Mötley Crüe

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December 11 1983 – A day-of-show ad for Mötley Crüe’s first Oklahoma City metro appearance which took place on Nikki Sixx’s twenty-fifth birthday.
Mötley Crüe will headline the closing night of Rocklahoma on Sunday May 29.
December 11 1983 – Vince Neil poses for the camera outside the former Main Street Holiday Inn in Norman, Oklahoma during the Shout At The Devil Tour.
February 12 1984 – Three quarters of Mötley Crüe on stage at the Tulsa Convention Center while opening for Ozzy Osbourne.
September 6 1985 – Mick Mars onstage in Norman, Oklahoma during the Theatre Of Pain Tour
September 29 1985 – Tommy Lee dazzles the Tulsa Convention Center audience with his 90-degree drum solo during the Theatre Of Pain Tour.
June 30 1987 – The crowd in Oklahoma City was blown away by Tommy’s 360-degree drum cage which could spin in all directions including completely upside down. 24 years have passed since the Girls Girls Girls Tour and no one has managed to top this solo.
January 3 1990 – Mötley Crüe’s first show of the 1990s took place in Oklahoma City’s Myriad Convention Center.
Nikki Sixx and Tommy Lee onstage at the Ford Center in Oklahoma City during Mötley Crüe’s very successful reunion tour: Red White & Crüe.

28 years of Oklahoma Gigs, Gigs, Gigs

By Curt Gooch

The Four Horsemen of the rockocalypse, known to most of the concert-going world as Mötley Crüe, will open their Glam-A-Gedon 25 Summer Tour with a stop in Oklahoma, along with special guests Poison and New York Dolls.  The Crue, which still features its four founding members, Vince Neil (vocals), Nikki Sixx (bass), Mick Mars (guitar), and Tommy Lee (drums) will bring a resounding close to the final night of the Rocklahoma Festival on Sunday, May 29. Tickets for the three-day festival can be purchased here.

What follows is a concert-by-concert retrospective of the decibels and debauchery that Mötley Crüe has brought to Oklahoma throughout the past 28 years.

Date: November 29, 1983
City: Tulsa, OK
Venue: Brady Theater
Opening acts: Heaven, Axe
Tour: Shout At The Devil

Set list:

In The Beginning [Pre-recorded]
Shout At The Devil
Bastard
Take Me To The Top
Ten Seconds To Love
Merry-Go-Round
Knock ‘Em Dead Kid
Piece Of Your Action
Too Young To Fall In Love
God Bless The Children Of The Beast [Pre-recorded]
Red Hot/Mick Mars Guitar Solo
Looks That Kill
Live Wire
Helter Skelter
Jailhouse Rock

When Mötley Crüe first touched down on Oklahoma soil, they were riding high on first-fame from the breakout success of their “Looks That Kill” video on MTV and the September 26, 1983 release of their second album, Shout At The Devil, which would eventually be certified quadruple platinum for sales in excess of four million units.

Date: December 11, 1983
City: Norman, OK
Venue: The Lloyd Noble Center
Opening acts: Heaven, Axe
Tour: Shout At The Devil

Set list:
See November 29, 1983.


Mötley Crüe’s second Oklahoma appearance was originally scheduled for November 28, 1983, but on the day of the show, a huge winter storm blanketed several states including Colorado where the band were  trapped by the inclement weather. Consequently, the concert was rescheduled for December 11.
Oklahoma Music Entrepreneur Maxx Baker: “My first job in the music business was as a runner for Mötley Crüe on December 11, 1983, Nikki’s birthday. My job was to go to Max Westheimer Airport in Norman and pick up the band in my van. I had read several stories about the group and I had seen them at the US Festival and at The Whisky in L.A. and I knew what they were about and wanted to be part of it. They were traveling on a Learjet with the Mötley Crüe logo on the side of it. When they landed, it was cold and Tommy Lee had on those silk gym shorts and no coat. I had my van loaded down with a cooler full of goodies and I said ‘Hey dudes, how it’s going! You guys wanna party?’ It was like 9 in the morning, they asked my name, and Tommy grabbed a Foster’s beer out of my ice chest and said, ‘Let’s get down dude!’

“I took them to the Holiday Inn right off Main Street in Norman, and their tour manager Rich Fisher came up to me and said, ‘I’m all for partying, the guys love it, but I gotta keep ‘em together long enough to do the show. So, I’d appreciate it if you didn’t offer them anything. There’ll be plenty of time for that.’
“Later that afternoon, I remember taking Tommy and Nikki to Sooner Fashion Mall. We went to the Record Bar, as they wanted to see if their album was stocked in the bins. People were looking at the guys, but no one really came up to them.

