LEMMY’S LAST STAND: Motorhead @ The Tower

Lemmy @ The Tower by DAN LONG

Photo by DAN LONG

EDITOR’S NOTE: This originally posted on 9/23/15. RIP Lemmy.

Having cancelled a handful of shows earlier this month due to “altitude sickness,” it was an open question whether Lemmy would truly be back in the saddle last night at the Tower Theater. Would he bow out after two songs like he did in Austin? Would he plow through, driven by The Will To Rock (and maybe a coupla handfuls of trucker speed)? Or, would he die onstage? These were the lingering questions that hung in the air last night. On top of that, it is the opinion of many Motorhead fans that Lemmy should bow out gracefully and retire on top. But if you asked me or Lemmy or most of the people in the crowd last night if Lemmy should retire to his rocking chair and knitting the answer would be an overwhelming: Fuck. That. Noise. Like getting old, Motorhead is not for pussies. Lemmy is a force of nature who belongs onstage for the duration of his natural life and maybe a little longer. He’s said repeatedly that he’d be OK with giving up the ghost onstage. “We are Motorhead! And we play Rock ‘n’ Roll!” Lemmy announced upon his arrival, armed with his custom wood carved Rickenbacker bass, mic stand ratcheted up above his head with mic tipped down to capture his hellacious growl, and trademark face-melting fuzz-bomb sound cranked up to 11 or higher as the band launched in to “Bomber.” For the next hour and change, Motorhead delivered what we all came from near and far for: blisteringly loud, leg-shaking, fist pumping, glass-breaking, car-wrecking, bone-crushing, pet-scaring, taint-rattling rock and fucking roll. Understandably, Lemmy didn’t leave his post at the mic for most of the show, but Phil Campbell compensated by constantly working the lip of the stage to rally the fans. Right before lighting the fuse on “Overkill,” Lemmy introduced the band, then told everyone that back in 1973, before he got the boot from Hawkwind, the Tower Theatre was the first place he ever performed in the US. The crowd — some young, some old, some metal, some punk — responded with wild applause, crowd surfing, and the kind of undying respect due the black leather-wrapped Pope Of Metal. Hail Satan! — DAN LONG