Live Review: Pixies Doolittle Tour @ Roy Wilkins
Reunion tours, and especially ones centered around one album, can be dicey affairs. Bands get old, songs get dated, nostalgia can gloss over the bruises time can leave. Luckily the Pixies, and especially their landmark album Doolittle, have so far withheld the erosion of time pretty effectively. The 4 piece swung through the cavernous Roy Wilkins Auditorium for the second time since reforming during the last decade, this time celebrating the 20th Anniversary of their hallmark album Doolittle.
After a four song, B-Side only “warm up,” as Kim Deal kept calling it, the band tore through the record in its original order. When the first bass line of “Debaser” shot through the crowd the mostly full arena responded with euphoria. The band stuck close to vest as they played through the songs, with highlights being the thunderous opening three songs, the guitar jangle of “Here Comes Your Man,” the sing along of “Monkey Gone to Heaven,” the dark “Mr. Grieves,” and the classic track (and my favorite by the band) “Hey.” Accompanying the songs were videos, each tailored to the song from the album. The stage was, like the band, simply yet arty, with nothing too flashy to take away from the songs. As is expected in the old hockey arena, the song got a little muddied at times, but the group was loose and seemed to genuinely be having a good time in front of an excited audience. After the closing notes of “Gouge Away,” the group retreated for what became two separate encores.
Starting with the “UK Surf” version of “Wave of Mutilation,” the group played a six song encore of non Doolittle hits, including a blistering version of “Into the White.” The second encore featured the charging “U Mass,” “Vamos” and “Isla de Encanta” before seducing the crowd, with all of the lights on, with set closers “Where is My Mind” and “Gigantic.” While Doolittle contains many of the bands “hits” (as much as a band like the Pixies have “hits”), the crowd seemed appreciative of the energetic encore and the sing along songs they got to hear.
While both the Pixies and their fans are a little older, both seemed to relish the time Sunday night in St. Paul. When you have songs that were and are as influential as the material the Pixies created on Doolittle, you have quite a bit of wiggle room to utilize and still be able to deliver a great show. They probably could have pulled a Beastie Boys and played the album from a boom box in the middle of the arena and most fans would have been content, but to see the band, really enjoying themselves and still sounding as sharp as ever, was a real treat.
Writer / co-founder