Oh man, what wonders the Internet coughs up. The last thing I’d ever expect would be for there to be a full-concert video of Pavement from their 1994 Crooked Rain, Crooked Rain tour, “two camera fan-shot (one back, one side). Cams were edited and enhanced with soundboard feed and cam audio matrix-mixed to create excellent professional quality multimedia production.” Wowee Zowee indeed!
This video captures Pavement at their most tuneful point—the audio can’t replace the studio versions but is outright excellent for what it is. Crooked Rain, Crooked Rain is jammed with idiosyncratic would-be classic rock gems filtered through the early-90s slacker aesthetic, as if Steve Malkmus could transmute the fractured genius of Slanted & Enchanted into a crossover gem. Pavement never got the adoration of the masses that Nirvana or Smashing Pumpkins did, but Crooked Rain, Crooked Rain remains a sun-splashed classic. Briefly put, I could listen to this all day—and I probably will.
Full disclosure, I was a super-duper die-hard Pavement fan in the 1990s, I’ve seen them five times in my life, and this show in Frankfurt probably happened within a week or so of my first Pavement show, which took place at Vienna’s Arena. I just spent ten minutes trying to figure out the exact date of that Vienna show, but to no avail—I’d guess it was a few days later. This Frankfurt show in the video happened on March 6, 1994. Crooked Rain, Crooked Rain hadn’t even been out for a month yet. Stereolab supported them on the European leg of their tour, at least that’s who opened for them in Vienna. At the time I was so into Pavement that I beseeched a friend in the U.S. to send me any bootlegs he could find. Lo and behold, a few weeks later a CD called Stray Slack arrived in the mail, documenting a 1992 Pavement gig at Brixton Academy as well as a bunch of essential B-sides and stuff. I played that thing to death.
It’s noteworthy that they open the set with an unreleased song, “Pueblo,” which would make it onto 1995’s Wowee Zowee. (Another track from WZ makes the cut as well, being “Brinx Job.”) The boys play nearly every song off of Crooked Rain, Crooked Rain—the only ones they leave out were Scott Kannberg’s composition “Hit the Plane Down” as well as “Range Life,” which is curious because the latter quickly became something of a fan favorite. “People don’t do drugs anymore, they just ride carpets,” says Malkmus—yeah, Steve, whatever.
By my druthers there’d be more songs from Slanted & Enchanted, but what are you going to do.
5 - 4 = Unity
Cut Your Hair
Elevate Me Later
Heaven Is a Truck
In the Mouth a Desert