When Motorhead Played Their Final Concert
As grieving fans passed around links to online videos and bootleg recordings, something important quickly became clear: Whatever his ailments, Lemmy kept rocking almost until the end.
Motorhead was out touring in celebration of their 40th anniversary, a trek which had begun that August in Southern California. The European leg started in November, and the Berlin show -- which had been pushed back two weeks from its original date -- was supposed to be the last gig before a scheduled break for the band.
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The concert found Motorhead running through a 16-song set that blended fan favorites like "Bomber," "Stay Clean" and "Metropolis" with newer numbers like "When the Sky Comes Looking for You" – a track from Motorhead's most recent studio LP, 2015's Bad Magic. The final number of the encore was the classic title track from 1979's Overkill.
The Berlin show came before a holiday break for the band, but it wasn't supposed to be a permanent one: Motorhead's always-busy touring schedule had them traveling through Europe until late February of next year, a show of dogged determination in the face of multiple health-related postponements and cancellations that kept the group from living up to their usual rock-steady standards. Lemmy had personally dealt with surgery and illness while on the road in recent months, but apparently remained in high spirits: He even joked that he was "still indestructible."
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Sadly, however, Lemmy soon succumbed to cancer, dying on Dec. 28, 2015. Still, he was right in one important sense: As demonstrated by the fact that they were in the midst of a 40th anniversary tour, Motorhead's signature brand of rock remained in high demand at the time of Lemmy's passing – and echoes of its influence will continue to reverberate through modern music for decades to come.
Two sold-out shows held a few days before the Berlin concert, on Nov. 20-21 2015 at the Zenith in Munich, Germany, later formed the basis for a well-received posthumous concert recording titled Clean Your Clock.
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Gallery Credit: Eduardo Rivadavia
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