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Concerts, Carnivals, and the Crue 
by Stella Brown

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This particular concert pilgrimage involved a two-hour drive to Clark County Amphitheater in Ridgefield, Washington. No worries; I have traveled farther to check out bands, and this show featured four of them! The one word that best describes the experience is outrageous: from the leather-clad dominatrix chasing a midget to a public plea for Pacific Northwest green to aerial acrobats twirling above the stage. Oh yeah, and Tommy Lee's boob cam- outrageous, baby! His outrageous little stunt definitely marked the show as R-rated.

I am not typically a metalhead; my combat boots and pierced eyebrow hint at my alternative tastes. Still, this show featured bands that know how to play loud rock, and I can always appreciate that. Silvertide got the audience on their feet, literally, as their lead singer ran into the crowd, microphone in hand, yelling at us to get up and party. The first of three bands backing up Motley Crue on the Carnival of Sins tour, Silvertide still managed to connect with the audience and even met with fans after their set, unusually accessible for a venue and show of this size. Next, the Exies ripped into their set list, with fans singing along when they closed with their hit, "My Goddess." Finally, Sum 41 delivered an energized, hyperactive set, with their lead singer standing behind the drum set, singing and thrashing out the last few songs. 

But, much as the crowd applauded these hard-core efforts, the sold-out house wanted to hear the Crue. So, a bunch of thirty-somethings head-banged to the metal anthems of the self-proclaimed fathers of metal. From Nikki Six and Mick Mars strumming the chords of "Shout at the Devil" to their third encore, Motley Crue pulled out their old hits and reminded fans that age only matters in wine and cheese. I joined Vince Neil as he screamed out "Kick Start My Heart," and pounded my fist into the stale summer night air on "Don't Go Away Mad," all the while feeling like I was reliving high school days. And when Tommy Lee switched gears from drummer to pianist for "Home Sweet Home," more than a few hearts beat faster and smiled at this drummer known for his rakish charm.

Motley Crue's music does not lend itself to critical theory and analysis; they make use of basic instruments, avoid elaborate arrangements, and forego deeply philosophical or intellectual lyrical messages. They state the obvious: from lines like "Everybody knows that smoking ain't allowed in school" to "Seasons must change, separate paths, separate ways," Motley Crue just takes in average moments, typical experiences and spit them back out in song. They sing about lewd, crude, rude fantasies that hide in the hearts- and drives- of most adolescents. Maybe that's why so many of us have bought their top-selling albums over the years. Motley Crue takes us back to days of uninhibited, living in the moment. And the moments with this band are all loud!


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