After a miserable, wet and dreary Sunday afternoon, there was no better way for this reviewer to stay warm last night than to go see Primus on the last leg of their 2018 Australian tour. After doors opened to The Palais at 7pm, fans started piling in quickly and the limited edition merchandise sold out very quickly, which showed the eagerness of seeing Primus on our shores since 2014.
Tonight’s special guests were the Dean Ween Group, who showed why they were the perfect choice from the opening note of their set! Kicking off with a five minute jam session, Ween pointed out that “it seemed like the right thing to do” before dedicating the second song of the set to his woman; My Own Bare Hands (which got a small laugh from the crowd, before Ween pointed out that he likes to jack off a lot.)
After playing Waste Station 9, Ween was going to introduce the fourth song of the set as being off the next album but decided against it – pointing out that “f**k it, we’re here to have fun”, Ween played The Ritz Carlton which included a nice bass solo approximately ¾ of the way through. After The Ritz Carlton concluded, Ween took the time to have a small bit of banter with the audience, letting them know that tonight was the last night of the tour. Ween then introduced Finger Banging by letting the crowd know that “this song is all about fingerf**king!”
The Dean Ween Group had a special guest appearance for the last two songs of the set, as the one and only Les Claypool donned a guitar and walked out to perform The Mollusk and The Rift. Drawing their set to a close, the Dean Ween Group were met with not only a loud cheer of appreciation, but also at least a quarter of those on the lower level gave the band a standing ovation; I also can’t forget to mention that a handful of people got told off during the set for dancing in the aisles!
After a small intermission, Larry “Ler” LaLonde picked up his guitar as Tim “Herb” Alexander assumed his position behind the kit. The appearance of the other two Primus band members raised the voices of fans, before Claypool walked out and joined the two of them. The first noticeable thing about the Primus set was the fact that the five LED screens at the back of the stage were now in use; throughout the course of the night, these screens would show small snippets of the video clips for each song performed throughout the night.
After kicking off the set with Those Damned Blue-Collar Tweekers, Claypool also mentioned about this being the last night on the Australian tour and the crowd showed their appreciation; Les then mentioned how he didn’t write the set-list with people sitting down in mind! As people started standing up all throughout the venue, Les pointed out that “if you want to stay seated, you’re entitled to as you paid good money for them…but the band would play a more energetic set if people were standing and a more mellow set if people weren’t.”
From that point on, not a single person stayed seated on the ground level, as Primus kicked into high gear playing Wynona’s Big Brown Beaver, The Seven and Moron TV. Moron TV received a huge cheer as it was an unexpected change to the tour set-list and only played for the first time on the last show; mind you, it wasn’t the only song to have been dusted off for last night only! Playing at such a high tempo, the only way to distinguish that Primus had ended a song was by the dimming of all the lights within The Palais, followed by the loud cheers from all those in attendance.
After making their way through Too Many Puppies and Sgt. Baker (w/ Too Many Puppies reprise), Claypool made a quick exit off stage before re-appearing with not only a new instrument (switching from a standard bass to an upright electric bass) but also wearing a pig’s head mask; as Primus launched into Jilly’s On Smack, somehow the audience were able to show their appreciation louder than previously during the night…this was no mean feat as they had been vocal all evening! The lights stayed dimmed for longer than usual this time around, as Claypool then gave the audience a bit of a teaser as he started to play Kashmir. LaLonde and Alexander joined in after about 30 seconds, before the stage lights came back on and Primus launched into Mr. Krinkle; at least half the crowd were clapping along with the bass throughout the song, which really elevated the energy within The Palais!
LaLonde has made a switch to an acoustic guitar and treated fans to The Trek’s intro, which was the second song to get played only in Melbourne; during this time, Claypool has taken the opportunity to remove the mask and switch back to his standard bass guitar. Once Claypool has returned, LaLonde switched back to an electric guitar and those in attendance were taken for a mystical experience as The Trek continued to build; the stage lights slightly dimmed before Les kicked everything into gear with the driving/chugging bass line! John The Fisherman started out with the stage lights/screens completely off; it wasn’t until roughly fifteen-twenty seconds had passed that everything was lit up again.
Even though fans had been unexpectedly standing for over an hour at this point, everyone was still full of energy as Claypool had people clapping along with his bass during the introduction of The Storm. LaLonde had fans clapping along with his guitar during the introduction of Welcome To The World, which allowed Claypool to make another instrument change before the band lifted things into high gear; Welcome To The World was a different vibe to the rest of the set, as most of the lighting was coming purely from the screens!
Somehow managing to lift the roof of The Palais yet again, Mrs Blaileen signalled that the end was getting close; Primus wrapped up their set with Jerry Was a Face Car Driver and My Name Is Mud (w/ Jerry Was a Race Car reprise), before walking off the stage at just after 10.30. Fans were left hollering, cheering and just showing their absolute appreciation by chanting “Primus Sucked!”, resulting in the trio only making fans wait for a couple of minutes before re-gracing the stage and closing out not only the Melbourne show, but the whole Australian tour with Southbound Pachyderm and a guest appearance from Dean Ween.
Those Damned Blue-Collar Tweekers
Wynona’s Big Brown Beaver
Too Many Puppies
Sgt. Baker (w/ Too Many Puppies reprise)
Jilly’s On Smack
John The Fisherman
Welcome To This World
Jerry Was Race Car Driver
My Name Is Mud (w/ Jerry Is a Race Car Driver reprise)
Southbound Pachyderm (w Dean Ween)