Thursday, March 01, 2007

Reunion Roundup

2007 is shaping up to be the year of reunions. Or at least reunions I am actually interested in following - either because they are going to rock, or for the same reasons people like to watch air crashes and NASCAR spin outs. So without further ado, let's take a look at the many announced reunions of 2007:

The Police. A money grab? You bet. They are going to sock away tons of money. All the hooplah around this one is a constant reminder that there was no bigger band in the early 80s. Am I wrong? U2 is the only other band this big that comes to mind in the 80s but that was after Sting had said farewell and left the others in the dust. Maybe there were others. I dunno. Anyway, reunion tour stadium shows are selling out in seconds - blah blah blah. I got two Seattle show tickets for June 6 but had to buy them separately because Ticketmaster would not let me buy more than one at a time - at ANY PRICE LEVEL. That probably says more about TicketHitler than The Police, but nevertheless, they are selling out any venue they book. And per my earlier post, based on their Grammy performance, this tour is going to kick ass. Just the three Police men - no Sting solo tunes - no back up singers - hopefully no little round trampolines for Sting to leap on (remember the Synchronicity tour?). They will for sure re-work the classics and go outside the box with it. This tour is just a no miss because they all seem to be really sincerely into it - and it will probably never happen again. Enough said - 10 out of 10.

Van Halen. Money grab? Oh my God yes. But beyond that, this one is sort of sad to me. It could be SO great. I thought the choice of Eddie's son as new bass player was bad but at least typically weird for old Ed and I guess it made some kind of sense, consistency wise - three Van Halens - wow! But Eddie said Michael Anthony was out because he was playing with Hagar and "You can't be in two bands." Really? Huh. OK. But once I saw the photo of the 'new' Van Halen with Wolfie and Dave, I actually got a boner to see this show. A kid in the band (and Eddie's kid at that) might inject something really current and interesting into the mix. But then as soon as I got interested - bing - it's postponed indefinitely due to "contract issues." A friend who has a buddy in the Roth circle says it's due to Ed's health. If so, that is too bad. The guy has gone through a divorce, hip replacement, substance abuse and tongue cancer in the last ten years - that's a big load to deal with. If he's not fit to tour, OK - good idea to cancel. His health comes before my amusement. But if Ed's health is together, I am hoping this one happens after all. Probably more for the same reasons I wanted to see Britney's shaved head and new tattoo than the possibility of this being any good. I want to go to the circus and watch some clowns crash the little cars. 6 out of 10.

Black Sabbath with Dio. Called "Heaven and Hell" so no one gets confused. Money grab? I don't know. It looks to me like they all looked at each other and said "It's time." And then Ozzy freaked out and promised a new album of Oz-led Sabbath in 2008. Ha ha ha. That's worth it right there to see what THAT would sound like. The Dio led Sabbath has always been my favorite. They put out the most demonic heavy shit EVER with Dio. No dross. Just pure devil metal. I used to tune my guitar down a half step and play along to LiveEvil after dinner every night for a few months in high school. Beautiful. Like the Police reunion, they are talking about only Dio-era stuff (no Ozzy era songs or Dio solo, etc), so that would also keep it pure for me. The only trouble is they recorded three new songs for the upcoming Black Sabbath: The Dio Years CD. I heard one of the songs and it was a bit of a self parody. Called "The Devil Cried," it was pretty heavy and I tried to like it a lot but the lyrics were a little hackneyed. Dio even had a line where he says "FIRE" the way only Dio can say it - if you know Dio you know what I am talking about. This classic utterance either totally ruins it or redeems it, depending on my mood! Anyway, I will go see this show for sure. Not looking for a train wreck. Hoping it will be as true spirited as the Police reunion but worried it will be a bunch of metal elves way the hell past their prime. 8 out of 10.

Genesis. Money grab? Who gives a shit? My interest in this plummeted when I heard it would not include Steve Hackett or Peter Gabriel. My desire to see this will be directly proportionate to what songs they decide to play. Firth of Fifth, Carpet Crawlers, Dodo, Abacab and Supper's Ready? I may go. Invisible Touch, I Can't Dance, Jesus He Knows Me? FUCK no. These are talented mofos but they have toyed with their legacy so many times even THEY are probably struggling with what they ought to play. I saw them in the 80s and I have to say, from the hardcore proggers to the teeny boppers, no one was satisfied with their set list. It's was all over the place. They need to pick an era and stick with it. Maybe what will happen is they will do this stupid tour and THEN Gabriel and Hackett will join next year. I would go and see that for sure. And by the way, when did Peter Gabriel start looking like a baked Col. Sanders? 4 out of 10.

