Whenever anybody asks me what was the best band that I have ever seen live? I always reply, “The Pixies”. “The Pixies are not only the best band that I have ever seen live, they are also the only band that I fell in love with at a live performance without having any knowledge of who they were.” If it weren’t for the Red Hot Chilli Peppers, this magical moment in my life would never have happened.
I can still remember the excitement I felt in 2005 when my friends and I bought our tickets to go see one of the biggest bands in the world playing live in Phoenix Park. It was a wonderful time in my life that I will never forget. I had just finished my Leaving Cert and surprisingly it was a beautiful summer, full of long sunny days. I had also begun to see a gorgeous girl that lived 10 minutes down the road. This was a rarity in my teenage years; I was definitely on a buzz. To top it all, I was going to see the biggest concert of the year with my friends. Yes! The Red Hot Chilli Peppers were all we could talk about.
There was great excitement and anticipation in the air as the day of the gig drew closer and closer. There were 6 of us going as a group to primarily see The Chillis. 2 girls and 4 boys. When The Pixies were announced as the support act to the Chilli Peppers, there wasn’t any scream for joy or enthusiastic response to the news among our group. The only thing that I was looking forward to was The Red Hot Chilli Peppers.
To my great ignorance, I had never heard of The Pixies before. This is a thing that I am ashamed to admit, but I would never forget that name after that gig. To this day, in 2014, if I hear person show no knowledge of The Pixies, I am always ready to preach the good name of the best band that I have ever seen live. I will open up my Samsung Tablet straight away and teach that poor naïve simpleton about ‘Debasser’, ‘Hey’, ‘Here Comes Your Man’, and of course ‘Where is My Mind?’.
My friend Ross Daly, was the only person in the group to have any knowledge of The Pixies. Ross was and still is a sublime source for alternative and underground music. I was surprised that he was going to see such a hugely popular mainstream act, but I was glad he was taking part in the group outing.
Ross was the main person talking about The Pixies in the group. I could tell that he was genuinely more excited about seeing this dirty grungy Massachusetts band the super pop friendly Chilli Peppers. I couldn’t understand it, but the more he promoted The Pixies to me, the more I became intrigued by them.
As the date of the concert drew closer, I had also found out that some of my older brother’s friends were going to the gig. To y great astonishment, they had no great interest to see The Red Hot Chilli Peppers. They were only going to see The Pixies. It was from this older and wiser source that I learnt more about the history of the band. He did a great job at emphasizing the importance of this live performance by The Pixies in Ireland. I was sold. My excitement at seeing The Pixies grew, but not at the cost of my childish excitement to see the Chillis play for the first time.
The day of the concert was finally upon us. My mother had dropped 3 of us at the front gate. My other friend was arriving with his girlfriend and her younger sister, Diane. Diane had no idea what she was in store for, attending a live Pixies gig. She was the youngest and therefore she was everybody’s responsibility.
Eventually the group met at the popular meeting point, beside the Heineken tent. Ross and I were the main ones drinking, probably in anticipation of what was about to blow us both away. Ross was like a giddy rebellious child, talking to me about The Pixies all day. This was in great contrast to the 2 girls who were dressed to impress at the Red Hot Chilli Peppers gig. Indeed, just reflecting over the whole day now, one can’t help but laugh when I remember how all the men were staring at the ass of a girl who would be crowned the future Miss Meath.
None of that mattered though; it was now time for The Pixies. Ross did a great job at reminding me, as we both led the group closer to the front, and in the middle of a very lively crowd. Poor Diane had no idea she was walking into the middle of a big group of angry male testosterone angst.
The rebel inside me fell in love at the first chord. The crowd went nuts as a sensation came over me that I had never felt before at any other gig. My mind, body, and soul gave in to this collective movement. I gave everything I had to The Pixies and in return they gave everything to me. Ross felt exactly what I felt during that performance, telling me all the song names and embracing me with great joy.
Our happiness was cut short at the end though. Ross and I were having the time of our lives, but poor young Diane was having an awful time. She was reduced to tears after numerous men kept pouring beer and water down here tank top and somebody kicked her in the head from crowd surfing. The group had decided to take a break from this magical performance due to Diane’s tears. Ross and I were close to tears walking away from The Pixies.
Even though I missed the end of their performance, I still say to this day that The Pixies are the best band that I have ever seen live. The Chilli Peppers were also good that day but nowhere near the level that The Pixies were on. I didn’t know a single song of The Pixies before that day, now I can’t stop listening to them. I will always remember that day as the day I fell in love with The Pixies.