Will Axle Rose and Slash Ever Do an 'Oppa Gangnam Style' Dance?
A. S. Usham *
Guns N' Roses onstage in Sofia, Bulgaria on July 2012 :: Pix - MrPanyGoff/Wikipedia
Man is a complicated being. It might not have appeared true to a higher group of organisms. But, since we consider ourselves the highest of all the creatures and consider ourselves complicated, he must surely be considered complicated. And man is vane too. Vanity often goes hand in hand with all the intricacies of being a man. This, I got to vividly see again recently in a rock concert I was fortunate enough to attend. That was the Guns and Roses concert in Gurgaon, 12/12/2012.
Guns and Roses will seldom need an introduction, especially if you are from Manipur and not a sissy girl. A whole generation grew up to the charm of Axl Rose's long blonde hair and inimitable vocal works. Nothing less, there used to stand by his side the beast of a man called Slash with a distinct aggressive style of guitar playing by which many still swear. The other members of the band chipped in their part to give Guns and Roses, once considered the most dangerous rock band of this world. These giants of rock revived this genre of music when many started losing hope.
The show started unusually on time. In the next three hours to follow Axl Rose belted out one hit after another. He even did a Pink Floyd number, though hugely distorted. Standing there in the crowd and feeling the pulse of the music hitting me on my chest was one amazing feeling. That must be one reason why concerts are rated higher than an earphone or headphone music. I could feel the music in the winter air. That was the reason why I went and I was not disappointed even a bit.
When the opening blast of a song called Chinese Democracy settled down with an overenthusiastic crowd singing along, I started to scrutinise Axl Rose's voice. Sadly, it seemed to have changed a lot from the wild rock star days of the 90's. The pitch seemed to have gone down. Though it would be unfair to deny that his voice still stands tall and good, it no longer is the same Axl Rose a couple of decades back. Yes, I was not in any of their concert before and my sole source was from recorded tapes. But, to recheck myself I recorded five minutes of his singing and compared that with what it used to be. I would still stick to my gun. After all, Axl Rose is around 50, not like the wild haired rock star in his twenties.
On the guitar were three strong talented guys. DJ Ashba did perfectly well, playing one song after another of those masterpieces. But he was not Slash: the stylish black haired monster of a guitarist with a cigarette in his mouth. Only Slash could play like Slash. No amount of substitutes is going to replace how he used to be. The guitar works sounded quite well but the sheer thrill, the style and the being Slash was somewhat missing. Slash is still Slash and will always remain so.
Remembering on how the band broke up, that must be considered one of the most tragic things to ever happen to rock music. Though their inception brought out music that will live on forever, their break up brought to an end the sparkling stream of classic masterpieces. There was so much music left in them, the music that would come to life only when they had played together. The break up has killed and poisoned the very stream. I am not sure which one would be more tragic: GnR break up or Kurt Cobain's untimely death.
The same troubled path many rock bands went through. Some of them reconciled and came back even more beautifully. Bon Jovi reunited again after a long break up. Black Sabbath made one of the greatest live shows at their reunion. I still have and treasure the reunion double cassette tapes. The examples are many. It is a question of being able to smooth out their differences for a common good. With the size of egos rock stars are known for, reunion itself should be considered a big personal achievement apart from the artistic and musical achievements that would follow.
There are many ways people with differences come together and make peace. While stories of duels are also told, they are very out of tune and considered barbaric in today's world. How about a feast of friendship? Many back home reconcile over feast and wine especially in the hills.
But Axl Rose and Slash are not from where we hail from. They are international figures. Then, perhaps only an international method will do them good. Then, why not a Gangnam Style dance party? Will Axl Rose and Slash ever do a Gangnam Style dance move and even out their differences for the bigger spirit of music? I have my doubt, but if they ever do that, it will be one of the best days of rock music history.
* A. S. Usham wrote this article for e-pao.net
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This article was posted on February 06, 2013
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