Monday, January 16, 2012

Springsteen Video of the Week - Come Together

My 2 favorite singers, inducting my favorite Beatle into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and covering one of my favorite Beatle tunes. And…it sucks. Seriously, this is just awful. Bruce’s voice is unnecessarily gravely and Axl sounds like he’s doing a poor imitation of himself. Trust me, I didn’t pick this video for it’s musical qualities, but rather just to show how far Bruce had come.

In 1994, Guns N’ Roses was arguably the biggest band in the world. They had just finished up their massive Use Your Illusion tour, and were getting ready to release a new album in the year entitled Chinese Democracy. They were no strangers to controversy, but with legions of fans and an incredible sound, Axl Rose and his band were definitely Rock royalty.

Bruce Springsteen on the other hand seemed to be on the downswing of his career. He had broken up with his E Street Band; his last 2 albums didn’t fare nearly as well as his 80’s material. He wasn’t playing big stadium shows anymore. He had a good run, but it seemed it was probably time for him to pack it up. He wasn’t dead yet, but his popularity was definitely on wane.

I’ve always had a love/hate relationship with the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Some of their inductions, as well as their snubs, infuriate me. But one thing I always enjoy is the induction ceremony. Sometimes the band themselves play, as Bruce and the E Street band did when then they were inducted. Or sometimes, as in this case, they get popular artists from today to show the influence of the inducted artist. For John Lennon’s deserving induction they chose the lead singer of the biggest rock band in the world, and one of the most iconic rock stars of 1980’s. The performance, as I stated earlier, leaves a lot to be desired. But hey, on paper it sounds fantastic.

Fast Forward to 2012: That was the last public appearance of Axl Rose for 8 years, until the 2002 MTV Video Music Awards, where he debuted his new Guns N’ Roses band, after breaking up the beloved classic GN’R in the mid 90’s. The MTV performance was universally panned by fans and critics alike. In 2009, Axl finally released Chinese Democracy, you know the album that was supposed to be released 15 years prior. The album failed to even come close to projected numbers in sales. Although I actually love this album, the message from fans was clear, Guns N’ Roses, in particular Axl Rose, was yesterday’s news. In November of 2011, I saw Axl Rose and his new GN’R band play in front a half-empty crowd at the Izod Center in New Jersey. The band didn’t take the stage till close to midnight, 4 hours late of the time start time on the ticket. However the concert itself was incredible. Axl and his new band sounded amazing. However, years of treating fans badly and calling this band Guns N’ Roses, when fans clearly want to see the original line up, is coming back to bite Axl.

Bruce Springsteen on the other hand, reunited with beloved E Street Band, was named one Rolling Stone’s top 10 artists of the new millennium, and was one of the top 5 grossing touring artists of the new millennium. Songs from The Rising and Magic have become as much of staples at concerts as classics from Born to Run and Darkness on the Edge of Town. He is just as popular now as he ever was, and continues to play gigantic stadium shows in front of rabid sell-out crowds. His constant touring, releasing of new music, and general appreciation for those who pay their hard-earned money to listen to him has paid off in dividends for the Boss. Just goes to show to never count out Bruce!

This year the classic Guns N’ Roses lineup will join Bruce Springsteen in the RN’R HOF. Something tells me that they won’t be performing at their induction and instead another band will pay tribute to them. Maybe they should see if Bruce is available, that way they can actually sell some tickets.

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