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Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach: Motley Crue’s Vince Neil revs up crowd

Vince Neil, the ‘80s rocker tasked with thrilling fans during the Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach’s Saturday night concert, took to the stage 30 minutes late.

But when the Motley Crue front man finally arrived, he didn’t disappoint.

He delivered a performance that matched the anticipation of the first Grand Prix — and Saturday night concert — in 2 1/2 years, after the coronavirus pandemic canceled last year’s event.

Racing lovers, Neil shouted after his first two songs, are the “best fans in the world.”



Those opening tunes were the Motley Crue classics “Dr. Feelgood” and “Shout at the Devil.” The latter tune had a quintet of lyrics that summed up the past 18 months of isolation, social distancing, sickness and death – and, at last, joy slowly returning despite the pandemic’s persistence:

“Oh, lonely is our lives,

“My head’s spinning ’round and ’round,

“But in the seasons of wither,

“We’ll stand and deliver,

“Be strong and laugh …”

For Ventura County resident June Dubreuil and the hundreds of others who converged in front of the Long Beach Performing Arts Center Saturday night, Sept. 25, seeing a good concert made everything seem all right.

“Festivals are happening,” Dubreuil said, “so it’s all good.”

Many of the concertgoers, like Dubreuil, were in downtown Long Beach for the racing, not the music.

But that’s something Neil, whose band personified the hedonism of 1980s rock groups, could appreciate.

He digs racing as well.

The rocker, in fact, competed in the 1992 Firestone Indy Lights Championship and finished in the top 25 that season after completing three races. Neil was so into racing that it was reportedly one of the reasons the band broke up that same year.

But Neil’s legacy will always be Motley Crue.

The band — Neil, Nikki Sixx, Mick Mars and Tommy Lee — celebrates its 40th anniversary this year. During that time, the bandmates survived rehabs, arrests, a near-death experience, break-ups and more.

And massive success: Albums like “Too Fast For Love,” “Shout at the Devil,” “Theatre of Pain,” “Girls Girls Girls” and “Dr. Feelgood” propelled the group to more than 100 million albums sold and a place in the pantheon of metal glam rock stars.

Neil, a Hollywood native who turned 60 in February, kept the hits coming Saturday night. He even belted out the band’s metal ballad hit “Home Sweet Home,” dedicated to veterans. One of Neil’s bandmates brought a vet on stage, prompting the crowd to chant “USA.”

Yet, besides that homage to the country’s service members, the night was a long-awaited party. The atmosphere was energetic. And everyone, it seemed, had a good time.

“I think it complements the race,” Erik Klanderud from Aspen, Colorado, said about the concert. “It’s fun.”

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Source: Orange County Register

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