Sometimes when it’s over 90 degrees all you can do to cool down is drink a beer, chill with friends and play some tunes. For the 12,000 concert goers at the Sleep Train Amphitheater in Concord last night, that seemed to do the trick. For one night only two of the greatest rock bands of all time took the stage to perform slashing guitar solos, mind-blowing pyrotechnics and sweet, sweet melodies to take us back to the 1980’s. Back to a simpler time. To a time when sex, drugs, and rock-n-roll reigned supreme. Just the phrase takes many of us to a retrospective place where we think of better days. For KISS and Motley Crue however, that phrase has forever been a way of life. With the vocal chords, eyeliner and drug addictions to boot, these guys have transformed their lives into their careers. Every year, San Francisco’s 107.7 The Bone hosts their summer concert series “ The Bone Bash” and it is nothing short of astonishing.
Walking in to the pavilion you are bombarded with beer stands, salty snacks, novelty items and naked girls – any man’s wet dream. Passing through you make your way to your seats. While sipping your thirty dollar beer, you scope out the opening act. To the average patron, it must seem embarrassing for a band to be playing their hearts out for the few early birds who get there to claim their lawn space, but for The Treatment it was quite the contrary. Out of the 400+ bands that auditioned to open for Bone Bash, this was the only group that both KISS and Motley Crue agreed on. All the way from the UK, The Treatment defines themselves as “classic sounds filtered through young hearts and minds”. A young group not even yet old enough to drink, they display the classic rock sound that was the perfect opener for rock and roll’s best. After what surely seemed like merely a second, The Treatment finished their performance and were rushed off by stage crew to set up for the main event.
Enter stage right – Motley Crue. By now, all seats are full and everyone is on their feet to scream and shout in the presence of rock gods. Nearly 30 years in the game, Motley Crue not only plays with all original band members but remains active and relevant in today’s music scene. There is something for everyone, fans ages eight to eighty-eight. Two hours pass by with kickstarting hearts, appointments with dr. feelgood, shouting at the devil and of course girls, girls, girls. Vince Neil makes love to the microphone with high notes even Mariah Carey would be jealous of. Mick Mars fluidly walks his fingers up and down his guitar jamming along while the sound of Nikki Sixx’ bass guitar floods the arena. But nothing can compare to Tommy Lee’s gravity defying drum solo. Riding a 360 degree roller coaster, he jams out to dub-step while hanging midair upside down. Preparing for their finale, they make sure to coat the audience with booze and sweat. Rocking out as if they haven’t missed a beat, Crue walks off away from a screaming arena.
Enter stage left – KISS. The familiar words flood the speakers. YOU WANT THE BEST, YOU’VE GOT THE BEST. THE GREATEST BAND IN THE WORLD…And from the ceiling, falling down like angel lucifer himself, rock and roll royalty grace everyone with their presence. They waste no time getting everyone off their feet and losing their mind to Detroit Rock City. The catchy melodies, loud guitars and sultry strings common in hard rock are welcomed by face painted fans who can hardly control themselves. Starchild hypnotizes us with his fluid motions and powerful voice, the Demon brings his innermost darkness to the surface by literally bleeding out his guitar solo, Spaceman’s guitar reminds us that to play like that you must be from another planet and Catman cycles through more than nine lives drumming to the ceiling and back. Fire breathing, blood spitting,levitating stages, shooting rockets and smoking guitars contribute to the best live concert you could ever image. Feeling the heat on your face from Gene Simmon’s blazing guitar and watching Paul Stanley fly into the audience to sing amongst fans. Though KISS may be famous for playing for the Olympics and Super Bowls, they made this small town feel as if this was the last night they would ever take the stage. As KISS plays their second encore, you are left with a rush of adrenaline you hope will never end.
As the lights flicker on and the crowd ensues, you are left wondering: how is it that two bands formed on opposite ends of the country, could come together in such harmony to produce the greatest live show of all time? It is one of those nights that will be talked for years to come. A night to enjoy the simple things in life…because in a time where stress invades our lives all too easily, sometimes all you need is a cold beer, great friends and some kick-ass music.
Words Rica Douglas