Sixx A.M. plays emotional show in Chicago as the world watches

When Sixx A.M. formed seven years ago and released a soundtrack to The Heroin Diaries– the emotional memoir by Motley Crue bassist Nikki Sixx, fans immediately connected to it and wanted a tour. They got what they wanted when the band toured on the first Crue Fest, but they wanted more.

In 2011, the band released This Is Gonna Hurt, but were too busy to tour in support of it. They made a few rare appearances here and there but fans have always wanted a full-on headline tour so they could see the band play more songs live.

When Sixx A.M. released Modern Vintage last fall, they announced the long-awaited headline run that, although short, gave fans exactly what they wanted and the demand has been crazy. Then they announced Apocalyptica as direct support and the excitement went up even more.

Recently the band stopped at Chicago’s Vic Theater for a show that was not only sold-out but also broadcast live on Yahoo, giving fans all around the world a chance to unite and see the band they’ve always wanted to see perform live.

After a high-energy performance from Vamps- who had almost as big of a turnout as Sixx A.M. did and delivered on every level, Finland’s Apocalyptica took the stage.

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With their latest record, Shadowmaker, releasing at midnight after the show, the energy was through the roof and indescribable- both from the band and the fans. From the second the band took the stage it was like watching a volcano erupt or like watching a caged animal finally break loose.

With new singer Franky Perez at the helm as the band’s first permanent lead singer, the band has begun a new era and it pays off live as the songs from their new record- Shadowmaker- are exactly as they crowd hears them live as opposed to previous albums, which had a majority of guest vocalists.

You can’t deny Apocalyptica’s energy live and Chicago was no exception. It’s amazing to see the band is just a drummer, a vocalist and three cellos- nothing else. The power was overwhelming and the band owned the stage and the fans.

While they only played two songs from the new album- “Cold Blood” and the title track- the Chicago crowd didn’t seem to be too familiar with the band’s material- which is amazing. However, the band won everyone over with their all-cello cover of Metallica’s “Nothing Else Matters” and their closing medley of classical songs that brought the house down.

After a short intermission it was time for the moment the majority of the fans at the Vic Theater had been waiting years for- Sixx A.M. took the stage.

They’ve only toured once since their inception- on the first Crue Fest- and they’ve since only done a handful of appearances so it wasn’t a surprise that the show was sold out and packed to capacity.

As the lights went down the crowd was deafening and the intro of “X-Mas In Hell” from The Heroin Diaries Soundtrack came over the PA- the best way to start the show- followed by “Let’s Go,” “Give Me A Love” and “Relief” from Modern Vintage.

They played a perfect combination of tracks from all three albums, only leaving out a few songs that fans may have wanted to hear- “Are You With Me” and “Girl With Golden Eyes” being the two most popular songs that weren’t performed.

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While each band member has their own impressive resume, Sixx A.M. is nothing like their other bands. With Sixx A.M., they’ve always carried the flag of telling fans to be themselves and that what society says is normal and perfect isn’t the case and that fans should love themselves for who they are.

Musically, they’ve always paid more attention to the dramatic and theatrical side of things and seeing the songs come to life was indescribable and something you truly had to be there to see- luckily Yahoo! was live streaming the entire show.

Songs like “Dead Man’s Ballet” and “Goodbye My Friends” are built on a theatrical foundation and the emotion and drama of the songs were brought out tenfold by Michael, Sixx and Ashba and seeing them relive the songs again was inspiring.

Sixx took some time to talk to the crowd prior to “Help Is On The Way” to tell them that Yahoo! streaming the show live was giving Sixx A.M. fans all over the world a chance to connect for the first time, which is something the band has wanted to do since day 1. He also said that since the beginning of the band, they had just wanted to write a few songs to accompany his book- The Heroin Diaries– but after the started writing, more music started coming. After that, “Life Is Beautiful” did so well that special things started happening. Then on the second album- This Is Gonna Hurt- things took off even more but they never really intended to tour.

But now you guys have a problem on your hands because now we have the bug,” Sixx told the fans, “and I thought I was gonna retire at the end of the year, but fuck that! Next year- a new record, world tour!”

He explained that the next song- “Help Is On The Way”- was a song that captured both ends- that talks about darkness and it talks about celebration- which is exactly what this show was- a celebration of everything the band is and everything the fans have been through to be able to connect with the band’s music.

To say Sixx A.M.’s music has connected, resounded, affected and saved the lives of many fans would be an understatement and you could see the emotion of the fans on their faces- some smiling, some crying from being able to see the songs that had affected them so heavily, finally played live.

After “Stars” and “Lies Of The Beautiful People” rounded out the band’s set, they took the stage for a two-song encore that began with James Michael sitting at a piano, saying one phrase that- while short- spoke volumes and summed up everything the band stands for- “You are not your skin,” he told the crowd before playing the song of the same title and capping off the night with “Life Is Beautiful,” which was the perfect way to wrap up the show.

In the end, Sixx A.M. showed exactly why they’re one of the most influential and inspirational bands in all of rock. Their albums are always some of the highest-anticipated prior to their release and this tour has given fans a chance to live the songs that have affected them so heavily.

Things are just getting started for them too, with a new album releasing next year, look for Sixx A.M. to become one of the most dominant bands in all of rock.

-Reggie Edwards