A friend and fellow music writer once shared with me the details of his “No Legends” policy. He’d vowed never to attend a live performance by any of his personal musical icons. It was intended to spare himself the experience of seeing washed-up artists humiliate themselves and ultimately ruin all the good times he’d shared with their records. It’s why I still haven’t seen Bob Dylan, it’s why I don’t think I’d go see Gram Parsons if someone were to dig up his corpse (again) and bring him back to life. And it’s mostly why I didn’t see the reunited Pixies perform even once during their marathon eight-night stint in New York City in late 2004.
I say mostly because I was also never particularly comfortable with the openly financial reasons for the reunion. Of course, in a deft move, the legendary indie rock band beat me to the punch, naming their new live DVD The Pixies Sell Out, and so because of their preemptive admission of greed, all is supposed to be forgiven. In my book, though, it’s not.
The DVD is fine, I suppose: it includes over 30 uncut performances from the band’s world tour, and the quality is generally pretty high. They’re as tight as ever, and Frank Black (or whatever we’re supposed to be calling him these days) still manages to scream louder and more convincingly than most anyone. They look bored at times, though, and it’s hard not to feel the same way — especially considering they give us nothing in terms of bonus features but a few minutes worth of interviews with people close to the band. Like most aspects of the reunion, it feels like a slap in the face.