The Boys Are Back on the Concert Tour Scene

[sound of cash register bell ringing and change being handled]

JACKI LYDEN, Host: And we'll look at who is touring this summer. [music] You could call it `Jurassic Rock,' `Fossil Rock,' `Rock of Ages,' but we wouldn't want to be snide. Everyone's got to make a living. Even Pink Floyd is on the road again, and the Eagles got back together just to tour. It's a heavy, heavy summer tour season, featuring rock that's been around so long, it's practically become intergenerational. Just in case you missed the 70s, Elton John is touring with Billy Joel; Traffic has reunited for a tour; and by August, the Rolling Stones will be back. Don't those guys ever get tired? Don't we ever get tired of going to see them? Anthony DeCurtis, our rock critic, says `no way.'

ANTHONY DeCURTIS, Music Critic: One interesting thing that's happened in popular culture, you know, recently is that everything has kind of gotten flattened in a certain way. There used to be a more linear feel where you- you'd say- you know, an artist would come, their generation would admire them, and then the next generation would come up and bring its own idols to the fore; whereas now, nothing goes away. So, even as you have a certain group of, say, twenty-something people who have drawn a line in the sand with things like rap and grunge and really kind of taken it to their elders, there's also groups of younger people who were, you know, perfectly content to go see the Rolling Stones or go see the Eagles, certainly to go see Pink Floyd and, you know, try to connect with something. So, you know, it's an interesting time in terms of popular music and we're seeing that play out on the concert schedule this summer.

[`Take It Easy' music by the Eagles]

LYDEN: Is there not a certain - I hate being crass, but is there not a certain commercial incentive for some of this? I mean, what do think is the main reason for the Eagles reunion?

DeCURTIS: Well, certainly, the commercial element is extremely important. You know, in recent years there's been a resurgence of interest in the Eagles, I think, generated largely by the country scene. I mean, we had a very successful record last year called Common Threads, The Songs of The Eagles, you know, in which artists like Travis Tritt and Trisha Yearwood did versions of Eagles songs, and their scene is a kind of model for this new kinds of rock country fusion that' s happening. And I think they've taken that contemporary interest and just taken it straight it to the bank. I mean, you're now talking about the Eagles doing stadium shows with, you know, top tickets prices close to $120. And I don't think anybody could ever have foreseen this.

LYDEN: Do you think that if someone goes to an Eagles concert or a Pink Floyd concert - asking you critically now - are they going to hear really good music?

DeCURTIS: Well, from a critical standpoint I think certainly the Eagles' music has a kind of vitality right now. There's something that does seem very contemporary about hearing those songs. With Pink Floyd I think the interest is not primarily musical. I mean, I think Pink Floyd has a kind of accessible seriousness or something. I mean, I think with their concerns about alienation and problems that, you know, adolescents are always going to respond to.

And plus you also have the very, I think, visceral appeal of a tremendous stage show. Pink Floyd has made a reputation for these just spectacular stage shows, and people- you know, there's an old showbiz formula, really, at work here as much as anything else, which is that you give the people what they want and they'll come back. For all the kind of sociological and psycho-cultural reasons we could come up with why Pink Floyd is still popular, it has as much to do with that floating pig that, you know, flies over the stadium as anything else.

LYDEN: Bring your grandchildren!

DeCURTIS: Exactly!

[music by Pink Floyd]

DeCURTIS: There's, I think, something about this. I mean, the Stones have a record coming out next month which I've actually heard and which is pretty strong. The Eagles have some new songs that they' re doing in their shows. Pink Floyd has a new record out. I think the idea that these bands are still making music is part of the reason why they're able to get over on the road. As much nostalgia as is involved in singing them, there's a sense in which, well, at least, you know, they're still creating. I mean, one of the interesting things that facing the music industry right now, and that we're seeing playing out, you know, in the concern scene is how are these bands- I mean, what is Mick Jagger gonna look like at 50 doing Mick Jagger in front of 80,000 people? Is he supposed to retire? Is he supposed to continue?

LYDEN: So, are you personally pretty curious about Mick Jagger and what he's going to look like, how he's going to pull it off?

DeCURTIS: Actually, yes. I mean, for all that I'm supposed to have a kind of hip disdain for it, the Stones were always my favorite band when I was a kid. And, you know, I'll certainly be there.

LYDEN: OK, thanks, Anthony, very, very much.

DeCURTIS: Oh, you're very welcome.

LYDEN: Anthony DeCurtis is an editor for Rolling Stone magazine.

[`Start Me Up' music by The Rolling Stones]

[The preceding text has been professionally transcribed. However, in order to meet rigid distribution and transmission deadlines, it has not been proofread against audiotape and cannot, for that reason, be guaranteed as to the accuracy of speakers' words or spelling.]

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