Mission of Burma kicked off this year’s Pitchfork Festival by performing their landmark album, Vs., from start to finish. No diss on early 80’s recording techniques or even the re-mastered version of Vs. that was later released, but Mission of Burma sounded better live than on disc. Just like a good bowl of porridge, the bass was warm, and the drums and guitar sounded crisp, or as the bear in Goldilocks would say, “just right.”
(left to right: Peter Prescott, Roger Miller, Clint Conley)
Back in the early 80’s when Mission of Burma were earning their stripes as the thinking man’s punk rock group, I’m sure they did a lot more thrashing around on stage than they did tonight. Not hating on them–just saying. The guys did seem to be having a good time though, cracking jokes between every few songs. After “The Ballad of Johnny Burma,” bassist Clint Conley teased (and unknowingly jinxed the band), “It’s an honor to be here in Decatur–oh wait–you forget things when you’re over 80 years old.” Peter Prescott than kicked into the dancey drums of “Fun World,” when guitarist, Roger Miller, interrupted, “I can’t believe it, we’re playing the wrong song.”
Prescott countered with, “We forgot the order of our own record–that takes a certain ability.” Mission of Burma went back to track #10, “Einstein’s Day” before kicking back into track #11 “Fun World” and finishing off their set with track #12 “That’s How I Escaped My Certain Fate.”
Did they attempt to play the four bonus tracks from the re-mastered version of Vs.? Nope. They stuck with the version from ’82.