Monday, May 17, 2010

Big Star's Farewell Performance at the Levitt Shell

Photo by Frank Bruno

Alex Chilton died in March, but Big Star lived on until Saturday night at the Levitt Shell in midtown Memphis.  This was most likely the last Big Star show there will ever be, and a few hundred people showed up in Overton Park to take part in it.  It was an unusual evening, and we all realized that we were witnessing something that we would never see again.

"Big Star," as it were, was made up of Jody Stephens on the drums and John Auer and Ken Stringfellow playing guitar and bass.  They started the set with "Back of a Car" and "When My Baby's Beside Me," and then brought out the guest performers.  John Davis of Superdrag did "In The Street," along with others; Mike Mills sang, then Sondre Lerche, then some other musicians who I didn't know.

There were so many people coming and going on stage that it was easy to lose track of who was singing which song.  But highlights of the show included John Auer performing "I Am the Cosmos," on a red hollow-body guitar that once belonged to Chris Bell.

All the performers came back on stage for a poignant version of "Thank You, Friends," and when the three core members of the band performed "Take Care" at the end of the set, they weren't the only ones with tears in their eyes.

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