Despite being a fan of Belly since the early 90's, I never got a chance to see them live. They had called it quits before I was really going to shows, so I missed out. I've seen Tanya Donelly a bunch of times, but never Belly. I had to miss the 2016 reunion because of a family vacation. Luckily, it wasn't a one-off tour, so last Thursday I finally got my chance.
Belly currently tours in an odd way that works out for them. They don't have an opening act, but instead play two one hour sets with a twenty minute break in between. As much as I love an up and coming opener, can anyone really argue with two hours of Belly? And what a two hour show it was. If you haven't seen Donelly perform live for a while, you forget just how captivating her voice can be. In contrast to Donelly's angelic voice was Gail Greenwood headbanging through her set while playing bass, possibly left over from her time with L7. The band played with a large LED screen behind them, mostly displaying the Belly logo, but also other imagery and videos. This might have made it the most high tech show I've been to in years.
Seeing as Belly just put out a new album, Dove, one would expect for a large amount of the setlist to come from the new album. Out of twenty-two songs, ten were from Dove. The only shocking thing about the new songs is how well they stand up to the classics. Sure, the new ones didn't get the same reaction as the old ones, but we haven't been listening to them and attaching memories to them for two decades. But, god... the classic songs... You forget how great they can be. "Dusted" was a particularly great song played live. They did the megahit "Feed the Tree" midway through the second set, but it was the kind of crowd that was more excited for "Gepetto." "Super-Connected" brought back more joy than I could have thought possible. A Belly show in 2018 has enough nostalgia for everyone attending, while still being a great enough band to make the crowd care about their new songs.