Pixies, Vector Arena, Auckland, March 2011
Finally! Pixies make it to New Zealand! There were always stories (“There were rumours”) way back the late, late 80s around student radio circles that they were very close to signing up for an Orientation tour, but the fee wanted was to much, so Kiwi fans had to miss out, and wait for not only the reunion, but a second full reunion and world tour. I mean let’s face it - no band does a World Tour until they play Nu Zillund… unfortunately for most people south of the Bombay Hills, ‘New Zealand Tour’ means Auckland. Of course we went. We flew up, stayed the an extra night, and saw some buds. This was the biggest cult I have ever seen. People came out of the woodwork to see this reformed late 80s alternative band, packing the whole floor and most of the seating in Vector - 8,000-10,000 punters? Looking round we saw people we had not seen in years, folks lost to us in Super City 09, and there they were… waving… smiling… waiting for Black Francis to wail. The show, and tour, were billed as Doolittle - the band playing all its singles, B-sides, then the album tracks in order. Loved hearing ‘Bailey’s Walk’, ‘Manta Ray’ and ‘Into The White’ live. It was kind of relaxed, for a stadium gig I think, bit of banter - well, Deal being a goof as usual. The core songs off Doolittle, those beauties that perfectly exemplify Pixies’ loud, quiet, loud philosophy rocked: ‘Debaser’, ‘Tame’ and ‘Dead’ were top shelf. This idea of playing entire albums in order can be fraught with danger if there are weak tracks, but Doolittle is a beauty of a record, and it was very cool to hear them all roll of in order - it reminded me of what a great record it is, and rekindled love for songs I’d forgotten a little, tunes drowned out by the bombast of those mentioned above. I mean, how good are ‘Silver’, ‘No. 13 Baby’, ‘Crackity Jones’ and ‘There Goes My Gun’? It may have been a bit of a love in, a little smug and sing-along, but we had been waiting a long time in New Zealand… we were allowed to enjoy this weren’t we? The end part of the show, after Doolittle had been run through, was a selection off Come On Pilgrim, Surfer Rosa, Trompe Le Monde and Bossanova: ‘Nimrod’s Son’, ‘Caribou’, ‘Vamos’,‘Isla de Encanta’, ‘Bone Machine’, ‘U-Mass’… ‘Gigantic’. And to cap it all off, they turned the house lights up so we could all see one another, and sing along to ‘Where Is My Mind?’. Then we all hooked up in a pub afterwards for drinks - I think there was 20 or so people with old, vague Palmy connections who by chance all walked into the same pub down Vulcan Lane. I know all the hits are epic, and I had seen those ‘big tunes’ before - I actually got a kick out of hearing ‘There Goes My Gun’ live.