A pilot episode for Jon Brion’s VH1 variety program, The Jon Brion Show, has been floating around online for years, but today writer/director Paul Thomas Anderson shared another piece of the puzzle from their long lost attempt to translate Brion’s Largo stage show to the screen. “I tore up the floorboards at H.Q. the other day and came up with this little number on VHS, ” he writes under the pseudonym Al Rose. “She holds up well.” The caption is for a 43-minute test episode filmed by Anderson after Brion was unhappy with the pilot. In an interview with PTA fansite Cigarettes & Red Vines back in 2000, Anderson said he paid out of pocket for three test episodes “to see the possibility for a music venue or a way to capture what Jon does.”
As with the unaired 1999 episode, Elliott Smith stars in the show that just surfaced, this time performing Big Star, John Lennon, and Kinks covers, along with five original songs from Figure 8 and XO. And as with any Brion live event, impromptu moments abound. Check out the full test show, filmed at Ocean Way Recording, above.