The Pixies wrapped up their North American Head Carrier tour with three nights in NYC, including two at the shiny new Brooklyn Steel that’s been open all of two weeks from the time this review goes live. We were at the second night at Brooklyn Steel – the last night of the tour – and wow, what a show this ended up being to kick off a holiday weekend. I knew the band worked hard, but I didn’t realize just how hard until they wrapped up the tour with a 31-song performance that consisted of nothing but music. No talking between songs, very few breaks, just one song right after another all crammed into two hours.
Wow, what’s there to say about that? I’ve never seen a band play that many songs before. Obviously, the setlist is way too long to list, so I’ll tell you where it started and where it ended, and throw in a few other noteworthy tunes in between. The night kicked off with Gouge Away and came to an end with Into the White, and in between were a host of numbers from 7 different albums and one cover. The notables were: Monkey Gone to Heaven, Debaser, Hey, Subbacultcha, Head Carrier, Um Chagga Lagga and Velouria.
Let’s get right out and say it: obviously they played way more songs, and obviously 31 is too many to go through – I’m not even gonna list it at the bottom like we usually do – but 31 songs, man. That’s insane in a great way. No band plays that many songs, and it’s a testament to just how much The Pixies love their fans and love being on stage. If I were paying for the show I’d be really happy with what I got for the cost of a ticket, and I can’t imagine anyone inside the sold-out Brooklyn Steel was complaining about the cost of a ticket, unlike when we saw ZZ Top, who barely played an hour to the tune of $75.
That’s not to say that I’m not happy with the show, I loved the show, it was great and The Pixies were awesome once I survived the opening act. If you’ve read this far, this is where I admit what you’re probably asking yourself: Yes, the songs all sound the same after a while, but to play 31 songs is the definition of “giving the fans their money’s worth”, and these cats do a better job of making their fans happy than any band I’ve ever seen. Other bands should really take note, though, and take a cue from The Pixies: play what the fans want to hear, even if that means shutting your yap long enough to squeeze a few extra songs in.
Everyone knows musicians like to talk and interact with fans, and the fans enjoy it to an extent, but The Pixies do absolutely none of that and just keep going, and it resonates as one of the coolest performances I’ve ever seen. For a band to go that hard for two hours and leave absolutely everything out there – including an epic smoke show during Into the White – it says a lot about the band. The Pixies will be around again eventually, and I recommend seeing them if you like even a few of their songs. You’ll get your money’s worth and more, no doubt.
Photo gallery below. Photos by Sean Murphy.