GBV on the UES

Hudson River Park, NYC 8/19/04

Yes indeed, Guided By Voices are calling it quits. A few days before the release of their final album, Half Smiles Of The Decomposed, Dayton Ohio’s finest came to New York City’s Hudson River Park for a free show that will go down as one of this summer’s best. Poignantly opening with "Sad If I Lost It", the reigning kings of indie rock kicked off 90 minutes of their very best for the 5000+ that came to pay their final respects. They were greeted with a wall to wall kick ass show that also had its share of lead singer Bob Pollard’s renowned between-songs banter. "We love our country, because it gives us beer and rock and roll. We are patriots." And then slyly added, "As long as we don’t question things too much." As befits a performance on a final tour, Pollard and the boys ran through the gems of their quite extensive catalog, all the while reminiscing and giving thanks for the long, strange trip we’ve had the privilege of sharing. Merci, mes amis.

Critical darlings Ambulance (LTD) held their own as opening act, decidedly gaining a few converts and placating the numerous pretty girls who’d made it a point to show up and support what some are calling indie rock’s answer to the boy band. Make it a point to catch them next time. The band, too.