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Rhino presents
Pixies Sell Out (2005)

"Here are these legends in music who said they would never get back together."
- Myles Mangino (Production Manager/Lighting Designer)

Review By: Dan Heaton   
Published: October 28, 2005

Stars: Frank Black, Kim Deal, Joey Santiago, David Lovering
Director: Fabien Raymond

MPAA Rating: Not Rated for (includes a few instances of adult language)
Run Time: 01h:22m:26s
Release Date: October 04, 2005
UPC: 603497041824
Genre: rock

Image Transfer
Audio Transfer
B B+B+B B-

DVD Review

Since the early 1990s, countless devoted fans have dreamed of the day that the Pixies would reunite to show today's pretenders how to truly rock. This apparently futile hope actually became reality in 2004 when the group's original four members actually decided to return for a world tour. These shows consisted entirely of greatest hits from the past, but the excited crowds wouldn't have it any other way. Playing to venues much larger than during their past career, the Pixies earned loads of money while offering sets that covered all their memorable hits. Entering this ambitious concert schedule, two essential questions remained on fans' minds: Could the Pixies still gel musically, and would the once-feuding members get along?

Pixies Sell Out offers a complete 27-song concert from the Eurockeenes Festival in Belfort, France that occurred on July 3, 2004. Singer/guitarist Frank Black (or Black Francis), bassist/singer Kim Deal, guitarist Joey Santiago, and drummer David Lovering all return to rock a large outdoor crowd and obviously believe that the band can do no wrong. Considering the overall concert, they are correct, as the Pixies remain tight and on the ball during most of the songs. Highlights include such classics as Monkey Gone to Heaven, Where is My Mind?, and Wave of Mutilation along with less notable gems like River Euphrates and Broken Face. There are a few missteps, however, especially when Black strains his voice to carry songs that he once could voice easily (Tame, Hey). Some up-tempo tracks also lose steam and seem to fall short of the really crackling hooks that once pushed their melodies forward (Crackity Jones, Holiday).

For readers unfamiliar with the Pixies, here is a basic overview of their origins and career. The band initially formed in Boston in 1986 and quickly began to gain notice as a unique rock foursome. They release the EP Come on Pilgrim in 1987 and continued to build and underground following with each subsequent release. Their creative peak occurred in 1989 with the release of Doolittle, which included their most recognizable hit Here Comes Your Man. The group would go on to release two more albums, but they grew increasingly unhappy in the situation and pursued side projects. Following their breakup in 1993, Deal gained considerable success as the frontwoman of the Breeders, who earned a major alternative hit with Cannonball. Black released numerous solo albums over the years and reached a solid number of fans each year. Santiago worked on film scores, and Lovering actually became a musician. No one really expected the four talented individuals to actually play together again, but the announcement about the reunion tour was greeted with tremendous enthusiasm.

Here is the track list for the main feature:
1. Bone Machine
2. Wave of Mutilation (UK Surf)
3. In Heaven
4. Something Against You
5. River Euphrates
6. U-Mass
7. Bone Machine
8. Cactus
9. Ed Is Dead
10. I Bleed
11. Monkey Gone to Heaven
12. Hey
13. Levitate Me
14. Subbacultcha
15. Dead
16. Gouge Away
17. Velouria
18. Mr. Grieves
19. Crackity Jones
20. Broken Face
21. Isla De Encanta
22. Tame
23. Here Comes Your Man
24. The Holiday Song
25. Where Is My Mind?
26. Vamos
27. Wave of Mutilation
28. Gigantic

This concert film begins with an awkward version of Bone Machine that includes video and audio from numerous concerts. The sound changes make this an awkward beginning, as it varies considerably with each switch. The track is played again during the main concert, so its choice as the opener also seems strange. I would have preferred beginning with Debaser, which comes as close to encapsulating the band as any song. Viewers who prefer their live acts to jump around should also be warned—the Pixies rarely move on stage. Also, there is basically no banter of any kind, which allows the music to do all the talking. Few things have changed over the year for this act, who remain among the better rock acts to take the stage.

Rating for Style: B
Rating for Substance: B+


Image Transfer

Aspect Ratio1.85:1 - Widescreen
Original Aspect Ratioyes

Image Transfer Review: Pixies Sell Out utilizes a solid 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen transfer that effectively presents the band rocking the stage in Belfort, France and other packed venues. The images are a bit dark, but this fact is mostly due to the lighting schemes chosen by the Pixies and the general concert atmosphere. This concert DVD does not offer the sharp clarity of the best releases, but it does give viewers a decent perspective on the show.

Image Transfer Grade: B+


Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
Dolby Digital

Audio Transfer Review: This disc falls considerably short of providing the crisp, pristine audio offered by the top-notch DVD concert releases. Two sound options are offered—a powerful, slightly muddled 2.0-channel stereo transfer and a quieter 5.1-channel track that is a bit clearer. I actually preferred the rougher stereo transfer, but both offer at least an acceptable listening experience. The lack of a truly booming audio choice is disappointing, but there are no major flaws with the included transfers.

Audio Transfer Grade: B


Disc Extras

Animated menu with music
Music/Song Access with 28 cues and remote access
Packaging: generic plastic keepcase
Picture Disc
1 Disc
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: dual

Extra Extras:
  1. 14 Bonus Performances (with interviews)
  2. Mix Monkey's Choice (multi-angle views)
  3. Collectible Booklet
Extras Review: Pixies Sell Out includes 15 additional performances from a wide array of concert locations that nicely complements the main feature. Certain tracks are doubles of songs already offered, but the versions usually offer something different this time. The major bonus is the inclusion of excellent tunes like Debaser, Planet of Sound, and Into the White that did not appear in the Belfort show. The concert sites range between a hometown show in Lowell, Massachusetts, headlining the Austin City Limits Festival, and an enthusiastic set at the Move Festival in Manchester, England. The performances are introduced with brief comments from Tour Manager Richard Jones and Production Manager/Lighting Designer Myles Magino. While it is unfortunate to receive no material from any of the Pixies themselves, these guys do offer notable insights concerning the extra tracks.

Extras Grade: B-


Final Comments

Pixies Sell Out showcases the triumphant return of the four-piece band that pre-dated the "alternative" movement and inspired such popular acts as Nirvana, Pearl Jam, and many others. This concert may not be the perfect release, but it should please viewers like this reviewer who were not able to catch them during the reunion tour. With plans for a new album in the works, the Pixies should remain a household name for years to come and draw many younger fans into the fold.


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