Reivers – A Class Reunion

By David Menconi. On Music Blog, News Observer (Raleigh, NC), Feb. 12, 2008.
I’ve never gone to any of my high-school or college-class reunions, which is not to say I’ve avoided them — just never been able to overcome the logistics of distance and inertia. But I dang sure went to the big Reivers reunion last weekend, which was essentially the same thing: a reunion for the mid-’80s class of college radio in Austin, Texas.

Unless you were paying attention to the American rock underground back then, you’ve probably never even heard of the Reivers, who broke up the same month “Nevermind” hit the charts in 1991. But for a certain demographic that spent the mid-to-late-’80s obsessively memorizing every sound on “Murmur” and buying every album with Mitch Easter’s name in the credits (guilty!), the Reivers were much-beloved.

So I went to the reunion, because they’re still one of my favorite bands ever and I just couldn’t stay away. And it was fabulous, even though everyone onstage and in the audience was a little thicker around the middle and greyer (or balder) on top than we used to be. When they dusted off “Linus and Lucy,” I felt like I’d been granted a two-hour pass to be 24 years old again.

The years have been kind to John Croslin and Kim Longacre’s voices, the Reivers’ sonic signature; and man, did they ever have a ton of songs that should’ve been hits. Here’s one of them, “In Your Eyes,” from the second night’s show. Despite the murky sound quality, you can still hear the hook and Longacre’s bell-clear voice (plus the crowd singing along like fools). In a just universe, this would have been blaring out of every car radio in the fall of 1987. Instead, it’s just another great song that got away.

Overall, the vibe felt like another long-gone Austin band’s reunion show I once attended — click through to see the report on that, which covers a lot of the same emotional territory. As to an actual review of the Reivers show, however, you’ll have to wait for the May/June issue of No Depression magazine (since I went down on my own dime, I covered the show freelance to help play for the plane ticket).

But back to the class-reunion aspect. I bumped into folks I’d not seen in eons, many of whom have become parents in recent years. At a pre-show cookout, there were at least 10 kids from newborn to age 3 crawling, toddling and running around. And at that night’s show, I was treated to the delightful spectacle of the individual Reivers’ children (most of whom were born after the band broke up) staring at the stage, seeing all the people who still love this band so much after all these years, and having the same thought: Holy [expletive]! Mom/Dad is a rock star!

It really was the class reunion I’ve never been to.