“An Evening in Hell” has a variety of connotations.
For us, it involves a combination of the collected works of Billy Ray Cyrus and a cavity search at the hands of a civil servant with poor depth perception.
For the dudes in Motley Crue, though, it signifies something else entirely.
That’s the thematic motif, and title, of their forthcoming residency at The Joint, the band’s second at the venue, which will attempt to live up its name in the most literal sense.
“We’re basically just going to light everything on fire,” singer Vince Neil says. “It’s a dangerous show. Dangerous for the audience, probably for the building, too. We’ve reached out to the best experts in fire technology. If you haven’t seen it before, we’re probably inventing it. There’s a lot of cool things going on.”
The band’s first residency at The Joint, which spanned 12 shows beginning in February 2012, was a cannonball of hard rock raunch and strip club-worthy spectacle.
There were fire breathers belching plumes of flame, comely female aerialists twisting themselves into sexy knots, massive video screens filled with even more chicks and enough exploding pyro to approximate the artillery fire of the Battle of Verdun.
Yes, of course, there was a band of little people impersonating the Crue that opened the shows.
Did you really even have to ask?
The stint ended up being a hit, grossing close to $3 million total, paving the way for similar residencies at The Joint by Guns N’ Roses and Def Leppard.
“It was so successful last time,” says Neil, a longtime Las Vegas resident. “And then they started doing other residencies with rock ’n’ roll, which I thought was great. They said, ‘You want to come back and do it again?’ We’re like, ‘Absolutely.’ Especially for me, because I get to go home every night.”
For Crue die-hards, one of the biggest draws of the band’s initial residency was the chance to hear some songs that the band hadn’t performed in ages on tour as well as a few favorites presented in a new context.
Last time, they revisited the oversexed snarl of “Piece of Your Action,” one of the best tunes from the band’s 1981 debut “Too Fast for Love,” and also performed a brief acoustic set for the first time, playing above the crowd on a circular riser suspended from the ceiling.
Neil says that the band will be digging deep into its back catalog this time as well.
“It’s a completely different set,” he says. “We were rehearsing last week and added a bunch of new songs. We definitely reached back in our bag and pulled out some cool old stuff that we haven’t played in many, many years. These songs, they’re just fun. You hear the first note of the guitar or when the drums start, and you’re like, ‘Yeah!’ Our opening song is a song that we haven’t played in years.”
Like Def Leppard before them, the band will be filming some of the shows in 3-D for possible release.
And although Neil recently caused a stir among the Crue faithful by stating that the group would possibly retire from the road in the next couple of years, he says that the band’s Vegas shows are not the beginning of the end for the quartet.
“This is just something special,” he says.
For now, the group is preoccupied with topping the outsize audio-visual fireworks of their first Vegas run.
During a taped video montage that played before the band’s shows at the previous residency, Neil said the band’s thinking behind the production: “It’s got to be bigger, badder, sleazier than anything we’ve ever done.”
And so this time, they’ve got to find a way to be even sleazier-er.
“We kind of created a monster,” Neil says. “We started out with this one show, and then this has to be better, bigger. But that’s the way we’ve always done it throughout our whole career. We’ve tried to one-up ourselves every single time, so people go, ‘That’s pretty badass.’
“This one is just so way, over the top,” he says, sounding somewhat incredulous to his own words. “It fits right in Vegas.”
Contact reporter Jason Bracelin at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-383-0476. Follow on Twitter @JasonBracelin.