Guided By Voices – The Electrifying Conclusion

Most people around me have already heard me whine about the ending of Guided By Voices, so I’ll spare you repetition now. Suffice it to say, it was beyond sad to see them end. Over 21 years, and through a large cast of characters, the band created some of the most interesting, intelligent and invigorating music I’ve ever been privileged to hear.

This DVD, then, is a perfect document, recorded live at their final show. It’s a drunken, sprawling, career-spanning Chicago concert held on New Year’s Eve, 2004. The song selection is extensive (63 songs!), the band is in top form and, sure, drinking all night made the end of the show seem like a marathon (the concert runs 4 hours), but captured here is the magic that was GBV. Past members and friends joined the band on-stage, the record label sent the biggest bottle of champagne I’ve ever seen, balloons fell from the ceiling, Robert Pollard bummed smokes and shared beer (and the microphone) with fans… Perfection.

I never got to see GBV in concert, a fact I regret, but retrospect can only take you so far. This DVD will be as close as I’ll ever get, and it remains one of the best music DVDs in my collection. As if the concert wasn’t enough, there’s even some extras tacked on, including four live tracks from 1994, two videos of Pollard recording demos, and a cool fold-out poster of the last show’s set list.

All of the songs are well done, even if wrong notes were played, lyrics were forgotten, changed or went unheard because Pollard didn’t always have the microphone to his mouth… it all just adds to the overall picture. I particularly enjoyed the song selection from Encore #1, but the entire show kicks some serious ass.

The last track, Don’t Stop Now, is titularly apt seeing as Pollard has continued his blistering recording and touring pace with different musicians, but captured here is the essence of a band that will forever be remembered (by me) as lo-fi rock’s Kings.

I recommend that everyone see this, fan or not, and especially if you’ve never heard of them or any of their music. It’s never too late to get caught up, and let me tell you, it’s worth every second.

Guided By Voices meant something, and they always will. They had an appreciable influence on modern music, and their long journey, culminating in this final show, could be viewed as a coming of age, too. To quote Echos Myron, “We’re finally here, and shit yeah it’s cool!”

6 thoughts on “Guided By Voices – The Electrifying Conclusion

    1. keepsmealive says:

      GBV fans unite! Man, I’ve got a carefully curated collection here, amassed over many years (I think I started in earnest in 1996 or so), and I’m always on the lookout for more. And Bob never fails me, with many new releases every year.

      Funny, I haven’t gotten into reviewing everything I have (save for a few) here on this site because I didn’t figure anyone else would care… Now I know there’s at least one other fan out there! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

        1. keepsmealive says:

          Awesome! 8 records! Which year did you collect? 🙂

          Of course I consider you a fan – any GBV is a great start. Do you do vinyl or CD?

          My own collection (mostly CD) is considerably larger, well over 100 discs (not counting boxed sets). And I don’t even have half of it. Half as much again was vinyl only!

          I’ve been thinking I should do a WOM list Page of just the GBV/related collection. It’s impressive enough to let it have its own page, separate from the main WOM list!

          Liked by 1 person

          1. Vinyl Connection says:

            All CDs KMA. And no ‘solo’ RP I’m afraid. Not been game to open that particular can or worms! If I saw any albums on vinyl I’d have to buy them, wouldn’t I?
            Not sure what a WOM list is. Perhaps a wish-list? But anything that gives oxygen to GBV is good, eh?
            Trivia titbit: In the rather good UK comedy series ‘The IT Crowd’, their office had a GBV poster on the wall. How cool is that?


            1. keepsmealive says:

              Haha can o’ worms? More like a vat! There’s so much stuff out there, anyone starting now would have to abandon all other acts and just collect his stuff. Or be independently wealthy.

              Sorry, I should have explained! The WOM list is up at the top of the KMA page. It’s my ongoing (and incomplete, though I’m working on it!) list of What Owns Me. The idea is to have a master list of everything I have here, for reference, and for saving me buying things over again. I intend it to cover music, movies and books. It’s a massive project, but here at the KMA, we don’t do anything small!

              Anyway, I was thinking I own enough GBV/related stuff that it probably warrants its own WOM list. I’ll add that to my To-Do pile! 🙂

              I’ve heard of the IT Crowd, but never seen an episode. But if they have a poster on the wall, even if it’s just there to try to be hip, it’s all good to me! I do love that band. I love them a whole lot.

              Liked by 1 person

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