Comeback tours: Jumping on the Bandwagon?

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Whether you prefer insufferable cheesiness or insufferable moodiness, you’re in for a treat with the reunions and recently announced comebacks of both Steps and The Stone Roses. Two more average bands trying to crawl their way back into the hearts and (tone deaf) ears of the nation in order to make a quick quid. We’re all aware of the current economic climate, and no doubt previously famous people are suffering too, after all, it must be awful to live in a grand house, drive an expensive car and shop at Waitrose, not to mention those costly divorces we’re always hearing about. But why should the economically suffering public have to come to the rescue of these forgotten has-beens? The music industry are placing an increasing amount of pressure on fans and their wallets, particularly for genuine fans who just can’t afford £55 for a gig ticket (not including any additional booking and administration fees) but risk the chance of never being able to see their idols again. Undoubtedly, there are people willing to foolishly pay these prices, even if it means having to forgo common necessities or sink deeper into debt.

It’s no secret that both bands experienced difficult and anything but amicable splits. Steps members Ian “H” Watkins and Claire Richards allegedly wrote a letter to their fellow band members a mere few hours before a scheduled show, explaining their reasons for wanting to quit the band and soon after creating their own (rather unsuccessful) duo, whilst The Stone Roses openly exclaimed, “Having spent the last 10 years in the filthiest business in the universe, it’s a pleasure to announce the end of the Stone Roses”, with band member John Squire’s famously branding his former best friend and co-band member “tuneless” and “a paranoid mess”. So after years of being away from the music industry and out of the limelight, what could possibly attract them back into this alleged filthy business and seemingly forget about their previous bitter quarrels?

Money, of course. But this is more than a case of fools gold. Those who have managed to buy The Stone Roses tickets this morning for their upcoming Manchester gigs next June may not be real fans. The eBay and ticket touting “industries” have created a generation of opportunists who secure income and profit based on the desperation of those unable to spend hours on a ticket hotline or constantly refreshing their internet browsers in hope of purchasing entry to their idols’ tours. Not only do the ridiculously high ticket prices benefit and nourish the bank accounts of the members of Steps and The Stone Roses, but they also help immoral criminals flourish by re-selling tickets for a much higher amount. But how can we solve these existing problems? The music industry is an entertainment industry which means that no matter how awful the singer or band are, they can still succeed and earn more money than the majority of the general public could earn in a lifetime slaving away at their 9 to 5’s. It’s no secret that many people disagree with the amount of money that entertainers earn, footballers, singers, and actors alike, but when the general public can justify spending money on entertainment and value, how can change ever be promoted?

One thing’s for sure, this is anything but value for money. Neither band have reached anywhere near the amount of success and fame as other British bands, The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, Led Zeppelin and Pink Floyd (to name a few) have, yet we’re expected to pay just as much, if not more, to witness their questionable musical talents. Like many other average British indie bands, The Stone Roses are too cocky for their own good with no actual reason to be so. Similarly, Steps may have appealed to a mass-market in the 1990s, but the cheesy pop days of easy-to-learn dance routines and brightly coloured matching costumes are over, and any success with their reunion will surely be short-lived as the public are reminded of just how annoying and repetitive songs like “Tragedy” and “5,6,7,8” are. Neither band or reunion tour will be getting any money out of my pockets or bank account, particularly when a mere two years ago, Ian Brown told NME magazine he would only reunite with his band if he was reduced to “begging on the streets”, claiming “we didn’t [become a band] because we wanted to be millionaires”. Clearly we can’t trust a word the money-grabbing man says.

Maybe both bands are just Better Best Forgotten.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Martin-English/613173842 Martin English

    Having read your past articles I expected an incredibly subjective view on this, but this is simply sweeping statements with very little substance to back it up. Are you trying to say that desirable, potentially once-in-a-lifetime experiences should never be expensive so every man and his dog can afford to go? It is quite expensive to go see The Stone Roses, yes. If people can’t afford it, don’t go, it’s that simple.

