Black Crowes Announce 2020 Reunion Tour Via… Subway Advertisement?

Chris Willman and Lexi Lane

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All those teases about the Black Crowes getting back together for a reunion tour appear to have finally been confirmed: A 2020 version of the band is set to play the “Shake Your Money Maker” album in its entirety, “plus all the hits,” in the New York area next July, presumably among many other dates.

That is according to… not any kind of social media post, let alone official press release, but an advertisement for the July 17-18, 2020 gigs spotted in Penn Station.

Well, it beats Coldplay announcing their new album in the classified ads. (Or maybe Coldplay’s beats the Black Crowes’, depending on your admiration for just how audaciously low-key a big-deal announcement can get.)

A Spanish-language website, Dirty Rock Magazine, was apparently first to spot the ad and post it. It’s highly possible the advertisement was put up prematurely, since it seems to suggest that Live Nation and Ticketmaster are now offering tickets for the shows July 17 at PNC Bank Arts Center and July 18 at Jones Beach Theater — although no such on-sale has occurred.

Certainly such an announcement has seemed a fait accompli, though, given the clues and third-hand confirmations that have been doled out about a reunion tour. Make that semi-reunion: Former Crowes drummer Steve Gorman, who published a memoir in September titled “Hard to Handle: The Life and Death of the Black Crowes,” has made it clear in interviews that he knows a resumption is in the works and he’s not being invited.

The image in the Penn Station ad is identical to images that have shown up on billboards in a few cities and on the group’s newly activated Facebook page — although there was no text to go along with those. It portrays two crows with X-es for eyes, suggesting that fans should concentrate their hopes on two Crowes in particular… those being the perennially estranged brothers Chris and Rich Robinson.

The Crowes, who flew to rock stardom following the 1990 release of “Shake Your Money Maker,” last performed together in 2013 and officially disbanded in 2015, with the brothers not generally believed to have been on good terms in recent years.

The group’s former manager, Pete Angelus, spoke to the Wall Street Journal in mid-October about the Crowes’ probability of coming together again. “I’m aware of the deal that the brothers made with Live Nation for a 2020 tour,” said Angelus. 

While this wasn’t the first time the band broke up, many fans didn’t believe brothers Chris and Rich Robinson would ever play together again, since the pair had a documented feud, even after the band’s second split. The first hiatus in 2002 only lasted three years, yet the current break lasted nearly five years. Both brothers went on to form their own musical groups, as well. Chris Robinson formed the Chris Robinson Brotherhood and released six LPs during the Crowes hiatus. The most recent Brotherhood release was “Servants of the Sun” earlier this year.

Rich Robinson created The Magpie Salute in 2016, adding former Black Crowes members Marc Ford and Sven Pipien to his band’s lineup. Other members of The Magpie Salute included Matt Slocum and Joe Magistro. The band released two studio LPs, including “High Water II” in October this year and “High Water I” in 2018. 

The Black Crowes provided the soundtrack of the 90s for a lot of their listeners, making the 30th anniversary concerts in 2020 feel incredibly nostalgic of a previous decade. ‘Shake Your Money Maker’ hit number four on the Billboard album chart after its release. The album also gave fans their very first taste of the band’s Southern rock sound through songs including “Hard to Handle” and “Jealous Again.” The Crowes debut is also their highest selling record to date.

No official information about the shows or their onsale dates has been provided. The Black Crowes’ official website displays a 404 code when attempting to view, but one thing’s for sure:  If the Robinsons can reunite, rock fans should harbor great hopes for Oasis and the Kinks, after all, too.

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