Scenes From Last Night’s Lightning-Filled Pavement Show in Central Park


Central Park
Wednesday, September 22

Well, if nothing else, last night’s lightning-delayed, rain-soaked Pavement convocation in Central Park (only two more to go!) was a great opportunity for Stephen Malkmus to say a bunch of ridiculous, borderline offensive stuff about the weather. Upon taking the stage, the wind picking up, what will turn out to be a downpour just minutes away: “Is it gonna rain? Do people, like, know that? They just know that I guess. They say they can smell it.” Upon (temporarily) stopping the show, lightning flashing everywhere, rain pouring down: “Uh, lightning break. We gotta stop. She’ll tell you [points to Parks Department functionary]. But I’m, uh, confirming, it’s just a break.” And of course, the best one, after the Doppler radar (“Doppler radar? That’s not indie,” someone shouts) has given us the all clear, rain still coming in waves but the lightning now more or less gone, Pavement striding back onstage to the ragged but swelling roar of the crowd: “Thank you guys…for nothing, really. It was just rain.”

Indeed, it was just rain, although there was a lot of it, and umbrellas sure do wreak havoc with the sightlines at Central Park. We will spare you the resuscitation of tonight’s highs and lows, this show being pretty similar to Sunday’s and Tuesday’s before it, except as seen through the scrim of a ton of falling water. Walking in though, it was a beautiful night, everyone in high spirits except for a bunch of forlorn scalpers–“One ticket, five bucks,” is an offer we actually heard uttered, more than once–the dip in the weather corresponding almost exactly with the moment Pavement went on, at 8 p.m. sharp. The rain delay in the middle lasted only about twenty minutes, scary moment where they cleared all the metal bleachers notwithstanding, and people really do seem to love Pavement, because everyone waited, not quite happily but definitely stoically, and already the narrative in the aftermath of what was frankly an uncomfortable experience seems to be mostly triumphant. It makes sense, given the fact that a bit of adversity is what this reunion has been so clearly lacking thus far. Not anymore: