In this three part series, I’m examining the bands that are on their way out, the bands that are in their prime, and the bands that are ready to take over the spotlight. Part One: Bands Near Retirement can be found here: http://rockandrollguru.blogspot.com/2009/11/changing-of-guards-part-one.html
Part Two: Bands In Their Prime
By rock and roll standards, Pearl Jam is a young band. They’ve only been together for 20 years, which seems like a lot, but when you compare them with bands like The Rolling Stones, The Who, or KISS, they are still in their adolescence. Pearl Jam is primed to be around for another 20 years or more. Pearl Jam will definitely be able to fill the shoes left behind by Bruce Springsteen & The E-Street Band. Their concerts are all near marathon length, they couldn’t care less about curfews, and they enjoy playing their asses off. All critical elements to take the crown for greatest live band around. Will they be better than the E-Street Band? That’s hard to say? But know this. They can keep up with them, and they will be one of the last bands standing and still rocking 20 years from now. Of this I’m sure.
Fully reunited with Bruce Dickinson back at the helm and 3 guitarists in tow, Iron Maiden have been re-conquering the world for the last 8 years. They show no signs of slowing down and with their pyrotechnics, theatrical antics, and travelling mascot (Eddie), they will take the spotlight from KISS as the loudest, most explosive live act left. Maiden is an incredible vision live, with a deep catalog of hits, and new material released every few years. They are poised to go for another 15 – 20 years, which would only put Bruce Dickinson in his mid 60s, where the Stones are currently at today. Iron Maiden can bring the heat, and with Steve Harris continuing to write amazing songs with intense, deep, thought provoking lyrics, there’s no reason to think that they would be hanging up their touring shoes anytime soon. With a rabid, worldwide fanbase to please, Maiden will be entertaining the masses for many years on.
Dave Matthews Band
One of the greatest live bands in existence, Dave Matthews Band is the quintessential jam band. Constantly touring, always on the road and moving from city to city and country to country, DMB is going to be around for a long, long while. They may tour longer than I’m alive. With members ages ranging from late 30s to late 50s, there’s no denying that they have the age and the energy to go on forever. Their live show is incredible and almost every concert they announce sells out. Hugely popular in Europe, the USA, and the rest of the world, Dave Matthews Band has plenty of time, desire, and devotion left to continue on their grueling touring pace. They could be out performing for another 30 years easily. Unless something tragic happens, I don’t expect this band to stop anytime soon. They do their best to keep ticket prices low, hit every market that they can, and always give the fans their money’s worth during every performance.
Having been around since the early 80s, one would think there isn’t much left for the boys from New Jersey. However, Bon Jovi recently announced a world tour that will kick off in 2010 behind their new album, The Circle. With a rabid fan base (the likes of Bruce or DMB), an incredible array of hits, and their passion for music, Bon Jovi could be out on the road (on and off) for 20 years or more. They show no signs of slowing down, and fans who saw their last tour claim that it was one of the band’s best in their storybook career. In 2010 they will open the New Meadowlands Stadium in their home state of New Jersey and be on the road for at least 2 years. While they may take a couple of years off after that, I expect that these guys will be performing together for a long time to come. They are in their prime and ready to take over any void left behind by those illustrious acts that are near retirement.
Incubus may seem like an odd inclusion for bands in their prime, but after seeing them live this past summer, I can’t get over how exceptional they are in concert. They’ve been together since the early 90s, which makes them just young lads in the world of rock and roll. They’ve released 5 massive albums and an incredible greatest hits set, they’ve stayed together with all original members for that length of time, and they are still having fun on the road. In concert, the band sounds like a well oiled machine and they deliver a performance that puts them in the same category as the greats that have been mentioned already. They are an incredible live spectacle and they can only get better from here, having just hit their stride in the world of rock and roll touring. I expect that Incubus is a band my grandkids and I will be able to see together. That would be the experience of a lifetime.
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Tomorrow: Part Three – Bands Ready To Take The Limelight