Case Number 10069: Small Claims Court

PIXIES ACOUSTIC: LIVE IN NEWPORT

Eagle Vision // 2006 // 101 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge Rafael Gamboa (Retired) // September 26th, 2006

The Charge

Vamos a jugar por la playa

The Case

In August of 2005 the Pixies, one of the most influential alternative rock bands of the past twenty years, played their first ever acoustic concert a mere year after their reunion in Rhode Island's Newport Folk Festival, the legendary music festival that started the careers of such talents like Bob Dylan and Joan Baez. It was a historic moment, a melding of two entirely different musical worlds. They played 22 songs spanning their career, including:

1. "Bone Machine"
2. "Cactus"
3. "Ed is Dead"
4. "Been All Around the World"
5. "Subbacultcha"
6. "Monkey Gone to Heaven"
7. "Is She Weird"
8. "Here Comes Your Man"
9. "River Euphrates"
10. "Velouria"
11. "Wave of Mutilation (UK Surf)"
12. "I Bleed"
13. "Crackity Jones"
14. "Gouge Away"
15. "Hey"
16. "The Holiday Song"
17. "Nimrod's Son"
18. "Mr. Grieves"
19. "Caribou"
20. "Vamos"
21. "Where is My Mind?"
22. "Gigantic"

Being the Pixies' first-ever acoustic performance (at a folk festival!), this concert is impressive. If you didn't think the heavily electronic repertoire of songs the Pixies have amassed throughout their career could translate well into unplugged versions, prepare to be stunned. This concert is to the Pixies what MTV Unplugged in New York was to Nirvana, a surprising change of tone and a performance that demonstrates the quality and raw power of their music. The difference, of course is that while that concert signified the end of an era and had all its tragic overtones, this one represents a resurgence and an evolution, pointing to a bright and promising future. When they play, it comes with such an ease that it sounds as if they had been playing acoustic since the band's inception. While physically they appear relaxed and almost indifferent, their music flows with an energy and vitality that makes the band's eleven-year hiatus seem like it never happened. They deliver some fantastic renditions of "Crackity Jones," "The Holiday Song," "Velouria," and "Vamos," among others. Also noteworthy is "Been All Around the World," a folk song the band specifically learned for the festival and an obvious crowd-pleaser. Not only did the band play renditions of their songs in a masterful manner, but they also managed to get the originally skeptical crowd to adore them. Towards the end of the concert, the audience is approaching a crazy-ape-bonkers critical mass, and the Pixies respond by coming back on stage to play one more song. All in all, this is a truly classy performance and a wonderful concert.

The DVD is positively delightful. The sound is absolutely spectacular, and if it were anything but, I'd probably riot. The concert is shot with a sedate maturity that is devoid of MTV editing and frenetic cinematography, and it's an enormous relief to watch such an apt visual sensibility. The only problem with the video is that the quality of the transfer is nowhere near the excellence achieved in the sound department; luckily for Eagle Vision, the visuals are not as important as the music, and the vaguely Quicktime-esque image is a tiny bit more forgivable in light of the overpowering immediacy of the sound blasting from the speakers.

The DVD also comes with a rehearsal documentary, which apart from being incredibly interesting in terms of observing the creative process, is also remarkably well edited, transitioning between studio and live-audience stage rehearsals seamlessly. It's an excellent little featurette and highly entertaining, mostly due to the Pixies understated goofy humor. There's also a photo gallery of the concert, which is actually a slideshow set to Wave of Mutilation, and a preview for another DVD of a Pixies performance in Boston.

Overall, a great concert DVD. There aren't that many bands that can be better live than in studio, and the Pixies are one of them. If you are a fan of the Pixies, this is a must-have. For everyone else, this is a must-see. It's that freakin' good.

Review content copyright © 2006 Rafael Gamboa; Site layout and review format copyright © 1998 - 2014 HipClick Designs LLC

Scales of Justice
Judgment: 93

Perp Profile
Studio: Eagle Vision
Video Formats:
* Full Frame

Audio Formats:
* DTS 5.1 Surround (English)
* Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround (English)
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (English)

Subtitles:
* None

Running Time: 101 Minutes
Release Year: 2006
MPAA Rating: Not Rated

Distinguishing Marks
* "Fly on the Wall" Rehearsal Documentary
* Concert Photo Gallery
* Live at the Paradise in Boston Preview

Accomplices
* Just Another Pixies Site
http://www.pixiesmusic.com/