Photos by ELLEN BERMAN, Review by BOB BUSBY
On Tuesday, July 24th, at the Theatre at the Ace Hotel, Roger McQuinn and Chris Hillman two of the founding members of The Byrds performed the opening night of their tour celebrating the 50th anniversary of The Byrds’ seminal album Sweetheart of The Rodeo.
Often, these types of tribute shows are not the most cohesively played due to a band having been thrown together for the occasion. However this was not the case.
Marty Stuart, Mike Campbell, Join The Byrds
Backed by country music veteran Marty Stuart and his seasoned band The Fabulous Superlatives, from the opening “My Back Pages” to the first set’s closing “Mr. Tambourine Man” the selections were presented expertly.
In addition to the 11 songs featured on Sweetheart of the Rodeo, the enthusiastic and appreciative audience was treated to 17 other Byrds songs including classics such as “So You Want To Be A Rock ‘n’ Roll Star” and “Turn, Turn, Turn.”
Tom Petty Songs – Byrds’ Style
During the encore they also did three Tom Petty songs: “American Girl,” for which they were joined by Heartbreaker Mike Campbell, “Wildflowers,” and a wonderful bluegrass rendition of “Running Down A Dream.”
Celebrating The 50th Anniversary of ‘Sweetheart’
Peppered throughout the evening were amusing anecdotes and stories from both Hillman and McGuinn, regarding the less-than-enthusiastic reception of Sweetheart of The Rodeo by country music while simultaneously providing a window into the “free love” atmosphere that existed in San Francisco during the summer of 1968.
McGuinn and Hillman are both in their mid-70s but on this evening yet again the music proved to be timeless.
Videos courtesy of Roger McGuinn: