“It’s so beautiful to look out there and see all of those goggles staring back at us!”
So said Primus bassist/vocalist/songwriter/ringleader Les Claypool at Poughkeepsie, New York’s Mid-Hudson Civic Center Friday (October 12) at the opening night of what they’re calling the “first-ever traveling 3D-enhanced live musical performance.”
With 3D all the rage in movies — and concert films — it was only a matter of time before someone decided to bring 3D technology to rock concerts. Primus, a band who always stretch musical boundaries — and who have always been very interested in their visuals — was the perfect band to actually try it. The tour also features “Quad Surround Sound” with speaker towers placed throughout the floor of the all-general admission venue. Primus seemed willing to put their money on the line to create a truly psychedelic experience.
Claypool coyly joked, “This wouldn’t work for a stoner. You have to be perfectly straight to enjoy three dimensional s*** flying straight at your face!” That most likely wasn’t the case in Poughkeepsie, as some visibly impaired fans were certainly enjoying the show.
Before the band hit the stage, a sign projected on the screen warned fans of various effects from the show. Claypool later clarified, that nausea and vertigo were, in fact, possible side effects from the concert, not from the 3D… but from guitarist Larry “Ler” LaLonde’s “mind-numbing guitar playing!”
In a way, that sort of summed the whole thing up. Any great enjoyment from the show came, fittingly, from the performance by the trio (which also includes drummer Jay Lane). The 3D effects had some cool moments (especially with the elephant footage during “Southbound Pachyderm”), but in many cases, it was hard to detect a difference between what you saw with the goggles on and off.
And of course, Primus is fully capable of delivering a full-on psychedelic experience just based on their playing. In recent years, they’ve moved into the jam-band scene; Claypool’s solo projects have seen him collaborate with members of Phish and Gov’t Mule. Plus, having former drummer Jay Lane back in the fold empowers them to stretch more — Lane was a member of an early incarnation of Primus in the late ’80s, but in the ’90s and 2000’s he played with The Grateful Dead’s Bob Weir in the band Ratdog. The result is that Primus is combination of the heavy band of weirdos who came up during the late ’80s and early ’90s along with Jane’s Addiction, Fishbone and Faith No More… mixed with the best improvisational rock bands out there today.
Primus served up two sets, split up by an intermission where they played two vintage episodes of “Popeye.” The setlist included radio classics like “Jerry Was A Race Car Driver,” “My Name Is Mud” and “Wynonna’s Big Brown Beaver,” album cuts like “Those Damned Blue-Collar Tweekers,” “American Life” and “Frizzle Fry,” tracks from their latest album, Green Naugahyde and rarely played songs (“Hamburger Train,” “Glass Sandwich”). If that’s your cup of tea (as it is for their extremely loyal fanbase), then you should catch them on this tour. But if you’re going just for the 3D spectacle, think of it as a movie: would you go just because it’s in 3D?
View photos from the concert here.
— Brian Ives, CBS Local