Egg Center for the Performing Arts, Albany NY
Two days earlier I had thoroughly enjoyed a tribute to Gene Clark featuring his son Kai’s band and a host of guest musicians and singers. A special concert, featuring a superb guitarist who was able to somewhat mimic Roger McGuinn’s style on the 3 Byrds songs where that was necessary (Mr Tambourine Man, Feel a Whole Lot Better, Turn! turn! turn!) . I wondered how the Sweetheart of the Rodeo show would live up to that. The rather unwieldly title of this tour reflects, I think, the need to keep David Crosby happy and the aim was to mainly concentrate on the post Crosby era in The Byrds.
Opening with My Back Pages the first set consisted of mainly countryish songs that preceded Sweetheart. As the opening chords rang out, I turned to my concert going companion and said that it sounded just like the Byrds. McGuinn’s voice, never the most expressive of instruments, has weakened but it was recognisably him. Standout highlights of the first set for me were also Time Between and Mr Spaceman,
Following a couple of strong Marty Stuart songs, we got the whole of the Sweetheart of the Rodeo album (not in order), his band were sensational, special kudos to Kenny Vaughan on steel guitar and “Handsome” Harry Stinson on drums and backing vocals. Surprisingly for me Hillman took the bulk of the lead vocals in this set. We also were treated to quite a few anecdotes about this time in The Byrds and the making of the album. Hillman and McGuinn starting and ending each others sentences and helping each other out as the memories are not quite as they were.
Encore was 3 (THREE) tributes to Tom Petty, possibly two too many, but beautifully played, and the show ended (again) with Turn! Turn! Turn!, a rare opportunity for a frail looking McGuinn to show us that his guitar chops were still very much in place.
So a beautiful evening in a superb venue, well worth the 5 hr drive.
At 56 I was one of the youngest
It made me think..
Great band, The Byrds