Should seminal, era-defining bands ever reform? Would The Clash still be held with as much respect if they'd ever staged a big, one-off reunion gig? Is the reason that old Stone Roses and Smiths records still sound so thrilling down to the fact that we'll never hear them being played live again, year after year, in a big park in London? Really, is anyone that excited about the forthcoming return of Happy Mondays?
These questions flashed through everyone's mind when it was announced in 2004 that the Pixies were reforming. Make no mistake, this was the seminal, era-defining band of a generation. Nirvana may have sold more records, but it was Black Francis, Kim Deal, Joey Santiago and David Lovering who laid the foundations for their success.
So a reunion tour had the dangers of trampling over many fans memories - would they still sound as viscerally exciting, as intense, as plain bloody scary as they used to be? This DVD tells the story of the band's reunion tour and proves that any fears were groundless. Concentrating on the band's festival appearances through 2004, the main feature is the July gig at the Eurockeennes Festival in Belfort, France while the 'bonus performances' in the special features are almost a gig in themselves, being edited from seven different shows.
The French gig is the main attraction here and is the perfect illustration of just how good the Pixies are live. After a expertly edited montage of performances of Bone Machine, the proper show begins with the slowed down, 'UK Surf' version of Wave Of Mutilation. It may not be the chaotic rush of a start that many people would have imagined, but they sound note perfect.
Through 28 tracks, the band effortlessly show just why they were, and still are, so important. The raw, punky screech of Something About You, the twisted love song of Cactus and the anthemic Velouria, every single song here is a stone-cold classic. Even Subbacultucha, from the less celebrated Trompe Le Monde album can be reappraised here - has any other song in history contained a line as surreally wonderful as "I was looking handsome, she was looking like an erotic vulture"?
It's a performance full of great moments - the crowd performing the 'wee-woo' backing vocals on Where Is My Mind, Joey Santiago's incredible guitar solo on Vamos and, in what is still one of the coolest moments in rock history, Black Francis' drawl of "rock me, Joe" during Monkey Gone To Heaven.
The sound is magnificent throughout, and it's impossible to watch this without cranking up the volume. The picture quality is perfect as well, making it a much better proposition technically than the last Pixies DVD which showcased the 1988 gig at the Town & Country gig.
The bonus performances are taken from seven other festival gigs all around the world, including Scotland, Manchester, Japan and Boston. There's the option to watch these performances interspersed with some interesting interviews with the band's English tour manager Richard Jones and Myles Mangino, the Production Manager and Lighting Designer for the band. This also gives the opportunity to see some footage shot by the crew which reveals that Peter Kay's Phoenix Nights is required viewing on the tour bus!
Finally, there's also a multi-angle version of Monkey Gone To Heaven which will probably be played only once except for the most hardcore of fan. As a souvenir of one of the best bands in the world's reunion tour, this really can't be beaten and it whets the appetite for that long awaited studio album due out next year. Of course, it won't be as good as Surfer Rosa...surely?