“They drew maybe 1,500 people that night and Nikki received a birthday cake on stage, which he trashed. I had a front-row center ticket and it was a life-changing experience. It made me want to live that life.

“When the show was over, that’s when they became Mötley Crüe, full-on. We went back to the hotel and it was sex, drugs, and rock and roll. At some point, me and Nikki went out walking and we saw this pit-bull dog wandering around. Nikki said, ‘Hey dude, let’s get this dog.’ So we took the dog back to the party, got a bowl and put beers in it-which the dog slurped up. Tommy put a Mötley Crüe bandana on him and by the end of the night he was answering to Mötley Dog. The next day we took him to the airport with us and the band were like ‘what are we gonna do with this dog?’ I wound up keeping him and I brought him to visit the band several times.”

Mötley would return to The Lloyd Noble Center in Norman just two months later, this time as an opening act for Ozzy Osbourne.

Date: February 12, 1984
City: Tulsa, OK
Venue: Tulsa Convention Center
Headliner: Ozzy Osbourne
Opening act: Waysted
Tour: Shout At The Devil

Set list:

In The Beginning [Pre-recorded]
Shout At The Devil
Take Me To The Top
Knock ‘Em Dead Kid
Too Young To Fall In Love
Red Hot/Mick Mars Guitar Solo
Piece Of Your Action
Looks That Kill
Live Wire
Helter Skelter

Date: February 13, 1984
City: Norman, OK
Venue: The Lloyd Noble Center
Headliner: Ozzy Osbourne
Opening act: Waysted
Tour: Shout At The Devil

Set list:

See February 13, 1984.

This was the fourth and final Shout At The Devil Tour performance in Oklahoma.
Maxx Baker:”There were more fans, more girls, the band was definitely stepping it up during their show. The after-party at the Holiday Inn was more packed and wilder than the first time they were in Norman.”
Between the constant exposure on MTV, extensive touring, and a massive amount of positive word-of-mouth, Mötley Crüe had become a household name by the time their Shout At The Devil Tour concluded in November 1984.

Date: September 6, 1985
City: Norman, OK
Venue: The Lloyd Noble Center
Opening act: Loudness
Tour: Theatre Of Pain

Set list:

In The Beginning [Pre-recorded]
Looks That Kill
Use It Or Lose It
Shout At The Devil
Fight For Your Rights
Ten Seconds To Love
Piece Of Your Action
Home Sweet Home
Red Hot
Mick Mars Guitar Solo
Keep Your Eye On The Money
Louder Than Hell
Tommy Lee Drum Solo
Too Young To Fall In Love
Knock ‘Em Dead Kid
Live Wire
Smokin’ In The Boys Room
City Boy Blues
Helter Skelter
Jailhouse Rock

By 1985 Mötley Crüe, were the biggest hard rock band out there and when they arrived in Oklahoma with their uber-glam Theatre Of Pain production it certainly was a major event. The show’s visual highlight featured a drum riser that tilted 90-degrees.

On this, their first major full-headlining tour, the band began to play Frank Zappa’s 1979 “Crew Slut,” (a cautionary tale about girls offering sexual favors to roadies in exchange for backstage passes) over the P.A. just prior to taking the stage. At the time, several of Mötley’s younger fans mistakenly believed the band had constructed their own pre-show theme song, “Crüe Slut.”

Maxx Baker: “Their tour manager came to me and said, ‘We need a favor.’ These girls from Kansas City had been riding on the bus for a couple of weeks and the band was done with them. So when the buses rolled out that night, these girls were left standing in the parking lot of The Lloyd Noble Center. One of the girls was crying, ‘I thought he loved me.’ I was given money to put them on a bus, which I did. That same night my friend’s wife, Cindy, left on the bus with the band. She gave up her husband, her home, everything. When she came back, she didn’t have anything and she went crazy. The lyric, ‘Now I used to call her Cindy/She changed her name to Sin/I guess that’s the name of her game, (from the 1989 Mötley song ‘Same Ol’ Situation,’ ) was actually about her.”

Date: September 29, 1985
City: Tulsa, OK
Venue: Tulsa Convention Center
Opening act: Y&T
Tour: Theatre Of Pain

Set list:

See September 6, 1985.

Just three days after this 1985 Tulsa performance, portions of the band’s iconic “Home Sweet Home” music video were filmed at the band’s Reunion Arena concert in Dallas, Texas.

