X @ Palladium Times Square, New York, August 31, 2023 | Under the Radar Magazine Under the Radar | Music Blog for the Indie Music Magazine
Wednesday, July 24th, 2024  

X @ Palladium Times Square, New York, August 31, 2023,

Sep 04, 2023 Photography by Matthew Berlyant Web Exclusive
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From the time they reunited in the nineties with their original line-up and started constantly touring in the mid to late 2000s up until a few years ago, X shows generally offered few surprises, though many delights for long-time and new fans alike. With sets focusing heavily on their first four (all landmark, classic) albums from 1980-1983, their blazing sets were like a trip to the coolest way back machine ever, fulfilling younger fans’ fantasies of going back in time seeing them perform much of their very best material and letting older fans who were there in the eighties relive their youth.

The difference, of course, was by the time they reunited were already in their forties and fifties and are now in their sixties and (gasp!) even seventies, though they thankfully show no sign of slowing down and the energy is still off the charts. This pattern continued with the other night’s performance at the newly renamed Palladium at Times Square (same venue as Playstation Theater and Nokia Theater before that; guess someone else bought the naming rights) with tons of 1978-1983 material played. However, the major difference was the addition of newer material, including several songs (“Water and Wine” and the title track) from 2020’s Alphabetland, their first new studio album in twenty-seven years and first with the original line-up since 1985’s Ain’t Love Grand, a thirty-five year gap!

Furthermore, they even previewed several unrecorded new songs (“Bitter End,” “The Way It Is,” and “Smoke and Fiction”) that were interspersed with all of the classic material. As such, the show started off rather slowly with “Water and Wine” not getting a particularly strong crowd response. By the time they played “It’s Who You Know” (from 1981’s incredible Wild Gift) shortly afterward, the crowd was fully into it and the band reciprocated, playing a terrific hour and twenty minutes long set. For “Come Back to Me” and “I Must Not Think Bad Thoughts,” guitarist Billy Zoom (clearly less animated and energetic following a recent cancer scare, but still playing wonderfully and occasionally flashing his trademark grin to the audience) wailed on saxophone and drummer DJ Bonebrake played marimba, showing a more eccentric, moodier side and a nice break from the non-stop energy of the rest of the set.


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