Pixies Play Doolittle at Eugene’s Hult Center

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Pixies performing, photo by rstoker on Flickr

Fun fact: Pixies frontman Black Francis and I share a birthday. Whether this is mere coincidence or evidence of a divine orchestration responsible for my ongoing love of this band I’ll leave for believers and skeptics to debate.

I vividly remember putting the Pixies’ Doolittle on for the first time and listening to it in the car on the way to school. Predictably, “Debaser” remains my favorite song, etched into my brain as soon as I heard that predatory bass guitar. Hearing Black Francis’s scream for the first time was like getting a punch in the stomach that shakes out all your dust and cobwebs. It was exhilarating and dangerous, and it changed the way I felt about rock and roll.

IMG_0444You can imagine my excitement as Mallory and I shuffled into the Hult Center in Eugene to see them perform their seminal album in sequence, in its entirety. To the possible chagrin of my fellow concert-goers’ indie hipster pretenses, I couldn’t suppress my smile. Neither could bassist Kim Deal or drummer David Lovering for the entirety of their set.

The band played the best I’ve ever heard to one of the most enthusiastic crowds I’ve ever been a part of. Doolittle was impressively solid, accompanied by some unique and appropriately atmospheric visuals (possibly a first for the band). Hearing the collective audience’s voices swell with the lyrics of “Hey” as they echoed throughout the beautiful concert hall was one of many highlights. The set was book-ended with a selection of b-sides, both oft-heard (“Dancing the Manta Ray”) and rarely performed (“Bailey’s Walk”).

The house lights came on as the Pixies took the stage for their final encore of the night, a visual indication that the Doolittle theme had been discarded in favor of roaring through songs like “Isla De Encanta” and “Where Is My Mind?” We exited the theater completely exhilarated and in disbelief. Despite having seen a Pixies performance in some form or another four times prior, they had outdone themselves almost effortlessly. Simply a stunning display.

Pixies are offering a four-track sampler of their live set for free. While I don’t think it matches the primal splendor of their live experience, it might be just the taste you need to seek them out.

The Set List

  1. Dancing the Manta Ray
  2. Weird At My School
  3. Bailey's Walk
  4. Manta Ray
  5. Debaser
  6. Tame
  7. Wave of Mutilation
  8. I Bleed
  9. Here Comes Your Man
  10. Dead
  11. Monkey Gone To Heaven
  12. Mr. Grieves
  13. Crackity Jones
  14. La La Love You
  15. Number 13 Baby
  16. There Goes My Gun
  17. Hey
  18. Silver
  19. Gouge Away
Encore 1
  1. Wave Of Mutilation (UK Surf)
  2. Into The White
Encore 2
  1. Gigantic
  2. Isla De Encanta
  3. Nimrod's Son
  4. Where Is My Mind?