Summer Concerts: The Comeback Kids

July 1, 2011

When three-quarters of the Monkees staged a 20th-anniversary reunion tour in 1986, naysayers remarked that the band seemed old and desperate. But nowadays, with the almost-septuagenarian Rolling Stones showing no signs of stopping, rock music—and its less rebellious but no less ageist cousin, pop—has never been more forgiving of veterans who refuse to call time on their careers. To wit, three acts that emerged back in the ’80s are Monkees see, Monkees doing, hitting Vancouver over the summer season. The Go-Go’s (Commodore Ballroom, August 12) became the first all-female band to top the Billboard 200, with 1981’s marvellous Beauty and the Beat, and the quintet has reconvened to mark the album’s 30th anniversary.

While the Go-Go’s gave ’60s girl-group pop a punk edge, Nigerian-born singer Sade (Rogers Arena, August 13) brought the smoky, jazz-inflected lounge music of the Mad Men era into the ’80s. Despite being one of the least productive artists of her generation (only six albums since 1984), Sade attracts an unswervingly devoted audience: her latest disc, last year’s Soldier of Love, was No. 1 worldwide. New Kids on the Block (Rogers Arena, July 9 and 10), creators of the modern boy-band template, closed out the ’80s as the biggest pop act in North America. With their youngest member now pushing 40, that name has never been a less comfortable fit, but on this summer’s co-headlining tour with musical progeny Backstreet Boys, they prove that every generation is susceptible to the pull of nostalgia. 604-280-4444. Ticketmaster.ca

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