Let me confess first of all that before tonight I couldn't be described as a Motorhead fan. Indeed, the only song of theirs I could have named is The Ace Of Spades
. I'd seen Lemmy in interviews, and knew he used to be with Hawkwind (vocals on Silver Machine
, indeed). When I booked for this gig it was because Alice Cooper was on; I didn't even notice Motorhead were on the bill uintil I'd already got the ticket. Hell, I didn't even know they were a three-piece.
So when I arrived at the SECC rather late (there had been an accident on the M8), I'd missed the support and Motorhead were halfway through what I think was in fact their opening number. What was I expecting?
Solid rock and roll......Check
None of the histrionics of The Darkness, or the artistic aspirations of Iron Maiden (seen both of those bands twice, loved them )........Check
I knew also that Lemmy was the only original member.
I wasn't prepared for the sheer competence of the band. OK, you don't get to be around for 32 years without having something worthwhile, but then only Lemmy had
been around for 32 years. But they were great. Mikkey Dee the drummer was especially wonderful: last time I enjoyed a drum solo so much was probably Carmine Appice in January 1974, and I'm not even sure about that. Phil Campbell is clearly a pretty good guitarist, and Lemmy is Lemmy and a national treasure.
Set list as far as I was able to make it out (not in order):
Over The Top
In The Name Of Tragedy
Just 'cos You Got The Power
The Ace of Spades
plus a cover of Thin Lizzy's Rosalie
which knocked my socks off. I sometimes think that bands' choice of covers, and how well they do them, tell you an awful lot about them. This told me all I needed to know about Motorhead. And as Lemmy appears indestructible, I may well see them again.
Oh, I bought one of their T-shirts as well (there were some cool Alice Cooper ones bit not in my size).
OK, so on to Alice. Chalk and cheese in most ways. Alice, as you would expect, put on a spectacle. Nothing "no-frills" about Alice Cooper. But his band (2 guitars, bass, drums) were more than mrely competent. Perhaps not as good by themselves as Motorhead, but pretty good, and Alice gave them plenty of space to show what they could do. On one number both the guitarists went up and joined the drummer, bashing at various drums that had clearly been placed for accessibility. The sound of a bass guitar, a drum kit and two percussionists (the last three trading licks) was quite something.
Alice doesn't look his age. Lemmy maybe does, but when you consider the life he's lead then if he looked his age in rock years he's be about 350. Alice, like Mick Jagger, looks as though he keeps himself in very good shape. Still full of energy, still sounding good, still being hung from a gallows every night on stage.....
Lemmy had said what a great audience we were: I thought fro an all-standing gig at the SECC we might have been much bouncier. Enthusiastic as the crowd was for Lemmy et al though, they lit up for Alice Cooper. (Literally in one case: the only time before I've seen a single lonely lighter waving aloft, presumably held by an American who hadn't twigged that we don't do
the lighter thing over here, was at a Moody Bues gig at Wembley Arena in 1979 or 1980.) He was the real deal: everything I'd hoped the gig would be, it was. He even did my favourite as his final number.
Here is his
set list, or most of it. Order not necessarily reliable in the middle:
It's Hot Tonight
No More Mr Nice Guy
Under My Wheels
Is It My Body
Muscle of Love
Welcome To My Nightmare
Only Women Bleed
Woman of Mass Distraction
Billion Dollar Babies