Date: June 30, 1987
City: Oklahoma City, OK
Venue: Myriad Convention Center
Opening act: Whitesnake
Tour: Girls, Girls, Girls

Set list:

The Stripper [Pre-recorded]
All In The Name Of…
Live Wire
Dancing On Glass
Looks That Kill
Ten Seconds To Love
Red Hot
Home Sweet Home
Wild Side
Mick Mars Guitar Solo/Wild Side (reprise)
Tommy Lee Drum Solo
Shout At The Devil
Too Young To Fall In Love
Bad Boy Boogie
Smokin’ In the Boys Room
Jailhouse Rock
Helter Skelter/Highway To Hell/Walk This Way/Rock And Roll
Girls, Girls, Girls
The Stripper (reprise) [Pre-recorded]

When Mötley Crüe rolled into town, just a few shows into their 1987 Girls, Girls, Girls Tour, they could boast of the number two album in the country and a huge hit single. Female background singers, a memorable drum solo featuring a drum set that spun 360-degrees and a giant 50-foot inflatable motorcycle (which was parked—inflated—on South Robinson Avenue throughout the day) were incorporated into the massive red stage set. David Rose & His Orchestra’s 1962 B-side “The Stripper” was played as the intro music, while the multi-level set rose into place just when Tommy Lee’s drum cage emerged as the centerpiece of the set. The 90-minute show concluded with the dropping of 1,000 red, monogrammed balloons which were emblazoned with “Mötley Crüe – Girls Girls, Girls.”

Maxx Baker: “Backstage on the Girls, Girls, Girls Tour was a full-on groupie fest, dancers were everywhere, people were getting naked and the quality of the women had increased from previous tours. It was great place to meet girls.”

In his 2007 autobiography, The Heroin Diaries, Nikki Sixx had a very different take on backstage in a diary entry recorded at 7:30 p.m. at the Myriad Convention Center (presently the Cox Convention Center): “Backstage is the most boring place on Earth when you are trying to be good. In fact, it’s the most boring place on earth even when you’re bad…Well, I’d better get ready for the show. Everybody is getting along really good…no drama yet…I’m glad we’re out of Texas, it was a cocaine blizzard there.”***

The following day in Shreveport, Louisiana he noted: “Oklahoma kicked ass. The show had that old school heavy metal energy. We almost had a riot before the doors opened but besides that all is normal.”

Date: September 23, 1987
City: Tulsa, OK
Venue: Tulsa Convention Center
Opening act: Whitesnake
Tour: Girls, Girls, Girls

Set list:

The Stripper [Pre-recorded]
All In The Name Of…
Live Wire
Dancing On Glass
Looks That Kill
Ten Seconds To Love
Red Hot
Home Sweet Home
Wild Side
Mick Mars Guitar Solo/Wild Side (reprise)
Tommy Lee Drum Solo
Shout At The Devil
Too Young To Fall In Love
Smokin’ In the Boys Room
Jailhouse Rock
Helter Skelter/Highway To Hell/Walk This Way/Rock And Roll
Girls, Girls, Girls
The Stripper (reprise) [Pre-recorded]

As was common with most Oklahoma concerts during this period of time, the audiences in Tulsa were more wild and aggressive than their Oklahoma City counterparts and consequently the band responded with a better, more energetic performance. KJRH-TV, the Tulsa NBC affiliate, was on hand to tape a segment for the local 10 p.m. newscast.

While at the hotel in Tulsa, Nikki, who was in the throes of heroin addiction at the time, wrote in his diary at 5 p.m.: “I feel fragile and tormented and uncomfortable in my skin. What happened when the heroin left is that my comfort left. I’m drinking more than I have in past tours to try to replace the comfort that smack gave me. I hate to admit it, but maybe I’m not even who I think I am. I’m feeling fragile and weak, and I’m supposed to be on top of the world.”

Three months to the day after this diary entry, Nikki overdosed on heroin at the Franklin Plaza Hotel in Los Angeles and was pronounced dead, until a quick thinking paramedic shot a double dose of adrenaline directly into his heart, instantly reviving him. The band’s management ultimately forced a band-wide intervention and all four members spent a great deal of time and energy in 1988 getting sober.

Date: January 3, 1990
City: Oklahoma City, OK
Venue: Myriad Convention Center
Opening act: Warrant
Tour: Dr. Feelgood

Set list

Allister Fiend Introduction [Pre-recorded]
Kickstart My Heart
Red Hot
Rattlesnake Shake
Too Young To Fall In Love
Shout At The Devil
Live Wire
Same Ol’ Situation (S.O.S.)
Slice Of Your Pie
Mick Mars Guitar Solo
Tommy Lee Drum Solo
Looks That Kill
Smokin’ In the Boys Room
Wild Side
Girls, Girls, Girls
Home Sweet Home
Dr. Feelgood
Jailhouse Rock

This was the band’s first show of the 1990s and the crew was working overtime to make the large, open, set fit into the venue. Local legend has it that the band, now clean and sober and hot on the heels of their first number one album, could not be disturbed backstage because they were watching the 1964 stop-motion animation holiday classic Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer.

