Vida Blue Returns To Stage After 15 Years In Washington D.C.

By Scott Bernstein Sep 19, 2019 6:40 am PDT

Vida Blue featuring Phish keyboardist Page McConnell, Dead & Company bassist Oteil Burbridge, funky METERS drummer Russell Batiste and newest member, guitarist Adam Zimmon played the 9:30 Club in Washington D.C. on Wednesday, which marked the group’s first performance in 15 years. The quartet mixed classic material from their 2002 self-titled debut with a few choice covers and the songs that make up Crossing Lines, the Vida Blue album that comes out this Friday.

McConnell, Batiste, Burbridge and Zimmon kicked off the one-set affair the way their studio debut does, with “Most Events Aren’t Planned.” Next up was “CJ3” from the 2002 LP before “Where Did It Go” served as the first song from Crossing Lines to get the live treatment. Russell Batiste was then featured on “Real Underground Soul Sound,” the penultimate track of Crossing Lines. More songs from the forthcoming album followed in “Phaidon” and “Analog Delay.”

Vida Blue went back to their self-titled debut for the Batiste-sung “Where’s Popeyes” ahead of “Dry Spell,” which was dedicated to the late Art Neville whom McConnell noted was one of his heroes and one of Russell’s closest friends. The band performed in front of a backdrop that replicated the Page-designed artwork from the cover of Crossing Lines. McConnell and company offered up the debut of “Maybe” from Crossing Lines before going back to Vida Blue for “Who’s Laughing Now.” The four-piece went on to perform “Weepa” for the first time and then dug in on a cover of Pink Floyd’s “Sheep.” The pairing of “Final Flight” and “If I Told You” closed the set. While Phish performed “Final Flight” once on February 26, 2003 the band released a studio version of “If I Told You” as part of their 2009 outtake collection, Party Time.

The first Vida Blue show since 2004 ended with a three-song encore. McConnell led his mates through Gary Numan’s smash “Cars” to begin the encore and then the quartet performed “I Always Wanted It This Way” off Phish’s Big Boat LP. “Electra Glide” sent fans on their way. Vida Blue continues the short run in Philadelphia on Friday and closes the brief jaunt in Port Chester, New York on Saturday.

Listen to an audience recording via Alex Leary:


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

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