The original concept for the show was to be a live tour, running approximately between 1980 and 1981, but this version of the show was never thoroughly developed and The Residents instead debuted as a touring act in 1982 with The Mole Show.
The Residents revived the idea of adapting Eskimo as a stage performance in 1992, this time as an opera, but the idea again never got off the ground, despite the group commissioning set designs from Cube-E collaborator Ron Davis.
Eskimo Live (1979-1981)
Around the time of the release of their 1979 album Eskimo, The Residents were planning what was intended to be their first touring show, a performance based on the album. A concept album designed to tell stories through sound, the group felt that Eskimo would lend itself well to a visual performance project.
Eskimo Live got some way into the planning stages before it was abandoned by The Residents due in no small part to the expense and complexities involved in such a large scale performance project, especially as they had never toured. The Residents' interest in touring continued to develop, resulting in live in the studio rehearsals in 1982, which included a suite of tracks from the Eskimo album, indicating that the idea of a live performance of Eskimo had not been entirely abandoned by The Residents up to this point.
Opera adaptation (1992)
The Residents revisited the idea of adapting Eskimo into a theatrical performance in the early 1990s, developing an "Eskimo Opera Proposal" - a vocal and orchestral demo suite featuring pieces of music intended for an operatic adaptation of the album.
The group commissioned a number of set designs from artist Ron Davis, who they had previously worked with on their Cube-E production in 1989. The Eskimo opera seems to have not developed beyond these initial designs, however, and The Residents themselves would not perform an advanced show until Disfigured Night in 1997.
The Eskimo Opera Proposal (with vocals from Chris Romero and Mark Salvatore) was released officially on the compilation album dot.com in 2000 and later featured (newly remastered by Scott Colburn) on the pREServed edition of Eskimo in 2019.
The Residents' continuing desire to adapt Eskimo in a visual context eventually culminated in the creation of the Eskimo DVD in 2002, featuring the original album in 5.1 surround sound, with still images and text directly adapting the corresponding stories from the album's liner notes.
- Eskimoat The Residents Historical
- Eskimo Live at RZWeb
- dot.com at Discogs
- Eskimo pREServed edition at Discogs