I spent the entire month of October 2004 wondering if I had wasted $35 (plus Ticketmaster convenience charges) to see a band better remembered through their records. It's not as if I assumed the Pixies reunion would be horrible, but for me purchasing a Pixies ticket was more about being able to say, "Well, at least I saw them." Despite the fact that there were no rumors or reports of the Pixies fighting, there was always the possibility that my show could be the one where the legendarily volatile group broke up again. And even if the Pixies did suck (and didn't break up), there would always be the opportunity to see the Datsuns play "Super Gyration" to a crowd of bespectacled Pitchfork readers. Actually, that in itself might have been worth the $35.
Yet, that Saturday night in Detroit, something unexpected happened: perhaps it was the crowd's reaction when the Pixies took the Fox Theatre stage. The entire theatre stood up quickly - maybe it was a sign of respect, maybe we all just wanted to see them, hell, maybe we had all gone to the same school of concert etiquette. And maybe it was the way they entered: they didn't seem like a band who had just reunited for the money. They wanted to play their songs for us, just as much as we wanted them to play for us. And the Pixies were good! Frank Black sounded fantastic, ear-rending screams and all. Kim Deal was once again the woman who all of us (yes, yes, ladies included) wanted to have as a girlfriend. And although David Lovering and Joey Santiago were overshadowed as always by those two aforementioned behemoth personalities, they too were just on that night.
After my wild night with the Pixies, I was completely hooked as never before. When I received my first record player for Christmas that year, Surfer Rosa was one of the first vinyl LPs I bought. I spent a lot of time listening to Doolittle, despite the fact that no matter how many times I heard the songs, I always caught myself thinking, "How strange" at least once during the album. Maybe it was the Surrealism-influenced lyrics, the mad dog from hell howls of Black Francis, or the pure sonic dissonance. But still, to this day, every time I hear Doolittle those factors combine to remind me of what a strange, well-loved album it actually is. And in one of the latest additions to Continuum's 33 1/3 series, Ben Sisario lovingly expounds on the oddities of Doolittle to great effect.