The recently reunited enigma that is the Pixies embarked on their highly anticipated US Doolittle ‘Lost Cities’ Tour this past month. The premise of this reunion tour was to perform in cities where they had never performed, and to play their most popular album “Doolittle” in its entirety. Chosen cities were partially based on fan input, and Greensboro was the only one in North Carolina to make the cut.
On November 8th, fans came out to the War Memorial Auditorium in Greensboro to experience perhaps their first and potentially last live Pixies show. The audience was peppered with a handful of college-aged fans, but the majority was made up of men and women who were likely college-aged when the Pixies came together as a band in the late 1980’s. It was during this pre-Nirvana era that the Pixies hit their musical stride and began to influence the evolution of rock and roll. Over the years that followed, they developed a cult following despite their short stint at the top. That night in Greensboro many of their original fans, now in their thirties and forties, brought along their own teenaged kids so that they too experience the Pixies.
The show kicked-off with an eerie black and white movie played on the stage’s backdrop. Jerky images reminiscent of old horror films flashed onscreen before the crowd, who was by that time on standing and eagerly awaiting the band’s entrance. When Black Francis (lead vocals, rhythm guitar), Joey Santiago (lead guitar), Kim Deal (bass and vocals), and David Lovering (drums) took the stage, the entire auditorium erupted. With what seemed to be a permanent smile, Deal took the lead as emcee between songs with her own quirky style. The boys didn’t add much to the between songs banter, unless provoked by Deal.
After playing a few B-side songs, they proceeded into “Doolittle”. Favorites like, Here Comes Your Man, La La Love You, and Hey sparked audience participation. The wave of bobbing heads in the crowd pulsed in time with Deals’ bass lines as Francis let out his patented frenetic and powerful screaming vocals. These beautiful outbursts were carefully counterbalanced by Deal’s airy and angelic back-up vocals. Projected animated images and text, and timed stage lighting changes throughout the show created an experience that likened itself to a type of musical purgatory, keeping the audience stuck somewhere between a dream and a nightmare.
The Pixies finished their “Doolittle” set and gave a somewhat believable on-stage farewell, complete with bows and waves into the balcony. After a good five minutes of chanting and clapping from the crowd the Pixies returned for two encore sets, which included a total fog white-out version of Into the White.
Despite the band’s well documented struggles over the past few decades and the fact that they haven’t released a new album in years, their musical cohesiveness on stage remains intact and impressive. Their performance in Greensboro was energetic and euphoric, and left fans pondering the notion that maybe, just maybe, the Pixies will start making music together again someday soon.
Check out more pictures from the show here.
To learn more about the Pixies and their music, visit www.pixiesmusic.com.