While in Las Vegas at the American Chopper Live event back in December, I saw promotions around the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino for an epic show coming in February. The most notorious rock and roll band in history was playing 12 shows in 2 weeks. Mötley Crüe was taking over sin city and there was no way I was going to miss it! The "Bling Johnson Weekend of Rock" was on.
I flew into Las Vegas last Friday and met up with two of my best friends since we were kids. Chris “The Voice” Christian flew in from Austin and Wade Eggebrecht drove up from Phoenix. We were
joined by members of our Bling Johnson Show tv crew, Spenther and one of our producers, Grafton, for what was shaping up to be a
great weekend that we all needed.
We got checked into our hotel and got ready for our Friday night plans starting with one of my favorite metal bands, Steel Panther! I met these guys about a year ago when their tour manager Nick hooked me up with a backstage interview (Check out the video). I called Nick before my trip and he was nice enough to have tickets waiting for us at the door. With their brand new cd, Balls Out, Michael, Satchel, Lexxi & Styx were ready to rock the House of Blues at Mandalay Bay, and they didn’t disappoint.
If you are headed to Vegas anytime soon, you have got to check these guys out. They are known for bringing celebrities up on stage to rock with them and the crowd loved the rousing introduction by tv personality Drew Carey. A few songs in they were joined on stage for a surprisingly rockin' version of “Community Property” with Joey Fatone of N’Sync fame. Both of these guys stayed after the show, signed autographs and took pictures with fans.
After a great start to the weekend we were all looking forward to heading over to The Joint at the Hard Rock for the Mötley Crüe show Saturday night. You could tell the marketing team for Crüe & the Hard Rock had been planning this event for some time. Mötley Crüe was everywhere in Vegas including taxi’s, billboards and all over the Hard Rock property. We pulled up to the Hard Rock and Vince Neil’s Rolls Royce Ghost was parked right in front by the valet area. As I walked through the front door his ’32 five-window Ford coupe hot rod was roped off and on display for the fans. The line to get in the show wrapped all the way from The Joint, down the hall, past the gift shop and Pink Taco (my favorite place to eat in Vegas), past Hart & Huntington Tattoo shop and all the way to the parking garage.
As we entered The Joint, I got in line to get something to drink. I looked to my right and current Guns-n-Roses guitarist Dj Ashba was standing right next to me! I got a quick picture with him and then headed towards the stage. I was about five rows back and ready for the show. As soon as Mötley Crüe hit the stage it was pure rock-n-roll. Mick Mars shredded the guitar the entire show in spite of the health problems he’s been fighting for years. Vince Neil moved around the stage like he did in the early days blasting out song after song. Tommy Lee was a presence as always putting everything he had into every beat.
Now I purposely went to the left side of the stage before the show started. I was interested in watching Nikki Sixx up close. I follow each member of the band on Twitter and have been particularly interested in Nikki’s interests outside of the band. He is an artist in many forms. He hosts a radio show in LA called Sixx Sense, he's a part of another musical project called Sixx:A.M. and is an accomplished photographer. On his tumbler page, Some Call me Sixx, his photos are as random as the tattoos covering his arms, but each photo is just as interesting. From the elderly in Cambodia to a cemetery in Scotland, he captures a moment in time in a way that is a true expression of art. To me, each image he takes tells a story and he makes a concerted effort to take just the right angle and uses contrast and saturation to tell that story in a vivid, memorable way.
As layered as his photography portfolio has become, make no mistake this guy will rock your face off! He is one of the few people on the planet who makes playing bass look just as cool as shredding a lead guitar solo. His energy on stage is only surpassed by his obsession with spewing blood all over the crowd at the end of each show. When you walk out of the show, there’s no mistake who was anywhere near the stage!
The Bling Johnson Weekend of Rock was just that. A rock-n-roll weekend with some great friends re-living some of the greatest moments of our childhood, with a couple bands that never out grew theirs. I read recently that Nikki Sixx asked the question “Who are the next rock stars?" Who commands the stage like Mötley Crüe, Guns-n-Roses or Aerosmith? As a fan of all types of music, I wonder the same thing as Nikki when it comes to rock music. Who is going to take the rock and roll flame and run with it? I might not know that answer, but for an epic February weekend in Las Vegas, Mötley Crüe showed us they can still rock, and show no signs of slowing down.