Shocked and saddened by the sudden death of Lemmy today I decided to look back to the last time I saw Motörhead live. London’s Hyde Park was the venue, on just about the hottest day ever recorded in the city. At that time Lemmy’s health had been an issue for a while and this would be their first UK show after a while. When I was waiting for the band to enter the stage I chatted a bit with the people around me, a lot of young people who were there at their first festival and the first time they would see Motörhead. The atmosphere was jubilant, and the folks around me were looking forward to see their hero in the flesh.
The band came up to a thundering crowd reception, and I could swear Lemmy was a bit touched. He looked somewhat fragile, pretty worn and tired, but he righted his back, smiled at the crowd and assumed his legendary pose under his mike.
Kicking off with Damage Case the oiled machine that was Motörhead grabbed the attention of everyone in earshot and took them along on a rock and roll trip as only they could. The band was really up for it, and the still relatively fresh public (Motörhead started playing around quarter to four) reacted very enthusiastically. I could feel new converts being made all around me, that first Motörhead show is precious and maybe live-changing 🙂
Halfway the set Doctor Rock turned into an extended drum solo, clearly a moment to give Lemmy a breather. I personally have heard enough extended drum solo’s to last me a lifetime, but it was easy to bear there given the atmosphere, and the circumstances.
Returning with Going to Brazil the band fired up again, and played a few more songs before finishing the set with the epic anthem Ace of Spades. Another brief break led into the only encore, Overkill, and the band bowed out to a rapturous farewell from the crowd. The shouts of “Lemmy” would endure for a bit while the set was being changed.
Even though Lemmy was struggling a bit at times to get his vocals up to the right volume his stage presence it was a great show, and I will cherish this memory.
Lemmy was truly unique, and the world is a bleaker place without him.
Over the Top
Lost Woman Blues
Going to Brazil
Killed by Death
Ace of Spades