It doesn't take a genius to figure out how Spiritualized leader Jason Pierce feels about
"Hey man there's a hole in my arm where all the money goes/ Jesus Christ died for
nothing, I suppose," Pierce moans on the 16-minute epic "Cop Shoot Cop" on the band's
latest, Ladies and Gentlemen We Are Floating in Space. But now Pierce is getting
higher than ever.
Only it has nothing to do with his head, or arm, for that matter.
British psychedelia act Spiritualized plan to shoot for the Guinness Book of World Records
on Nov. 26 when they play a show 1,815-feet and 144-stories high, on the observation
deck of Toronto's CN Tower, the tallest free-standing structure in the world. "Yeah, I
guess it's the 'highest show on earth,' " Pierce dead-panned when asked about the bid to
stage the world-record show in the stratosphere. "Both musically and emotively, for
obvious reasons, since it's the highest free-standing building in the hemisphere."
Why did the band choose to take their act higher than they ever imagined?
"Because it was there," Pierce said. Since "nobody has done a show there before, we'll be
making our own venue," he added, speculating the gig would include most of their alien
space landing stage props, and be attended by several hundred international guests given
free tickets from the band's record label.
Andra Zondervan, director of marketing and public relations for the Tower, said, although
Spiritualized won't be the first band to play the tower's observation deck, which rises
1,136 feet above ground, they would be the first to bring a full production to the room,
dubbed the Horizons. "We've done some shows, but it's been some time between them."
Zondervan pointed to gigs by country star Jason McCoy, Tony Bennett, Natalie Cole, the
Barenaked Ladies, Ronnie "The Hawk" Hawkins, who played both top and bottom of the
Tower and self-described "fifth Beatle" Roy Young, who played one of John Lennon's
pianos from on high. "It's been some time since we did one on this scale, though,"
As of Wednesday, the band had not yet contacted Mark Young, the publisher of the U.S.
edition of the Guinness Book of World Records. "I haven't heard from them yet," Young
said. "I know there's no official category like that, but I do remember Elvis Costello
playing on an airplane for a British TV special some years back. And I'm sure there've
been concerts in huts on the top of mountains we don't know about."
Still, he added, the idea sounds interesting and that he would like to hear from the band on
Jane Tattersall, a marketing representative for BMG Music in Toronto, said the gig was a
dream of Pierce's since Spiritualized played in Toronto last August. "Jason mentioned it to
the band's U.K. office and the idea took root as 'Ladies and Gentlemen We Are
Performing in the Highest Building in the World,'" Tattersall said.
Plans call for the band to bring as much of its alien space landing stage production as they
can and to go on a few minutes before sunset, Tattersall said. "The band will perform for
an hour, through the sunset," Tattersall said. "The philosophy behind it is you get a
brilliant sunset, you get great colors: orange, black, copper, perfect for a Spiritualized
show." A companion show on the observation deck of Chicago's Sears Tower, originally
scheduled for Nov. 21, was canceled for logistical reasons, according to Arista Records
publicist Sid McCain.
The former Spacemen 3 leader said part of the fire fueling the band's current U.S. tour --
during which they've been playing over-the-top Pink Floyd-style psychedelic rock shows
-- was a string of well-received recent European gigs. "We played a show in England with
a 12-piece choir and string section and it really changed the songs radically," Pierce said
about the Oct. 10 Royal Albert Hall date that featured members of the London Community
"It was more cabaret style. I just thought that instead of playing the MTV songs as
faithfully as possible, I wanted to do something where there was enough freedom in the
musical language to afford for more radical arrangements. People know the record," he
said, "so there's no reason to play a faithful rendition of what people already own."
[Fri., Nov. 21, 1997, 9 a.m. PDT]