Pixies - Acoustic: Live in Newport Review
by Zane Ewton
The Pixies have released what seems like a flood of DVDs since their reunion in 2004. The most current release surrounds the band's acoustic performance at the 2005 Newport Folk Festival.
The Newport Folk Festival is set on the shore of the Atlantic Ocean in Newport, Rhode Island. This haven for folkies and hippies has been an annual event for some forty years. History will remember the Newport Folk Festival as the place where Bob Dylan first went electric. The normally docile folk crowd wanted to rip Dylan's throat out and offer it as a sacrifice to Pete Seeger.
The Pixies may have been an odd choice for a festival where people on yachts float a hundred yards from the stage and the crowd believes personal space doesn't need to be shared with other sweaty fans.
Frank Black is no stranger to acoustic performances and probably wrote most of the Pixies songs on a beat up acoustic guitar. Kim Deal and Joey Santiago seem to be absolutely petrified by the idea though, and it takes both of them several songs to loosen up.
The set list was the same songs that the band had used for their reunion tour. The impeccable set list is infected with some new dimensions when performed acoustically. "Wave of Mutilation" is specifically a highlight, as well as a traditional folk song called "Been All Around the World". The cover would fit perfectly on Black's solo album, but has that extra something special with Deal's background vocals.
The Newport crowd doesn't necessarily know what to do with the Pixies but they are receptive and appreciative. The whole concert, once you get past the initial shock of seeing the Pixies out in the sun with white tents blowing in the wind and yachts floating by, becomes a little tedious. The show would have been perfect set on an album; the visual companion just gets boring after a while.
The bonus featurette is amusing. The stories about the Pixies not getting along or whatever are replaced with the nervous energy of preparing for the show. Watching the band go through rehearsals and a few warm-up acoustic gigs shows Black in a jovial mood, obviously excited to step on the same stage as some of his heroes, Deal doesn't like to play acoustic and Lovering and Santiago stay quiet and play.
Overall, the DVD is quite good. The music is incredible, and anyone looking to see the Pixies in a new light will be mighty pleased. Musically, they have yet to go wrong.
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Pixies - Acoustic: Live in Newport
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