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West Valley fans boogie to Crue Fest 2

CRUE FEST 2, FEATURING MOTLEY CRUE, GODSMACK, DROWNING POOL, THEORY OF A DEADMAN, USANA Amphitheatre, Aug. 3

WEST VALLEY CITY — When Charm City Devils lead singer Johnny Allen got the call that his band would open the main stage at Crue Fest 2, he was psyched.

"I had wanted this last year," said Allen during an interview at Crue Fest 2 at the USANA Amphitheatre Monday night. "And I wanted it this year. And this year we got the call.

"I was so ready, but after I hung up the phone, I started getting a little apprehensive. I mean this was Crue Fest 2 and the headlining the show is Motley Crue."

But Allen didn't need to worry. His band — guitarists Vic Karrera and Nick Kay, drummer Jason Heiser and bassist Anthony Arambula — played confidently in its opening slot.

The guys relied on good old blues-based Rock 'n' Roll to make their point.

"I was a drummer until a couple of years ago," said Allen. "And when we got Charm City Devils together, I felt I was up to the task of fronting a band. It was an adjustment, but I'm learning."

CCD did it's job and set the tone for the rest of the night. The bands Drowning Pool, Theory of a Deadman, Godsmack and Motley Crue had to live up to CCD's adrenaline-filled set.

For the most part, the bands all upped their efforts.

Unlike last year's Crue Fest, the band on this year's line-up were more sinister in nature, more powerful.

Drowning Pool took the stage and fired off a blistering set that ended with the dark groove of "Bodies."

Theory of a Deadman was the least energetic, but still delivered it's own blend of Southern-tainted metal featuring "Bad Girlfriend," "Hate My Life" and a bit of the intro to Lynyrd Skynyrd's "Sweet Home Alabama."

Godsmack was at the top of it's game. By the time it launched into the primal mantra of "Voodoo," the audience was putty, doing anything lead singer Sully Erna requested.

Headliner Motley Crue partied with the 17,000 fans that filled the amphitheater. The band and fans celebrated the 20th anniversary of the release of the album "Dr. Feelgood."

So Motley Crue — vocalist Vince Neil, guitarist Mick Mars, bassist Nikki Sixx and drummer Tommy Lee – played the live versions of the album's song track from start to finish.

"Dr. Feelgood," the band's most accessible and best selling album of the catalog, and arguably the more lackluster, was a hit again as the boys pumped out the title track, "Slice of Your Pie," "Rattlesnake Shake," "Kickstart My Heart," "Without You," "Same Ol' Situation," "Sticky Sweet" and the rest.

Voice problems plagued Neil throughout the show, but he endeared himself to the crowd by trying to sing and then allowing the audience to take over some of the leads.

After the final "Dr. Feelgood" track, "Time for a Change," ended roadies revamped the stage and Mars emerged and gave the audience a blazing acoustic guitar solo before launching into "Wildside."

The band's breakthrough anthem "Shout at the Devil" and the ballad "Home Sweet Home" were other additions to the set.

With Neil's voice on the out, the rest of the band, along with two leggy background singers, took up the slack and poured out the energy.

Fans, comprised of families, friends, couples and stags, sang, stomped and clapped along to each song.

However, there was a bit of a let down at the close of the show.

Motley Crue appeared to have pulled back on the theatrics and left some of the more raunchy elements out of the set. Some fans liked it and others didn't.

e-mail: scott@desnews.com