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Our 10 Greatest Hopes and Fears for 2012

2012 is going to be a big year for music. We hope these people don’t screw it up.

David Lee Roth Eddie Van Halen

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Any year that kicks off with the (mostly) original line-up of Van Halen playing a 250-seat club in Greenwich Village is certainly going to be one to remember. Next month, Radiohead kicks off an arena tour in Florida, then in March Bruce Springsteen is slated to launch a tour with the E Street Band. April is going to bring not one, but two Coachella festivals. From there it just gets crazy with reunion tours, festivals and a likely 50th anniversary tour of the Rolling Stones.

We have a lot of high hopes for 2012, but also some fears. Rock tours don't always go as hoped and our heroes sometime disappoint us. Click through to see 10 of our hopes and fears for 2012. 

By Andy Greene


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Double the Coachella

Hope: Coachella is staging the exact same festival line-up during two consecutive weekends in April. Based off nothing other than a hunch, we suspect that Radiohead are going to headline again this year. That will no doubt lead to some incredible moments that deserve to be repeated. Also, it would make sense for the two-thirds reunited New Order to make an appearance at the festival(s). How incredible would it be if New Order (minus Peter Hook) and Radiohead played "Ceremony" together?

Fear: One of the major appeals of music festivals is that they are one-time-only events. If you missed Prince at Coachella in 2008 or Neil Young and Crazy Horse at Bonnaroo in 2003, you weren't going to get another chance. Staging Coachella twice takes away from the magnitude of the event. No matter how amazing the show is, in the back of your mind you'll be wondering, "Am I missing the good one? Did I come on the wrong weekend? What if Radiohead play 'Creep' at the next one and I miss it?" Imagine arguing with your friend who went to the other Coachella. "We got 'Subterranean Homesick Alien!" "Oh yeah, we got 'Planet Telex' AND 'Bangers and Mash!"  

Van Halen

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The Return of Van Halen

Hope: Van Halen haven't cut a new album with David Lee Roth since 1984. In fact, they haven't cut a new album of any sort since their one-off LP with Gary Cherone in 1998. That's given them plenty of time to stockpile lots of material, especially now that Eddie is (hopefully) clean and sober. With all apologies to Sammy Hagar, the band did their best material with David Lee Roth. The world is ready for a killer Van Halen album, and we're praying that they deliver.

Fear: On their 2007 reunion tour with David Lee Roth they proved they could still deliver the goods live, even though fans continue to question their decision to fire original bassist Michael Anthony. Whether or not they can deliver a great new album remains a huge question mark. Their last couple of LP's didn't exactly set the world on fire. Playing the hits on tour is one thing, but actually going into the studio and working as a songwriting team is a whole different matter. Hopefully old issues from the past were set aside and they managed to pull it off. 

Bruce Springsteen

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Bruce Springsteen

Hope: It's going to be extraordinarily difficult for Springsteen ever to release new material on par with his work from 1973 to 1987, but after a rather dismal 1990s, Springsteen released some stellar work in the 2000s. His live shows were even more impressive. Very little is known about his next record, but we're quite anxious to hear it. The sight of a Clarence Clemons-free E Street Band will be sad, but the music has to carry on and a rocking tour is surely the best way to honor his memory. We have little doubt this will be a sensational tour.

Fear: Springsteen raised the bar ludicrously high on the 2009 Working On A Dream Tour. He played his six best albums straight through, and pretty much every other song in his extensive catalog along with a very generous helping of covers. We're worried he can't possibly top that, especially without his longtime onstage foil Clarence Clemons. 

Talking Heads


Reunions All Around

Hope: The Beach Boys can't be the only major rock reunion on the road this year. Here's hoping that the Talking Heads, the Smiths, the Fugees, Pink Floyd, the Kinks, Led Zeppelin or OutKast finally come to their senses and get the bands back together.

Fear: The Cars will tour again, and somehow play even worse than they did on their dreadfully boring 2011 reunion tour. 

the Rolling stones

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The Rolling Stones Turn 50

Hope: According to the rumor mill, Bill Wyman is back in the band and the Rolling Stones are going to tour to celebrate their 50th anniversary. We hope they leave the horns, back-up singers and extra musicians at home. A stripped down show – featuring Mick Taylor on the 1970s material – could be absolutely sensational. We've all heard "Brown Sugar" and "Satisfaction" with fireworks and back-up singers a million times. This time we're hoping they mix in some deep cuts with the hits and skip the stadiums. We also hope they charge something resembling a reasonable ticket price. 

