Not quite another perfect day
Tonight is one of new experiences and whilst they say you should try everything once, sometimes once is more than enough. For a start this will be the first time in 20 years that I've had to watch Motorhead sitting down (that's arenas for you) and it's an ironically uncomfortable experience. This is also the first time I've seen them supporting someone else (Alice Cooper) and therefore not playing a full set but Motorhead still manage to cram as much as possible into their hour long slot.
Motorhead set lists tend to run in 18 month cycles and this being the case much of tonight's show will sound familiar to anyone who's seen them over the last year or so. Kicking off with 'Doctor Rock' they waste no time getting into their stride and give as solid a performance as ever. There are problems with the sound tonight though and whilst they are renowned for being loud they usually manage astonishing clarity but this time round it's rough, meaning Phil Campbell's solo work largely becomes a high pitched squeal. The vocals have far too much reverb on them and for those not already familiar with the material or Lemmy's gravelly style they come over as largely indecipherable.
Problems aside Motorhead remain a powerful and impressive unit with a set list that draws evenly from the back catalogue. From the Fast Eddie years we get 'Stay Clean', 'Metropolis' and 'Over the Top' in the first half of the set, countered by more recent material in 'Be My Baby' and 'One Night Stand' from last year's 'Kiss of Death' album. Surprisingly they include the cover of Thin Lizzy's 'Rosalie' and whilst it's not a bad version in a short set I'd much rather hear one of their own lesser played songs dusted off. Mickey Dee once again affirms his position as a great drummer with a lengthy solo in the middle of 'In the Name of Tragedy' before they wind up the first part of the set with 'Going to Brazil' and the always excellent 'Killed By Death'.
The encore sees Mickey & Phil taking acoustic guitar duties for new crowd favourite 'Whorehouse Blues', demonstrating that when the mood takes them they can turn their hand to stripped down blues. There are no points for guessing the final two tracks and in front of a crowd that is not their own it makes sense to go with the oldies and sure enough 'Ace of Spades' and the ever impressive 'Overkill' bring the set to a close. The venue hasn't contributed to the atmosphere and the sound problems have hampered what would otherwise have been the usual triumphant Motorhead performance. Hopefully next year will see them return to their usual stomping ground of the Apollo with a headline set. Still, the train kept a rollin' and Motorhead are very much on board.