[Abby's Road] Reunited and it feels so weird

Reunions. When I was a kid they were pretty fantastic. It meant an extended family gathering at my great-Uncle Charles’ house. Grown-ups chattered and played poker. My sister Jenny and I, shy around those we saw but once a year, chased bunnies from their peaceful slumber under one giant pine tree to the next, gulped sugary soft drinks and gorged ourselves with mayonnaise-based salads, greasy potato chips (and anything else that was banished from our own kitchen cupboards) until we nearly burst. The day would be a doubly good success if we could work in a game of Lawn Darts. All rusted and sharpened projectiles aside, as time passes, “The Reunion” takes on different meanings and, most of the time, no fuzzy bunnies are invited.

With the blitzkrieg of social networking sites like Facefreak, it is easy to remove one’s self from the constructs of high school reunions and personally arrange a group of folks from both coasts – people who haven’t been in the same room at the same time (with or without an algebra book) for nearly two decades – for a hilarious, alcohol-soaked evening of epic proportions. A small group of ex-classmates and I did exactly that last summer and it was truly, truly fun time central. Introduce name tags, school colors, monikers from 1991 and a real plan at a country club? That spells trouble.

Will I go to my 20th high school reunion? Probably. Will it be a love/hate relationship? Oh yes, my friends…yes indeedy. All of the navel-gazing and seemingly contradictory questions most Generation Xers (yeah, I said it) avoid at all costs will come to the surface when in the room with their contemporaries: Am I as successful as I should be? Do I look old? Am I still hip? Do I look desperate? Are my children smart enough? Why did I have children? Why don’t I have children? Am I trying too hard? Should I have applied a self-tanner? And so it goes.  More about this in a year or so…onward and upward to musical items – you didn’t think I’d forget now, did you?

SwervedriverHappy MondaysPixies. One of these is not like the others. If you guessed Pixies, you receive a fat, gold star. They are but one of a handful bands I’ve seen in the last 10 years who, if not billed specifically as a “Reunion Tour,” were clearly reuniting on stage, older and sometimes not-the-wiser. Outside in the sun, the Pixies didn’t miss a beat. Some might say my still-lingering Kim Deal girl-crush from back in the day stunted my hearing and blurred my vision. But no – they killed it that day, crush or no crush. Of course they’re weightier and more wrinkled (here here!), but energy and sound was spot on. Whenever I describe my most recent Pixies experience, neither girth nor complexion of any one member is mentioned. Not necessary. It is always about how great they sounded. I can’t say the same for the Happy Mondays.

I know, I know. So Shaun Ryder was never the most attractive of the lot, but he was, at the least, entertaining. You know the fine line between amusement and embarrassment? He crossed it. Big time. I mean a teleprompter? C’mon. Moreover, although he’s sporadically reunited with HM, it’s always interesting to revisit what Bez has gotten his maraca-swinging self into over the last decade. And Swervedriver? I walked out of the venue and into the bar next door for conversation with a friend after fifteen minutes of them back in 2008 – they were that unremarkable. Reunions are a crapshoot. What one must keep in mind is that there’s always a chance of a Pixies-like diamond in the nonsensical musical reunion coal bin. It’s a 45 to 60 dollar risk one has to take (taxes and handling charges not included).

Now, after all of my thought provoking ramblings, it is with much trepidation I mention that recently my besty and my sister (two people who share my feelings about ye ol’ reunion tours) and myself ALL purchased tickets to a dandy of a summer reunion happening this summer in a dozen or so cities. I couldn’t resist. For the moment I’m going to call it research. Some of you already know I am huge supporter of bands making a buck – new and old. Television adverts? Go on. Album reissues with bonus tracks? I hear you. A picture disc pressing, you say? Bring it. The reunion tour is a slippery slope, however. Given my aforementioned experiences, I’ve found they can leave an audience member (hi!) feeling old, dirty and used. It can even indelibly scar the image one has had for years and years of a particular performer – for keeps. It’s simple: seeing once-bright faced musicians grayer than we remember them reminds us that we, too, are older, chunkier and less spry than we once were.  I’m realistic, but I quite fancy my memories. I like the thin Morrissey with gladiolas springing from his back pocket. I prefer a porcelain-faced John Squire. I hope to high heaven The Roses and The Smiths hold on tight to their promises about never reuniting, if to only quell my selfish fear of being totally disappointed. If they do, will I go to the shows, you ask? Travel over mountains and sea even?  Damn straight. I’d have a ticket to Heathrow faster than you could say ‘kinky afro.’ It’d be worth the risk. Besides, one never knows. There might be bunnies.

Happy weekend.

[Abby’s Road is a Knox Road feature published every other Friday.]

2 comments to [Abby’s Road] Reunited and it feels so weird

  • jenny

    Sunny Day Real Estate: well worth the $40. they still have it.
    ALL: again, worth every penny to fly across the country for this event.
    Polvo: amazing!
    Superchunk: there are no words…like a dream!
    i say YES to the “old folks” wanting to re-live the past…purchased for this summer, Pavement (NY & PHL) and Cap’n Jazz.
    let there be reunions! (hold the mayo and greasy chips)

  • Abby, I gotta say, you are a fantastic writer. Over these past two days I caught up with all of your posts and I am blown away by how well written they are. I can’t get enough.

    I hope to see more posts from you, they are magical!