Frontiers Records "The first song I ever performed in front of a crowd…
- Posted on Mar 27th 2011 11:00AM by David Chiu
Led by musical director Chris Stamey, the show, which was held at Mason Hall, was impressive alone for its sheer scale, as the stage housed both a rock and orchestra section. For fans of the adventurous 'Third/Sister Lovers,' it was like hearing that album really come to life.
After an opening set by Lost in the Trees, the show kicked off with Mayflies USA's Matt McMichaels singing the rocker 'Kizza Me.' From there on, the guest singers peformed about two songs each from the record: Kaplan offered 'O Dana' and "Take Care'; Mills sang the melodic 'Jesus Christ'; Merritt delivered a very soulful rendition of 'Dream Lover' and a rocking 'You Can't Have Me'; Teenage Fanclub's Norman Blake performed 'Nighttime' and 'Stroke It Noel.' Singer Brett Harris showcased some amazing vocals on 'Femme Fatale,' a Velvet Underground song that Big Star had covered, while Django Haskins sang the very gloomy ballad 'Holocaust.'
Surviving Big Star drummer Jody Stephens took two turns on the microphone himself, singing the lovely 'For You' and then later 'Blue Moon.' He played in the house band along with guitarists Stamey and Mitch Easter, who later took the lead vocal on the Kinks' 'Till the End of the Day,' another song Big Star performed.
Toward the end of the set, Stipe came onstage and sang Kangaroo." Afterwards, the guest singers came out to perform the cheerful 'Thank You Friends.'
But the show didn't end there. For the encore, the singers returned to perform non-'Third/Sister Lovers' songs by Big Star: Sweet and Mills duetted on 'September Gurls'; Merritt sang the tender ballad 'Thirteen'; and Blake performed 'I'm in Love With a Girl.' There were other nice touches during the encore: late Big Star co-founder Chris Bell was paid tribute by Blake through his song 'I Am the Cosmos'; and McMichaels sang the energetic rocker 'Alex Chilton' by the Replacements. Stipe returned during the encore to sing the Box Tops' song 'The Letter,' a very proper choice since the Box Tops were Chilton's band before Big Star.
At one point during the show, Stephens mentioned his former bandmate Chilton by saying that he missed him and that his presence was here. Given the amount of star power at the show, that couldn't have been truer.
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