Tuesday, December 14, 2004


Saw The Pixies last night at Hammerstein Ballroom, with Mission of Burma opening. These are two bands that formed in Massachusetts, where I was also formed, and stopped playing in 1992 and 1983 respectively. (I stopped playing some time around 1979.) I had never seen either perform live, despite being a fan of both since the late '80s. The show was breathtakingly good, pummelling in its generosity, and forgiving (to us older types) in its timeliness. I'll spare you the usual set list rundown -- both bands played all their "hits," the Pixies most of their first three albums.

In the jacket I happened to be wearing to the show I found a ticket stub from Oct. 1994: my first Dylan concert, attended with no less than the author of this fine tome. That was a jaw-droppingly good show. Until then I'd studiously avoided seeing any performers I thought were merely nostalgia acts coasting on past glories. Boy was I wrong. I've since seen Dylan several more times, and once disabused of my belief that it's not worth seeing a band or performer past their (perceived) prime, I've gone on to see amazing shows by the Ramones (ver. 3.0), Television, and Rocket from the Tombs (with Richard Lloyd in for the late Peter Laughner) (& not to be confused with this band), possibly others I don't now remember. I had been operating under the misguided assumption that a reunion tour was just another name for filthy lucre, a cash-in with zero relevance, when I later realized that as long as the performer was committed to the material --- and I still liked it --- it made little difference when I heard it played, as long as I got to hear it, delivered fresh.

Naturally, there are exceptions, and some bands should of course just stop. And others should really stay stopped.


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