OK, so I can check all three of these of my list now- I’ve seen each of them up close over the past 6 months. In case you live in a cave, here are the line ups (click on the band name to see my past reviews):
GNR: Original members Axl Rose and Dizzy Reed. New members: Robin Finck, formerly of Nine Inch Nails, Richard Fortus, formerly of The Psychedelic Furs, Tommy Stinson, formerly of The Replacements, plus others.
VR: ‘Supergroup’ comprised of 3 ex-GNR members: Slash, Duff McKagan, and Matt Sorum, plus Scott Weiland, formerly of Stone Temple Pilots, and Dave Kushner, formerly of Wasted Youth.
AoA: ‘Supergroup’ comprised of 2 former STP guys, the DeLeo Brothers- Dean on guitar and Robert on bass, plus Richard Patrick, formerly of Filter and Nine Inch Nails, and Ray Luzier, formerly of David Lee Roth’s band.
So, I could put NIN/Trent in here….but he would win in every category…
Here’s my research analysis:
Best opening act: GNR with Sebastian Bach. He just makes me laugh and I was totally transported back to 1990. OK, so I missed The Actual and I really just don’t like Hurt.
Best venue: Tie-GNR and VR, both at The Warfield. Best place to see a big act play a smaller show. Slim’s is Sucky McSucks-a-lot.
Best Rock Star time: GNR. Venue opens at 8, Bach goes on at 10, GNR goes on at 12 and plays til 2a. On a Thursday.
Best value: AoA. $20 a ticket compared to $75 for both GNR and VR.
Best fans: Tough one. I’d probably have to go with AoA because the band is really good to their fans, with M&Gs, etc.
Best stage set up: GNR. Pyrotechnics galore. No one does this anymore, so it was fun and…dramatic. Seriously, it was ‘look for the exits cuz I don’t want this to be like Great White‘ pyrotechnics.
Best outifts: VR. Hands down.
Most morphed since changing bands: Robin Finck/GNR.
Most mismatched to the band: Richard Fortus/GNR. The boy looks like he should be in NIN.
Best opening song: ‘Welcome to the Jungle’/GNR. When you’ve waited an hour and a half between sets, and you hear those notes when no one’s on stage yet, it just floors you.
Best closing song: ‘Goodbye’/AoA. Fitting.
Best on stage dialog: Tie. Axl had a fan thrown out for flipping him off, and Weiland asked a fan that was flipping him off if he wanted to stick that up his butt. Maybe it was the same guy.
Best old material from a former band: another tough one- I’d have to say ‘Hey Man, Nice Shot’ done by AoA.
Best version of STP’s Vasoline: VR. It just needs Weiland.
Best cover song: VR covering Pink Floyd’s ‘Wish You Were Here’.
Best unreleased new material: VR. GNR’s ‘new material’ is dusty….
Best guitar solo: VR/Slash. Fortus and Finck’s rendition of ‘Beautiful’ was just strange.
Best drum solo: AoA/Luzier. A) he had the biggest drum set I’ve ever seen, and B) wow.
Best choreography: VR. Weiland’s dancing+Slash’s guitar tricks=good time
Best recovered drug addict: AoA/Richard Patrick. Gave a little spiel about how he was supposed to play SF back in the early 2000’s, but something got in the way…rehab.
Most emotional performance: VR. I fell to pieces when I heard ‘Fall to Pieces’.
Best drummer: AoA/Ray Luzier
Best bassist: VR/Duff McKagan
Best rhythm guitar: GNR/Richard Fortus
Best lead guitar: VR/Slash
Best vocalist: AoA/Richard Patrick would win if there were a scream off death match. Weiland sounds the best with music backing him up…..and Axl has just massacred his vocal chords.
Best overall band: VR. GNR needs to release their album and get it over with, and AoA needs a new promoter or something.