Armed with a new single and an arsenal of hits, the legendary rockers are embarking on their next chapter

Mötley Crüe Nikki Sixx live 2024 Hard Rock Atlantic City [Credit: Matt Bishop]
Mötley Crüe [Matt Bishop/The Rock Revival]

Over the weekend, Mötley Crüe returned to Atlantic City for another two-show at the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Atlantic City, New Jersey. The performances marked the kickoff of the band’s 2024 touring schedule, however it was much more than just a new batch of shows. The concerts inside the Etess Arena signaled the start of a new era for the group. Although guitarist John 5 began touring with the band last year, the new Crüe hit the studio together and released a brand new single, “Dogs of War,” on April 26. While their first fresh track in five years features a familiar face at the helm – producer Bob Rock – the song is the band’s first with John 5 on guitar, and their first release through their new label, Big Machine Records.

As polarizing as they may be right now amongst their fans, they’re forging ahead. With their legacy is already solidified in the history books, the band is ready to write their next chapter. Whether you love it or hate it, one must give credit to a band that wants to keep creating new music instead of using their back catalog as a crutch.

Check out the setlist and our live photo gallery from the show below.

Mötley Crüe Vince Neil live 2024 Hard Rock Atlantic City [Credit: Matt Bishop]
Mötley Crüe [Matt Bishop/The Rock Revival]

After a great opening set from Philly mainstays Tommy Conwell and The Young Ramblers, The Crüe took the stage just before nine o’clock in the same building where several pieces of the band’s stage-used items hang on the walls. While their history adorns the hallowed halls of the Hard Rock, the group was inside the Etess Arena debuting a new song with a new guitar player. Before that, though, it was a barrage of greatest hits that makes their memorabilia so iconic.

They kicked things off with “Primal Scream.” The riffy single was released in 1991 when grunge was taking off, seemingly leaving all the 80s hard rock acts standing on the runway. The track propelled the band into a new decade, and is perhaps the most underrated track in their entire discography.

After the opening number, the band went all the way back to the beginning with “Too Fast for Love,” the title track of their eponymous 1981 debut LP. With the crowd all warmed up, they put the pedal to the metal for a three-song stretch that featured “Wild Side,” “Shout at the Devil,” and “Live Wire.” This segment is quite possibly the highlight of the night.

Additionally, the band dusted off “On with the Show,” playing the 1981 song for the first time in nearly a decade.

Midway through the set, the group is shaking things up a bit. John 5 tears through a guitar solo, then he’s rejoined by the rest of the band for a medley. The mash-up is comprised of covers, including Motley’s most famously recorded ones like “Smokin’ In the Boys Room,” “Helter Skelter,” and “Anarchy in the U.K.” Then, Tommy Lee steps out from behind his drum kit and sits behind the piano for the band’s signature performance of “Home Sweet Home.”

From their, Mötley Crüe brought it home with a barrage of hits including “Dr. Feelgood,” “Same Ol’ Situation (S.O.S.),” and “Girls, Girls, Girls.” They finished the night off with their fist-pumping anthem, “Kickstart My Heart.”

Back in 2022, a glaring question surrounding The Stadium Tour with Def Leppard was whether or not Vince Neil would be able to perform at a high level, or even finish the tour at all. After a lot of doubt, Neil showed up having shed a few pounds. His energy was great and he sounded far better than he did on the band’s Final Tour a few years ago. Over the weekend, Vince showed even more improvement in both his physique and performance. Father Time is a real motherfucker, but Vince isn’t up there just mailing it in. He’s working very hard to give fans the best version of Vince Neil that he can, and it’s showing on stage. We should be happy not just for a higher quality performance, but for Vince’s general health and well-being.

