Vida Blue is officially back in business! On Wednesday night, the long-dormant live electronic outfit led by keyboardist/vocalist Page McConnell (Phish) alongside Oteil Burbridge (Dead & Company, Allman Brothers Band, Aquarium Rescue Unit), and Russell Batiste (The funky METERS) and new guitarist Adam Zimmon (Shakira, Ziggy Marley) hit the stage at Washington, D.C.’s 9:30 Club for their first live performance since Bonnaroo 2004. The performance marked the start of a three-date reunion run in support of Vida Blue’s new album, Crossing Lines, which officially arrives this Friday, September 20th.
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It’s been over 15 years but the dust is officially blown off now! Wow, what a night. Playing songs from a different period of your life really brings up a lot of emotional memories. I relived feelings that can’t be put into words mixed with a new and more mature perspective that can only come with the passage of a decade and a half. Don’t let anyone tell you that getting older sucks. THESE are the days. I didn’t know that when I was younger. And that’s why today is so absolutely amazing. You should come see this band right now if you can. #vidablue 📷 @rene_huemer
Vida Blue kicked off their first show in 15+ years with perhaps their most notable song, “Most Events Aren’t Planned”. After moving through “CJ3”, the band started into “Where Did It Go”, the first song of the evening off the forthcoming Crossing Lines. The new album material kept coming with “Real Underground Soul Sound”, “Phaidon”, and “Analog Delay”.
Next, Batiste manned the vocals for a rendition of “Where’s Popeyes” from their eponymous 2002 debut album. From there, McConnell explained that they were going to play a song Russell requested, dedicating “Dry Spell” the next song to the late Art Neville (The Meters), “one of my heroes, one of Russell’s closest, dearest friends and bandmates for decades.” Continued Page, “I was thrilled to meet him and get to play with him a couple times. One of my heroes for sure.”
Crossing Lines track “Maybe” made its live debut next, followed by another track from their self-titled album in “Who’s Laughing Now”. After the debut of another Crossing Lines tune, “Weepa”, the band delivered a cover of Pink Floyd‘s “Sheep” before closing out their main set with another Vida Blue song, “Final Flight”, and the final track on Crossing Lines, “If I Told You”.
All the while, McConnell’s Phish bandmate Trey Anastasio (and his songwriting partner, Tom Marshall) looked on with excitement from the side stage balcony, clearly just as excited as the rest of the audience to see this band onstage once again after so much time away.
Vida blue kicked off their three-song encore with a rendition of another one of their go-to live covers, Gary Numan‘s “Cars”, which McConnell noted was one of Russell’s favorite songs to play. The encore continued from there with McConnell-penned Phish tune “I Always Wanted It This Way”, a song that’s always felt like an extension of Page’s Vida Blue sensibilities, before sending the crowd home happy with one last song from their 2002 debut, “Electra Slide”.
You can watch a few clips and listen to a full audio recording of the show below (Note: some of the listed track names are incorrect).
Vida Blue – 9/18/19
Vida Blue – 9/18/19 – Washington, D.C. – Full Audio
[Audio: vwmule on SoundClound]
Vida Blue’s three-night run continues on Friday, September 20th with a performance at Philadelphia, PA’s The Fillmore before closing out on Saturday, September 21st at The Capitol Theatre in Port Chester, NY.
Setlist: Vida Blue | 9:30 Club | Washington, D.C. | 9/18/19
Set: Most Events Aren’t Planned, CJ3, Where Did It Go, Real Underground Soul Sound, Phaidon, Analog Delay, Where’s Popeyes, Dry Spell, Maybe, Who’s Laughing Now, Weepa, Sheep, Final Flight, If I Told You
Encore: Cars, I Always Wanted It This Way, Electra Glide