Pavement Reunite!

I just spent one hundred dollars on two tickets to a concert that is happening exactly one year from today. That’s pretty crazy. I don’t know where I’ll be in a year, and I don’t think I’ve ever made plans that far in advance for anything. Except for maybe, I don’t know, graduation. If you told me last week that I would be purchasing tickets to a concert over a year away, I’d think you were nuts. There’s only a handful of bands I’d even consider doing that for and none of them are together anymore. The Replacements, Neutral Milk Hotel, Paveme…what? What’s that? Pavement is reuniting??!!!!! As my friend said to me as I was deciding if I should purchase the tickets, if I’m not in New York City, I’ll fly back.

On September 21st, 2010, Pavement will reunite at Central Park’s Summer Stage for the first time since their breakup in 1999. This means one thing. The official hipster pickup line for the next year is “So, did you get your Pavement tickets? I have two.” Suddenly, my life is no longer defined by the school calendar or January 1st. Instead, the days will be measured by their distance to the first time I get to see Pavement. I look to the future and wonder what new friends I’ll make and what new experiences I’ll have between now and Pavement. What celebrities will die? What new bands will I listen to?

I realize I’m approaching the tone of a Hipster Runoff post here, but I’m not ironic at all. Neither is anyone else. I’ve never seen such a positive thread of comments on BrooklynVegan before. It doesn’t even need to be said that Pavement is one of the most influential and important bands of the last twenty years. You simply can’t say “Pavement sucks, I don’t want to go to the show,” because they are just so good. It’s almost taken as fact. Their contemporaries, Guided By Voices, may be the only other band that has such a good feeling to their music. It’s great rock and roll simply because it’s great rock and roll. It’s become a trope of music criticism that every band is compared to Pavement. Mentioning them as an influence or a “sounds like” is now an amateur move because their sound was so pervasive.

Pavement are lucky they’re so beloved. If this were any other band, they wouldn’t get away with what they just pulled. As excited as I am for this show, it really is crazy that four shows a year from now at $50 a ticket sold out in minutes. After a few rumblings on the Internet, suddenly Pitchfork and BV announced the first Central Park show. Twenty minutes after that sold out, another show was added, and two more quickly after that. While it’s nice to give fans a chance to get tickets throughout the day, something seems mildly disquieting about the way the show was announced and the tickets were released. I suppose as consumers we should have realized this would happen, but it seems a little disingenuous not to announce your plans to your fans. We know that they’re probably going to go on tour and have other chances to see them, but what if they don’t. Best to buy the expensive tickets right now! All I can think is that someone in the band must really need some money right now. Dubious at best.

Plus, reunion shows are always difficult. The Pixies and Dinosaur Jr. have done it to great success, but I’m not sure that Pavement is the kind of band that can pull it off. Their entire appeal is based on an element of mystery that they possess. It’s never fun to watch aging rock stars put on a greatest hits show to earn extra money. Plus, Stephen Malkmus plays frequently with the Jicks, so it’s not as if we haven’t had ample chance to see a Pavement-like band in the past several years. Some parts of me think that it would be best not to sully a mythical reputation with a reunion.

But then again, no matter what, I would probably sell my kidneys for the chance to be in a sea of people, all shouting the words to “No Life Singed Her” along with the band that made me fall in love with indie music to begin with. It’s going to be a fun night. Hopefully a year’s worth of build-up won’t skew expectations. I’ll let you know next September.

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– Madalyn Baldanzi


One response to “Pavement Reunite!

  1. And how do you feel now that they’re adding tons of new shows prior to Central Park? I bought my tickets, thinking I was going to the first Pavement reunion show, but it seems not. Disingenuous, indeed.

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