Guided By Voices - Philadelphia, PA - 09/10/04

By paul

Guided By Voices, "The Electrifying Conclusion"
Philadelphia, Theatre Of Living Arts
Friday September 10, 2004

I do like Guided By Voices, but am by no means their biggest fan. There any many more people who are endlessly devoted to this band. Shortly after seeing the video for "Motor Away" on 120 minutes years ago, I've been cognizant 2 things about GBV:

  1. Bob Pollard is one of the most prolific songwriters of our time, releasing about an album a year with usually over 20 songs a shot.
  2. Bob Pollard has also penned some of the best indie rock/indie pop songs/albums of the 90s and early 2000s.

What I learned this past Friday is that people are also devoted to GBV because:
Guided By Voices are one of the best rock and roll shows around, putting to shame many a lesser band.

Guided By Voices sold out the TLA in Philadelphia, because people knew - if anything else - that they would be witnessing a spectacle of a performance. GBV delivered in a big way, playing old and new favorites from their vast catalog of classics for 3 solid hours. If you've never seen GBV live there are a few things you should know. They are loud, they play their asses off, and they drink until they can't play anymore. According to a friend who's been seeing them play for years, the cooler on stage filled with Miller Lite bottles and the extra bottles of Tequila and Vodka are standard stage setup for a GBV show. The funniest things that resulted from this? The bassist spun around and knocked half the drum set over. Their guitarist Nate also fell off the amps (about 7 or 8 feet higg) on the left side of the stage after trying to rock out on top of them.

The other thing that was so great about seeing GBV live is Bob Pollard himself, the consummate frontman for *the* rock and roll experience. Obviously a big Who fan, when Bob gets worked up he starts doing jump kicks (ala David Lee Roth but much less gymnast-like), he twirls the microphone around (always catching it just in time to sign the next verse), and he also works the crowd, who laps it up endlessly. Bob made sure we all knew that GBV were "touring professionals" of rock and roll. Yes, I love GBV's music, but to discount how much of an experience their live show is - with all these things happening at once - would be missing the point almost entirely. The audience was just as relentless too, pogo-ing and moshing to most songs during the set.

So the music? Despite all the alcohol consumed that night the band were in incredible form. The newer material from "Half Smiles Of The Decomposed" sounded great in the mix with many of the older songs. "I Am A Tree" (my personal favorite GBV song) was a tour de force of guitars and melody. "Tractor Rape Chain" was a crowd pleaser. Bob Pollard was sure to play "Game Of Pricks" arguing that while the Stones always have to play "Satisfaction" in their set, GBV always have to play "Pricks". Actually for most songs, Bob introduced them all by name, also making sure we knew which album or EP they were from, too. By the time the 45 minute encore was underway, the whole audience was singing along with the likes of "Teenage FBI" and "Glad Girls" and just about all of their songs.

The last thing I can say about this show is unfortunately this is GBV's last tour (hence the title "The Electrifying Conclusion"). The show started that night with a short film, titled "Guided By Voices, 1983 - 2004", filled with images of the band throughout their 21 years. In a weird way, people didn't know whether to be excited at the show which was about to start or sad, because it would be one of the last times they would ever see GBV again. When "Window Of My World" started to play during the "film" some people were hootin and hollerin, but others were staring blankly, with misty eyes at the prospect of their heroes' last stand.

Regardless, GBV put on a great show and if you have a chance to see them before it is all over please do. Listed below, thanks to a GBV fanatic and friend, is the set of songs they played that night.

sad if I lost it
Everybody Thinks I'm A Raincloud
fair touching
Sleep Over Jack
Girls of Wild Strawberries
I Drove a Tank
I am a Tree
Window of My World
my impression now
Gonna Never Have To Die
My Kind Of Soldier
Red Men and Their Wives
Shocker In Gloomtown
Christian Animation Torch Carriers
Back To The Lake
The Closets of Henry
Tour Guide at the WC Memorial
I'll Replace You With Machines
Navigating Flood Regions
Squirmish Frontal Room
Run Son Run
Sons of Apollo
Things I Will Keep
Tractor Rape Chain
trap door soul
drinker's peace
Bull Spears
Watch Me Jumpstart
Mascara Snakes
Red Ink Superman
Asphyxiated Circle
Secret Star (doug vamps a little of the star spangled banner)
it's only natural
Beg For A Wheelbarrow
Chief Barrel Belly
Game Of Pricks
Harrison Adams
motor away
The Best Of Jill Hives
Their Biggest Win
Cut-Out Witch
Buzzards And Dreadful Crows
Murder Charge

Queen Of Cans And Jars
The Goldheart Mountaintop Queen Directory
Teenage FBI
Alone, Stinking And Unafraid
Glad Girls
I Am A Scientist
don't stop now
Echos Myron