Even though I attended this show two months ago I post the review to kick-off my new dedication to concert reviews.
Since The Pixies reformed in 2004 they have been touring fairly consistently. For the past couple of years they have been performing their 1989 classic album, Doolittle, and the B-side cuts associated with that era. As part of their Lost Cities Tour the band has chosen to play in places they have not previously ventured to, including New Jersey’s famed Asbury Park. The Convention Hall was by no means empty, but neither was it sold out. A cursory glance of the audience revealed a fairly large demographic, but it was the young hipsters who crowded the front. The band entered on stage to a video clip of Luis Buñuel and Salvador Dali’s Un Chien Andalou, which famously features the slicing of an eyeball. There were quite a few people in the audience who did not seem to grasp the significance of the clip—the song “Debaser,” the opener of Doolittle, includes the line “Slicing up eyeballs.”
The band’s main set list has not changed for this iteration of the Doolittle Tour and so the night began with B-sides such as “Dancing the Manta Ray” and “Bailey’s Walk” before launching into the album proper. As is now custom for the band, bassist Kim Deal did most of the talking which ranged from the naming track order of the album and the B-sides that appeared on some of their singles.
Anyone familiar with the Pixies’ music may wonder how lead-singer Black Francis’ voice has held up after all these years. After all, there is quite a bit of screaming to be found on Doolittle in songs such as “Dead,” “Tame,” and “Mr. Grieves” but twenty years did little to squelch that particular talent; it was, in a word, astounding. His voice never seemed to falter, but perhaps that should be expected: as previously mentioned, the band has been playing the same set for quite a while and they have got it down to a science. The rest of the band were also very tight and wore big grins most of the night—except for guitarist Joey Santiago, who mostly played the stoic.
The crowd predictably reacted to the biggest hits of the album, with “Here Comes Your Man” getting the largest response. The song also featured a video backdrop of the band goofing off and smiling in front of a camera. It was a touching sight, if not a little hokey. After the main set of the album the band came back for the only un-scripted part of the night and let loose with a slew of fan favorites such as “Caribou,” “Nimrod’s Son,” and the Deal sung “Into the White,” which was accompanied by a shocking yet delightful amount of fog which blocked the view of the stage and pretty much everything else besides the person directly next to you.
The night ended with a triumphant “Where is My Mind” which featured a reiteration of the studio version intro (Deal singing, Francis saying “stop”.) Afterward, the band members walked around the stage separately, waving at the audience and ended by bowing together. It came across very clearly that they had a great night, and even if they continue to perform Doolittle for the next three years they can certainly offer up a well-oiled experience that is not to be missed.