Sunday, May 23rd, 1999
Middle East Club, Cambridge MA USA
source: bootleg tracklist
|Center of the Universe|
|Kicked It In the Sun|
|Stop the Show|
|You Were Right|
With the Delusions and Elevator.
Completeness of the setlist is highly suspect. Bootleggers have no class. Here's a review from Amplifier Online:
A sleepy Sunday night in Cambridge, the fog had settled over the rooftops, and Built to Spill had settled backstage at the Middle East. Looking around at the handful of people who had strayed in to see Elevator, the show opener, it would have been easy to conclude that this was going to stay a sleepy Sunday night. Things picked up for the Delusions, the middle act, but it still seemed like most of these people would have seen the previous night's show or just stayed home for the weekend if the Simpsons and X-Files hadn't already finished for the season.
Spillmaster Doug Martsch's first appearance didn't cause much of a stir either, except by now the club was packed, and the crowd had suddenly gotten very close. Martsch, a bearded, unassuming looking guy, checked equipment and walked around the stage until he was satisfied everything was ready. And by the time he ripped into the opening of "The Plan" from the band's latest, Keep it Like a Secret, everything was in place -- the band, the crowd, the sound, and even the spare lighting behind him.
No one plays big, loud rock guitar quite as unashamedly, or melodically, as Martsch these days, and his audience loves him for it. A few people cheered through the first chords of the show, and a few even tried to dance. A lot of people adjusted their earplugs. Two guitars, bass, and drums -- seemed like such a small band to be making such a huge sound. But with longtime producer Phil Ek running the boards, the guitars came out clear with a rich distortion, peeling back the fog, inside the club at least.
The set was heavy with songs from the last two Warner Brothers? albums, including "Center of the Universe," "Time Trap," and "Stop the Show." There was no shortage of requests from the crowd. As soon as one song was finished, different pockets of fans crammed into the hardwood floor in front of the stage erupted with suggestions. The longer the period between songs, the more vocal the crowd got. Martsch continually answered with, "We don?t know that one," and "Nope. Not that one either."
After one fairly lengthy band meeting, though, Martsch seemed to acquiesce, playing a spare version of "Twin Falls" with little band accompaniment, and then a blistering version of "Car," the only real throwbacks of the night. Martsch seemed to radiate on "You Were Right," an anthemic essay of radio cliches.
Martsch barely said a word during the entire set, and when he said the band only had one more song left at midnight, the crowd booed its disapproval. However, that last song was "Broken Chairs." The album version of the tune already stretches to about nine minutes. On stage at the Middle East, it went from epic to journey, as everybody with a stringed instrument eventually swapped it to someone from one of the opening bands - including Martsch. For almost fifteen minutes, Martsch peeked out from back stage, watching the tidal wave of sound he had created, until it reached curfew time for the venue. Martsch and co had let the music do the talking. Thank God there's still someone left out there who understands how powerful this can be.
-- Nick A. Zaino III