Go Back to Those Gold Soundz?
And eventually I will get excited. I mean, my favorite band, who I stalked up and down the East Coast as an 18-year-old, is getting back together! I will get to hear "Summer Babe" again! (And hopefully "Grave Architecture" and "Texas Never Whispers" and ... well I've got a whole year to come up with the perfect set list.) But part of the excitement level depends on what kind of reunion it will be. Not all are created equal. Which category will Pavement fall into?
1) The One-Off
This is the most pure reunion -- you do it once (or maybe twice), completely give into the nostalgia for a couple hours, play all the songs that everybody wants to hear, and then you walk away. A couple of revered local bands -- Unrest and the Dismemberment Plan -- pulled this off perfectly in recent years. But it's not limited to cult-favorite indie bands. Led Zeppelin did it this way a couple years ago. All integrity is kept intact and if the show is good -- and the diehards in attendance will almost certainly see and hear it that way -- the legacy may even be improved. And it makes that one show feel extra special.
(More after the jump.)
2) The Cash Grab
The Pixies continue to be the best example of this. Band gets back together, tours the world playing all the old hits and doesn't add anything new to the mix. The Pixies are taking to the next level by doing the whole play-an-entire-album thing after doing an initial reunion tour. Arguments in favor of this are obvious -- the whole point is to hear the old hits.
Fair enough, and that works for certain bands. Nobody who went to Virgin Festival a few years ago to see the Police wanted to hear them play anything new. It was bad enough that they didn't play every song exactly as it sounded on album. This is the most common type of reunion but it's also the one most likely to leave you with an empty feeling after the fact, particularly if the band "meant" something to you. I wasn't there, but I have "Live MCMXCIII" and let me tell you, it sounds pretty depressing to hear the Velvet Underground like that. Lou Reed sounds like he'd rather be anywhere but there and I fear something similar might happen with Malkmus if Pavement were to go this route. Especially since he was approaching that point during the last Pavement tour.
If you're Van Halen, go for it. But if you're the Sex Pistols, it'll just end badly.
3) The Restart
Mission of Burma is one of the best examples of this kind of reunion. It's not just one tour, but a full-time re-commitment to the band, with new albums and all that. Dinosaur Jr. started with #2 but morphed into #3 and it worked out well, but only because both of the band's recent albums can measure up to, if not equal, the band's best efforts from the '80s. This is an extremely difficult feat to pull off and works best when the band's original existence was brief.
4) The Corgan
This is when you tell everyone it's a reunion but really it's just one egomaniac reviving a brand. The only brand that ever proved to be profitable.
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