The 13th Anniversary Show was the second tour by The Residents, beginning in October 1985 in Japan, and finishing in January 1987 in San Francisco.
This tour featured appearances on guitar from the group's long-time friend and collaborator Philip "Snakefinger" Lithman, and was their last major project to feature him prior to his untimely passing in 1987.
The Residents in Japan
After the disasters which befell the group during their 1983 tour The Mole Show, The Residents swore never to go on the road again. The losses they'd taken were threatening Ralph Records' very existence. In order to distance themselves from the fiasco, they took time off from the Moles to work on The American Composer Series, and eventually returned to the Mole Trilogy project in 1985 with The Big Bubble.
The Big Bubble sold well, especially in Japan, to the extent that Wave Records in Tokyo approached The Residents with an offer to commission two weeks of live shows in Japan. At first the group was not at all interested, but when Wave offered to pay all expenses - air fare, hotel, performance costs, and shipping - they could not but accept the very generous deal.
Having learned some painful lessons from The Mole Show tour, The Residents created a very economical production, with no huge sets, no huge props, and no big theatrical concept. Using the fact that they'd been around for a lucky thirteen years as an excuse, the group decided that this tour would be a retrospective of their work to date, featuring live performances of some of their best-known songs.
The show featured the group's long-time collaborator Snakefinger on guitar, and a "mystery person" singing up front, wearing a series of disguises which were progressively less concealing as the show went on. The show included few props; only hand-held loft-lights (with which the dancers and stage ninjas would illuminate the singer) and seven large, inflatable giraffes. From time to time the dancers would change costume, because the heat and closeness of the eyeball heads made it very hard to perform for longer than twenty minutes at a time.
Two of the songs which appear in the show are not Residents songs, but were rather originally performed by Snakefinger: "Picnic in the Jungle" and "Eva's Warning". The tour also featured a performance of "Eloise", one of the group's oldest songs, regularly featured in their earliest performances from 1971 to 1976.
The Residents were a huge success in Japan. They sold out all of their concerts, appeared on live Japanese TV, and Wave even had a Residents sculpture installed in the lobby of their Tokyo record store. The Residents enjoyed themselves immensely. Meanwhile in the United States, a young fan of the group had heard about the Japanese concerts.
Rich Schupe, a college undergraduate on the East Coast, had been a fan of The Residents since he was 13 and had crossed paths with the group several times, from helping with the preparations for the Uncle Sam Mole Show performance, to billeting Snakefinger at his parent's house during the 1982 Manual of Errors tour (and mailing Snakefinger's lost sock back to Ralph Records afterwards).
By 1985, Schupe was fairly well known at The Cryptic Corporation, having established a mail and telephone relationship with John Kennedy before Kennedy left the company. Schupe phoned the Cryptics, wanting to know when The Residents would ever get back out to the East Coast. The Cryptics felt that there wasn't that much interest in them in the States - they seemed to do better in Europe and Japan - but they told Schupe to see what he could come up with.
By the time The Residents got back from Japan, Schupe had managed to arrange far more show dates than they could ever have hoped to perform. They signed Schupe on as tour manager in spite of his being only 19 years old (and having to cut out two terms of college to accept), and whittled the list down to twenty-four shows in eighteen cities.
Still remembering the lessons from The Mole Show, the group kept the simplified format of the Japanese concerts, touring in a single vehicle (with no obnoxious roadies). They also held on to the merchandising rights, putting Tom Timony (who was running Ralph) in charge of selling the hundred-plus different items.
As in Japan, the show was a success. They sold out often during the tour, including three times in San Francisco and at both of their shows at The Ritz, where they were playing New York City for the first time ever. They were third in club ticket sales in New York, only outsold by Eric Clapton and Jerry Garcia.
There were some problems, of course. One of the Kansas venues turned out to be a pool hall and another performance in the Midwest was the last concert in that location before the new owners turned it into a female topless basketball sports bar - it wasn't really drawing The Residents' usual crowd.
Theft of Mr. Red Eye and birth of Mr. Skull
The most serious problem The Residents experienced on the tour was the theft of one of their eyeball masks, Mr. Red Eye, from a Los Angeles dressing room on Boxing Day 1985. The group costumed the bereft Resident with an old skull mask prop from the Vileness Fats era and a black jumpsuit. Subsequent concerts would open with a eulogy for the missing eyeball and black memorial arm-bands were available in the lobby. That Resident has re-used a similar costume occasionally since, and is known as Mr. Skull (or sometimes Dead-Eye Dick) when doing so.
The real story of the eyeball's disappearance was discovered later. One day, someone arrived at the The Cryptic Corporation offices with a parcel, explaining that a "friend" had broken into the backstage area of the theater and swiped the eyeball from the dressing room. Because he could not carry the mask out undetected, he instead went upstairs and dropped it out of a second story window into a dumpster, then casually walked back out again to recover it. The Cryptics' visitor claimed that he had persuaded this "friend" to turn the eyeball-head over and, using another "friend"'s birthday present of a return air fare from LA to SF, he was now heroically returning the long-lost mask.
