“I find that the harder I work, the more luck I seem to have.” – Thomas Jefferson

How long does it take a group of musicians to reach an unbreakable sense of mental harmony? Perfection is forever out of reach, but there is something close to it that all great groups eventually achieve. It’s not a single song or performance, but rather an unspoken creative groove that extends from practice spaces to the studio and onto any stage they grace. It’s a knowing, both of themselves as individuals and one another as a singular unit. They can improvise if desired, but they can also play material written across decades with such an ease that it seems second nature.

I don’t know the answer to this question, but I know at some point in recent years The Pixies have reached that position. On the band’s current co-headlining run with Weezer, the indie rock legends showcase the kind of talent that can only be earned through tireless work over many years. Their performance is as much a stroll through their catalog as it is a testament to the possibilities of creative expression refined over time.

At the March 20 tour stop in Grand Rapids, MI, The Pixies walked on stage at exactly 7:45. The band didn’t say a word to the crowd, choosing instead to dive directly into a setlist containing more than twenty songs. The iconic “Where Is My Mind” opened the night. I can’t say for certain whether or not The Pixies were challenging the crowd to see whether or not people knew more from their history than their most recognizable song, but the decision to start the show at that point sent the audience into a frenzy. It was a power move that most artists wouldn’t dare to deliver, if only because they would fear people losing interest once the song came to a close. The Pixies, however, are not your average band, and they don’t give a damn about the interests of those not open to hearing everything they have to share.

Continuing with their set, The Pixies never once took a moment to address those gathered at Van Andel Arena. Some may complain that a lack of crowd acknowledgement hurts performances, but that was not the case in Grand Rapids. By remaining focused on their craft, the group was able to slip into a groove so rapturous that it slowly swept over the crowd. It didn’t matter if you knew the material or not, or even if you had come out to see The Pixies perform. For seventy-five minutes, Black Francis, David Lovering, Joey Santiago, and Paz Lenchantin held a room of thousands in the palm of their hands.

As the band wrapped their set, I couldn’t stop thinking about the talent required to pull off the feat they had achieved, and I wondered if the average concertgoer had even noticed. Watching The Pixies means witnessing a band at the top of their game doing something no other group of musicians could do without putting in the same amount of work, if not more. The members are perfectly in sync with one another, and because of that, every show has magic no stage production or greatest hits-filled setlist could duplicate. Hell, they could play deep cuts no one except their most dedicated fans know right now and still deliver a better show than 99.9% of artists working today.

If you have an opportunity to see The Pixies this year, take it.