Rating out of 10
For a band that is an established pin on rock and roll’s lapel, the crowd milling around the main stage waiting for Mötley Crüe didn’t appear to be as enthused, or even packed for that matter, as one would have originally thought – especially considering the fact that this was their last EVER festival appearance. However, this didn’t seem to deter the fans that WERE there, as roars of appreciation rippled through the crowd whilst roadies prepared the Crüe‘s stage set up (massive metal spikes and a dangling microphone on the end of a car exhaust, obviously).
By the time they stormed onto the stage to opener ‘Saints of Los Angeles‘, with frontman Vince Neil dressed head to toe in leather and gold with a glittering cod piece to match, scantily clad dancers (backing vocalists? Strippers? No one will ever know), hot on his tail, there were enough fans present to produce a few screams and a meek singalong to what should have been a rough and unruly start. You could tell that, in their heyday, this band could produce an immediately electric reaction within a few seconds. However, they almost had to work for it with the Sunday evening Download crowd, and it felt as though they have come full circle in a bittersweet sort of way. Of course, the die-hards gladly belted their little hearts out, and once they did get going, Mötley Crüe were as fun and as politically incorrect as you would expect, bouncing through a set of old favourites including ‘Wild Side‘, a rather enjoyable ‘Same Ol’ Situation‘, and surprise in Gary Glitter tribute ‘Smokin’ In The Boys Room‘.
The one point in their set thus far that really got this trench-footed, muddy, and probably quite tired crowd going, was the Crüe‘s attempt at Sex Pistols‘ classic ‘Anarchy in the UK‘; ironic that, the British written song that isn’t theirs, was the one that persuaded the masses into a proper singalong. But to be fair, it was a clever ruse, because the second half of their set was met with much more enthusiasm and adoration than the beginning. Once they kicked through classics like ‘Dr. Feelgood‘, ‘Girls, Girls, Girls‘ and ‘Kickstart My Heart‘ the crowds were fist-pumping, power screaming, and gyrating along as though it was 1989 all over again. Nikki Sixx‘s bass had a flame thrower attached to it (of course) and the giant metal spikes adorning the stage were spewing tongues of fire out from behind the ethereal stance of guitarist Mick Mars, and not forgetting the massive pentagram flashing across the screens behind drummer Tommy Lee. It was very much a farewell in the sense that the Crüe were taking us back, taking us back to the golden days, when they were fuelled by nothing more than hard liquor, casual sex, and crunching black leather.
As the last remaining stragglers wailed along to epic ballad ‘Home Sweet Home‘, sidestepping the people moving away from the main stage for other pastures, it was clear the glam-metal group were on the cold come-down of an audacious and remarkable career. It didn’t stop them from visibly appreciating and thanking those fans still present ’til the last note. You could see it was something they were humbled by, genuinely, and it’s because it truly feels like the end of one very glorious era for those 4 rebellious kids from Los Angeles, those boys that wanted to make some feel-good rock and roll – and no one will dispute that they succeeded.