    You may not like The Stone Roses, but you’ve made out they’re untalented, with nothing to back it up, i.e. no reasoning for your argument. Many music critics and public alike would disagree with you. The Stone Roses’ debut album regularly regarded as one of the best debut albums ever. It’s perhaps not one of my all time favourite albums, but it is in my opinion an excellent album. If you’re going to call the nation ‘tone deaf’ you should probably explain your rash statement. I suspect the reason you don’t, is because you can’t.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000756074325 Francesca Elizabeth Pearson

    I think the fans speak for themselves… 
    “I struggled to get a ticket for their last tour 1996 I think.I sold my Super Nintendo and games to raise the £100 for one.I’ve regretted it ever since. What a diabolically bad gig.I wasn’t sure whether to cry or punch Ian Brown.”

    Is that enough substance to back up my argument? The fact that even their fans don’t like them?

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Martin-English/613173842 Martin English

      No, it isn’t. It was that person’s choice for paying to see it. If you pay a lot of money to see a Premier League game and it doesn’t live up to expectation should you demand your money back? No, just because you pay a lot of money it doesn’t guarantee good value for money. The 1996 gig at Reading had gone down as a terrible gig, I’m not defending The Stone Roses as a live act as I’ve never seen them. I’m a Hull City fan, and I’ve been to games where I’ve said to people “that was a terrible game, awful performance from City”, does that mean I ‘don’t like them’? No, of course it doesn’t, it was just a bad performance. To say ‘even their fans don’t like them’ is quite a ridiculous and childish comment to make.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000756074325 Francesca Elizabeth Pearson

    After reading a multitude of fan commentary last night, it seems that many of them agree, despite liking The Stone Roses, that they let down their audiences, particularly when playing large capacity gigs. If people already realise this and still go ahead and buy tickets to see them, then this makes them foolish, no matter how much they like the band. 

    This article is all about MY opinion, and all you’ve tried to do is argue yours. I don’t like them, you do, it’s inevitable that we’re going to argue about whether they’re a talented band or not. You said, ” it is in my opinion an excellent album” and that’s what it’s all about… opinion. If you don’t like mine then that’s fine, but you have nothing to back your opinion up with either, apart from YOUR OPINION. Whether they’ve sold loads of albums or tickets or not, so have other bands and acts like Cher Lloyd, Peter Andre and Katie Price, and even Bob the Builder. Being popular doesn’t mean you’re talented or that you can sing in tune, obviously.

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Martin-English/613173842 Martin English

      The very big difference between those acts you’ve listed and The Stone Roses is the Roses have wide critical acclaim from musicians and music critics, who dedicate their life to critiquing music and valuing it in terms of artistic credit. Of course, that is only their opinion, and it doesn’t mean to say they’re right, it’s all just opinions. I don’t claim to be giving out facts, of course it is my opinion, but your article reads as though you are preaching the truth and anybody else’s opinion is blown out of the water. It’s a pretty aggressive article and not particularly constructive, in my opinion.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000756074325 Francesca Elizabeth Pearson

    If you read this article as me being aggressive and attempting to preach the truth (which it isn’t and doesn’t as I’ve openly admitted it’s my opinion and therefore not fact) then you have clearly read it with preconceived ideas and misunderstood the overall tone of my opinion, thoughts and beliefs. Again though, as I previously stated, that is your opinion, and we differ in said opinion. We don’t agree, so let’s just leave it at that.

