big_star_lightmanIf there’s a power pop heaven, you know they’ve got a hell of a band. Us sinners can get a sneak preview of it on this recording, which captures Big Star in the spring of 1974 — opening for, wait for it, Badfinger. This gig took place around the same time as the officially released Big Star Live disc, and features bassist John Lightman in place of founding member Andy Hummel. As noted in the MC’s intro, this must’ve been a bit of a bummer gig for the band, as the night before their van was stolen, along with all of their equipment. But they make the best of it, sounding inspired and tight throughout their 45-minute set, complete with Chilton’s sparkling guitar work and drummer Jody Stephens’ high harmonies.

The trio tackles tunes from #1 Record and Radio City, but oddly (or maybe not so odd, given Chilton’s later propensity for non-original material), nearly half of the setlist is made up of covers, including tunes by the Kinks, Loudon Wainwright III and T. Rex. Perhaps the most interesting of these is the only (as far as I know) known Big Star version of the Velvet Underground’s “Candy Says.” Remarkable that, along with his later cover of “Femme Fatale,” Chilton was so tuned in to the softer side of Lou Reed’s songwriting at this point in the 70s. Most of the proto-punk/punk scene focused on the other extreme of his stuff, right?  Big Star’s “Candy Says” is a loose affair (“We don’t know it very well,” Alex jokes), but as with most things the band touched, it’s gorgeous. Now…where’s the tape of that Badfinger set? words/ t wilcox

Download: Big Star :: Cambridge Performing Arts Center – March 31, 1974

1. In The Street 2. Baby Strange (T. Rex) 3. Mod Lang 4. Candy Says (Velvet Underground) 5. Til The End Of The Day (Kinks) 6. O My Soul 7. Motel Blues (Loudon Wainwright III) 8. Thirteen 9. Way Out West 10. September Gurls 11. We Gotta Go (Kinks)

16 Responses to “Big Star :: Cambridge Performing Arts Center, March 31, 1974”

  1. Thanks so much for posting this. Just hearing Alex’s voice is worth the price of admission, which, of course, was nothing. Awesome!

  2. First time, long time…
    Thank you soooo much for this, it’s like an X-mas gift from the Drunkard

  3. Thanks so much for this and everything else you have posted over the years

  4. thanks christmas morning will be perfect!

  5. HOORAY!

  6. Damn! AD, you guys take damn good care of us.

  7. Big Star’s music performed by Jody Stephens, Ken Stringfellow, Jon Auer, J.B. Meijers & special guests

    Amsterdam, november 12, 2012

  8. […] […]

  9. Thank you, A.D.
    I typically tend to think you guys are dicks, but this was very nice of you.
    (Yes, I’m kidding!!!!)

  10. […] son de ce bootleg est un peu voilé, mais pas si mauvais vu la date.   Dans son speech d’introduction, le […]

  11. “We Gotta Go” is actually called “Come On Now” and can be found on “Kinda Kinks”.

  12. As of 9 AM EDT, the link appears to be down. Oh please, Mr. Drunkard, resurrect ir for me!

  13. […] Related: Big Star :: Cambridge Performing Arts Center, March 31, 1974 […]

  14. […] + Aquarium Drunkard put up an excellent Big Star performance. […]

  15. you post the best stuff.

    Thanks a many many for what you do

  16. […] Big Star, the flagship band of Ardent Records, was kaput, and the label itself was in flux, tethered to the financial woes of its distributor, Stax. Following the tumultuous sessions that would eventually be fashioned posthumously into Big Star’s Third/Sister Lovers, a young rock writer named Jon Tiven showed up from New York. A fan of Big Star who’d helped organize the Memphis Rock Writers Convention — helping to forever align rock critics and the cult band — he embarked on a serious of sessions with Chilton and hooked with up with a young singer/songwriter named Tommy Hoehn. Together, they tapped into the Memphis scene orbiting Ardent Studios, enlisting Chilton, Jim Dickinson, Chris Bell, and a few more session hands for a series of recordings under the name Prix, mixing Big Star-like Anglophile pop with hard-edged rock. […]

Leave a Reply

XHTML: You can use these tags: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>