Rockin’ Hellsinki @ Kaisaniemi Park, June 7 2012

Crashdïet, Hardcore Superstar and the legendary Mötley Crüe were scheduled to play the first installment of Rockin’ Hellsinki festival, which took place in Kaisaniemi Park, June 7. Mötley’s visit to Finland was long overdue after the band had to cancel their performance in Pori at Sonisphere 2010 when their equipment got damaged by the storm. Needless to say they were expected with anticipation, and hours before the event started, Helsinki city centre was filled with people wearing all sorts of glam attire, with some Crüe merchandise on top.

We arrived in Kaisaniemi when Hardcore Superstar were about to take the stage. The Swedish band plays here very often, yet they always manage to gather a sufficient following, thus it’s safe to say that Finns love Hardcore Superstar a lot! This love is absolutely deserved though, as the band’s shows are always a party. During their set I was looking around, amused by the amount of Nikki Sixx look-a-likes. The majority of teenage boys present there were aiming for the same hairdo and the same clothing attire, as the bassist himself. Imitation is the highest form of flattery, indeed. The female part of the audience was relying heavily on the success formula of hairspray, ripped fishnets/spandex and short skirts.

Photo by Jana Blomqvist

Speaking of Nikki Sixx, he was spotted at the side of the stage, checking out a few of Hardcore Superstar’s songs. The boys have whipped up a great set-list to the crowd’s delight: “Wild Boys”, “Medicate Me”, “Sadistic Girls”, “My Good Reputation”, “Moonshine” among others, and, of course, “We Don’t Celebrate Sundays”.  I suppose it should be quite a trip for any glam-sleaze-younameit band to share the stage with the Crüe, and I was secretly hoping that maybe HCS will play a cover of some Mötley song, but that didn’t happen.

After Hardcore Superstar said their goodbyes, it was time for the stage change. Funny enough, Pantera, Metallica and Megadeth were being played on the PA, and I couldn’t help thinking that just 2-3 decades ago something like this would have been a terrible and absolutely unacceptable thing to do. Mustaine would probably personally slaughter anyone, who would dare to play his stuff at a “Gay LA Music” show. But times have changed and it’s all in the past now. After all the last preparations were done, Mötley Crüe were a bit past their scheduled show-time. But I suppose, as long as it’s not Guns’n’Roses you’re waiting for, everything else should be bearable.

They started the show with “Wild Side” and there was definitely something wrong with the sound. But this was quickly fixed and, frankly, irrelevant, compared to Vince Neil’s vocals. If I could choose between listening to a cat’s wail or Vince Neil live, I’d go with the cat, it would be less traumatizing. The terrible sounds escaping his throat were often muffled by shortness of breath or panting when he half-walked half-ran from one end of the stage to another (no, it wasn’t this big). Naturally, this had put a damper on the overall impression of the show.

There were two back up dancers/singers, and most of the time their choreography had very little to do with the actual rhythm of music. They made me think of some old cabaret in a god-forsaken town, where nobody comes anymore. Maybe that’s where Vince Neil could play his solo shows!

However, there were positive moments too. It was a pleasure to see that albeit his serious health problems, Mick Mars can still whip out some killer riffs. He doesn’t even need to move much, his craft does the work for him. Nikki Sixx is definitely one of the most dynamic parts of the show. He was constantly running around, firing up the crowd as much as he could. Whenever he would come to any edge of the stage, a wall of hands, phones and cameras would rise in front of him.

Of course last, but definitely not the least is Tommy Lee. Tommy’s drum solo on his drum rollercoaster saved the whole show! In case you haven’t heard about it yet, there was a huge round railing standing on the stage, and Tommy’s drum set went around it, yes, upside down and all. There was also a big round screen behind the railing, that provided visual effects to the show. Tommy made a few rounds on the rollercoaster, while playing a solo, then stopped on top of it, upside down, threw his sticks in the crowd and shouted “I love you!” There was a very appropriate response from the crowd; it was indeed a very exciting thing to see. After Tommy came down, they brought up a girl on the stage, who won a ride in a contest. She sat on another chair attached to the drum set, behind Lee, and rode a few more rounds with him, while he was playing. That right there was truly experience of a life time!

To sum it all up, Mötley Crüe played most if not all of the top hits throughout their discography. The crowd still had a blast, naturally. If I was a teenage girl in love with Nikki Sixx, I probably wouldn’t even notice if Vince Neil fell off the stage and stopped singing altogether. It could have been a magnificent show, if it happened at least 10 years earlier, but right now it resembles more of a retirement circus than a rock show it used to be.

Wild Side
Live Wire
Too Fast for Love
Saints of Los Angeles
Shout at the Devil
Don’t Go Away Mad (Just Go Away)
Same Ol’ Situation (S.O.S.)
Looks That Kill
Piece of Your Action
Primal Scream
Smokin’ in the Boys’ Room
Tommy Lee’s Drum Solo
Dr. Feelgood
Girls, Girls, Girls
Home Sweet Home
Kickstart My Heart

Review: Tanja Caciur
Photo: Jana Blomqvist

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