A year ago, we weren’t on a high, we were in a hiatus. 2011 started, in Darkness related terms, with quiet and wonderings and maybe even quiet wonderings. There was no news from any camp, though interest was still high in the doings of the then ex-members of The Darkness. Strangely, January last year saw a huge jump in Stone Gods Temple viewings, still unexplained, as there were no hints or gossip at that time.
At the time, though, the ex-members were either no longer ex or hovering on the brink of slipping right back in to their original places. Even the rumours had died down – for a while. There were hints and signs and portents to be read, but you’d have to have been employed or damn close to have been absolutely 100% sure that you KNEW it was going to happen. Anyone else was just aiming for being Nostradamus rather than Mystic Meg.
The longer there was no news from Stone Gods and Hot Leg (for whatever reason) the more possibility there seemed to be of a… something. Those two bands filled the Darkness gap admirably. I can’t imagine having had two better things come from what was a hell of an implosion. Both bands were my passion, for different, various and odd little reasons. They are still badly missed and I wish we could still have them, somehow… it wasn’t to be. I wanted success for them both, and the final absolute confirmation (long since known) that they had truly gone gave a fair few conflicting feelings, I can tell you.
There wasn’t any doubt about the joy that the Reformation brought, however. And no doubt that it would be a success. The first three were a given, with so many people wanting to see the boys back. Either you were a diehard there, or a diehard listening and desperately waiting for the tour or for Download. Yeah.. Download. Not many bands who five years ago had been consigned to the scrap heap by hacks and illwishers get offered Download as a comeback. Pretty nifty! Someone up there had faith in them. By the Rock Gods, they nailed it. Thousands singing along, radiating almost visible goodwill vibes back at the stage. More to the point, thousands willing to say how great that performance was and start the mass fuelling of the Darkfires.
The October 100 club gig was one that will live in legend.
The November UK tour and Ireland Weekender proved that sellouts are still probable, that the shows are still bloody brilliant, and that the deepseated, long dormant support is still there. Many people came for nostalgia and left with the NOW. First timers came because they thought they had lost out before, and weren’t disappointed. And a good sprinkling of people who clearly thought (eavesdropping in queues is great) that actually, TD weren’t THAT bad first time round REALLY. No, really. Just that everyone took the piss, innit, but ya know there was always a soft spot… they were better than you think they’re going to be, yeah? Brian May moments at Hammersmith – more legendary moments, laced with awe and wonder – for the audience, as well.
The tour over, December was the time to start revealing other little treasures all newly polished. A slot at the Isle of Wight festival in June, the first of the summer outings confirmed. An American/Canadian tour – 3 weeks of flashing (not literally..?) round the continent in February. Thanks to a genius Facebook event, several shows sold out their presale, often in minutes, as they went online as and when the timezone hit 9am. Fascinating to watch! The general sales went even better, resulting in an extra New York date being added. As I type, announcements regarding Vancouver, Seattle and Portland are promised for tomorrow (9th January). The Darkness don’t seem to have lost any of their appeal across the pond. I predict that after this tour and working on the album there, it might be hard to get them back, as I think the desire for all things Dark will be intense.
In the next few weeks and months, then, we can hope for news about a single and album release dates, the actual dates, a UK tour, more festival dates… busy busy busy, and all in a very good way. Let’s let them get on with it at their own pace. They know what they’re doing, and that doesn’t involve sitting on their arses. Whatever comes in 2012, it will rock the shit out of everything The Darkness meet.