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Category:    Home > Reviews > Concert > Rock > Alternative > Pixies Acoustic: Live in Newport 2005 (Eagle DTS DVD)

Pixies Acoustic: ≠ Live in Newport 2005 (DTS)


Picture: B-†††† Sound: B†††† Extras: B†††† Concert: B



The Newport Folk Festival, founded in 1959 by George Wein (who had already found success with the Newport Jazz Festival), is an institution in the world of music.It defined the Folk music explosion of the 1960s, highlighting the works of now legendary performers like James Taylor, Janis Joplin, and Peter, Paul, and Mary.In 1965 Bob Dylan scandalized the proceedings by performing an electric set.


Since then the festival has remained true to its roots. Musicians such as the Indigo Girls, Sarah McLachlan, and other staples of the Lilith Faire have become fixtures. In recent years members of the Alternative Country movement, like Lucinda Williams and Wilco have been added to the roster.


On the surface it would seem that the Pixies are an odd choice for inclusion.Since their breakup in the early 90s the Pixies have come to be one of the most influential of the post-punk, pre-grunge era, the archetype of Alternative rock.They reformed in 2004 to great success, filling venues larger than they ever dreamed of during their original tenure.


Their songs are typically short and sharp, filled with riffs and obscure lyrics.Part of the magic of the Pixies has always been how the loud and raucous played off the softer moments.Itís true in the music and itís true in the way Kim Dealís soft voice complements the more bombastic vocals of Frank Black.They are in many ways the antithesis of the usual soft rock/folk-country/jam band mentality of the Newport Folk Festival.


Nevertheless, on a sunny afternoon in 2005, flanked by the ocean, sailboats, and a few thousand slightly confused audience members, the Pixies took the stage in Newport and played an acoustic set of their greatest hits. They looked a little uncomfortable, as though they realized what they were doing was a little odd, a little unsure of what their reception would be.Pixies Acoustic: ≠Live in Newport 2005 captures the concert on DVD for the first time.


Having been a Pixies fan since 1989 the setlist was comprised of songs I have heard a lot and feel very familiar with.This slight change in their presentation gave new life to old songs.There was a reason for the success of MTVís Unplugged series.Removing the electric and the studio production strips a song down to its basics, leaving it exist in a form where it succeeds or fails solely on its merits as a song.Until the last century this was true of everything; all music was folk music.


The Pixies hold up rather well.They play softer.Frank doesnít scream as much, so the lyrics and the harmonies are much clearer.They play a version of Been All Around The World, a traditional folk song, and it fits nicely with the rest of their set, serving to establish a context that proves what they do isnĻt that far removed.


The primary impact of the unplugged setup is on guitarist Joey Santiago. Many of his tools have been taken away.There is no reverb, or sustain, or feedback, just six strings and a pick. He adapts nicely, finding ways to fill those holes in, for him, new ways.The song Vamos has been a part of their live show since the inception of the band and has always served as a spotlight on Santiagoís guitar. He does not disappoint.


Neither does the decent 1.78 X 1 image, though it would have been better if it could have been anamorphically enhanced.Though the audio is here in Dolby Digital 2.0 and 5.1 mixes, the DTS has the slight edge and its great Eagle continues to keep DTS on most of their concert discs.In addition to the full concert film there are several extras, including a photo gallery and a making of featurette.All in all, the march of Pixies DVDs continues and we look forward to the next releases.



-†† Wayne Wise




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