Magazine Archive

Home -> Magazines -> Issues -> Articles in this issue -> View

Article Group:
Sound Reports & Views

Flight Delays Hamper ex-Byrds

Article from Sound International, April 1979

McGuinn, Clark and Hillman
The Venue, London

Would it be history reborn or the triumph of blandness? A bit of both, as it happened. Snow over Holland meant that the flying trio were still sound checking when they should have been playing their early show at the Venue. Despite being kept waiting in the foyer for hours (why?) after paying an outrageous £4 for a ticket, the crowd responded enthusiastically to the music right from the opening Bad Boy. This was nothing special, and was followed by two more new songs, both forgettable. The musicians kept complaining about not having their own instruments, presumably because of flight delays. Nonetheless, Roger McGuinn had acquired a 12-string Rickenbacker and set about producing the time-honoured chiming tones from it, which no-one has ever equalled. Wish he'd turned it up a bit, though, instead of leaving squat lead guitarist John Sanbataro (who looks a bit like David Crosby at a distance) to scatter Strat licks over everything in sight.

Not unexpectedly, it was the Byrds oldies that worked the magic. Turn Turn Turn and Chestnut Mare were good, the latter inspiring Clark to say 'Nice song Roger' and Roger to reply 'Thank you Gene'. Mr Tambourine Man was as it always was and always will be, in short, timeless. Amazingly, the threesome managed to recreate the strange discordant harmonies of Eight Miles High. Chris Hillman's bass and McGuinn's spiralling guitar meant that the song retained its original disturbing surrealism. The major surprise of the evening was a spine-tingling rendition of Feel A Whole Lot Better, a neglected Byrds masterpiece which still sounds fresh and dynamic.

Of the newer material, only Gene Clark's Backstage Pass came close to challenging the old classics, though Chris Hillman chipped in with a taut It Doesn't Matter from his Manassas days. This prompted onstage cracks about 'madman Stills', and the audience, evidently well acquainted with the latter, applauded knowingly. The really impressive aspect of the performance was the harmony singing, which was effortless and evocative.

It wouldn't be fair to expect McGuinn, Clark and Hillman to be legends twice in one lifetime, but the current reunion at least has a lot more going for it than the one which produced the grim Byrds album on Asylum. And McGuinn still tells us we're a beautiful audience. Funny how the circle turns around.

More with this topic

Browse by Topic:


Previous Article in this issue

Passport To Synthesis

Next article in this issue

Rich Kids Double-take

Publisher: Sound International - Link House Publications

The current copyright owner/s of this content may differ from the originally published copyright notice.
More details on copyright ownership...


Sound International - Apr 1979

Donated & scanned by: David Thompson

Sound Reports & Views



Feature by Adam Sweeting

Previous article in this issue:

> Passport To Synthesis

Next article in this issue:

> Rich Kids Double-take

Help Support The Things You Love

mu:zines is the result of thousands of hours of effort, and will require many thousands more going forward to reach our goals of getting all this content online.

If you value this resource, you can support this project - it really helps!

Donations for July 2024
Issues donated this month: 14

New issues that have been donated or scanned for us this month.

Funds donated this month: £20.00

All donations and support are gratefully appreciated - thank you.

Magazines Needed - Can You Help?

Do you have any of these magazine issues?

> See all issues we need

If so, and you can donate, lend or scan them to help complete our archive, please get in touch via the Contribute page - thanks!

If you're enjoying the site, please consider supporting me to help build this archive...

...with a one time Donation, or a recurring Donation of just £2 a month. It really helps - thank you!

Small Print

Terms of usePrivacy