Friday, November 20, 2009

Pixies at Chicago's Aragon Ballroom: 11/19

I didn't get a chance to blog yesterday, but it was for a very good reason. Last Friday was my birthday, and I hit the jackpot. Mrs. Linear Tracking Lives! spoiled me rotten with a couple of discs I had been wanting (more on that next week), but the big gift was tickets to see Pixies perform 'Doolittle' at the Aragon Ballroom in Chicago. The first of the three sold-out shows was last night, and that's why I didn't have time to blog. Pixies were great, but I was looking forward to the scheduled opener, too. It was supposed to be Bernard Sumner's new band, Bad Lieutenant, but they canceled last week. The crowd was overwhelmingly late thirty-somethings (and older), but there were a fair share of young whippersnappers, too. Funny thing is the tykes looked, dressed and acted just like I did 20 years ago. The important thing is the Pixies' legacy lives on.

The band opened with all but one of the 'Doolittle' B-sides, which I thought was a risky way to start the show. The bouncy "Dancing the Manta Ray" was the best of the bunch, and most of the crowd seemed a bit reserved during these more obscure numbers. The lighting was dark during these tunes, as if they were just warming up for the album. The band and crowd really came to life with the first chords of "Debaser". The stage was, finally, brightly lit, and there was a multimedia extravaganza occurring on a huge screen used as the backdrop. Kim Deal acted as master of ceremonies, explaining to the crowd where we were in the record and reminding us there was no way to skip a song like you might do at home.

They breezed through the first side of the record with favorites like "Wave of Mutilation", "Here Comes Your Man" and "Monkey Gone to Heaven". As the band played the "deep cuts", as Deal put it, I had one fleeting moment (during 'Silver") when I questioned whether every second of the record was worthy of this 20th anniversary party. It quickly passed. They just sounded too good. After "Gouge Away" and bows more accustomed to a Broadway performance, we were treated to the last of the B-sides, the UK Surf version of "Wave of Mutilation". Through the years, I have grown to love this slow version as much as the one that appears on "Doolittle". Other "hits" played during the two encores included "Gigantic", "Planet of Sound", "Dig For Fire" and, possibly my favorite moment of the night, "Where Is My Mind???". In my mind, it begged the question: How about a night of 'Surfer Rosa' and 'Come on Pilgrim' in their entirety?

Pixies - Debaser (mp3) (Live in Brussels 2009)
Pixies - Wave of Mutilation (mp3) (Live in Brussels 2009)

More Music, Video and News on Pixies From LTL!
Pixies Give Free 'Doolittle Live' EP
Today's Headlines: Spoon, Pixies, More
Pixies To Do 'Doolittle'

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