisByleveling said:

    Tommy gets a bad rap for sure. He looks to be an arrogant bitch. You can’t deny his skills on the skins.

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  • Oscar said:

    Does anyone think Tommy will ever bring back the flying kit?

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  • atestaplatates said:

    Darius is God. Best review of CF I’ve read.

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  • RJelk said:

    greetz, we don’t get the cruefest in germany. please bring the festival to germany! i saw the motley crue in greece but the first time! wishes the vegas would be here!

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  • osiris said:

    I love how he ignored all the opening bands as if it never happened. This entire site is ass backwards.

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  • Carla said:

    If all the other sites are ass forwards, at the very least the one ass backwards is different. That’s why we all post here. It’s a welcome change from the other monotonous garbage elsewhere.

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  • mAAT said:


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  • Uriah Heep said:

    This site is racist and misogynist.

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  • Oliver Jones said:

    the best drum set that i have used is the ones that is made by Pearl,”~

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