Mötley Crüe John 5 live 2024 Hard Rock Atlantic City [Credit: Matt Bishop]
Mötley Crüe [Matt Bishop/The Rock Revival]

Over a career that stretches nearly 45 years, Mötley Crüe have amassed an insane following. Many hardcore fans are devastated that founding guitarist Mick Mars is no longer in the group. While it is a shame that the original lineup is no longer intact, no one can deny what John 5 brings to the table. He’s a bonafide shredder, and deserves to be mentioned among all the guitar greats of the last two or three decades. His skills show the most on tracks like “Primal Scream,” “Wild Side,” and “Live Wire,” among others. He also turned in a great performance in the studio on the all-new “Dogs of War.” A spotlight truly shines on his talent during a brief but killer guitar solo during the band’s set.

While he certainly had his moments when playing with Marilyn Manson and then Rob Zombie (just listen to Zombie’s “Dead City Radio and the New Gods of Supertown”), their style of music doesn’t particularly cater to dazzling guitar work. If you really want to see what John 5 is capable of, you have to dig up a stream of Van Halen frontman David Lee Roth’s 1998 solo album, DLR Band, on YouTube (which also features then-future Korn drummer Ray Luzier behind the kit). John 5 absolutely lets it rip on that record. If “Dogs of War” is a preview of coming attractions, Mötley Crüe and Bob Rock would be wise to just sit back and let John 5’s fingers run wild all over his fretboard.

Mötley Crüe [Matt Bishop/The Rock Revival]

During the set, bassist Nikki Sixx takes a moment to talk to the crowd, touching on how cool it is that in 2024, the band is still moving forward and working on new music. The band proceeded to play their new song, “Dogs of War.” The group is moving forward without looking in the rearview mirror too much. Most longtime fans are coming along for the ride, and the band is picking up some new fans along the way. There were a lot of young faces in the crowd over the weekend, a testament to not only the band’s staying power, but their continued relevance.

In 2022, The Stadium Tour with Def Leppard, Poison, Joan Jett, and Classless Act, topped Pollstar’s 75Live Chart, which ranks all active concert tours worldwide by the average number of tickets sold. Over the first 11 shows, the tour moved 96% of the available tickets for an average of 36,934 seats sold per show. The performances averaged a gross of $4.9 million, beating out acts like Billy Joel, Kenny Chesney, Eric Church, Halsey, and more.

The numbers don’t lie. There’s still a thirst for classic hard rock. While bands like KISS and Aerosmith are allegedly taking their final bows, Mötley Crüe are seemingly driving on until the fuckin’ wheels fall off.

Mötley Crüe Nikki Sixx live 2024 Hard Rock Atlantic City [Credit: Matt Bishop]
Mötley Crüe [Matt Bishop/The Rock Revival]

Tonight, Mötley Crüe will be playing an exclusive club show in New York City. The set is slated to go down at the Bowery Ballroom. The concert is titled “1981,” and tickets for the sold-out show were priced at just $19.81. This weekend, the Crüe are headlining Welcome to Rockville in Daytona Beach, Florida and Louder Than Live in Louisville, Kentucky. Also topping the bill are Foo Fighters, Slipknot, and Limp Bizkit. Other feature performers are Judas Priest, Disturbed, Queens of the Stone Age, Greta Van Fleet, Falling In Reverse, Breaking Benjamin, and more. In June, the band is headlining Summerfest in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. From there, they head to Canada for an appearance at the Ottawa Bluesfest in July, plus a headlining concert at Scotiabank Arena in Calgary. Additionally, Mötley Crüe are headlining Louder Than Life in Louisville, Kentucky. The lineup also features Slipknot, Korn, and the return of Slayer.

On the heels of their latest release, the band is reportedly working on more new music. The newest single was produced by Bob Rock, and also features special guest appearances by The Offspring’s Dexter Holland and Classless Act’s Derek Day on background vocals. Classless Act toured in support of Mötley Crüe and Def Leppard on their massive North American stadium tour back in 2022.

“It’s always great getting back in the studio with the guys in the band,” Nikki Sixx said. “We know you’re gonna like this one.”

