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At The Forum : Motley Crue's Rock 'N' Roles

October 08, 1987|STEVE HOCHMAN

Lued, crued, rued, spilled booze, a couple of near nueds. Welcome to the world of Motley Crue, which headlined the Forum on Tuesday (hold the umlaut):

It's a world where cliches pass for art.

Where women are good for only one thing.

Where flashy is synonymous with good.

Where using the f-word as often as possible passes for insight.

In the audience, meantime, getting bleary-eyed, shouting nasty things and falling down a lot (not necessarily in that order) passes for a good time.

The crazy thing is that the concert was a pretty good time.

Following the theme of the 2-million-selling album "Girls, Girls, Girls," and the hit single of the same name, the show was given a burlesque flavor, complete with a stage decorated with flashing runner lights and a tape of "The Stripper" to start things off. And singer Vince Neil--having stopped teasing and bleaching his blond hair, and having traded in his silly, frilly glam duds for modified biker wear--makes a pretty good second-string David Lee Roth (still the ranking rock 'n' roll vaudevillian).

The music too had a second-string Roth/Van Halen quality, though it was such older material as the near speed-metal "Live Wire" and the Black Sabbath-like "Red Hot" that showed the most character. None of Crue's original songs could match any of the heavy-metal classics (by Aerosmith, AC/DC, et al.) in the encore medley, in which the band was joined by three members of Ratt. Drummer Tommy Lee is far and away the best musician of the group--his solo spot, in which he and his whole drum kit are spun upside down, was a highlight of the show. When was the last time you heard someone say that about a drum solo?

The Crue must be taken to task for two things, though: its abhorrent attitudes toward alcohol and women. On the former, the Jack Daniel's-guzzling display by Lee and bassist Nikki Sixx could hardly be considered a good example for the mostly young crowd. And while Neil--whose recent past includes a conviction for alcohol-related vehicular manslaughter--didn't participate in the proceedings, he emceed without offering one word of caution about drinking responsibly.

As for the latter, the two barely clad female singers who are billed as the Nasty Habits (Annie and Donna--no last names, please), pretty much summed up the band's stance on women's rights. The fact that a number of young women in the crowd mirrored the presentation of the women on stage was depressing. Do their parents know they go out in public dressed like that?

But in the world of Motley Crue, these indefensible elements are a given as part of the party-time appeal and false sense of rebellion. Too bad there isn't more creativity and positiveness in it. But fun? Plenty.

It's hard to say why the same thing as done by Whitesnake is no fun at all. Is it because singer David Coverdale and his four-man band (whose ballad "Here I Go Again" is currently the No. 1 song in the country) project virtually no personality and rely entirely on tired musical and staging cliches? Is it because the group's best song, "In the Still of the Night," is a shameless Led Zeppelin rip-off? Who knows? The bill was scheduled to return to the Forum on Wednesday, and plays the Long Beach Arena tonight.

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