Asia. Oh man, I saved this one for last. I mean, look at this photo. It's like they hit the Glamour Shots in the mall. Money grab? Please - they would be lucky to play for free fish and chips and veggie burgers. So at least you know they are doing this because they WANT to. I have to say - I love the first Asia album. I love Steve Howe and Carl Palmer and their respective bands, Yes and Emerson, Lake and Palmer. I have seen Howe on his own and with Yes a number of times and he is always a pro - always makes me want to cut my own hands off and sell all of my guitars. And I saw the Carl Palmer Band last year in the 650 seat Aladdin Theater and was so blown away. He has a bass player and guitar player who were probably born after ELP had already broken up for the first time, and they did incredibly incendiary ELP instrumentals all night - with no keyboards. Again, I considered chopping off my hands. But LOOK AT THE PHOTO. I have seen some clips of the reunion on YouTube and have read things and it seems like everything is going fine but this one just scares me. I want to like it so bad but I am just afraid I will see this and will vomit. I mean, there is NO question at least half of this band is so far past its prime. Maybe what I do is go see it, stand in the back and get really really drunk so I can pretend it's 1984 and the album just came out. A friend who books artists told me Asia will be coming to the Northwest this summer. Will I go? Yes, but with great fear.

OK, well, I know there are other reunions (Rage Against The Machine being one of the more interesting ones I am leaving out) but barring Pink Floyd touring with Waters, these five are my contenders for 2007. Love 'em or leave 'em.


VoxMoose said...

Nice overview, Paul!

While the boy can play guitar, Eddie Van Halen has some odd ideas about health. On Howard Stern he apparently claimed that his trademark cigarette (dangling from mouth at all times for 20 years) had nothing to do with his tongue cancer, but somehow holding a metallic pick in his mouth (in the presence of amps) did. He also claims to have been cured through some "illegal" method he wouldn't disclose. I'm no doctor, and perhaps the story's a myth -- or perhaps there's some truth in there -- but it sounds like he may be in a bit of denial here...

Regarding Asia: I would like to think I was above "the image" thang and that the music was most important. Nevertheless, I'm worried I might break out in uncontrollable open weeping if I went to see them live circa 2007. I fear I would experience profound, inner sorrow leaking from every fiber of my body -- not unlike how I felt while watching the 1983 video Asia in Asia...

Perhaps Asia is one where the memories are best left as such. It isn't clear they ever had a good image or fashion style. Again, remember Asia in Asia (live). Palmer, a BRILLIANT drummer by every measure: yet dashing about in freaky headband and "workout shorts" (1983). I can't imagine how they would do now in such an "arena rock" format. Asia in Asia was fine musically (if I recall) but it was a humble reminder to me that image does play SOME roll in this wacky game of rock and roll...

I agree with your assessment of Sabbath. However, I would probably pay money just to hear Dio say only the word "FIRE" (for my answering machine perhaps? Ronnie, you listening?). Hearing it in a brand new Sabbath song...cliche? Yes. Obligatory? Absolutely.

Also, if you want to hear a real mind-altering cover version of Holy Diver, you MUST check out Pat Boone's album "No more Mr. Nice Guy: In a Metal Mood." I'm not kidding here. Look for it on iTunes.

Isorski said...

Wow - I will check that out. There is also a CD out there called "Rock Swings" by Paul Anka, where he does big band/swing versions of "Jump" "Eye of the Tiger" and - yes, of course, "Black Hole Sun." It actually works. Especially "Jump." Claaaaa-sic!

Ned said...

From Billboard today..

The trio, comprised of Phil Collins, Mike Rutherford and Tony Banks, acknowledged they had discussions a couple of years ago with former members Peter Gabriel and Steve Hackett about touring behind a complete performance of the 1974 album "The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway."

But after Gabriel said he couldn't commit due to obligations with a still-unfinished album, Collins, Rutherford and Banks decided to go out alone for the first time since 1992. "This is a separate thing," Collins said. "But 'Lamb' may still happen in a few years time."