Video Vault: Elliott Smith performs “A Distorted Reality” at Field Day Festival 2003

One of the singer-songwriter's final live performances before his untimely passing

Welcome to the latest edition of the Video Vault, a new series in which Consequence of Sound and Chicago’s iconic JBTV offer you classic concert footage from over 30 years of tape preserved in the studio’s extensive collection. Many of these have never before been seen by the general public.

Previously, we brought you a 1995 clip of Jeff Buckley delivering a moving performance of “Hallelujah”, taken from his last video recorded concert before his death in 1997. Today, we’ve dug up another piece of music history, one of Elliott Smith’s final live performances.

Dating back to 2003, the visual finds the renowned singer-songwriter playing a soft-spoken rendition of “A Distorted Reality is Now a Necessity to be Free” at the Field Day Festival in East Rutherford, New Jersey, a nasty rainstorm as his all-too-perfect backdrop. It’s one of the few — if not the only — videos of this set and takes place less than six months before Smith’s untimely passing on October 21st, 2003.

Conor Oberst, who has long regarded Smith as a major influence on his own music, was reportedly in attendance for this performance, watching the set from the side stage area.


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