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Riffs: Pavement and the art of the shrewdly calculated reunion tour

ralph stanley"I've got a lot of things I want to sell, because I need money to buy tickets to more Pavement shows." Stephen Malkmus is getting the band back together.

The big alt-rock moneymaker of 2010 promises to be the long-inevitable Pavement reunion. Ever since the era-defining indie band broke up (without really announcing that it had broken up), back in 1999, it only seemed like a matter of time. But it's clear that this is a one-time thing for Stephen Malkmus and Co. -- "Please be advised this tour is not a prelude to additional jaunts and/or a permanent reunion," the band's initial announcement explained.

So it looks like the band is ready milk this ride for every dollar, pound, Euro and yen it's worth. Instead of one announcement mapping out the entire tour itinerary, concerts have been announced one by one, in a fine-tuned sequence seemingly designed to maximize profits in every possible way.

Which, of course, is the reality behind every reunion tour. In fact, the cold calculation and the agonizingly slow roll-out of details is almost welcome, as it de-romanticizes the whole reunion fad. (And yes, I will definitely be going to many of these shows, probably on multiple continents.)

(A timeline of the Pavement reunion announcements, after the jump.)

September 17, 2009
Press release headline: "Pavement to Reunite for One-Time International Tour in 2010"

The initial reunion confirmation and first official show announcement declares that Pavement will perform in New York's Central park on September 21, 2010. Superfans rejoice. The show sells out immediately.

September 18, 2009
Press release headline: "9/21/2010 Pavement Show Sold Out in Minutes; Third Pavement Show Added in New York's Central Park; Fourth and Final Central Park Pavement Show Added"

Three additional Central Park concerts are announced, with tickets for each subsequent concert going on sale after the previous concert sells out.

October 7, 2009
Press release headline: "Pavement to Curate All Tomorrow's Parties in 2010"

Pavement chooses the bands for the popular U.K. country club festival. "This is the band's first non-US appearance of the reunion tour to be revealed," the news update said. Everyone pretty much knew that those New York shows weren't going to be the first of the tour. This serves as confirmation.

October 13, 2009
Press release headline: "Pavement to Lead Off With New Zealand and Australia"

Turns out the tour will start in the other corner of the world! This leg of the tour is slated to kick off on March 1, 2010.

October 20, 2009
Press release headline: "ATP Sells Out, Pavement Announce London Show"

"After the record-setting sell-out of the edition of All Tomorrow's Parties they will curate, Pavement have revealed their second planned UK performance. On Tuesday, May 11, they will headline Brixton Academy in London," reads the press release. So fans who thought the multi-day festival -- cheapest tickets £339.20 -- would be their only chance to see the band ... well, at least Pavement has good taste in bands.

October 21, 2009
Press release headline: "Second London Pavement Show Added"

Of course. A total of four shows are scheduled for London, with the last one to be announced being the first one scheduled to take place.

October 27, 2009
Press release headline: "Pavement to Headline Barcelona's Primavera Sound and Tour Japan"

Note the trend of festivals. The most bang for the buck, but the least fan-friendly -- tickets are more expensive, venues are bigger, more hassles in general.

December 1, 2009
Press release headline: "Pavement Announce More May Dates in Europe"

And more festivals, this time in Oslo and Goethenburg.

January 5, 2010
Press release headline: "Pavement - Quarantine the Past" (Greatest hits compilation announced)

There have been deluxe-version reissues of four Pavement albums so far, with a fifth on the way. So that means the vault is just about dry, right? Yes, but that doesn't mean there can't be a 23-track greatest hits compilation. No unreleased tracks. Completists will still be powerless to forking over the cash.

January 11, 2010
Rumor: "Pavement to Headline Pitchfork Festival 2010"

This rumor was quickly shot down as unofficial, but it would be surprising if it didn't happen. How could the definitive indie band not play the definitive indie festival? Expect plenty more festival appearances. Sasquatch Festival is already confirmed for Memorial Day weekend. How many shows will take place before those New York shows that first went on sale? Plenty. How many tickets will be available on Craigslist? See previous sentence.

By David Malitz  |  January 11, 2010; 7:25 PM ET
Categories:  Riffs  | Tags: Pavement  
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Coachella, Lollapalooza, Bonaroo, etc

Posted by: dcmc8377 | January 12, 2010 9:35 AM | Report abuse

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