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Martin-English/613173842 Martin English

      Read through your article again. You say things like ‘of course’, ‘undoubtedly’ ‘one thing’s for sure’, as though your writing is gospel. I haven’t ‘misunderstood’ the tone of your opinion, nor would I be at all annoyed with this article for the views you express, but it was preachy and riled me quite a bit. Having said all this, I do agree with you on ticket touts, so at least we can agree on something :)

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000756074325 Francesca Elizabeth Pearson

    To me, phrases ‘of course’, ‘undoubtedly’ and ‘one thing’s for sure’ show confidence, not that I’m preaching. Also you have completely taken these phrases out of context. I don’t say “undoubtedly The Stone Roses are the worst band on the planet” or anything along those lines, I say these phrases to back up my opinion/claim that money is at the heart of these reunions and not the bands actually wanting to reunite because they had an overwhelming urge to or anything like that. Please stop trying to cause an argument. I appreciate your opinion, you obviously don’t appreciate mine and are somewhat going out of your way to try and undermine my writing and be overly derogatory towards me and claiming I perceive myself as the font of all truth and knowledge… I’ve never claimed this is anything more than my own opinion and I’ve certainly never cited myself as a gospel. Thank you for all of your comments but I won’t be replying again.

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Martin-English/613173842 Martin English

      I’m not trying to cite an argument, I’m just pointing out that in your writing you represent opinion as matter of fact. Calling the UK public ‘tone deaf’ isn’t exactly constructive and you claim these bands are ‘forgotten has-beens’, which is just ludicrous… I don’t think ‘forgotten has-beens’ would put on a set on concerts, for them become some of the fastest selling concerts of all time, would they? You seem not to realise how this article reads from the viewpoint of anybody with a different opinion to your own (which I would put a lot of money on being a large percentage of people who read this).

    • Ben Nicholson

      It reads to me like you’re irritated that two bands that you don’t like have returned. You suggest that comeback tours are a recent trend, and these acts are jumping on the bandwagon, but comeback tours aren’t a modern phenomena. Loads of acts have had very successful reunions, and it’s certainly not a modern trend.

      Bands include Blur, Cream, The Police, Led Zep, Elvis Presley, The Pixies, Simon & Garfunkel, The Who, Pink Floyd… the list goes on, all have staged comeback tours over the past thirty years. Recently Take That are probably the most successful example. I’m sure that for some the reason is money, Michael Jackson’s ill-fated comeback tour was almost certainly due to the fact that he was in incredible amounts of debt. But for others perhaps it’s a fan service, maybe they’re bored and miss the thrill of a live show, or in the cases of The Stone Roses, or Simon and Garfunkel, perhaps band members have matured and put aside past arguments. Decades have past, opinions change, once rebellious young men are now in their forties and fifties.

      Also, for the record, The Stone Roses have had a serious impact on music, their debut has earned a great deal of critical praise. Their style influenced a decade of artists over the 90s, and their debut has been awarded “Greatest Album Ever” by NME in 2000, and many more best British album awards. Their reunion shows in Manchester sold out in something like 20 minutes, that shows that their fans are in no way apprehensive of their live shows as you stated somewhere else in these comments. As for Steps, they’re a fun cheesy little pop group, let them have their second act.

  • Matthew Franklin

    I have just read this article and all the comments, and felt
    compelled to get involved. I agree you calling a large fan base “tone
    deaf” is too opinionated, but the rest of the article is very good and
    agreeable. Obviously stone roses fans will not agree with the idea that the
    band is getting back together because they need the money, and would rather
    prefer the idea that they have got together because of the love of the music; I
    will not tread on the dreams of those fans that have been wishing for this comeback
    tour, however given the circumstances of the break-up I would think the reasons
    for getting back together should be quite obvious to even a hardcore fan. The
    football comparison given in a previous comment is not applicable as a
    discussion point here; the performance of a team against another team is
    totally different to a band playing a large orchestrated gig as the uncertainty
    variables are minimised in order to allow for a band to perform their best. If
    the drummer breaks an arm, or someone is sick then fair enough; if a team plays
    bad you blame the manager (this often confuses me at time, but that is a
    different area for discussion), if a band plays bad you blame the band! I am
    not always sure why bands get back together, maybe after time apart they feel
    like getting back together like ‘the good-old days’, perhaps it is monetary,
    perhaps retirement is just too boring compared to being on a large stage; the
    real test is when they are on stage. If the band come together, play an amazing
    gig, and the fans are satisfied then who are we to judge the reasons for the
    comeback tour; if they do not provide value for money and leave the fans
    feeling disappointed, then perhaps old bands should be like memories; enjoyed in
    our own mind as the perfection they once were.

