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Comment: Bands shouldn't be criticised for reforming

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Last year, The Stone Roses announced their return to the world stage with a host of festival appearances, reigniting the well-worn debate about whether bands should reform.

For me, there is nothing wrong with the prospect of any band reforming. The fact that the host of big name comebacks in the last five years have been mostly met with praise from fans upon their return suggests bands can, and should, reform.

Festivals have been dominated in recent years by reforming bands – such as The Libertines, Blur and Blink-182 – and on the whole, fans have appreciated the chance to see their heroes perform live again. Artists such as these have gained huge followings after their respective breakups and as such their reformations have allowed legions of young people to see their favourite bands when they would otherwise have been confined to YouTube clips of yesteryear.

Nostalgia is a powerful sentiment and even if bands perhaps don’t perform as perfectly as they did ten or fifteen years ago, merely having them around again is a comfort for many.

There is always the risk of tarnishing one’s reputation and this fear has been prevalent in debates over big bands reforming – such as the Stone Roses. Some of their gigs (such as the legendary Blackpool show in 1989) have gone down in music folklore and there is certainly the possibility that this year’s gigs will not live up to expectation. 

This is not enough in itself to put off a reunion tour though. Bands that once commanded such adoration as The Stone Roses did so because of their talent, which hasn’t evaporated in the last twenty years. They may have lost the ‘buzz’ of being at their peak but that matters little to the thousands of fans who snapped up 150,000 tickets to the band’s comeback shows in Manchester in just 14 minutes.

Releasing new material is more dangerous and most reformed bands wisely tend to avoid doing so, depending on reliable classics instead. Take That, who have found commercial and critical success with new albums, seem to the exception rather than the rule regarding new material following reform.

Most bands return to allow their fans a chance to relive their glory days, or offer a glimpse to those who missed out first time round. The Stone Roses are looking to do the same thing, and who are we to say they shouldn’t?

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