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GNR, Crue: Who was better?


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DATE: Jan. 30, 2010

SOURCE: The Regina Leader-Post

GNR, Crue: who was better?

Christopher Tessmer

30 January 2010

Regina Leader Post

Considering legendary rock groups Guns N' Roses and Motley Crue have both graced the Queen City within a span of eight days, the inevitable question will ultimately be, "Which show was better?"

In order to provide a legitimate answer, it's important to break down the various aspects of the contending shows to determine the champion. Therefore, for the scientific purposes of this study, there will be four categories: Production; Star Power; Style; and Music.


Both shows were heavy on the firepower (literally), had enough lighting to safely land jet airliners, and a PA that shook the concrete jungle known as the Brandt Centre. The Crue went for the Ikea approach compared to GNR, as they used a one-level stage, relied heavily on cannon blasts, fire and smoke to go with their vast light show.

GNR used huge LCD screens, had a platform on a hoist to launch the rockers to the heavens, and had a circular staircase going up both sides of the stage to a second-tier that would have befit many of the homes on MTV's popular show Cribs.

In fairness to the Crue, drummer Tommy Lee's massive kit and bassist Nikki Sixx's intricate mic stand on a colossal spring help make this one a lot closer than it should be.

Advantage: GNR


GNR's Axl Rose will go down a legend for his eccentric ways, and the way he managed to turn that group's classic lineup into a revolving cast a la Puerto Rican boy-group Menudo. The fiery red-haired frontman exudes a stage presence that draws one's attention at all times, which is a boon considering the relative obscurity that his astounding supporting cast has. As of press time, Tommy Stinson, Richard Fortus and DJ Ashba, among others, had failed to become household names.

Contrary to their Los Angeles compatriots, Motley Crue is a who's who of rock royalty. The average metal or hard rock fan could rather easily name the quartet of Vince Neil, Nikki Sixx, Tommy Lee and Mick Mars. Granted, the foursome has been in and out of the news for the previous three decades for bad behaviour, substance abuse, celebrity marriages, adult videos, reality TV shows, best-selling books, and what's been officially coined by generations of teenagers as "general awesomeness."

Advantage: The Crue


The most qualitative of the scientific categories, style was very much apparent by both bands. Rose was a one-man fashion show with GNR, changing his shirt no less than six times during his 21/2-hour set. Assumedly to combat the sweat the singer produces from stalking the stage side-to-side at full speed at all times, it also added a flair that Donatella Versace would have been proud of.

Disappointedly, the Crue failed to change their outfits once, with vocalist Vince Neil wearing his tightest acid-wash jeans with a white T-shirt and sleeveless shirt over top. Lee wore a pair of white shorts/pants with a white shirt. The real fashionistas of the group were Sixx and guitarist Mick Mars. The 58-year-old Mars, much older than his mates and long suffering from an illness similar to chronic arthritis, resembles a gothic vampire crossed with Mr. Burns of The Simpsons and pulls it off. Sixx, who in the 1980s played up the androgynous glam-rock look, appeared to be channelling his inner biker gang member, mixed with the coolest pirate one has seen, sure to make Jack Sparrow jealous.

Amazingly, as ridiculous as Sixx and Mars's outfits sound, they pulled them off.

Advantage: The Crue


This analysis will undoubtedly elicit controversy, as both groups have avid and loyal fanbases.

GNR was fantastic live, playing 27 songs over the span of their lengthy set, and nary a hit was ignored. Rose was at the top of his game, singing only as he can, and hitting all the right notes despite his frantic stage persona. His relatively unknown band was equally up to the challenge, as it became apparent Rose created his band like Frankenstein finding the best parts to bide his eccentricities and deliver his sonic wares to the masses.

Motley Crue was equally up to the task for their set, as their original lineup delivered a raucous and hard-driving set that had even the most timid nodding their heads in approval. Mars demonstrated his flawless guitar playing, tackling Jimi Hendrix in an extended solo that would have made the fallen legend approve. While no longer a child, Lee is still every bit the prodigy on drums that he's always been.

Advantage: GNR, though it would be a draw if not for the extended set the Gunners played.


While ties, stalemates, or draws, are never cheered for, and are often compared to kissing one's sister, GNR and Motley Crue were both equally fantastic to see. In reality, while from the same scene, and often warring in the '80s and early '90s, neither band is overly similar to each other. As GNR were heavy hitting at times, they largely excelled in a theatrical sense, while the Crue were there to kick someone's ass and have them smile and party while it happened.

Asked of his impressions after seeing both shows, Tim Gienow of Craven noted that it was a hard call as "both bands were equally good and really awesome."

With that in mind, the most likely prognosis is that those in attendance for either, or both shows, were the real winners.


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