The Tim Buckley Archives

Concert Reviews

May, 1968

Fillmore East
'New' Byrds Display Old Folk-Rock Form

By Fred Kirby

NEW YORK -- The Byrds, absent from the New York scene for some time, showed they still had complete command of the folk-rock idiom with a near-brilliant first set at Fillmore East on Saturday (18), the third of four weekend sets at the East Village theater. Reported guitar trouble cut short Tim Buckley's set, but he was good while he was on.

A major question the group had to answer was how their change of membership affected their familiar sound. With Jim McGuinn still on lead and Milt Hillman still on bass, the unit is as solid as ever. It took the large audience a while to warm up to the Byrds, however. Much of this doubtless was due to the abrupt ending of Buckley's set.

Actually, it was a group of country numbers that grabbed the audience. Included were Hickory Wind and You Don't Miss Your Water with Graham Parsons featured, while Douglas Dillard played bluegrass banjo in Foggy Mountain Breakdown. Dillard, not a regular member of the group, sat in for one weekend stand.

The last three numbers of their regular program were three of the Byrds' biggest hits: Eight Miles High, Mr. Tambourine Man, and Turn! Turn! Turn! These demanded and naturally got encores as the group performed Goin' Back and Hey Joe. In the latter, McGuinn sang just about the fastest version of the song which has received many performances around here lately.

The program had many other features, including Chimes of Freedom, So You Want To Be A Rock 'n' Roll Star, Satisfied Mind, My Back Pages, and their latest single You Ain't Going Nowhere, a country tune. McGuinn, Hillmann and Parsons on vocals were excellent throughout, while Kent Kelly was first rate on drums.

Many groups that have played Fillmore East recently have scored impressively with excitement of raw power, a characteristic of much of today's music. The Byrds, however, are clearly one of the most polished acts in today's pop scene, and they too, scored impressively.

As for Buckley, he was in fine voice with his falsetto under perfect control. The Elektra artist's communication with the audience is based strictly on his vocal performance and his superb material, although he did mumble something before his last number. The possessor of possibly the best voice of today's popular folk-style composers, Buckley delivered five songs well, then abruptly left the stage. With the cheers of the audience and cries for more still ringing, his three back-up musicians also left. An announcement was made about the faulty guitar. The problem was not apparent.

The Foundations, an r&b-style group from England, opened the show with a largely uptempo set. Baby, Now That I've Found You,their UNI Records hit was the high point. Among the other good numbers for the eight-man unit were Show Me, Too Many Teardrops, I'm a Whole New Thing, and I Can Take or Leave Your Loving.

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