Spiritualized, being transcendent at an earlier show.Photo: Paul Underhill / Retna
Spiritualized’s songs have always been impossibly large; their supernova-size drones are exalting enough to, as the title of their 1997 Ladies and Gentlemen We Are Floating in Space album suggests, induce feelings of weightlessness. And, as they demonstrated by Friday’s acoustic set at the Apollo Theatre — the band’s first tour in nearly half a decade and final gig of their sold-out, four-gig outing — even in (slightly) pared-down form, they still have the ability to transcend.
Backed by just a five-piece gospel choir and a string quartet (2001’s Let It Come Down featured contributions from over 100 musicians), front man Jason Pierce and electric-pianist Doggen sat purposefully at their instruments, not even acknowledging one fervent showgoer’s plea for Pierce to remove his sunglasses. The set’s first songs were mostly earthy laments (“Lord Let It Rain Down on Me,” etc.), but things got gradually more hopeful (“Walking With Jesus”). Throughout, the singer’s affected warble soared, particularly on the superb cover of Daniel Johnston’s “True Love Will Find You in the End” and the swollen-with-strings rendition of “Anything More.” By the time they got to “Ladies in Gentleman We Are Floating in Space,” Pierce was pretty much just stating the obvious. —Julia Simon