Last Night: The Pixies at the Fox

Categories: Last Night
Joseph Schell

The Pixies
November 8, 2009
The Fox Theater

Better Than: fantasizing about seeing The Pixies play Doolittle live.

The Pixies emerged on stage last night from a swirling fog -- a fitting entrance for the dream-turned-reality of their most recent reunion and the debut tour for their most popular album, Doolittle.

But the show would have been dreamy enough without special effects. For many star-struck fans, the fantasy started with the mere thought of hearing the indie legends play Doolittle front to back in its entirety. It was a concept that the band followed-through last night without wavering: even when the most impatient crowd members cried out song requests, smiling front woman Kim Deal had to remind people that "we're not skipping any."

Joseph Schell
The Pixies started their set with a screening of Dali's bizarre short film, Un chien andalou, the surrealist imagery meant to complement Doolittle's dark and dreamlike tenor. Short animations, individually composed to fit each song on the album, played on a screen for the entirety of the show. Some of the visuals emphasized themes -- from Biblical to romantic to suicidal -- and others spelled out lyrics that might otherwise be lost in front man Francis Black's frequent barking and wooping into the mic.

Rain Machine.jpg
Joseph Schell
Rain Machine
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 fucking beautiful." She also did her best to lead the crowd through the album -- although few seemed to need this direction. "Second side," she said before the band launched into their second mini-album of Doolittle. Then a bit later, she added, "Getting into the deeper cuts."

Although songs from Doolittle acted as the meat of their set, The Pixies started the evening with a few lesser-known B-sides ("Manta Ray") and capped it with more B-sides -- including a striking rendition of "Into the White" where band members were so enveloped in fake fog that they became mere silhouettes on stage. A second encore involved such favorites as "Where is my Mind?", "Gigantic," and "Caribou." The show left fans looking like they'd been forced to pinch themselves back into reality.

**THIS JUST IN: Download your free copy of last night's show here, while it lasts.

Critic's Notebook

Personal Bias: Where to begin? Let's just say that every member of my high school garage band came out of the woodwork for last night's show. Expectations were high. Gushing was plentiful.

By the way: The show's openers, Rain Machine, appeared to be just as star-struck by the headliners as anyone in the crowd. "I can't believe we're opening for the Pixies," front man Kyp Malone (of TV on the Radio) admitted mid-set. But the Brooklyn-based band held their own, grabbing the attention of an audience hungrily awaiting the iconic indie rock band.
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