Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Reunion Fever

Plenty of news these days on several major band reunions in the works for 2007. It seems that reunion fever is spreading. The question is what might be motivating these acts. Most reunions seem to be perfectly timed for a money-grubbing summer tour. Is that all we can expect here, and will any of it be any fun? Here’s my take:

The Police – Scheduled for an inaugural performance at the upcoming Grammy Awards, rumor is Sting, Stewart and Andy are planning a tour. A few years ago, I remember watching the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremonies, where the Police temporarily regrouped for a few songs. I remember being truly impressed with their sharp playing and, dare I say it, synchronicity. Let’s face it; these guys are accomplished musicians and great songwriters. Stewart Copeland is simply one of the best living drummers. Just listen to the records. As long as Sting’s ego is kept in check, this reunion has promise.

Van Halen – We’ve all waited and waited for the inevitable reconciliation of Eddie and Diamond Dave. Lots of questions here, foremost being whether or not Dave still has the chops. I wonder if he’s got the stamina, judging from recent pictures. And at the Rock and Roll HOF ceremony, who’s going to play bass? You may have heard that Eddie fired founding bassist Michael Anthony and replaced him with his own 15-year old son Wolfgang. This should be interesting. The tour has the potential of being a real blast, or a quick and messy implosion.

Genesis – When I heard that Genesis was reuniting, I was excited, until I heard that Peter Gabriel was not taking part. Seriously, what else can he be doing? We haven’t really heard from him in any meaningful way since the So album, and that was 1986. It’s only the basic trio of Collins, Rutherford and Banks, and while they are formidable, if this tour features only the pop-Genesis version of Abacab and Invisible Touch, count me out. A full blown original line-up, playing their prog-rock classics is much more interesting to me, but alas, much less marketable. I think it would be fascinating to see Gabriel play with these guys again, and lend his style to the good post-Gabriel material before they wandered down Collin’s syrupy pop path.

Also:

REM - Expected to regroup with original drummer Bill Berry only for the RRHOF ceremony. Stipe and company have been unable to coax Berry out of retirement (he’s a raspberry farmer now, I think) for anything more. REM was never a great live band in my opinion, but I’d pay to see the full band play again.

Smashing Pumpkins: Billy Corgan and Jimmy Chamberlain only, with a band that reportedly can do justice to the old material. Corgan is finding life as a solo artist pretty difficult, and his ego can’t bear the apathy. Frankly, I couldn’t care less.

The Stooges – Working on their first studio album since 1973, this reunion might be the only one that’s not financially motivated. Although they’ve played a few festivals and one-off events in the last few years, a tour this year may be in the works. The youngsters won’t believe how these guys can rock. The new album is being produced by Steve Albini and Jack White. Call this one a renaissance, not a reunion.

Still waiting for word on the Pink Floyd reunion. I’m crossing my fingers.

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