Fear: The biggest fear is that Jagger ultimately decides not to tour, or opts for a stadium bonanza barely distinguishable from the Stones' previous 10 trips around the globe. From everything we're hearing, however, that isn't the plan.

Beach Boys

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The Beach Boys Reunite

Hope: Even without the late Carl and Dennis Wilson, the Beach Boys have the ability to put together a pretty amazing show. Their decision to primarily use Brian Wilson's backing band is extremely wise. Jeff "The CEO of Falsetto" Foskett is a huge help with the harmonies, and the group can expertly play any song in the band's vast catalog. We hope that the show features a suite of songs from Smile and Pet Sounds, and even some of the better songs from the 1970s. The surviving Beach Boys have been touring in bitterly competing camps for well over a decade. We really hope this reunion is a joyful experience for the fans and the band. 

Fear: If Brian is being pushed into these shows against his will, the whole thing could turn into a trainwreck. Offstage squabbles will surely affect the chemistry onstage, and the whole thing might turn into a long, contractually obligated slog. Also, we're worried the setlist will be nothing but the big hits. There's easily enough of them to fill out an entire set. 

Guns N' Roses

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Guns N’ Roses Get Into the Rock Hall and Roll Hall of Fame

Hope: Of course, the dream is that Axl sucks it up and plays a mini-set with the original lineup at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction in Cleveland. Then we hope it goes so well that the band goes on tour and records an amazing new album. This scenario is incredibly unlikely.

Fear: After months of rumors, Steven Adler is the only member of Guns N' Roses to actually show up at the ceremony. He winds up playing on "Paradise City" with Paul Shaffer and the CBS Orchestra. 


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U2 Plot Their Future

Hope: U2's 2009 album No Line On The Horizon was an extremely ambitious record that sold millions of copies all over the world. Songs like "Moment of Surrender" and "Magnificent" rank with the band's best work, but the singles failed to connect with a mass audience and by U2's standards it was a disappointment. We hope that they realize that radio is unlikely to put any song they ever write into heavy rotation; instead, they should just focus on making another great record, and then hit the road on an arena tour that drops some of the old warhorses in favor of great songs from the past. How about "Acrobat," "Drowning Man" and "Numb"? "Pride (In The Name of Love)" is a great song, but enough's enough. 

Fear: U2 tends to end each decade with a commercial disappointment, and then begin the new decade with an album that's the exact opposite of their last work. The failure of Rattle and Hum gave the world Achtung Baby and the failure of the (criminally underrated) Pop led to the back-to-basics approach on All That You Can't Leave Behind. They have spent much of the last two years working with a rotating cast of producers, including Danger Mouse and RedOne. We fear their primary focus is competing with Lady Gaga on the radio. It's a fight they're going to lose. Hey Bono, don't overthink this next record. Just make it great. It'll serve you better in the long run. Remember that awful charity single "Stranded" you cut with Jay-Z and Rihanna? Never do anything like that again. 

Bob Dylan

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Bob Dylan’s Never-Ending Tour Keeps on Trucking

Hope: Bob Dylan has been on tour since 1988. The show used to go through significant changes every few years, but things have felt rather stagnant since the mid-2000s. Even the return of guitar virtuoso Charlie Sexton failed to shake things up a couple of years ago. In 2002 Dylan played 128 different songs during the course of the year. In 2011 he was down to 64. We hope that next year Dylan shakes up his band line-up a bit, lets some of the members actually harmonize with him again and start playing a more diverse bunch of songs. Also, a killer new album or a Basement Tapes box set would be pretty cool.

Fear: Bob Dylan has earned the right to do whatever he wants, but it would be a bummer if he continued to drastically limit his repertoire of songs and play similar shows year after year. 



Madonna Plots Her Comeback

Hope: Madonna hasn't released a universally praised album since 1998's Ray of Light. Sure, she's released a ton of great songs since then – but the 2000s clearly weren't as great for her fans as the 1980s and 1990s. Working with Timbaland on the last one seemed like a desperate move to remain relevant. The success of Lady Gaga must be bumming her out big time. It's clearly time for a comeback. The Super Bowl Halftime show is a great place to showcase her new single. Hopefully it's great. The tour will undoubtably be amazing, but she doesn't need to be an oldies act. The lady has more hits in her.

Fear: It's tough for veteran artists to land on the radio. We worry that people won't give anything she produces a decent chance. The single is supposed to contain guest spots by Nicki Minaj and M.I.A. That's a pretty good way to get people to listen. Madonna is 53, but there's no reason she can't continue to be the world's biggest pop star.