Motley Crue have never been a band with a hidden agenda, so as I entered The Joint last night (Feb. 15) at the Hard Rock Casino in Las Vegas, I knew exactly what I was getting myself into -- I just wasn’t expecting it to feel so good.

Motley Crue have always put on a live show of the grandest scale with all the pomp, circumstance and theatrics they can scheme up combined with their special own brand of raunch and roll, making for not just a night of great music, but an experience for anyone in attendance. So, take all of that on an average day for the Crue, mix it with Sin City and you can only imagine the results. They traded in their 'Carnival of Sins' for 'Carnival of Sin City' and invited all of their friends to come along for the ride.

With a local cross dresser serving as the master/mistress of ceremonies, the show kicked off with ‘Mini-Crue’ dressed in their ‘Theatre of Pain’ attire, before they were booted off the stage by the real deal. Motley Crue started the show on a high note right out of the gate with ‘Livewire,’ getting the crowd involved from the word go.

One of the things I noticed right away at this show that was so different from the other many Crue shows I’ve gone to throughout the years is that with the intimacy of the venue, came a feeling of being a much bigger part of the show. From start to finish there wasn’t a time when I didn’t feel like I could reach out and touch a member of the band. That’s what a residency like this offers up for bands that are larger than life, it brings them closer to the people that matter most, the fans.

Before I knew it, the band had barreled through ‘Wildside,’ ‘Too Fast for Love,’ ‘Saints of Los Angeles’,’ Shout at the Devil,’ ‘Afraid’ and ‘Same Ol’ Situation,’ which featured a faux wedding where Neil gets left at the altar by his bride-to-be who runs off with another lady in the end. Oops.

At this point in the set, the Crue made their way out to the middle of the general admission floor, and hopped on a floating, revolving disc that lifted them into the air where they performed three acoustic songs:  ‘Without You,’ ‘On With the Show’ and ‘Don’t Go Away Mad (Just Go Away).’ This was one of the highlights of the show for me. We all know Motley Crue can rock, but it’s this more vulnerable side of the band completely stripped down, showing fans something we don’t always get to see.

After that, it was right back to the rock, they blazed through a duo of classic Crue tunes with ‘Looks That Kill’ and ‘Piece of Your Action’ sandwiched around a guitar solo from Mick Mars. The axeman ripped through his solo playing alongside holograms of himself before the rest of the band returned to the stage for ‘Primal Scream.’

The next portion of the evening belonged to Tommy Lee and his intergalactic roller-coaster drum kit from outer space. Tommy Lee has always been first in line innovating ways to play his kit and he may have outdone himself with this one. His entire kit is on a roller coaster track and takes him on a 360 trip throughout his solo. He even invited a lucky fan up on board for a ride, no ticket required.

Crue then closed out their show with some of their biggest hits of all time: ‘Smokin’ in the Boys Room,’ ‘Girls, Girls, Girls’ and ‘Kickstart My Heart’ – at some point during this stint, Nikki Sixx showered the fans in front of him with blood, something that’s apparently stirring up a bit of controversy to some people attending the shows, so much so that it’s prompted a pre-emptive warning at the beginning of the show. Listen people, it’s a rock show, if you can’t handle a little fake blood, you might be at the wrong gig.

The encore started out with Lee back in the middle of the crowd playing the beginning notes of their monster ballad ‘Home Sweet Home’ on a piano that looked like a disco ball. When the vocal kicked in, Neil was high in the rafters singing to the cheap seats before he hopped on a cross that carried him through the air, over the crowd, onto the stage, where the entire band joined forces again to finish off the song.

Before the night was over, there would be visions of pyro, aerialists, stilt-walkers, balloons, confetti, fake blood, little people and sonic booms all experienced under one roof, a rock ‘n’ roll circus if I ever did see one.

It’s kind of crazy to think that Motley has been doing things their own way for 30 nears now, original lineup back intact, and embarking on what they’ve referred to as possibly the biggest year of their careers.

As Motley Crue inch closer to the last weekend of their Las Vegas residency, they’ve yet again blazed a new trail and laid out a perfect playbook for any rock band that might want to take a foray into Vegas in the future. However, they’ve set the bar pretty high and it’s going to be a tough act to follow.

View Exclusive Photos of Motley Crue's Las Vegas Residency at The Joint in Las Vegas
Motley Crue Set List:

Too Fast For Love
Saints of Los Angeles
Shout at the Devil
Same Ol’ Situation (S.O.S.)
Without You – Acoustic
On With The Show – Acoustic
Don’t Go Away Mad (Just Go Away) – Acoustic
Looks That Kill
Piece of Your Action
Primal Scream
Dr. Feelgood
Smokin’ in Boys’ Room
Girls, Girls, Girls
Kickstart My Heart
Home Sweet Home