The Fully Orchestrated Live Premiere of Big Star’s Third
It was the worst of times and the best of times for Big Star. Andy Hummel and Alex Chilton passed away in 2010 leaving Jody Stephens as the lone surviving member of the band. The worst of times. Chris Stamey recruited an amazing cast of characters and recreated Big Star’s Third (aka Sister Lovers) live for the first time ever. The best of times. If you’re interested enough to read this you know the history of Third and Big Star and you’re mad you weren’t there. If you were lucky enough to be at the Cat’s Cradle on one of those two nights in early December you saw the best concert of 2010.
On to the show….
Master of Ceremonies Django Haskins opened the show with “Nature Boy” setting the tone: part celebration and part memorial service.
Stamey somehow fit a 20 piece band featuring himself, Big Star’s Jody Stephens on drums, Mitch Easter, Mike Mills (yes, REM, that Mike Mills), Michael Stipe (no, not that Michael Stipe), strings, brass and winds and a number of guest vocalists including Chilton sound-alike Matt McMichaels on the Cat’s Cradle stage. With Stamey as the guitar wielding on-stage Maestro and the strings sheltered behind a plexiglass screen the sound rivaled any club show I’ve ever heard. After completing Third including most of the reissue bonus tracks the band returned for several encores including tracks from Chris Bell’s I Am The Cosmos and songs from the band’s first two albums. I could write more but I’ll let the photos and the program tell the story.
Photo Credits: the very talented and very generous Ash Crowe.