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The organisers of Sydney’s Vivid festival hit Pixies fans for six when they announced a four-night residency at the Opera House. Suffice it to say, anticipation was high, and expectations were met and exceeded in one of the finest gigs of the year.
Not ones to fuck around, the Pixies served up a professional performance, with minimal chatter and zero cheesy rockstar-cliché behaviour. Frontman Black Francis led the charge alongside regular cohorts Joey Santiago on lead guitar and David Lovering on drums. Former bassist Kim Deal is still out of the band — though there is an open invitation for her to return — but her most recent replacement, the delectable Paz Lenchantin, formerly of A Perfect Circle and Zwan, was faultless.
While it was a little odd to be seated for a Pixies performance, the payout was the scrumptious Opera House acoustics. Opening with an epic trifecta of Bone Machine, Wave Of Mutilation, and U-Mass, it was clear the crowd was in for something special. The band served up a fan’s wet dream – a greatest hits set combined with a few cuts from new album Indie Cindy, such as Bagboy and What Goes Boom.
Pixies left little time for contemplation as they reeled off the big singles, fan favourites, and timeless classics – and rest assured, they have them all. From the galloping rock of Nimrod’s Son, to Caribou’s twisted fury and the thrash-like Vamos, this was virtuoso rock at its best. After a jaw-dropping 24-song set, it was time for a break and the inevitable encore.
Most of the crowd rose to its feet and began dancing to an encore of The Holiday Song, Mr Grieves, and Debaser, followed by Tony’s Theme. Okay, Pixies, mind blown. At the stroke of 10pm, the house lights were illuminated as the Opera House curfew arrived. The band fired off their final rock and roll rocket in the form of Planet Of Sound and fans went appropriately wild.
The Pixies are often credited for laying the groundwork for what was to become the indie rock of the ’90s. Alongside Dinosaur Jr, they offered an alternative to cheesy ’80s pop and hair metal, influencing a generation of young aspiring musicians. And as one of the finest American bands of the last 30 years, they most certainly cemented their authority with a sizzling Opera House performance that was equal parts beautiful, loud, and sonically tight as hell.
Watch: Pixies – Greens and Blues
Wave of Mutilation
Ed Is Dead
La La Love You
Greens and Blues
Brick Is Red
Isla de Encanta
What Goes Boom
I’ve Been Tired
Monkey Gone to Heaven
Where Is My Mind?
Here Comes Your Man
The Holiday Song
Planet of Sound