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MOTLEY CRUE: CARNIVAL OF SINS LIVE

Review by Michael Jacobson

Stars:  Vince Neil, Nikki Sixx, Mick Mars, Tommy Lee
Director:  Hamish Hamilton
Audio:  Dolby Digital 5.1, DTS 5.1, Dolby Stereo
Video:  Anamorphic Widescreen 1.85:1
Studio:  Clear Channel
Features:  See Review
Length:  200 Minutes
Release Date:  October 25, 2005

"'The Earth is F**ked' tour!!"

Film ***1/2

Motley Crue is throwing a helluva party...and all fans are invited.  Clothing optional.

The Crue staked their reputation in the 80s as the loudest, crudest, most unabashedly unashamed rock and roll band ever to storm MTV, take over the airwaves of the radio, or send parents screaming from town to town.  And despite Tommy Lee going to college and Vince Neil getting remade, when these four guys get together, it's an all out assault on the eyes and ears!

Carnival of Sins Live proves that the years haven't mellowed these rock and roll bad boys...if anything, they're more in-your-face than ever.  This concert event, captured live in Grand Rapids, Michigan, is all about having a good time and to hell with everything else.  The songs are familiar, the sound is loud, and if an occasional breast pops out of a shirt now and then...well, accidents do happen, don't they?

Nikki Sixx, Mick Mars, Vince and Tommy take no prisoners from the opening strains of "Shout at the Devil".  When these guys play a concert, it's pretty much simultaneous orgasm for them and their audience.  These guys love their fans, and they prove it by delivering over two hours of ear splitting rock and roll!

On stage, there are pyrotechnics, lights, motorcycles, and girls, girls, girls, but of course, nothing upstages the Crue.  These guys know how to work a crowd, and the liquored up, lighter flicking, fist pumping fans respond with gusto.

Almost everything you'd want to hear is included, with the possible exception of "Smokin' in the Boys Room".  But early classics like "Live Wire", "Too Fast For Love" and "Looks That Kill" sound terrific next to later hits like "Dr. Feelgood", "Wild Side" and "Same Ol' Situation".  For good measure, a couple of new tunes are thrown in, as well as a couple of ripping covers in "Helter Skelter" and "Anarchy in the U.K.".

Two of the best moments are solo spots...Nikki quite literally burns up during his moment in the spotlight, and equally literally, Tommy is all over the place during his.  These are moments that you have to see to appreciate.

If these guys are slowing down after a couple of decades of decadence, they don't seem to be showing it.  I admit, I wondered if the "Jesus Loves You" sign affixed to the bass was indicative of a kinder, gentler Nikki Sixx.  But by the time he and Tommy get half the girls in the audience to bare all for their video camera, I wasn't wondering anymore.  Tommy even leads the crowd in a prayer of thanksgiving...but it ain't the kind of prayer you'll hear repeated on Sunday morning.

In an age of people who talk instead of sing, where machines make the music and where brooding angst sells, it's great to see four guys who remember that rock and roll is all about kicking down the walls and not letting anything get between you and a good time.  As long as the Crue continue to conquer the world one live show at a time, rock and roll will never die.  It won't even catch cold.

Video ***

The show looks pretty damned good...there are some interesting effects here and there in between songs to make the image look like an old carnival film, but that's an artistic choice.  The show is mostly darkly lit, but appropriately so.  Images are generally well rendered and coloring good...a touch of compression is noticeable here and there on the wide crowd shots, but it's nothing to shout at the devil about.

Audio ****

Jeez LOUISE, this disc is loud!  Don't wimp out and go for the stereo mix...pick the Dolby Digital or DTS surround track and let it rock.  The band is on fire, and every note of the music will burn through your speakers, while the rear stage will get you into the sounds of the crowd and the reverb.  Tommy's drums and Nikki's bass will keep your living room vibrating even if you crank your system down.  Dynamic range goes from obnoxiously loud to medically dangerously loud...what else did you expect?

Features ***

This two disc set offers more than just a kickass concert.  Pop in the second disc and enjoy the "Docruementary" which shows how the show is done, or check out featurettes on the fans, the fire show, and "Motley Crue's Greatest..." um, well, it rhymes with 'hits'.  You can also see the claymation feature that opens the show or enjoy three new music videos.

Summary:

We pledge allegiance to Motley Crue and their Mighty State of Hysteria...this Carnival of Sins Live DVD is the next best thing to being there.  Like the band itself, this disc isn't for the faint of heart or for the delicate constitution, but for the rest of us, it's hours of red, white and Crue mayhem, debauchery and fun!

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