November 16, 2009
September 4, 1989. “Buses will leave from the K-Mart/Regency Theater parking lot on Parley’s Way (21st South Parley’s Way) in Salt Lake City at 2:00am Monday morning September 4th.”
The letter later reads, “The concert is at “Fiddler’s Green” and will begin at 5:00pm. ... The Cure is playing with Love & Rockets and The Pixies. It will be a great show!”
This was KJQ’s “Bus Ride to Disintegration”. A local radio station’s sponsored trip to Denver as the tour was not making a stop in Salt Lake City. I was 17 and it was my first chance to see artists that at the time, and even today, profoundly changed my life and have since gone on to influence generations. The bus ride was 12-hours each way from Salt Lake City to Denver. Now twenty years later, I’m making that same journey back. This time however, it’s only a 60-minute flight. Getting older does have some advantages.
If you have never heard Doolittle, get it. It’s an album of fifteen songs, all under four minutes each, that will forever appear on the “Top X of Y” lists.
To celebrate the 20th anniversary of the album Doolittle and the band’s gigantic Minotaur box set, the band toured Europe in October and is now hitting the states to perform the album in its entirety along with its b-sides. As was done during their 2004 “Sell Out” tour, many of this tour’s shows are being recorded and available for purchase as either a Limited Edition double CD ($23.50) or digital download ($14). Collector Edition 2GB USB wristbands are also available which include four live tracks from the Doolittle tour in Europe and five bonus videos. A four-song EP is also now available online.
As the lights went out, clips from the 1929 film “Un chien andalou” were shown. If you’re not familiar with the film, it was the inspiration to Doolittle’s opening track, Debaser. Think “slicing up eyeballs”...
“B-sides!” screamed Kim Deal to kick off the sold-out shows as singer/guitarist Black Francis belted out “Dance The Manta Ray”, b-side to Monkey Gone To Heaven. In all, six different b-sides were played as bookends to Doolittle ranging from die-hard fan favorites like Bailey’s Walk to the more mainstream UK Surf version of Wave of Mutilation.
Hearing Doolittle live it’s hard to believe that this album is 20-years old. Throughout both of the shows, Black Francis (@MrBlackFrancis) left his vocals for the singing/screaming while bassist/vocalist Kim Deal provided brief commentary through the tracks, smiling the entire way through. At one point, during the second night, she briefly paused and smiled for a photograph being taken.
Both nights the final encore (per Deal, “songs not on the album”) was done with the house lights on. Monday’s show included a five-song Come On Pilgrim/Surfer Rosa set while the second night included the post-Doolittle hit, Umass, crowd favorite Gigantic, and closed with the epic Vamos.
I saw the Pixies twice during my teen years (the second time at the legendary Palladium in Salt Lake City). When the band broke up in 1993 after releasing two more albums, I never imagined I’d ever see them play again. Yet in 2004 they re-appeared and began selling out shows all over the world. It was a chance for the the Gen Ys and Zs to witness one of the legends that paved the way for much of today’s modern music.
Even if the Pixies never do record any new material, fans have never been short on the many solo albums a side-projects. Black Francis/Frank Black (Charles Thompson IV) has released several solo albums under monikers Frank Black, Frank Black and the Catholics, Black Francis, and most recently Grand Duchy. Kim Deal has released work under The Breeders and The Amps. Santiago (@JoeySantiago) and Lovering (@DavidLovering) have recently began a project together called The Everybody.
A lot has happened in my past 20 years: a marriage, a child, a divorce, another marriage, larger pants... Yet the music is the same and you better believe I’m still standing in the front row feeling 17 all over again.