Producer Bob Rock, who also helmed the band’s famed 1989 album, Dr. Feelgood, adds, “Working with the band on the new song was the easiest session I have ever had with them. The Crüe is the best they have ever been! And they have plenty of new stuff in store.”

Mötley Crüe Vince Neil live 2024 Hard Rock Atlantic City [Credit: Matt Bishop]
Mötley Crüe [Matt Bishop/The Rock Revival]

While this marks John 5’s recording debut with the band, this is not he and Mötley’s first collaboration. Back in 2019, John 5 co-wrote the songs “The Dirt,” “Crash and Burn,” and “Ride with the Devil” for the soundtrack to Netflix’s Mötley Crüe biopic, The Dirt. On social media and in various interviews, the band has promised that more new music is on the way.

The all-new “Dogs of War” is also Mötley Crüe’s first release on their new label, Big Machine Records.

Big Machine Chairman and CEO Scott Borchetta says of the signing, “Mötley Crüe on Big Machine! Growing up in Southern California, I was in Hollywood when these new sheriffs showed up and took over the city. It was loud. It was powerful. It was game changing. Vince, Nikki, and Tommy, along with new guitarist John 5, have reignited the flame with ferocious new Crüe music. Fans will unite – SHOUT!”

“We are thrilled to announce the forthcoming release of our new music through Big Machine Records,” Mötley Crüe said. “Scott’s been a friend and supporter of the band for a long time, and we loved collaborating on the Nashville Outlaws album in 2014. We’re very happy to know our new music will be in the best of hands with Scott and his exceptional team at Big Machine.”

Borchetta and Big Machine Records were behind the 2014 Nashville Outlaws: A Tribute to Mötley Crüe album that featured classic Crüe tracks covered by some of country music’s biggest stars, including Rascal Flatts, Florida Georgia Line, and Darius Rucker, among others. The album debuted at No. 5 on the Billboard Top 200, No. 2 on Billboard’s Top Country Albums chart, and featured the Top 30 hit, “Home Sweet Home,” performed by Justin Moore and Vince Neil. Big Machine also partnered with Mötley Crüe guitarist John 5 for the release of his 2021 album, Sinner.

Mötley Crüe join fellow rockers Daughtry, Badflower, and The Struts on the Big Machine roster.

Mötley Crüe live 2024 Hard Rock Atlantic City [Credit: Matt Bishop]
Mötley Crüe [Matt Bishop/The Rock Revival]

Mötley Crüe have been teasing new music with John 5 for some time. The collaboration comes as no surprise, as he and Mötley Crüe bassist Nikki Sixx are very close. In a 2019 interview with Outburn Magazine, John 5 said of Sixx,”We love each other. He has inspired me and taught me so much about life in general. He’s a phenomenal songwriter, lyricist, author, everything. He’s always telling me to listen to this audio book or see this movie. He has a happy marriage, a happy life, a successful band he started from the ground up. He’s one of the most inspiring people. He’ll text me all the time to read something or try something. It’s wonderful. He’s a phenomenal photographer as well. I remember him telling me that he’s going to take bass lessons again and get into playing with his fingers. He was so dedicated.”

Alongside Def Leppard, Mötley Crüe have been touring the globe for the past two years. Over the summer, both bands performed at some of the world’s biggest rock music festivals including Sweden Rock Festival, Finland RockFest, Copenhell in Denmark, and Graspop Metal Meeting in Belgium. In August, Mötley Crüe played a handful of U.S. headlining shows with special guest Alice Cooper.

Mötley Crüe has accumulated worldwide album sales exceeding 100 million, seven platinum and multi-platinum albums, 22 Top 40 mainstream rock hits, six Top 20 pop singles, three GRAMMY® Award nominations, four New York Times best-sellers, and even landed a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Mötley Crüe’s last studio album was 2008’s Saints of Los Angeles.