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Martin-English/613173842 Martin English

      I don’t believe your point regarding football and bands to be true; many variables effect a band’s live sound, including wind at big outdoor venues, sound capabilities of the venue and the band themselves. I don’t disagree about the reasoning for The Stone Roses reuniting; I think it most probably is for the money, or at least it is probably a very key factor. I simply have an issue in the way this article tosses aside everything the band has ever done and implies that people who could possibly like them are idiots for doing so.

      • Matthew Franklin

        Originally replying to this I had starting writing about all the uncertainties that footballers need to deal with in respect to bands and gigs; after writing 32 lines of comparison of why bands have to deal with minimal uncertainties in relative comparison I decided to condense it to this: although wind is a valid environmental problem for sound quality that cannot be controlled, sound quality is a key aspect to any gig and should be a top priority for any band.  A good workman never blames his tools; many bands have played the same arenas before with good results, suggesting that as the only variable that has changed was the band (and their road crew), it must be the bands fault (providing you believe a good band should know they will need a good road crew). 
         
        This bit of discussion goes off point however as it should be the article that is discussed, not the fact that a previous example was irrelevant. No one can deny that the Stone Roses are a successful (depending how you measure success) band after selling as many tickets as they did in such a short amount of time. However, I can’t decide how many tickets were bought by true fans, touts, or those people who have heard the band’s name a couple of times and had the simple thought of “this could be the last time i could ever see them” even though if you asked them to name a song they would get stuck after ‘she bangs the drum’ and ‘I wanna be adored’. The writer obviously has strong opinions, it’s why i like reading her columns, and it’s what has provoked this discussion. I agree it seems too harsh to ignore their previous success which is a single successful debut album, a string of dismal band reorganisations, and a second album that if anyone can name (without using the internet) i would be amazed. I think most people can only name the first album because it is the name of the band.  I will not insult true fans; if you like a band, you like the band. However the main point here (which i believe is part of the authors point) is that bands who get back together for money sake, rather than the love of the music, are not bands that should be idolised, lining their money grabbing pockets with our hard earned cash (i feel the same about the current Guns ‘N Roses; also known as Axel Rose plus some others). Admire bands like Iron Maiden, the Who, Led Zeppelin, and other great British bands who have earned respect through experience, true success (including a back catalogue of hits and popularity worldwide) and good showman ship.

        • http://www.facebook.com/people/Martin-English/613173842 Martin English

          The Stone Roses were renowned for being a terrible live band before they split, and I actually think they will be pretty terrible as a live act for this reunion, so I’m not disagreeing with you on that point. I watched some YouTube videos of Ian Brown solo gigs where he did Stone Roses songs and they sounded terrible, just because his voice can’t handle those songs these days.

          The name of the second album is Second Coming, and I think more people would be able to name that than you might think, although it is definitely nowhere near as popular as their debut (and for good reason in my opinion). I think Guns ‘N’ Roses are slightly different to The Stone Roses (at least The Stone Roses have all their original members), Guns ‘N’ Roses (as you pointed out) is essentially just Axl Rose plus guests.

          If people want to pay the money for Stone Roses tickets then I have no problem with that and it’s their decision at the end of the day. If I could guarantee decent Ian Brown vocals then I would be getting tickets, but I must admit that I’m put off doing so because of the videos I’ve seen with his pretty awful voice.

          Back on the live performance variables point, I’ve been to Leeds Festival a few times and some bands’ performances on the main stage have been severely dampened by weather conditions, mostly the wind. This would be incredibly unfair to blame this on the band; wind blows the sound, resulting in a quite annoying shift in bass and volume, and there’s nothing the band can do in these situations, it’s just one of those unfortunate things. So although I take your point about the bands being the main variable of the sound, sometimes other factors come into account, which can sometimes outweigh the bands performance unfortunately.