“You, along with DEVO, were guinea pigs for a really stupid idea..."
October 22, 2017 10:02 AM   Subscribe

October 30th will mark the 35th anniversary of DEVO's tour Oh, No! Its DEVO tour, launched with a televised concert broadcast to college campuses and via Pay-Per-View. In 3-D. After a 30 minute opening set by Wall of Voodoo. DEVO showcased their new stage show, with synchronized video for the first seven songs, projected on a 12 foot high screen behind the band. The second act of the show would be the worlds first live, 3-D broadcast. Unfortunately, things went off the rails, and quick.

During "Speed Racer" the video began to drift out of sync from the band, forcing the band to abandon the next song, (appropriately) "Big Mess" entirely. The problem was fixed in time for "Peek-A-Boo" though that performance included an unexpected guest on stage. Finally, during "Out of Sync" Mark's microphone failed, forcing him to complete the first set with Bob Mothersbaugh's mic.

With the synchronized video set complete, thus began the 3-D Portion, and things got no better. The 3-D stuff didn't even work, and the amount of light required for the 3-D cameras to work forced DEVO to abandon their planned light show. And, so they began to take pot-shots at the company running the show, first with some cheap, 3-D tricks during "Jocko Homo", and later in angry rant by Booji Boy during "Beautiful World."

Undaunted, the production company chopped up the footage, added in a bunch of unrelated 3-D visuals, and repackaged it for Pay-Per-View again, making sure to cut out the technical issues and the pot-shots at their expense, of course.

But it wasn't all bad. The 3-DEVO performance provided the only live performance of the song "Explosions" and a rocking performance of the E-Z Listening version of "Girl U Want".

The rest of DEVO's 1982 tour passed without incident, save for Gerald Casale being arrested on stage in Houston.

Allegedly, The Who planned to have a similar 3-D concert, but plans were dropped. I wonder why.

Bonus Material:
posted by SansPoint (19 comments total) 33 users marked this as a favorite
Love it. That there is cyberpunk as fuck.
posted by otherchaz at 10:36 AM on October 22, 2017 [4 favorites]

I was born way too late.
posted by hairless ape at 11:03 AM on October 22, 2017 [2 favorites]

Wait, pay-per-view was around 35 years ago? Yes, yes, I guess it was. *sigh*
posted by Melismata at 11:06 AM on October 22, 2017 [1 favorite]

I can't believe it's been 35 years since DEVO's last good album.
imho, of course. ymmv
posted by Thorzdad at 11:07 AM on October 22, 2017

I was born way too late.
I did not appreciate Devo at the time. In 1982, I was 15, what was I into? Jethro Tull, King Crimson.... I think I liked The Police by then, and that was as New Wave as I got.

Doing this kind of a show in 1982 was probably pretty tricky. Lots of new technology.
posted by thelonius at 11:08 AM on October 22, 2017

Ooh, Wall of Voodoo, makers of my favorite Ring of Fire cover!
posted by Hairy Lobster at 11:12 AM on October 22, 2017 [6 favorites]

I've only seen Devo once in concert, at the Tampa JaiAlai Fronton, and it remains one of the BEST live concerts I have ever seen. New Traditionalists tour. AMAZING.
posted by Major Matt Mason Dixon at 11:16 AM on October 22, 2017 [4 favorites]

Major Matt Mason Dixon: Now _that_ is the tour I wish I could have seen. Alas, I was -2 years old then.

DEVO did try to film the New Traditionalists tour, but there was an electrical short, things blew up, and the footage was scrapped in an insurance claim. There is some nth-generation video from a show in Boulder filmed for PBS on YouTube, but only "Through Being Cool" has audio. Someone did match up the first two songs with audio from the Live in Seattle 1981 album, though.
posted by SansPoint at 11:22 AM on October 22, 2017

(Also, crap, can one of the Mods fix the post. Jerry got arrested in Houston, not Dallas. I should have finished my coffee before I posted.)
posted by SansPoint at 11:23 AM on October 22, 2017

Too many years ago I worked on a Devo concert DVD, one of the few titles in the format to make good, interesting use of the alternate angle feature. The distributor screwed up something—I’m not sure what. It’s out of print, which is a shame.
posted by infinitewindow at 11:36 AM on October 22, 2017 [2 favorites]

For every post mentioning Betsy Devos, MeFi must pivot in this manner.
posted by BigBrooklyn at 11:55 AM on October 22, 2017 [7 favorites]

infinitewindow: If it's the DEVO Live DVD (not to be confused with DEVO Live: 1980), it was the artwork.
posted by SansPoint at 11:58 AM on October 22, 2017 [1 favorite]

[I have messed with the specific city in Texas, carry on.]
posted by cortex (staff) at 12:04 PM on October 22, 2017 [3 favorites]

Cool, someone in the crowd was wearing a Residents costume (booji boy video, right at the start of it).
posted by NoMich at 12:20 PM on October 22, 2017 [2 favorites]

Man, I never thought about New Wave like this before because I essentially grew up in a New Wave, post MIDI world with a natural affinity for electronic music...

...but seeing a band like DEVO or any properly synth-heavy group around 1980 must have been sonically mind-blowing. Before New Wave synthesizers tended towards simulating natural sounds, and in doing so they tended to be produced and recorded a bit thin and anemic.
posted by loquacious at 12:59 PM on October 22, 2017 [1 favorite]

Major Matt Mason Dixon: I've got a ticket for OMD when they play New York in March. I've seen them twice now, and they still deliver.
posted by SansPoint at 3:03 PM on October 22, 2017

...but seeing a band like DEVO or any properly synth-heavy group around 1980 must have been sonically mind-blowing.

Well, maybe, if the seventies hadn't existed.
posted by Sys Rq at 4:58 PM on October 22, 2017 [1 favorite]

I saw Devo in Santa Cruz in December 1982. They must have dropped the 3-Devo idea by then, as there was no mention of it.
posted by oozy rat in a sanitary zoo at 10:45 AM on October 23, 2017

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