Crooked rain (and lightning, and rolling sonic booms of thunder) ripped through New York’s Central Park last night, but Biblical weather couldn’t keep reunited indie icons Pavement from playing their second of three sold-out nights at the Park’s spacious Summerstage. It did, alas, force them to give their gold soundz an unplanned intermission.
That the crowd—a good half of them fortysomething guys who could not have looked happier to be there if they were handing out free, Viagra-dusted diamonds—actually booed when the band was forced to temporarily evacuate for their own safety was more disappointing than their brief absence from the stage. Really, dude? You waited ten years to see them again, and now you’d rather see Spiral Stairs zonked by a giant forked lightning bolt than hold out for thirty minutes while the storm passed?
But I digress. For a band not necessarily known for the consistency and quality of their live shows, Pavement sounded uniformly great: Tight, joyful, full of goofy banter. Or, as a friend turned to me and said, “They sound like they care.” And they certainly did seem to have fun unrolling both the “hits,” as it were—”Range Life,” “Summer Babe,” “Cut Your Hair,” “Gold Soundz,” the bouyant Geddy Lee appreciation “Stereo,” and lovely, Stephen-Malkmus-really-does-have-a-heart near-ballad “Spit on a Stranger”—and the relative rarities. (the always-thorough Brooklyn Vegan has a full set list.)
Whatever they say at Glastonbury, torrential rain is never really an outdoor concert’s most fun accessory. But a decade after many fans thought they might never see one of indie rock’s most essential, formative acts onstage together again, heading out into the New York night with squishy shoes, lank-possum hair, and a head full of “Date with Ikea” felt pretty well worth it.
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