Pixies w/ the Datsuns (Thursday, November 11th, 2004, Roy Wilkins
Auditorium, St. Paul)
The Drive 105 kickoff party at Station 4 would have been a good place to go if you were ticket-less prior to show time. The alternative rock station gave away 20 free tickets to maybe only 3 dozen people who entered the drawing, so your chances were pretty good. Unlike the Fine Line show in April for which people were selling their first born just to sniff a real ticket, people were outside Roy Wilkins even after the opening band had started trying to get rid of them. Some for free, no less. And free is a tough price to compete with, though I heard a smart alec ask how much they would pay him to take one off their hands as he entered the show.
Drive 105 also provided a limousine service up 4th St. from Station 4 to River Centre. Ironically, the radio in the van/limo was blaring 93X. A Star Limo employee had a homemade Pixies mix he popped in had trouble getting it to play in either of the van’s CD player. No bother though, the ride was like 180 seconds long. (A picture of the van ride will be online shortly when my photographer Anna Lee submits it.)
Our supposed 13th row didn’t mean much as the main floor was general
admission, though this was actually a blessing since we were then free
to move around and stand wherever we liked. Even the back of the room
at Roy Wilkins isn’t too far from the stage. The auditorium feels
like a much larger version of the First Avenue Main Room with the drawback
that the sound is about 5 times worse echoing off the concrete walls and
floor. Openers the Datsuns looked
a little silly and small on the big stage. Contrast that to they way they
dominated the 400 Bar stage when I saw them there two years ago. Overall
Roy Wilkins is not the best place to hear a rock show, but at least you
can see whether you’re on the main floor or in the single balcony
above with the vast majority of people.
The Pixies set Thursday was much like Wednesday’s, reviewed fairly by Chris Riemenschneider and Ross Raihalla, though Thursday they opened with the jazzy “Is She Weird,” and wasted no time hitting the cover song, Jesus and Mary Chain’s “Head On.” They bounced into “U-Mass,” “Monkey’s Gone to Heaven” and “Cactus” and barreled through a set list that would give no hardcore fan reason to complain. But it wasn’t until about 20 songs into their offering of 30 songs +2 encores that I was able to get into the spirit of things, in spite of an extended version (no pun intended) of “Gigantic” being a definite crowd pleaser mid set.
It was during “Debaser” that I saw the girl in the black tank top and faded jeans who had carved out a circle towards the back of the room stage left dancing like I have not seen many people dance at American arena shows. Her enthusiasm so close by did much to give me at least a small taste of the overwhelming joy that was omnipresent when I saw the Pixies this summer at the Roskilde Festival in Denmark. There, if you looked 50 feet in any direction regardless of where you were in the crowd you would see both women and men not afraid to let people know how much they were enjoying themselves. Tank top girl danced on through the fast version of “Wave of Mutilation” and only stopped for the rather un-danceable “In Heaven Everything is Fine (Lady in The Radiator Song)” which I should point out again is a cover, and from the soundtrack of Eraserhead, despite the fact that not just a few fans think it’s a Pixies original since they have adopted it as their own.
Frank Black fucked up the lyrics on another version of “Nimrod’s Son” which had played earlier. The band quit the song and Black asked, “Should we just end like that?” “Thank you good night,” he said and the band left the stage.
Two encores followed. First, The UK Surf version of “Wave of Mutilation” and finally the “Vamos” with Santiago, who had more than one moment in the sun during this show, standing his guitar to face the audience, juggling a drumstick and ultimately playing his guitar with the stick as Frank Black sat on the drum riser strumming his acoustic guitar. Santiago tossed the drum stick to drummer David Lovering who caught it and brilliantly hit the snare without missing a beat.
“Thanks. Goodnight,” said Black again, and this time he meant it.
Postscript: After the Pixies I headed to the Cabooze for the Missing: Code Blue Benefit where Romantica played a top notch headlining set to a practically empty room. Why these guys aren’t as big as the Olympic Hopefuls yet, I do not know, but I cast my vote for them for the City Pages Picked To Click issue (on stands next week) and hope they do go “click click click” in the New Year. One local radio personality in the audience suggested that it takes a little longer for the kind of music Romantica purveys to sink in. I agree, and that may be one of the reason’s I’ve been holding back finishing the review I’ve still got in the can from a brilliant set they did at Lee’s a few weeks ago with Dana Thompson. When people do finally get, it, expect Romantica’s shows to be packed. Seriously, they are one of the Twin Cities finest current offerings. Their music is fresh, yet comfortably familiar. You will love them, even if like me, it takes you a while to figure out why.
On the way out of the Cabooze, somehow we stumbled into Whiskey Junction for a late night drinking session and the "official" Pixies after-party where one man band Brian Herb was playing drums and guitar simultaneously and a mixed bag of requests, including the Pixies “Something Against You.”
Pixies Set List - Roy Wilkins Auditorium - St. Paul - 11/11/04
1. Is She Weird?
Wave UK Surf
Thanks to Daisy Girl and others on the Frank
Black discussion board for filling in the missing pieces on this set