The concert began with laser projection show featuring band mascot, Allister Fiend narrating the band’s history as pyro and lighting complemented the production. Nikki, Mick, and Vince were shot onto the stage via three separate quick-lift elevators underneath the floor of the set providing a rather unique and theatrical introduction.

Date: January 11 1990
City: Tulsa, OK
Venue: Expo Square Pavilion
Opening act: Warrant
Tour: Dr. Feelgood

Set list:

See January 3, 1990.
Black Oak Arkansas lead singer Jim Dandy joined the band onstage for their final encore of “Jailhouse Rock.”

Tommy Lee: “I know Mick was a really big [Black Oak Arkansas] fan so I was stoked for him. Jim Dandy was cool, I kinda dug him but I wasn’t so down with the country rock thing. That wasn’t really my cup of tea. But, yeah that was fun!”

Maxx Baker: “By Dr. Feelgood, the band didn’t hang out much, they’d say ‘Hi,’ and then it was off to the shadows. It was becoming more about business.”

Date: July 21, 1990
City: Oklahoma City, OK
Venue: State Fair Grandstand
Opening act: Lita Ford
Tour: Dr. Feelgood

Set list:

Allister Fiend Introduction [Pre-recorded]
Kickstart My Heart
Red Hot
Rattlesnake Shake
Shout At The Devil
Live Wire
Same Ol’ Situation (S.O.S.)
Slice Of Your Pie
Mick Mars Guitar Solo
Tommy Lee Drum Solo
Looks That Kill
Smokin’ In the Boys Room
Wild Side
Girls, Girls, Girls
Without You
Home Sweet Home
Dr. Feelgood
Don’t Go Away Mad (Just Go Away)

Nikki, Mick, Vince, and Tommy returned to Oklahoma City in the summer of 1990 for an encore performance of their Dr. Feelgood production at the State Fair Grandstand. This was one of the last shows on the tour and one of the final U.S. performances with lead singer Vince Neil during his original tenure in the band which ended in February 1992.

Date: June 26, 1994
City: Tulsa, OK
Venue: Mohawk Park
Opening act(s): n/a
Tour: Mötley Crüe

With a new lead singer (John Corabi) fronting Mick, Nikki, and Tommy, the band released a self-titled CD in 1994.
Tommy Lee: “There are some great songs off the Corabi record. That was a really great record on our part.”
The U.S. tour to promote the CD on the other hand, began in 10,000-seat venues and ended in small nightclubs.
Maxx Baker: “They were angry and they were losing money every day. It was sad.”

Date: August 19, 1994
City: Oklahoma City, OK
Venue: Cowboy’s
Opening act: Type O Negative
Tour: Mötley Crüe

During the late afternoon, all four members of Mötley Crüe made a rare in-store appearance at the Twenty-Third Street and Pennsylvania Avenue Sound Warehouse. While in town, Tommy was spotted at the Red Dog Saloon strip club and later that evening Mötley performed at a small, short-lived club called Cowboy’s, on Meridian, just north of Tenth Street.

Career wise, Mötley Crüe were at an all-time low and their dwindling fan base was pretty unanimous about how to fix the problem: BRING BACK VINCE!  The band finally capitulated to the clamor in 1997 with the release of their next CD, Generation Swine.

Date: November 20, 1998
City: Tulsa, OK
Venue: Brady Theater
Opening act: Laidlaw
Tour: Greate$t Hit$

Set list:

Dr. Feelgood
Girls, Girls, Girls
Enslaved
Live Wire
Shout At The Devil
Nikki Sixx Bass Solo/Afraid
Wild Side
Home Sweet Home
Don’t Go Away Mad (Just Go Away)
Bitter Pill
Looks That Kill
Primal Scream
Same Ol’ Situation (S.O.S.)
Anarchy In The U.K.
Mick Mars Guitar Solo/Kickstart My Heart
Ten Seconds To Love
Smokin’ In The Boys Room

The original Mötley Crüe’s first Oklahoma appearance in eight years and band’s first time at the Brady Theater since 1983 was met with minimal response from the normally rowdy Tulsa audience.

