The Pixies reunited as part of their 20th anniversary tour of Doolittle, the formative album that proved to shape and inspire other great bands such as Radiohead and Nirvana.
One interesting aspect of these classic album concerts is that audience expectations are sure to be inflated, given the fact that most concert-goers have been listening to these songs for many years and know exactly what’s coming and what the band should sound like.
While ticket prices for this Pixies concert were slightly exorbitant due to the fame, hype and fondness grown out of the Pixies’ absence, it was all made worthwhile when the band hit the stage at the Fox on the night of Monday, Sept. 13.
The Fox Theatre, a famous and classic icon of Atlanta, is a converted old mosque turned into a gorgeous theatre and concert venue.
A hardcore fan probably has more than half of the classic album memorized, though he would never try and sing along. No one would attempt to mimic Black Francis’ voice unless one was in a situation like Monday night at the Fox, surrounded by thousands of other people failing miserably at singing along.
But whether you have been listening to Francis’ yelp since Surfer Rosa or just heard their name in a few Kurt Cobain interviews and figured this would be the closest chance you’d have at seeing mid-’90s Nirvana in concert, the concert provided something for all fans.
The show started off with a huge projected video, showing vintage black and white film that had inspired the original Doolittle album itself while also creating a suspenseful, eerie mood. That coupled with the four colossal color-changing glowing orbs hanging from the top of the set whipped up fans into a frenzy before the Pixies themselves even set foot on stage.
The entire band sounded as good as they ever did. Frank Black howled and hit all his high and low notes while Kim Deal’s voice still had its soft and lovely touch.
The Pixies’ songs came in quick succession with little banter. Deal was the only band member who even approached the mic between songs, filling in the down time with short sound bites like “thanks,” and “this place is… beautiful.”
With the beginning of each song, the fan noise grew into a roar as the Pixies dished out a collection of their greatest hits, including crowd pleasers like “Here Comes Your Man” and “Monkey Gone To Heaven.”
Fans ate up every second of the concert and as starstruck as they were, they clamored for more. Doolittle didn’t so much end on an explosion but with more of a whisper.
They ended by shouting the chorus of “Gouge Away.” Afterward, the band soaked up the applause like folk heroes, then left the stage to prepare for their encore.
Even by the end, my ears were still ringing. I suppose I should have realized my face was half a foot from the speaker before they started playing, though.
After two songs and their second departure, there was still a glaring omission from the night that would set everyone over the edge. That’s when, to thunderous applause, the band came back on for their second and final encore and played the pièce de résistance: “Where Is My Mind?”
You don’t need me to tell anyone in that crowd how important The Pixies’ seminal 1989 album Doolittle is and why you should own it: they have their own reasons.
Mastered versions of the night’s performance were also available for purchase ten minutes after the concert’s end for only $25 and on a short run of just 1000 per show, which was sure to please the taste of instant gratification and impulse buyers.
Now, Monday night was only one of many of the Pixies’ comeback tour and in fact is one of the first few; they have several more dates in the U.S.