With the success of crossbreeders like Korn and Limp Bizkit, heavy metal is enjoying a resurgence. Motley Crue and the Scorpions took advantage as a healthy (numerically speaking, anyway) throng turned out at Merriweather Post Pavilion Tuesday night.
Fans arriving during the Scorpions' final number heard "Rock You Like a Hurricane" and got a summation of the German quintet's approach: heavy dual guitars, thudding beats and a single-minded lyrical approach. These themes were hardly expanded on during songs like "No One Like You," "Tease Me, Please Me" and "Big City Nights."
Kicking off a full-scale summer tour, Motley Crue established whom the crowd really turned out to see. Copping theatrics from Kiss (flash pots, confetti cannons), the quartet pumped out a satisfactory amount of sleazy rock. Vocalist Vince Neil appeared delighted, and buffoonish bassist Nikki Sixx joined him in expressing that joy with countless expletives.
Despite the absence of the band's most, uh, recognizable member, drummer Tommy Lee (replaced by Randy Castillo), "Girls Girls Girls," "Dr. Feelgood" and "Livewire" received roaring approval.
Guitarist Mick Mars looked alarmingly ashen but remained vertical throughout the 16-song set. Not everything worked ("Red Hot" wasn't), and Crue resorted to a lewd display involving female "dancers," but the crowd ate it up. Boorish and loud, yes, but as one composition put it, "All in the Name of Rock."
Somebody call Tipper Gore: The Crue is back.