Getting the Band Back Together

Bowie, Bush, Blondie: three words that sets any muso into a sweat. You were there when ‘The Next Day’ shocked us last year. You were there when Kate Bush’s twenty two residency at the Hammersmith sold out within thirty minutes  And you snubbed Blondie’s ‘Maria’. As much as I am clearly satisfied with Britain’s Got Talent and X Factor pumping the charts with new ‘talent’, it seems that the key to surviving within the music industry is leaving it. Bit of an oxymoron but much like films in the cinema, older performers are releasing their sequels.

Everything starts with Bowie. Not to say he was the first person to make a comeback, who can forget Atomic Kitten’s return to glory? Early 2013 saw the seminal glamrock star turn black and white with ‘The Next Day’: an album no-one expected. Then again, no-one expected him to fire his band on stage in 1973 either. It’s not ‘Aladdin’s Sane’ or ‘The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust’ but Bowie still has his voice and he still has his style. Take the second single, ‘The Stars (Are Out Tonight)’, guitar dominated, celestial lyrics and an androgynous video with Tilda Swinton; Dave has clearly still got it. Despite this and the critical acclaim, the recurring problem with returning musicians raises its head: live shows. Although ‘The Next Day’ won’t be printed on tour tickets, let’s take into consideration David’s work with Arcade Fire. I would not be surprised if a certain Mr Stardust sung some backing vocals at a certain festival in June.

Bowie may have been secretive with ‘The Next Day’ but the prize for most allusive musician has to be awarded to Kate Bush who sent us all screaming with news of live shows. This is pretty groundbreaking if you consider her last live show was thirty five years ago. And unlike Bowie, she has not produced a recent album to coincide with the ‘Before the Dawn’ residency. Second hand tickets for the show are reaching four digit figures and everyone is running up those hills to find out what the songstress could conjure up. Will there be magicians? Will there be dancing? Whatever the situation, anyone attending will know how Charlie felt when he won a golden ticket to the Chocolate Factory.

Anyway, with returning musicians, not everyone can be as quiet. The Rolling Stones’ phenomenal performance at Glastonbury last year demonstrated that you do not need to be wearing a snapback or stage schooled to be relevant. They have now passed the torch onto Blondie who are playing there this year. Plus, Blur are still going and Oasis may be back soon to give them some competition. God only knows what Atomic Kitten are up to.

MJ Hall