Nothing Says ‘Love’ Like a Band Reunion

Nothing makes you wish you could win the lottery, or unexpectedly come into money some other way, like one of your favourite bands reuniting for a show. One of the ones you thought you’d perhaps never get to see live, or never again if you’d already seen them.

There is certainly a benefit of a band reuniting without putting out a new (often disappointing) release. No questioning whether or not to go to the show, worried you’ll have to endure a bunch of shitty new songs in order to hear a few of your old favourites. In addition, there are the likes of Billy Corgan  – expecting fans to be so devoted they won’t ask for the old songs that changed their lives, and reprimanding them when they do. It doesn’t seem like a fair approach somehow, even if the artist cringes at the angsty, earlier chapter of their career.

I personally admire bands like Weezer who have no problem giving their old fans a blast from the past. This band was particularly generous, doing something I’ve never heard of before:  a tour where they only played their classic Blue Album on some nights and Pinkerton on others; their best albums to date back when they were a favourite amongst a group of fans who shudder to think about the band’s new, far more superficial sound.

To me there is something truly considerate about a band making this kind of gesture, showing their fans that though their love for the band may be conditional, the band’s appreciation of their loyalty to their past music isn’t. Instead of being overcome with pride like Corgan, the likes of Weezer are able to admit they’ve changed direction and in doing so, have lost some of their initial fans whose support helped establish them as musicians and as such, allowed them to continue making music years later.

That said, let’s talk about recent band reunions. Some great ones in 2010; most noteworthy were Sunny Day Real Estate, North of America (both of whom were at the top of the list of bands I wanted to see but thought I’d never get to, and both of whom I will never forgive myself for missing) and Pavement. This year we’ve already seen the Pixies tour, and the best is yet to come this summer. Both Pulp and Death From Above 1979 are reuniting for shows, the latter playing in London in May with my favourite band of the present, Young Legionnaire, which is the closest thing to a Yourcodenameis:Milo reunion.

Death from Above and Pulp – who are among the best of many bands I’ve seen, in terms of live presence – fall into a category I also situate Blur and The Smiths in. Like Morrissey and Marr are somewhat lackluster without each other, so too are Jarvis and Russel Senior, Sebastian Grainger and Jesse Keeler. Having these musicians on the same stage again is definitely something to write home about.

Upcoming classic rock reunions include: Poison, Whitesnake, Skid Row, Journey, Foreigner , ZZ Top, Metallica, Motley Crue and Rush. Queen have talked of a reunion, which we all know would be a joke without Freddy, who was the real Queen of all queens. And in terms of bands no one could care less about: The New Kids on the Block, System of a Down and one hit ‘wonders’ (a rather inappropriate term) like Aqua and The Spin Doctors.

If you’re into new wave you’ll be glad to know this never-ending, often tacky ’80s fad has at least served the purpose of bringing some old greats back together! A good site to keep track of these particular reunions is:  http://www.the80schild.com/

A lot of my personal retro favourites are touring this year too. Though most won’t make it to Canada, doing stints or single shows in the U.K. or the U.S. OMD blew across Canada in March and Echo and the Bunnymen are next; the closest to Montreal they’ll get is Toronto on May 16th. Other bands reuniting for shows this year include: Madness, The Cult, UB40, The B52s, Big Country, Devo, The Psychedelic Furs, Blondie and Tears for Fears.

In light of my initial comments, I should note that there are, of course, examples of bands that strike a balance between old and new. Bands who have toured in support of palatable fresh music, while still playing their old ‘hits’. Perfect examples of this include Depeche Mode, The Get up Kids, The Pet Shop Boys, and though I haven’t heard it for myself yet, Duran Duran, whose new release is being touted as their best work since Rio.

All that said, my advice would be to keep an eye on your favourite bands from the past. You never know just when they’ll surprise you with some shows and it could be their last, for real this time. You won’t want to hear about it too late and be left with regrets for years to come.