Primus 3D: Hammerstein Ballroom, NYC 10/19/12

Primus (now officially a jamband) saw it’s transformation into a modern day Pink Floyd inch closer to completion with the group adding a new toy to their current tour; a huge LED Screen that tosses 3D images at its audience. 

On this night, the bands first ever stop at New York City’s Hammerstein Ballroom, Jay Lane, Larry LaLonde and Les Claypool paid tribute to NYC during their opening song “American Life” with the first 3D image to grace the LED being the Statue of Liberty when the corresponding lyric was sung.  After that that the band played the same old weird videos they used on past tours, but with some added 3D effects such as lasers shooting out of Abe Lincoln or bubbles floating up from the crowd during “The Last Salmon Man”.  As for the music, the band played their tripped out part, extending almost every song beyond its limits and putting a focus on their newer material and some of their lesser played tunes. 

Green Naugahyde saw 8 of its 13 songs get an airing and the younger crowd seemed to be more into these new freak-outs’s then the older, punchier tunes.  “HOINFODAMAN”, “Lee Van Cleef” and “The Eyes of the Squirrel” received big applause as the latter took us from watching a squirrel eating nuts in 3D into a cosmic wormhole space voyage that the band provided a perfect soundtrack for.

Claypool slapped and popped his bass numerous times with his back to the crowd while he watched the screen and the visuals going along with the music.  Les also mentioned that they were airing some “songs from the bowels that don’t see the light of day” before playing “Hats Off” from the Brown Album.  Fans of that album were also treated to “The Return of Sathington Willoughby” and “Over the Falls” while some of the bands biggest hits (“My Name Is Mud”, “John The Fisherman”) were skipped. To be fair, it can be hard to start a moshpit while wearing 3D glasses but people were happy to try to bounce around to old favorites “Jerry Was a Race Car Driver” and “Tommy The Cat”. 

 The band is obviously evolving and playing to a new generation of fans that Les has cultivated from his Colonel Claypool outings.  There is a distinctly more laid back approach to the live show as old fans get older and new fans are there for the ride not the aggressive slam dancing of yester-Primus.  The added visuals and 3D screen is a perfect addition and one that should stick around and allow them to inject new and interesting tweaks to their live show.

 Standout songs on this night were the expansive “Hamburger Train” complete with a  Paul Rubens intro before a psychedelic railroad ride, “Southbound Pachyderm’s” extended ending jam and the acid laced “Over the Electric Grapevine”.  Since the band has done full album tours in the past for three of their records, could a 3D backed Tales From The Punchbowl tour be far off?  It could just be the thing to put Primus into total acid flashback mode: let’s just hope Les doesn’t build a huge punchbowl between him and the crowd.  On second thought, that could be fun.


Set 1
American Life
Prelude to a Crawl
The Last Salmon Man
Frizzle Fry
Over the Falls
Lee Van Cleef
The Eyes of the Squirrel
Hamburger Train
Del Davis Tree Farm
Those Damned Blue-Collar Tweekers

Set II:
The Return of Sathington Willoughby
Moron TV
Southbound Pachyderm
Eternal Consumption Engine
Glass Sandwich
Jilly’s on Smack
Big Rock Candy Mountain
Hats Off
Over the Electric Grapevine
Hello Skinny
Jerry Was A Race Car Driver

Tommy the Cat


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