For me, summer isn’t a good enough reason for a trip, although the 20th anniversary of Screamadelica certainly is. The UK went all out this March to celebrate Primal Scream’s third LP and what was, earlier this year, ranked as the “Druggiest Album Ever” by NME, with not only a “20th Anniversary Deluxe Edition” of the album but a “20th Anniversary Limited Collector’s Edition” consisting of an “Incredible 12″ circular thermoplastic boxset with lift-off lid and engraved tracklisting on the base, containing 4CDs/DVD/50 page Book/T-shirt/7″Art Cards and a Slipmat.” The yanks, however, felt no need for such sentimentality. However, the coolest (in my opinion) memento of the album’s two-decade-birthday is available stateside: Screamadelica Live.
Screamadelica Live hits US shelves today in DVD/CD and Blu-ray formats. The film captures the band’s first performance of the 1991 album in its entirety (albeit out of order) from London’s Olympia on November 26th of last year. Backed by videowork by Jim Lambie, a gospel choir, and brass section, it was pretty much the most epic and least lame spectacle of “trippiness” the world has ever seen.
Although the cinematography and editing of Screamadelica Live find themselves somewhere between PBS documentary and projection-camera-operator-at-the-Susquehanna-Bank-Center, the grandiose beauty of the event itself makes any technical specs nearly irrelevant. Bobby Gillespie takes the stage and soulfully asks “Are you ready to testify?” to an audience the size of a football field (The first of several “odes” to MC5 of the evening.) before delving head-first into “Movin’ On Up,” the band’s psychedelic gospel that just might top “Amazing Grace” in terms of power to enlighten (Don’t kid yourself, Trent. If there ever was a “Jesus Christ on Ecstasy” it was a Scotsman with a penchant for flares and designer jackets.) That’s followed by 13th Floor Elevators’ “Slip Inside This House” and the rest of the monumental 1991 album. Several thousand fans spend the next hour and change attempting to mimic Gillespie’s should-be-trademarked-swagger and gazing longingly toward the band and mouthing lyrics as if hypnotized (or, you know “enhanced”).
So yeah, I’m as tired as anyone else of this whole playing-an-entire-album thing, but trust me, this is totally worth geeking out over. Plus, if you’re more into the band’s later, Mick Thunders period (the band themselves surely are), the DVD also includes a “Rock and Roll Set,” featuring 8 of their far sleazier anthems, like “Country Girl” and “Swastika Eyes.” Additionally, the DVD edition also features an audio CD of the band performing Screamadelica Live and the Blue-ray version includes a “Classic Albums” doc about the recording of Screamadelica. So if you’re anything like me and you loathe “vacationing,” family, nature, and sun, grab a handful of psychedelics, stick on Screamadelica Live and…
a) “Trip inside this house.”
b) “Don’t Fight It, Feel It”
c) get “Higher Than the Sun.”
d) “Shine like stars.”
* Pretty much every song on the album provides a suitable euphemism for musical and pharmaceutical gratification, so take your pick.