If there’s been one comfort as a result of the pandemic, it’s that many of our most beloved bands from the ’60s through the ’90s have reunited and are hitting the road again (some who never broke up, like the Rolling Stones, are also returning to stages). Whether it’s the punk-era glam of Blondie, the prog-rock kings from Genesis, the blue-eyed soul of the Doobie Brothers, or the soulful pairing of TLC, we’re talking full-on nostalgia and grownup fun.
Plan your own reunion with these timeless musicians with our guide to what’s coming, who’s playing, and where to catch them.
The reunion: The Doobie Brothers (fall 2021, summer 2022)
The backstory: The Doobie Brothers had a big year planned for 2020 — induction into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame and their 50th anniversary tour, with the return of soulful front man Michael McDonald marking the first string of concerts in which Tom Johnston, Pat Simmons, John McFee and McDonald performed together in 25 years. But then came COVID-19, which postponed the tour for more than a year, and when they finally got rolling in 2021, the virus hit the band, as well. But October saw the Doobies release their 15th album, Liberté (sans McDonald). Now it’s full steam ahead for 2022, beginning in June. Having McDonald back on the shows, says singer-guitarist and founding member Johnston, is “the cherry on top of this whole tour because it adds an aspect of musical style that we don’t normally even attempt to do … I think it’s going to be a real thrill for people to come see.”
What to expect: Michael McDonald is back!
Why we love them: Hippies on blue-eyed soul
Book it: 50th Anniversary tour
The reunion: The Black Crowes (November 2021–October 2022)
The backstory: “I understand everyone’s cynicism about it,” says singer Chris Robinson of the Black Crowes’ “Shake Your Money Maker 30th Anniversary” tour with his guitarist brother, Rich, original bassist Sven Pipien and a new supporting band. “ ‘Oh, they’re doing it for the money.’ Of course we’re doing it for the money! A lot of bands have come and gone in 30 years, and it makes us feel very proud about the work and craft put into it.” Throughout their chaotic career, punctuated by breakups and an ever-changing band lineup, the Robinson brothers incessantly squabbled. Their reunion tour, initially sidelined by the pandemic, brought about a 30th anniversary reissue of Shake Your Money Maker, along with a previously unheard track, “Charming Mess.” Look for an album of all-new songs to come.
What to expect: The 1990 album set and all their hits
Why we love them: Chris Robinson struts Mick Jagger.
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The reunion: The Fugees (November–December 2021)
The backstory: In August 2007, a year after the Fugees disbanded for a second time, Pras Michel famously declared, “You will have a better chance of seeing Osama bin Laden and [George W.] Bush in Starbucks having a latte, discussing foreign policies, before there will be a Fugees reunion.” But what’s a little spat between friends? Twenty-five years after the release of The Score, which won two Grammys and has been certified seven-times platinum, the hip-hop group including Lauryn Hill will revive its cover of Roberta Flack’s “Killing Me Softly” and the innovative fusion of rapping, melody and West Indian sounds that made the Fugees one of the first alternative hip-hop acts to take root in the mainstream. “As I celebrate 25 years with the Fugees,” says founding member Wyclef Jean, who went on to solo acclaim, “my first memory was that we vowed, from the gate, we would not just do music, we would be a movement. We would be a voice for the unheard, and in these challenging times, I am grateful once again, that God has brought us together.”
What to expect: Socially conscious alt hip-hop
Why we love them: Resistance as art
Book it: The Score 25th Anniversary tour
The reunion: Genesis (November–December 2021 and spring 2022)
The backstory: Former Genesis members Peter Gabriel and Steve Hackett aren’t taking the stage for the Genesis reunion tour, which leaves original members Phil Collins, Tony Banks and Mike Rutherford to recapture the magic. (“Peter left the band 45 years ago and he’s been trying to live it down ever since,” Banks jokingly told the BBC.) But when you’ve got Phil Collins handling vocals, you don’t need much else, even confined to a chair out front of the band, since the drummer suffered nerve damage in a 2007 spinal injury and can “barely hold a stick,” he laments. (His son, Nic, is behind the drum kit.) The group is dusting off songs (“Fading Lights,” “Duchess”) that they haven’t performed live for nearly 30 and 40 years. But when the tour wraps, alas, “That’s All,” so catch ’em while you can: Collins told a British rock magazine, “This English and American tour, that will be enough for me.”
What to expect: A plethora of classic songs
Why we love them: Can you say, “Phil Collins?”
Book it: The Last Domino? tour
The reunion: Blondie (U.K. tour, spring 2022)
The backstory: Punk goddess Debbie Harry and company initially announced a 10-date arena tour of the U.K. in November 2021, but now that’s been shelved until next year, starting with a few dates in February and revving up full speed in late April. In the meantime, they’ve been busy: On the heels of Harry’s frank 2019 autobiography, Face It, the band members made a documentary film (Blondie: Vivir en la Habana) and compiled a graphic novel. More recently, they’ve recorded a three-song holiday EP, Yuletide Throwdown, just out in October (and on vinyl Nov. 5), and are readying an archive set, Blondie: Against the Odds 1974–1982. As for the tour, expect anything from a woman who once escaped serial killer Ted Bundy and had Phil Spector pull a gun on her. “One of the most exciting things about rock ’n’ roll was that it was about breaking the rules,” Harry has said. “The nature of what we try to do is to shock and entertain at the same time.”
