Primus in 3D! Live at Peabody Opera House – St. Louis 10/28/12
Words and Pictures by Bradley Darby
If you like your metal funky, your rock progressive, or just flat-out weird experimental jam music… then you were probably at the Peabody Opera House on Sunday night. If you weren’t, than you missed one of the greatest rock bands of the last 20 years as they took the stage for their touring 3D spectacle. Primus, who called it a day twelve years ago after releasing six albums over ten years, got the ‘original’ crew back together in 2010. One year later, we had Green Naugahyde, their first studio album in eleven years. Bassist/vocalist Les Claypool, guitarist Larry “Ler” LaLonde and original drummer Jay Lane were officially back and picked things up right where they left off at the turn of the century. (Note: Lane was the original drummer that was later replaced by Tim Alexander who was the drummer for Primus through most of the 90s.)
The show opened with a bang as the haunting bass lines of “Southbound Pachyderm” kicked things off and the crowd, some sitting and some standing, all with their 3D glasses on gazing at the large screen behind the band, recognized it right away. The screen showed trippy images of elephants stampeding, and random multi colored shapes spinning as purple lights filled the room. Claypool with one leg kicked up on the monitor lurching over the microphone with his usual creepy prowess led the song as guitarist Ler LaLonde shredded his way through the song and melted faces across the room.
Les told the crowd that the set lists for this tour was going to feature songs that they hadn’t played in years, or even some that they had never played. It was clear from the first handful of songs that this was indeed the case as the first four songs all came from different Primus albums.
“Lee Van Cleef”, one of my favorite tracks from Green Naugahyde, featured graphics of cowboys and crazy looking eyeballs (similar to the video for the song) on the 3D visual screen behind the band while Claypool sang lyrics about the old Western film actor of the same name that died in 1989. The oft-neglected bass jam and fan favorite from 1993’s Pork Soda, “Hamburger Train” followed as well as a cover of “Hello Skinny” by The Residents, a song that Primus has covered in the past. The first set ended at just about 9PM with the first in a handful of songs from their 1990 debut studio album Frizzle Fry, “Groundhogs Day.”
As the first set concluded, the crowd was treated to old black and white Popeye cartoons on the video screen as some folks chose to get a breath of fresh air, stretch their legs, or sneak in a cigarette or two outside. The intermission lasted about 30 minutes and Primus were back on stage and ready to kick off the second set around 930PM.
The second set started with another newer song, “Extension Burst” before “Glass Sandwich” transitioned right into “Jilly’s on Smack”, which can extend to as long as ten minutes and often gets really weird… this was certainly no exception. This is a song that I have seen live four times since the reincarnation of Primus and it keeps getting better and better live. We were then treated to three straight songs from Frizzle Fry, “Spaghetti Western” followed by “The Toys Go Winding Down”, and finally “Frizzle Fry.” The set ended with “Mrs. Blaliene” and “Jerry Was a Race Car Driver”, one of Primus’ first singles from 1991’s Sailing the Seas of Cheese.
The crowd chanted “PRIMUS SUCKS” (flattering sure, but thats how Primus fans do it!) as the word PRIMUS flashed on the screen. After a short break, the guys came back out to a smattering of applause. “American Life” kicked off the encore (the same song they closed with last time they came to STL in 2011 at The Pageant) followed by “Wynona’s Big Brown Beaver”, another hugely popular song that appeared on 1995’s Tales from the Punchbowl.
This was my fourth time seeing Primus since they got back together. This was also my favorite Primus show of the four. The 3D show was good, but not at all what makes me say this. The music cranked out by Jay Lane, Larry LeLonde and Les Claypool is all you needed to enjoy yourself on this Sunday evening. If you were disappointed by this show, I’m sorry you had your expectations too high. I overheard a few folks post show that were let down by the 3D aspect of the show, my advice to them is go see Finding Nemo. To the good folks at the Peabody Opera House, if you find a piece of my mind melted to the floor in the Mezzanine Right, please return it.
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Southbound Pachyderm (Tales from the Punchbowl)
Golden Boy (The Brown Album)
Moron TV (Green Naugahyde)
Dirty Drowning Man (Antipop)
Hats Off (The Brown Album)
Lee Van Cleef (Green Naugahyde)
Hamburger Train (Pork Soda)
Del Davis Tree Farm (Tales from the Punchbowl)
Hello Skinny (Residents Cover)
Groundhogs Day (Frizzle Fry)
Extension Burst (Green Naugahyde)
Glass Sandwich (Tales from the Punchbowl)
Jilly’s on Smack (Green Naugahyde)
Spaghetti Western (Frizzle Fry)
The Toys Go Winding Down (Frizzle Fry)
Frizzle Fry (Frizzle Fry)
Mrs Blaileen (Tales From the Punchbowl)
Jerry Was a Race Car Driver (Sailing the Seas of Cheese)
E: American Life (Sailing the Seas of Cheese)
E: Wynona’s Big Brown Beaver (Tales from the Punchbowl)