TEXT/PHOTOS BY GREG KELLY
Stepping into The Palace, I knew it was going to be a good night. Opening in 1922 this historic theater played host to Primus and The Chocolate Factory’s psyched-out version of the Willie Wonka sound track. The first set was stripped-down, straightforward classic Primus, very low light and no stage props. It was great to see Tim Alexander back after recovering from recent heart surgery. This was the arrangement I first saw Primus with in 1992 and I have been a fan ever since.
The second set made the theater come alive. Les, Ler and Tim were joined by the Fungi Ensemble, Mike Dillion (on percussion and vibes) and Sam Bass (cello). The band created a sound and vision that is like nothing I have experienced before, with the entire crowd readily absorbing the new material. Playing Wonka classics like “Candy Man”, “Golden Ticket”, “Pure Imagination”, it was quite unique. The stage was lit up with everything Wonka, from a huge video screen playing, should I say, “tripped out” visual clips from the original movie to oversized oopma loompa men on stage. The night was filled with imagination, creativity, and incredible musicianship. (Thanks, Dave, for the setlist—a cherished novelty from the show.)