New Traditionalists (partially found live recordings of DEVO concert tour; 1981)

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1981-12-08 04.jpg

Promotional flyer for December 8th, 1981 concert that was to be filmed.

Status: Partially Found

For Devo's New Traditionalists album, the band undertook a large, visually complex tour combining a faux Greek Temple stage set, synchronized lighting and slides, and complex choreography based on three treadmills. Two shows from this tour were known to be filmed, but the footage has been lost, save for three songs.

The November 24th, 1981 show, at the Mackey Auditorium in Boulder, Colorado, was filmed with two cameras by a local PBS affiliate for the show Waveform: Rock Video, produced by Michael Drumm. Of this show, only the first three songs survive in extremely high-generation copies. Audio for the first two songs, the "NuTra Theme" and "Going Under" is lost, but an enterprising fan has synchronized the video with a live audio recording released from a November 28th performance in Seattle. This audio was released as a limited-edition LP in 2012, and as a CD in 2013. The third song from this performance, "Through Being Cool" also circulates with audio, though it features a brief voice-over early on. In February 2020, producer Michael Drumm commented on YouTube about the recording, and meeting Devo's Gerald Casale. [1] Drumm was asked if he had access to the original footage, or higher quality footage, but did not respond. The full aired Waveform: Rock Video segment on Devo, minus the music video for "Through Being Cool" was uploaded to YouTube on August 6, 2023, and includes an additional performance of "Jerkin' Back 'n' Forth". [2].

On December 8th, 1981, Devo performed a concert at the Santa Monica Civic Auditorium that was to be filmed. According to the band's co-founder, Gerald Casale;

"The one time we tried to record the show, it was because a seven-camera crew was shooting and their lighting generator got crossed with our stage-light generator and they blew out both sets of lights—the film lights and the stage lights. It was a disaster. And part of the insurance settlement was that all audio and video from that show had to be destroyed because they were claiming a loss."[3]

No footage has been recovered from this performance.

An Australian documentary, filmed in 2020, titled Devolution: A Devo Theory, features several short, high-quality clips of video from the New Traditionalists tour. The source and dates for this footage are currently unknown. As the documentary was produced in Australia, the footage may be from the band's 1982 Australian and New Zealand tour dates.


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