Friday 8th March 2024 was a night of firsts. It was the first night of the European leg of alternative rock legends Pixies’ tour. It was the first time the band would play albums ‘Bossanova’ and ‘Trompe Le Monde’ in their entirety. It was also the first time bassist Emma Richardson performed with the band, replacing Paz Lenchantin, whose departure or dismissal is a subject of public debate.

Never the less, after an energetic turn by supporting act The Pale White, the band would take the stage with the sort of nonchalance that can only be credited to generation-long perfected professionalism, or genuine jovial feeling. Pixies have never been world renowned for their stage banter but Black Francis reflected fondly upon the LA sessions that birthed these collosal additions to their back catalogue, before getting right into it.

For her part, Richardson demonstrated nerves of cold steel, keeping her head down and playing her part, filling the sweet vocal spaces left behind by Lenchantin and her predecessor Kim Deal with ease on tracks like Velouria, Allison and Dig For Fire with ease.

For the others, it was business as usual. The band kept it tight, playing to an unfathomably full 3 Olympia Theatre against a backdrop of that iconic winged “P” logo and a wall of orbs that changed in colour from the terracotta red of the globe that adorns the cover of ‘Bossanova’ to the blue pupil-less eyes on that of ‘Trompe Le Monde’.

Even veterans have an off-moment, though, as drummer Dave Lovering reminds us when launching into Dig For Fire a track early. That momentary hiccup aside, though, the band were on top form, Francis even allowing himself to dance and smile while his right-hand man Joey Santiago manipulated feedback in between the angular wails he has become beloved for.

While hearing the less heralded albums of the Pixies’ classic first run in their entirety was a treat in itself, the band sent the crowd home with a parting gift. Not keen to indulge in the pantomime disappearing act favoured by many of their peers, the band would launch right into Wave Of Mutilation after a brief pause that followed Trompe…” closer The Navajo Know. After a snippet of Cactus, the band would play with tempo changes on Nimrod’s Son, before indulging the crowd karaoke session with the weird pop of Here Comes Your Man.

Finishing with the folkish dirge of Caribou, the band would end the night arm in arm and take a well-earned bow. It was a stellar evening, despite the last-minute drama, and a great preview for the “Mark III” line-up.