When legendary punk forebears The New York Dolls reunited in 2004 with three surviving original members (including singer David Johansen), expectations were certainly not high.
After all, it had been nearly 30 years since the band splintered apart, and deceased lead guitarist (and legendary junkie) Johnny Thunders was always thought of as the heart and soul of the group. Plus, bassist Arthur Kane was diagnosed with leukemia and died shortly after the reunion began. Nevertheless, with the assistance of some able young sidemen, the new version of The Dolls released One Day It Will Please Us to Remember Even This, one of 2006's most surprising albums. Displaying a flare and power similar to the band's sordid and cross-dressing halcyon days of the early '70s, the record was an unmitigated success, a sprawling mess of glam and punk with Johansen wailing about like a Viagra-enhanced Grandpa Punk.
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The recently released Live at the Fillmore East shows that the initial burst was definitely not a fluke, as older "hits" such as "Babylon," "Personality Crisis" and "Trash" fit comfortably alongside the band's newer fare. With The Police and Van Halen being heralded for their reunited returns (and charging a mortgage payment for a concert ticket), it is ironically the ramshackle, decayed New York Dolls who are the only group producing new material worth a damn.