The Cryptics didn't buy this guy's story for a moment - it was fairly obvious that he, himself, was the thief. However, they were far more concerned with the fact that Mr. Red Eye had been seriously damaged in the fall than with laying blame. Though they now had their missing eyeball back, there was no way they could use it. Mr. Skull continued to be used for the remainder of the tour.
Oceania, Europe and final performances
After touring the States The Residents took a six-month breather then headed off to Australia, New Zealand, and Europe, where they were greeted with more enthusiasm. Eventually, they returned to San Francisco for a final run, concluding with a grand finale on January 10th 1987, featuring guest appearances by Penn & Teller.
As a special treat during that last concert, Teller - who never speaks - agreed to sing one of The Residents' songs in exchange for a Resident removing his eyeball mask. Teller stepped behind a screen to sing the song, and when he was done one of the band members removed his mask, revealing... Teller.
All in all, The 13th Anniversary Show was a huge success. It was well received by both audiences and critics, especially in New York, San Francisco, and Europe, and helped cure the band's financial woes. There have been three recordings of the tour released: one from the original Japanese leg of the tour (on LP), one from the European leg (on CD), and one from the USA (on two cassettes, later re-released on two CDs by UWEB).
First Leg ('The Eyeball Show')
- October 28th 1985 - Kyoto, Japan
- October 29th 1985 - Parco Space, Tokyo, Japan
- October 30th 1985 - Parco Space, Tokyo, Japan
- October 31st 1985 - Parco Space, Tokyo, Japan
Second Leg (U.S)
- December 10th 1985 - Wolfgangs, San Francisco, California, United States
- December 11th 1985 - Wolfgangs, San Francisco, California, United States
- December 12th 1985 - Wolfgangs, San Francisco, California, United States
- December 13th 1985 - Wolfgangs, San Francisco, California, United States
- December 26th 1985 - The Palace, Los Angeles, California, United States
- January 9th 1986 - 688 Club, Atlanta, Georgia, United States
- January 10th 1986 - 688 Club, Atlanta, Georgia, United States
- January 12th 1986 - City Gardens, Trenton, New Jersey, United States
- January 16th 1986 - The Ritz, New York, United States
- January 17th 1986 - The Ritz, New York, United States
- January 20th 1986 - The Channel, Boston, Massachusetts, United States
- January 22nd 1986 - Le Spectrum, Montreal, Quebec, Canada
- January 24th 1986 - Music Hall, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
- January 25th 1986 - Michigan Theater, Ann Arbor, Michigan, United States
- January 27th 1986 - Peabody's Down Under, Cleveland, Ohio, United States
- January 28th 1986 - Peabody's Down Under, Cleveland, Ohio, United States
- January 29th 1986 - The Graffitti, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, United States
- January 31st 1986 - Lisner Auditorium, Washington D.C., United States
- February 7th 1986 - Vic Theatre, Chicago, Illinois, United States
- February 8th 1986 - The Palms, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, United States
- February 10th 1986 - First Avenue, Minneapolis, Minnesota, United States
- February 12th 1986 - Cogburns, Lawrence, Kansas, United States
- February 14th 1986 - Arcadia, Dallas, Texas, United States
- February 16th 1986 - Cullen Auditorium, Houston, Texas, United States
Third Leg (AU)
- August 4th 1986 - Tivoli, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
- August 5th 1986 - Tivoli, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
- August 6th 1986 - Tivoli, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
- August 7th 1986 - Tivoli, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
- August 8th 1986 - Easts, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia
- August 9th 1986 - Jet Club, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia
- August 10th 1986 - Art Factory, Byron Bay, New South Wales, Australia
- August 11th 1986 - The Parrot, Perth, Western Australia, Australia
- August 13th 1986 - Tivoli, Adelaide, South Australia, Australia
- August 14th 1986 - Tivoli, Adelaide, South Australia, Australia
- August 15th 1986 - Seaview Ballroom, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
- August 16th 1986 - Seaview Ballroom, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
- August 17th 1986 - Seaview Ballroom, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
- August 19th 1986 - Canberra Labour Club, Canberra, Australian Capital Territory, Australia
- August 20th 1986 - Hills Inn, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
- August 21st 1986 - Tivoli, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
- August 22nd 1986 - Town Hall, Christchurch, New Zealand
- August 23rd 1986 - Galaxy, Auckland, New Zealand
- August 26th 1986 - Wellington, New Zealand
- August 28th 1986 - Selinas, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
Fourth Leg (EU)
- October 3rd 1986 - Ungdomens Hus, Tromso, Norway
- October 4th 1986 - Falkoner Teatret, Copenhagen, Denmark
