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October 24, 2017

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Preview: Motley Crue fires up like never before for new ‘Hell’ run at Hard Rock Hotel


Erik Kabik/

Motley Crue at the Joint in the Hard Rock Hotel on Wednesday, Feb. 15, 2012.

Motley Crue at HRH's Joint: Feb. 15, 2012

Motley Crue at the Joint in the Hard Rock Hotel on Wednesday, Feb. 15, 2012. Launch slideshow »

'Motley Crue in Sin City' at the Joint

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Expect fire alarms and flashing-light warnings to set off when Motley Crue premieres its “Intimate Evening in Hell” mini-residency at the Joint in the Hard Rock Hotel tonight: There are that many pyrotechnics.

Do not be shaken up if the band with its outrageous noise and tension-filled theatrics plunges the city into a power outage because it’s not quite what it seems.

“There is no show like this. There never has been, and there never will be,” lead vocalist and Las Vegas resident Vince Neil told me after rehearsals Tuesday night. “You’ve seen video fire from other rock acts on tour, but never the real thing.”

Comedian and Luxor headliner Carrot Top, who also watched the rehearsals, told me: “You can feel the heat! All of Las Vegas will know the show’s started — it’s that loud and fiery. It wasn’t just the Joint that shook from it; the entire hotel did.”

Vince continued: “It’s more than any rock group has ever produced or attempted. It really is entering the depths of hell. There’s fire all around and fire coming down from above.”

For Vince, it’s 90 minutes of nonstop singing: “I don’t get one break,” he told me. “We start with a song from when we began 30 years ago. We’ve reached back over the years to old hits to match up with new hits. It’s a difficult setlist for me vocally — ‘Too Young to Fall in Love’ is no easy song to perform.

“We rehearsed the entire show in L.A., but we tested the entire setlist with shows in Oklahoma and Miami. The reaction was incredible. We’ve rehearsed home here for a week with the fire. It was so hot at one point, I had to get off the stage and go into the seats. This can only play Vegas; it would be impossible to take all this fire on the road.”

I understand that Tommy Lee manages to play his drum sets inside a mystical symbol also set on fire. Nikki Sixx and Mick Mars join Vince and Tommy again on this second residency; the first in 2012 was a successful run.

I’ve learned that fire marshals have been on duty throughout the rehearsals and will be there for the group’s 12 shows through Oct. 6. As a result, there will be no dancing girls onstage to eliminate any danger of hairspray catching alight.

Plans for robots also were dropped as a result of safety concerns. It’s still unknown until show time if the fire marshal will permit a stuntman to catch fire atop a piano that bursts into flames.

Vince will still appear in his white-angel Liberace-esque cloak for “Home Sweet Home” that will be sprayed with fire retardant nightly: “There’s no question this is the most dangerous theatrics ever created and far more than anything we expected. But, hey, this is Vegas, and we do bigger, bolder, badder, sleazier here better than any other place on Earth.

“We have the best fire tech experts in the world. This is so over the top, the only thing cool is what we do! Basically, we’re setting everything on fire in a way that’s never been done before.”

Over dinner at Nobu in the Hard Rock Hotel last night, he laughed and added: “We’ve invented a whole lot of new stuff that’s so combustible, it’s dangerous for us and for you and the building.”

Vince revealed that he has TV and charity commitments to fulfill before Motley Crue sets out on what will probably be its farewell tour starting late May.

“ ‘Evening in Hell’ is not the kickoff to that tour; this is just a separate Vegas spectacular. It’s going to take us at least two years to say goodbye as a group, and then we all have our separate ventures to dive into,” he summed up.

An eventual reunion? “First let’s see if we’re still alive from going down into the fiery bowels of hell,” he joked.

Robin Leach has been a journalist for more than 50 years and has spent the past decade giving readers the inside scoop on Las Vegas, the world’s premier platinum playground.

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