“American rock band Motley Crue played their final — they swear — concert outside North America in Abu Dhabi on November 20; a pretty momentous occasion as they build up to their last concert ever in Los Angeles on New Year’s Eve.The band have signed a contract that they will never re-form and play another tour, so for those in the UAE who have followed the bubblegum-heavy metal band since they formed in January 1981, the fact the band signed up to play here was rather special.The du Arena stage was fitting for the band’s spectacle, with dozens of fire-spewing machines and Nikki Sixx’s industrial microphone hanging from a cable above. But the small number of attendees gave the spot a club-like feel, which was great in a way — seeing a near-full Motley Crue show in an almost intimate venue. But as I watched the bar and security staff eagerly rocking out (that is the technical term), I had a feeling that perhaps the price of a ticket and the cost of getting to the venue may have put the event out of the budget of many fans.

Nonetheless, the ones that did make it were clearly lifelong fans: The queue at the merchandise stand was longer than the one at the bar (not typical); everyone had a t-shirt; and everyone knew all the words to hits such as opener Girls, Girls, Girls and favourite Shout At The Devil.

Did the fans impress me more than the band? It was a close call. Frontman Vince Neil doesn’t run the stage quite as much as before (note to Axl Rose: when those rumours of Guns ‘N’ Roses reunion are confirmed, please hire a trainer) but his voice is doing well — and backing singers help. Bassist Sixx brought the attitude and swagger of an ‘80s hair rock band (the song Kickstart My Heart, which was a crowd pleaser, is about his long-ago near-death experiences with heroin). Mick Mars was the absolute treat of the night, a guitar stunner who despite his age and serious health problems, delivered the guitar solos that we go to rock shows for.

One band member, however, didn’t quite deliver. Motley Crue may have a frontman in Neil, but they are known for Tommy Lee, the posterboy for the group, despite being the drummer. He’s famous for bringing his drumkit to the fore with stunts such as putting it on a track that rotates it upside down. There was none of that on Friday night; he did have a circle of fire surrounding his kit, but it was a drum solo we were after and it didn’t happen. He did come front and centre, however, to play the piano on the encore, Home Sweet Home.”

Text from Gulfnews.ae, photos by Natheer Halawani.