Sound — 8
Even with all multiple tours that bombard the public every summer, no one really doubted that a festival headlined by the one-and-only Motley Crue would be a financial success. In it's first go-round last year, Crue Fest (obviously headlined by Vince Neil and the boys) featured a solid lineup of openers that included the likes of Buckcherry, Papa Roach, Sixx: AM, and Trapt. If you happened to miss the tour, you'll now get your chance to witness the rock spectacle and it will probably look better than the real thing thanks to the wonders of high def. The filmmakers behind Crue Fest put together over 90 minutes chronicling the event's kick-off year, and the use of 15 hi def cameras and 5.1 Audio ensure that quality viewing and/or sound are never an issue. In a marketing twist, Crue Fest will be premiering in movie theaters on March 19, only to be released on DVD a few days later on March 24. So if you can't make it to one of the few theaters showing the film, you won't have to wait long to own the actual film. In terms of the breakdown of the film, it's pretty cut and dried. Rather than taking an infinite amount of footage at each of the 40-plus shows during the Crue Fest, the filmmakers chose one particular location upon which to give their focus. Filmed at Toronto's Molson Amphitheater on August 28, 2008, Crue Fest 2008 has no shortage of diehard fans and excellent sound systems 2 aspects that can actually make or break a performance. The 4 opening acts are touched upon briefly, and you'll get snippets of the bands' interviews and a live performance from each one. Seeing Nikki Sixx come out earlier in the evening with Sixx: AM is actually one of the more interesting aspects of the entire movie, if only because it shows how easy-going Sixx is about the process. For someone as iconic as Sixx, it's refreshing to see clips that show him giving support to a new bass player. In regards to the openers, songs performed include Trapt's Contagious, Sixx: AM's Life Is Beautiful, and Papa Roach's Last Resort. Blowing them all away, however, is Buckcherry's lewd and crude Crazy Bitch. You may not be a fan of the sleazy, gritty rock anthems from Buckcherry, but frontman Josh Todd took the entire concert to a different place with his drawn-out and often quite shocking intro to Crazy Bitch. If there was one rock star that owned the stage that night and recalled figures like Iggy Pop or Axl Rose, it was Todd. While the openers are given a pretty quick overview, the makers of the film didn't skimp on the main attraction. Motley Crue is shown playing 7 of their biggest hit's (plus one killer Mick Mars guitar solo), and each one from Wild Side to Shout At The Devil is a crowd pleaser. No one can argue that The Crue is a legend, but it should be said that Vince Neil doesn't quite have the stamina that he once did. Neil's vocals cut in and out, and it's not from any technical glitches. Simply put, the poor guy just gets out of breath. It's certainly not enough to ruin the tight musicianship from Mick Mars, Tommy Lee, and Nikki Sixx, but it does get distracting at times.
Content — 7
Our preview copy of Crue Fest did not feature any extras, but that's not to say that they won't tack on a few when it goes to press. In terms of movies go, it's more about the music than anything. If you're a fan of all 5 bands, you will likely have an enjoyable watching experience. The Crue is absolutely the main focus and has at least half of the film reserved for their airtime, but this particular performance might not hold all the magic that some of the older videos did. Tommy Lee is still larger than life, but without his monstrous kit (think the Wild Side video), he sadly gets lost in the shuffle. Thankfully the last song Home Sweet Home brings him out into the open and we're able to watch the man in action and this time Mick Mars participates in the famous intro.
Production Quality — 10
The production quality is as close to flawless as it comes these days. Thanks to the hi def cameras, the images on the screen will be absolutely crystal clear. The mix is also impeccable, and you certainly won't get all the fuzz that tends to present itself at a concert you might attend in person.
Overall Impression — 8
If the filmmakers opt to make a sequel to Crue Fest, I have a feeling that they'll be able to explore a lot of new options (I.e., behind-the-scenes interviews, particularly with the Crue itself). Most of the interviews in the main feature do tend to be with the opening acts, but again, the upcoming DVDs might include some extras that might solve that problem. The highlights ended up being the most unexpected ones, particularly Buckcherry's amazing rendition of Crazy Bitch or even Mick Mars' chance to stand in the spotlight via his tapping-fueled guitar solo. Next time around, the filmmakers should think about collecting a bit more footage from other cities, just to cover their bases with Vince Neil. The iconic frontman is still a great entertainer, but it would have been great to have a vocal performance that matched the quality of the rest of the movie.