What to expect: Beauty and daring
Why we love them: Streetwise cool
Book it: Against the Odds tour
The reunion: TLC (spring–summer 2022)
The backstory: The best-selling American female group of all time planned an 18-city concert tour for 2021 to commemorate the 25th anniversary of their iconic, 12-million-selling sophomore album, CrazySexyCool. But after a string of canceled dates, Tionne “T-Boz” Watkins and Rozonda “Chilli” Thomas (third member Lisa “Left Eye” Lopes died in a car crash in 2002 and was never replaced), have now set their sights on 2022 to party like it’s 1994 in crop tops and baggy wide-leg pants. “This is the album that truly put us on the map and showed the world who we really are,” says Chilli. “So this will be quite the celebration!” CrazySexyCool, a smooth hybrid of R & B, hip-hop, soul and funk that Rolling Stone ranked among the 500 greatest albums of all time, influenced scores of Black female ensembles such as Destiny’s Child and Jade, and is part of the inspiration for the A&E two-hour documentary Biography: TLC, to premiere next year.
What to expect: “A big old backyard boogie,” says T-Boz
Why we love them: Girl Power rocks ’90s R&B verve.
Book it: Celebration of CrazySexyCool tour
The reunion: Queen (May–July 2022 in U.K./Europe; possibly to follow in the U.S.)
The backstory: Freddie Mercury died in 1991 from AIDS-related complications, but Queen still rules. Fueled by the success of the 2018 film Bohemian Rhapsody and the posthumous 1995 album Made in Heaven (featuring Mercury’s vocals), Queen has avoided falling into the “another one bites the dust” category of moldy oldies, even as it has released no new music as a group. With Adam Lambert now fronting the band, Queen will tour the U.K. and Europe next spring and summer and, drummer Roger Taylor says, “We hope to bring that back to the States again, at some point, because America is great. It’s so geared up for it.” Though bassist John Deacon left the band, “Who would have thought that all these years later we’d be still playing together, and we’d still have an audience?” Taylor muses. “It’s incredible. It’s been a wonderful trip. What a ride.”
What to expect: They will, they will rock you!
Why we love them: “Galileo, Galileo, Figaro”
The reunion: ABBA (London residency, May–October 2022)
The backstory: Mamma mia, here they go again! After a 40-year hiatus, ABBA has officially reunited, with an album of all new material, Voyage, dropping Nov. 5. It promises more of the fizzy melodies and twirling vocals that catapulted Agnetha Fältskog, Björn Ulvaeus, Benny Andersson and Anni-Frid Lyngstad — collectively known as ABBA — into one of the world’s most remarkable pop phenomena. Ironically, the album was almost an afterthought to the creation of their motion-capture technology project, a “concert” residency straight out of the imagination of the George Lucas-originated effects company Industrial Light & Magic, which debuts in late May 2022. Night after night, ABBA avatars, looking young and at the height of the band’s popularity in the 1970s (the group posed in skintight suits for their lifelike re-creations) will “perform” to the accompaniment of a live 10-piece band. “We’re truly sailing in uncharted waters,” Andersson says. “With the help of our younger selves, we travel into the future.”
What to expect: Spooky good suspension of belief
Why we love them: Multi-tracked happy juice, Swedish style
Book it: ABBA Voyage
The reunion: Robert Plant and Alison Krauss (2022; no dates yet)
The backstory: Their collaborative chemistry, rightfully described by a British magazine as “so gentle, attentive and respectfully intimate, it feels like a courtship dance,” blew us away 14 years ago when Led Zeppelin’s front man, Robert Plant, met bluegrass darling Alison Krauss on Raising Sand, a runaway hit that captured six Grammy awards, including album of the year. Their belated follow-up, 2021’s Raise the Roof, out Nov. 19, follows the same enchanting path, reworking blues, country, folk and rock classics (Lucinda Williams, Geeshie Wiley) in a pared-down Americana style in which Plant’s formerly tortured vocals go mellow against Krauss’ pillowy clouds. Still, the kindred spirits admit it isn’t easy. “I’ve learned to listen a lot more, because until Raising Sand, I’d never sung next to anybody except for maybe once or twice in my whole time of being,” Plant says. As for Krauss: “It takes some work on my end to learn where he’s going to go because it’s different every time and it’s amazing.” That spontaneity should be on full thrill on tour.
What to expect: Heavenly, entwining vocals on gorgeous Americana covers of songs by the likes of Merle Haggard, the Everly Brothers and Bert Jansch
Why we love them: An unlikely marriage of minds and styles — rock ’n’ roll and bluegrass — turns out to be kismet.
Alanna Nash is a contributing writer who covers celebrity and entertainment. She has written 10 books, including several on Elvis Presley and Dolly Parton. She received a Country Music Association Media Achievement Award and a Charlie Lamb Award for Excellence in Country Music Journalism.