The Pixies

Burton Cummings Theatre, Winnipeg MB - April 14, 2004

BY Rob NayPublished May 1, 2004

Reflected in the fact it sold out in less than four minutes, the Pixies' concert in Winnipeg was one of the most fervently anticipated performances in years. Despite dropping its initial status as the first reunion show in 12 years, an honour Minneapolis gained the night before, the band's appearance didn't lose any of its significance for the audience. As Hüsker Dü's seminal Zen Arcade rang through the speakers, the Pixies walked on stage and delivered a vehemently stunning set. The band's show unfurled with the commanding splendour of an ornate fireworks display. Firmly rooted in place, Joey Santiago pulled sharp, tuneful notes from his guitar; David Lovering pounded his drum kit with propulsive sophistication; and both Frank Black and Kim Deal's voices resounded with consummate melodies. Opening with a cover of Neil Young's "Winterlong," the group played over 20 songs. Apart from a couple of tunes sped up to nearly frantic speeds, there were almost no signs of rustiness. In numerous instances, the band displayed a remarkable ability to merge songs into a mesmerising succession. "In Heaven" faded deftly into a sublime rendition of "Wave of Mutilation," followed by a rousing version of "Bone Machine." The nearly uninterrupted sequence of songs was enthralling. The group performed charged versions of a couple of tunes from its final two records. The show's focus, however, rested firmly on earlier ground, with nearly half of both Surfer Rosa and Doolittle being played, along with many songs from Come On Pilgrim. All were greeted with boisterous applause. Tunes such as "Monkey Gone To Heaven," "The Holiday Song" and the first encore, "Gigantic," contained the same fierce urgency as they did when first released. With incendiary brilliance, the Pixies' show conveyed why they are one of the most influential bands of the past 20 years.

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