- October 5th 1986 - Norske Opera, Oslo, Norway
- October 6th 1986 - Fryshuset, Stockholm, Sweden
- October 8th 1986 - Tempodrom, Berlin, Germany
- October 9th 1986 - Zeche, Bochum, Germany
- October 10th 1986 - Batschkapp, Frankfurt, Germany
- October 11th 1986 - Theaterfabric, Munich, Germany
- October 12th 1986 - Posthof, Linz, Austria
- October 13th 1986 - Sofiensale, Vienna, Austria
- October 15th 1986 - Maison de la Culture, Rennes, France
- October 16th 1986 - Maison de la Culture, Paris, France
- October 17th 1986 - Chapiteau de la Pepiniere, Nancy, France
- October 20th 1986 - Salle de la E.N.T.P.E., Lyon, France
- October 21st 1986 - Geneva, Switzerland
- October 23rd 1986 - Nighttown, Rotterdam, Netherlands
- October 24th 1986 - Hof ter Lo, Antwerp, Belgium
- October 25th 1986 - Paradiso, Amsterdam, Netherlands
- October 26th 1986 - Noorderligt, Tilburg, Netherlands
- October 28th 1986 - Hammersmith Palais, London, England
- October 29th 1986 - The Hacienda, Manchester, England
- January 10h 1987 - Warfield Theater, San Francisco, California, United States
- Lizard Lady
- Hello Skinny
- Jailhouse Rock
- Where Is She? / Earth Vs. Flying Saucers
- Picnic in the Jungle
- Smelly Tongues
- Ship's A Goin' Down
- The New Machine (Success)
- Tourniquet of Roses
- I Got Rhythm (Second Leg onward)
- Passing the Bottle
- Monkey and Bunny
- Theme From an American TV Show
- This Is A Man's Man's Man's World
- Walter Westinghouse
- Easter Woman
- Red Rider
- Die In Terror
- The Coming of the Crow
- Eva's Warning
- The Big Bubble (Second Leg onward)
- Hop A Little
- Cry for the Fire
- Kaw-Liga (Fourth Leg onward)
- Festival of Death / Diskomo (Second Leg onward)
- Kamakazie Lady (Fourth Leg onward)
In terms of dedicated live albums, The 13th Anniversary Show is The Residents' most documented tour, second only to Talking Light. The first of these albums is The Eyeball Show Live in Japan, recorded on the tour's first leg in October of 1985 and released by Wave Records on February 21st, 1986. In addition, an extended cassette released in June of that year and the complete show saw release on CD in 1999.
The album following was 'Live In the USA', a limited edition double cassette containing a complete show from the tour's second leg in early 1986. This recording is of a lower quality than the Eyeball Show album but includes a longer setlist than the Japan CD. Two other performances on this leg were recorded but would not see releases until the 2010s. These albums were The 13th Anniversary Show Ritz NY and Cleveland, but are essentially the same as Live in the USA.
13th Anniversary Show - Live In Holland, the final of the original 13th Anniversary albums, was recorded during the show's last leg in October of 1986. It features a significantly re-arranged setlist compared to the other albums and contains an exclusive performance of Kamazki Lady. A likely outtake from this show is Kaw-Live-A, which was included in the 1993 compilation Poor Kaw-Liga's pain and recent reissues of Live in the USA.
Another excerpt from a 13th Anniversary Show is Diskomo Live, recorded during the show's final performance and released in April of 1988. Two excerpts from a poorly recorded show known as Trosmo Inconvenienced later featured on the Fingerprince and Duck Stab pREServed editions.
Due to the dim lighting used throughout the show, filming or photography was almost impossible for this tour, so no footage of a real live performance exists. However, four non-live performances were shot by TV stations. The first of this was an eight-minute excerpt from the first leg, filmed for Japanese TV. This footage has never seen a home media release, except for Hop a Little, which featured as an Easter Egg on Randy's Ghost Stories. The next filmed performance was a completed rehearsal taped on January 15th, 1986, by MTV. Sadly, it has never been released or broadcast.
Next filmed was a television performance in August of 1986, which only includes Man's World. This footage has featured on The Eyes Scream, Twenty Twisted Questions, Live! ...On The Outskirts, and Kettles Of Fish On The Outskirts Of Town. In October, The Residents filmed a 27-minute concentrate performance of the show for Norse TV, featuring Jailhouse Rock, Picnic In The Jungle, Eva's Warning, Cry of The Crow, and Cry for The Fire. This footage is considered iconic within The Residents fandom for its visuals and performance. Excerpts have been released on The Eyes Scream and Live! ...On The Outskirts and Kettles Of Fish On The Outskirts Of Town. The TV broadcast is a commonly distributed bootleg.
- Song Writing, Vocals & Keyboards: The Residents
- Song Writing, Guitar & Percussion: Snakefinger
- Dancers: Carol LeMaitre & Sarah McLennan
- Lighting Design: K. Newell & Helen Purdum
- Tour Manager (Second Leg): Rich Shupe
- Tour Manger: (Fourth Leg): Hein Fokker
- The 13th Anniversary Show - Live In Japan
- Live in the USA! 13th Anniversary Tour
- 13th Anniversary Show - Live In Holland
- 13th Anniversary Show - Ritz NY - Jan 16, 1986
- The 13th Anniversary Show - Cleveland