Review: Sonic Youth performing Daydream Nation, 6.19.07

by Greg Call

dnSonic Youth came to Berkeley High School last night and played their 1989 release, Daydream Nation, in its entirety as part of the “Don’t Look Back” series.

I’m not sure if I like the conceit of “Don’t Look Back.” Albums are not intended to be played straight through in a live setting. And one of the great things about live music is the fact that the artists can put together a setlist that draws on a variety of material, and vary it from night to night.

But there is something very satisfying about a band showing up and launching a show with the very song that was your introduction to their music. When Kim Gordon’s “Spirit desire/We will fall” incantation faded into the lodestar melody of “Teen Age Riot,” the venue just exploded with energy. Unlike a lot of their cohorts from the 1980s, the years have been very kind to SY. Thurston Moore and Lee Ranaldo sounded amazing, both with their guitars and their vocals, and Steve Shelley’s drumming held everything together.

The highlights of the show for me, though, were Gordon’s songs: “The Sprawl,” “‘Cross the Breeze,” and “Kissability.” She was like Nico and Patti Smith rolled into one — as contradictory as that sounds –- and she danced wonderfully.

They’re taking the show to LA tonight, then Brooklyn next week, then off to Europe. Catch them if you’re able.


Teen Age Riot
Silver Rocket
The Sprawl
‘Cross the Breeze
Eric’s Trip
Total Trash
Hey Joni
Rain King
a) “The Wonder
b) “Hyperstation
z) “Eliminator Jr.
Do You Believe In Rapture?
Jams Run Free
Pink Steam
What A Waste


5 thoughts on “Review: Sonic Youth performing Daydream Nation, 6.19.07

  1. I think Mike D is catching this in LA tonight.

    I’m more excited for the Mudhoney/Melvins “Don’t Look Back” show. Mudhoney’s doing Superfuzz Bigmuff, and the Melvins are doing Houdini. Both of them together. Should be AWESOME.

  2. “Teen Age Riot” has always been my favorite Sonic Youth song. Cool show. I got to go to a show recently where the first set was the Old 97s doing their first album in its entirety. Those kind of shows are a blast. I agree that I wouldn’t want all concerts to be like that, but it can be fun, especially if you really like that particular album.

  3. I think Moore was kind of dubious of the enterprise, too. When they came out for the encores, he joked, “Now we’re going to play Sticky Fingers all the way through!” Lee did a half-hearted Jagger-strut, and then launched into “Incinerate.”

  4. yup, i’m on my way to the LA show right now. i saw them once and was really bummed they didn’t play “teenage riot,” but it’s pretty much guaranteed this time. i’ll report back tomorrow.

  5. I was there in Berkeley too! Saw the show, but I found out I’m not really into SY. I like the Don’t Look Back series in general though.

    Sorry I missed you in LA, Susan! We’ve been travelling and offline for about a month now!

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