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Monday 20 May 2019

Spotlight on: The comeback 'kids' - cult acts reform

John Cleese, Eric Idle, Terry Jones, Michael Palin and Terry Gilliam will take to the stage in London this week
John Cleese, Eric Idle, Terry Jones, Michael Palin and Terry Gilliam will take to the stage in London this week
Roger Daltrey of The Who.

Let's hear it for nostalgia

Cult acts will be basking in their former glory, with The Who announcing a tour to celebrate 50 years in music and Monty Python having a last hurrah at London's O2.

The Pixies rocked Marlay Park this week, Robert Plant played Live at the Marquee, and Brian Wilson takes to the stage tomorrow night at the Cork venue, so it's fair to say that the stars of decades past have long been and still are a massive draw to Irish audiences.

Now with the news that The Who are to celebrate 50 years in music with a tour, including a stop at Dublin's O2 this November, and the fact that the Monthy Python crew have started a 10 date run in London this week, we have to ask – are the golden oldies ruling the roost when it comes to live entertainment? Even Garth Brooks' monstrous Croke Park stretch is mostly dependent on nostalgia, seeing as the crooner hasn't had a top 10 single in Ireland in years.

With big name contemporary acts like Kanye West and Pharrell Williams not selling out, you have to wonder if the big money and buzz is all in the past – especially when Simple Minds, Portishead, Beck and Blondie are the top tier of this year's Electric Picnic. The Python's press launch this week included a video clip of Mick Jagger, 70, sending himself up by complaining the gang of comedians are past it.

Nowadays though, it seems that the longer you're in the entertainment industry, the more likely people are to flock in their thousands to your live show. It's not just mega reunions either – Plant is famously reluctant to regroup with Led Zeppelin, but still draws the crowds with his new incarnation, the Sensational Space Shifters.

It's not bad news for newbies though – the Saturday of the Longitude festival on July 19 has sold out already, featuring many distinctly "yoof" acts like Haim, Disclosure and The 1975. Still, it's refreshing to know that those who are popular now have the potential for longevity. If trends continue, we may see today's acts touring well into their old age to make a buck. Watch this space.

First published in INSIDER Magazine, exclusive to Thursday's Irish Independent

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