Friday, 14 January 2011
The Byrds - Bath Festival 1970.
The festival suffered from some appalling weather at times and also from traffic jams getting to the venue which affected some acts. The original schedule of artists times for appearing went disastrously wrong and delays eventually meant acts appeared through both nights and into Monday morning.
The Byrds appeared on stage, in the early hours of Monday 29th June and the following from the festival archives site takes up the story - It was really late, something like 2 am . We were down the front, as the hordes of Zep fans had gone home. It was wet windy and cold, the Airplane had left the stage because of shocks from the mic's. But the Byrds were made of stronger stuff, they came on and Delivered in such a way that this acoustic set has stayed in my memory for over two decades as an amazing transcendent performance. We were of course, lucky to see Clarence White who was one of the best Byrds guitar players .What a line up ! McGuinn was centerstage , I seem to remember the band playing seated on stools. Rolling Stone said they played 8 -16 encores. Perhaps a slight overstatement , although there are lots of encores on the tape I have , but they did go down a storm with those who stayed up to watch.
This show was the first ever Byrds acoustic show (at least that's what the band themselves state on-stage) and its amazing , a few rough edges here and there, but that's mainly due to the fact that they are really delving into the songbook for stuff to play. They had intended to play an electric set , so the whole show was more or less an improvisation .Most of the time they sound as though they have been playing acoustic sets for years. There's a great jam on Eight Miles High that has the audience going into fits of ecstasy . There's a few funny spots, like where McGuinn announces they will play Willin' "you know, weed whites and wine ?" he asks, expecting a big cheer. Nothing . not a sausage from the audience, absolute quiet. So he asks again and there's still no response. Either we were all too numb to respond, or we just were all innocents who didn't know what he meant (and I refuse to believe that!)
At another point the compere gets up and says that they want to get Dr John on-stage soon and he is just shouted down by the audience who want more Byrds, so he eventually gives up. The show ends after numerous encores with the compere stating that the Byrds are worn out and their fingers are trashed . Mindful of his earlier verbal thrashing , he soft soaps us by saying we are all nice people and will understand they can't keep on playing. We do, and with more cheers they depart after playing for two and a half hours , according to the the music magazines (although my tape is only 90 mins long). The compere (Mike Raven?) is then heard saying that they will try to get the Moody Blues on and then Dr John , but apparently the Moodies were unable to play , despite being flown in by helicopter and it was the Good Dr who played the festival out in the damp dawn.
Source: Audience recording.
Sound Quality: Average/Good for audience recording of the time, mp3@192kbps.
Genre: Rock, pop, folk rock, psychedelic rock, country rock.
Set: Full Set.
Its All Right Ma.
Ballad Of Easy Rider.
Baby What Do You Want Me To Do.
Drug Store Truck Drivin' Man.
You Don't Miss Your Water.
Jesus Is Just Alright.
Turn! Turn! Turn!
Mr. Tambourine Man
Eight Miles High.
Mary, don’t you weep.
Black Mountain Rag.
Just a Season;
So You Want to Be a Rock 'n Roll Star.
You Ain't Goin Nowhere.
Wasn't Born To Follow.
Take A Whiff On Me.
Roger McGuinn - guitar / vocals
Clarence White - guitar / vocal
Gene Parsons - drums / vocal
Skip Battin - bass / vocals
Website: The Byrds (fan site) HERE, Bath Festival Archive, HERE.
Replacement download link in comments below (8th February 2012).