WRITTEN BY MICHAEL CHRISTOPHER
Last summer, Mötley Crüe’s “The Final Tour” kicked off and since has made local stops in Camden, N.J., Allentown and Atlantic City, N.J., then again this summer in Hershey and at the Wells Fargo Center. If you caught any of those shows, consider yourself lucky to have gotten the full Crüe experience, because it has officially started to break down.
At press time, drummer Tommy Lee has had to miss four consecutive shows due to tendonitis in his left hand. He missed the first date in Buffalo, N.Y., then three more in New England. The drummer for opener Alice Cooper was called in at the last minute to substitute.
“As some of you may have heard,” Lee posted in a tweet featuring a typed image, “I sustained an injury of severe inflammation to my left wrist and was unable to play the other night in Buffalo. I’m so sorry to say that the injury has not improved and it is unlikely I will be able to perform again tonight in Bridgeport.
“Regardless, the show must go on, and Alice Cooper’s amazing drummer, Glen Sobel will be filling in for me on drums. I will, however, come on stage to see everyone and also to play the piano with my good hand for the finale on ‘Home Sweet Home.’ I am told that this injury is temporary and that I will be back on stage very shortly. I’m doing everything in my power to speed up the healing process. I hate not being able to play for you guys!!”
Sobel, who was asked at half-past noon on the day of the Buffalo show to learn the band’s catalog, posted to his Facebook page what a crazy set of circumstances it’s been.
“It’s been an insane day of prep & making cheat sheets. I can’t describe what an honor its (sic) been to rock tonight with Vince, Mick, Nikki & Tommy, who was handling some of the electronics and cueing me through the in-ear monitors from side stage.”
Following a show in Quebec, Canada, the band has less than two weeks until heading over to England for a dozen dates before the final, final shows in North America, which conclude with three nights in their hometown of Los Angeles, including the end date on New Year’s Eve.
Lee’s injury gives credence to the fact that despite the skeptics — and there are many — who think this farewell tour posturing is just nonsense, it really might be it for the band on the road. And he’s not the only one battling health problems. Guitarist Mick Mars for years has been suffering from ankylosing spondylitis, a debilitating form of arthritis, which has basically fused his lower spine, leaving him perpetually hunched over and in pain. Singer Vince Neil has been a longtime point of contention for fans as well, as he’s been perceived as out of shape and unable to finish complete verses or choruses in songs due to being out of breath.
Other than that, the shows have been getting rave reviews, due not only to the dearth of filler material — nearly every song is a hit — but the explosive stage show, which has fire, explosions, scantily clad backup dancers and — when he’s healthy — a rollercoaster drum kit Lee performs on which goes from one end of the arena to the next.
For the sake of the fans, here’s hoping Lee’s inflammation goes down and they are able to complete the rest of the tour as a foursome.
To contact music columnist Michael Christopher, send an email to email@example.com. Also check out his blog at our sister publication www.delcotimes.com