Following this tour, the band parted ways with founding member Tommy Lee, who had earlier in the year spent four months in jail after kicking his then wife (Pamela Anderson) while she was holding their son; Tommy openly mentioned the jail sentence during the Tulsa performance.

Date: August 22, 1999
City: Oklahoma City, OK
Venue: All Sports Stadium
Opening acts: Scorpions, Laidlaw
Tour: Maximum Rock

Set list:

In The Beginning [Pre-recorded]
Shout ‘97
Girls, Girls, Girls
All In The Name Of…
Looks That Kill
Wild Side
Home Sweet Home
Don’t Go Away Mad (Just Go Away)
Red Hot
Live Wire
Too Young To Fall In Love
Same Ol’ Situation (S.O.S.)
Primal Scream
Kickstart My Heart
Teaser
Anarchy In The U.K.
Dr. Feelgood

With former Ozzy Osbourne drummer Randy Castillo replacing Tommy Lee, the band played All Sports Stadium during their 1999 Maximum Rock Tour which included their never-before-played 1989 cover of T. Rex’s “Teaser,” as well as the 1987 scarcely performed/fan-favorite deep track “All In The Name Of…”

The now defunct baseball park was eventually torn down in 2005, the same year the original Mötley Crüe would reunite and return to Oklahoma after a record six-year absence.

Date: April 14, 2005
City: Oklahoma City, OK
Venue: Ford Center
Tour: Red, White & Crüe

Set list:

Shout ’97
Too Fast For Love
Ten Seconds To Love
Red Hot
On With The Show
Too Young To Fall In Love
Looks That Kill
Louder Than Hell
Live Wire
Intermission
Girls, Girls, Girls
Wild Side
Don’t Go Away Mad (Just Go Away)
Primal Scream
Glitter/Without You
Home Sweet Home
Nikki Sixx Bass Solo
Dr. Feelgood
Tommy Lee Drum Solo
Same Ol’ Situation
If I Die Tomorrow
Sick Love Song
Mick Mars Guitar Solo
Kickstart My Heart
Helter Skelter
Anarchy In The U.K.

Take an evening with all four original members of Mötley Crüe, add a huge—their biggest yet—production featuring lesbian acrobatic dancers, blood drooling, heavy pyro, a giant circus tent, motorcycles, a midget clown, pole walkers, and 20-foot cooling air-bursts. Throw in a stunning, two-and-a-half hour, 26-song set list featuring a perfect mix of hit singles and rarely-heard numbers including the only song from the band’s 1981 debut album which had never been performed live (“On With The Show”) and you have the perfect concert. Then add Tommy Lee’s “titty cam” (yes, it’s exactly what you think it is) and have him share his Jägermeister with select audience members, one of whom is a prominent Norman dentist, and you can imagine what an event this became.

Date: March 30, 2006
City: Tulsa, OK
Venue: Tulsa Convention Center
Tour: Carnival Of Sins

Set list:

Shout ’97
Too Fast For Love
Ten Seconds To Love
Red Hot
On With The Show
Looks That Kill
Louder Than Hell
Live Wire
Intermission
Girls, Girls, Girls
Wild Side
Don’t Go Away Mad (Just Go Away)
Primal Scream
Glitter/Without You
Home Sweet Home
Nikki Sixx Bass Solo
Dr. Feelgood
Tommy Lee Drum Solo
Same Ol’ Situation
If I Die Tomorrow
Sick Love Song
Mick Mars Guitar Solo
Kickstart My Heart
Helter Skelter
Anarchy In The U.K.

Just like in Melodic Rock’s glory days, the Tulsa show was even better than the similar Oklahoma City performance, nearly 12-months prior, due in no small part to the energy and aggressiveness of the audience.

Despite several additional years of touring with the original lineup intact, this March 2006 Tulsa appearance marked the final time Mötley Crüe would perform in Oklahoma until the recently announced headline appearance at this year’s Rocklahoma festival on Sunday, May 29.

According to Tommy, tour rehearsals are slated to begin in April. Hopefully, the band will repeat their 2005-06 winning formula of classic hits interspersed with some new vintage deep cuts. Some possible contenders could be “Take Me To The Top,” “City Boy Blues,” “Bastard,” “All In The Name Of…,” “Find Myself” or even “Danger.”

***Excerpts from The Heroin Diaries used with permission from Pocket/MTV Books, an imprint of Simon And Schuster, Inc.


Curt Gooch has coauthored three books about the glory days of the entertainment industry and as a film/video licensing consultant has helped produce high-profile content and programming for A&E, BBC, MTV, VH1, PBS, Grammies, and ABC-TV.  He is currently working on the pilot for a music video-based television series.

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