Since Mötley Crüe was around for the closures of the Aladdin Theatre in 1997 (when the band’s fans tore up the venue) and the original Joint at the Hard Rock in 2009 (when people were better behaved), it seemed oddly appropriate for the glam-rockers (along with Poison and the New York Dolls) to be christening a brand new venue, the Amphitheatre at Red Rock Resort & Casino, on June 18. The folks at Red Rock have been making a pretty big deal of their new outdoor amphitheater, which seats 9,000, and plenty of fans turned out for the show, packing the place on the first night of an inaugural concert season that includes upcoming shows from Toby Keith, Blink-182/My Chemical Romance and Enrique Iglesias.
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The actual facilities leave something to be desired. Walking out of the casino doors into the venue, I felt a little like I was heading to a high-school football game. There are three sets of bleachers surrounding a field of artificial turf, which is covered in rows of folding chairs (some of which have cushioning, most of which don’t). The fourth side of the field is taken up by the stage, which looks impressive and is set high enough to provide for decent sightlines from most of the floor, at least as far as I could tell. It was clearly expansive enough to accommodate Mötley Crüe’s pyrotechnics-heavy setup, but that didn’t make up for the fact that the sound was consistently terrible, completely muddy and distorted and indistinct.
Granted, these bands aren’t exactly the ideal tests for a new music venue; they’re past-their-prime rockers whose talents have largely faded. But better sound could have highlighted both the good (Mick Mars’ guitar playing) and the bad (Vince Neil’s mangled wailing) in Mötley s set, and would have offered hope for shows from more accomplished acts to come.