THE BYRDS - SAN FRANCISCO 1978

December 4, 2019 – 7:13 am

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THE BYRDS
San Francisco 1978 [RoxVox RVCD2002, 1CD]

Live at the Boarding House, San Francisco, CA; February 9, 1978. Very good soundboard/radio broadcast.

In early 1978, three of the founding members of the Byrds - Roger McGuinn, Gene Clark, and Chris Hillman - were touring the West Coast with a show in which they each played short solo sets before concluding the show as a trio, performing a handful of Byrds classics. The shows were so well received that the trio would later land a record deal and record a pair of new albums, but on February 9, 1978, fans who came to see McGuinn, Clark & Hillman at the Boarding House in San Francisco got a special surprise.

David Crosby joined his former Byrds bandmates on-stage for eight numbers, delivering a memorable performance that was the closest thing to a reunion of the original Byrds most of the audience would ever see, with only drummer Michael Clarke missing on-stage. The show was recorded by a local radio station, and Live at the Boarding House: The Historic Radio Broadcast preserves this oft-bootlegged show…

Clark performs “Silver Raven” and “Release Me Girl,” followed by Hillman singing “Bound to Fail” and “It Doesn’t Matter,” while McGuinn tackles “The Ballad of Easy Rider” and “Jolly Roger.” Then the trio teams up for three songs before Crosby takes the stage, and the foursome performs a number of Byrds favorites, including “Turn! Turn! Turn!” “Mr Tambourine Man,” “Eight Miles High,” and “Feel a Whole Lot Better.”

If the performances are sometimes less than perfect, there’s a spontaneity and passion in this recording that makes it clear the artists really did feel something special was happening, and this was a stronger and more heartfelt reunion of one of the great American bands of the ’60s than the tremendously disappointing studio reunion that took place in 1973. Live at the Boarding House: The Historic Radio Broadcast is a rumpled treasure for Byrds fans who cherished their harmonies most of all. [The CD skips the concert opening numbers by Gene Clark for reasons unknown, though.] - Mark Deming, AllMusic

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Thanks to DoobieBro for sharing the show on the net.

Click on the highlighted tracks to download the MP3s (320 kbps). As far as we can ascertain, these tracks have never been officially released on CD.

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Chris Hillman
Track 01. Bound To Fall 2:38
Track 02. It Doesn’t Matter 2:31

Roger McGuinn
Track 03. Ballad Of The Easy Rider 2:11
Track 04. Jolly Roger 2:57

Gene Clark, Chris Hillman, Roger McGuinn
Track 05. Chestnut Mare 6:10
Track 06. Crazy Ladies 3:42
Track 07. The Train Leaves Here This Morning 4:04

With David Crosby
Track 08. Mr Tambourine Man 7:05
Track 09. You Ain’t Going Nowhere 4:50
Track 10. Turn! Turn! Turn! 2:59
Track 11. Knockin’ On Heaven’s Door 5:18
Track 12. Bye Bye Baby 3:52
Track 13. So You Want To Be A Rock ‘n’ Roll Star 2:38
Track 14. Interlude 0:38
Track 15. Eight Miles High 5:05
Track 16. I’ll Feel A Whole Lot Better (When You’re Gone) 3:33
61 mins

Lineup:
Roger McGuinn - vocals, acoustic guitar, 12-string Rickenbacker
Chris Hillman - vocals, acoustic guitar, mandolin
Gene Clark - vocals, acoustic guitar
David Crosby - vocals (tracks 8-16)

Click here to order Byrds releases.

  1. 37 Responses to “THE BYRDS - SAN FRANCISCO 1978”

  2. How wonderful to get to this one before the infantile and racist trolls start posting!

    By Rod on Dec 4, 2019

  3. Very nice find! Thanks Big O!!!

    By oneL on Dec 4, 2019

  4. Great post of great music. On Dylan’s 1978 tour he did an even slower version of “Mr. Tambourine Man.” On 1975’s Rolling Thunder Revue tour, McGuinn dueted “Knockin’ On Heaven’s Door” with Dylan, and he looked frighteningly demented-but I still liked it.

    The Byrds had such a distinctive, wonderful sound.

    By Mark on Dec 4, 2019

  5. Dylan looked pretty out there also, like he an Roger were having a duel to see who could look more bizarre. Either that or the drugs were kicking in very hard.

    Check it out at 1:00 of the video.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ryHPXSnbLps

    By Mark on Dec 4, 2019

  6. Rumor has it this was a band of Big Uns

    By U L E on Dec 4, 2019

  7. Mark always has to give long winded and boring comments. No one cares . Go away Mark .

    By T J on Dec 4, 2019

  8. OMFG~! Thank You so much. My dear departed mother took me to see this band in 1965 in Hampton Beach. NH I was 13 Mama was 32 she passed a year ago at 85. She loved all sorts of music with political statements and the Byrds spoke to her generation. This is a great Christmas gift that I will remember for the rest of my life.

    By Bootleg-Steve on Dec 4, 2019

  9. Wonderful! Thanks Big O. A real gem of a find.
    Oh and BTW T.J. do Merkins not do irony? If you check out Marks points they are spot on and really funny. The video link had me in fits! Totally out of their gourds no doubt!

    Keep on keeping on Mark ;)

    By swappers on Dec 4, 2019

  10. U L E - Do you even have one?

    By Russ on Dec 4, 2019

  11. Now this is more like it! Great classic rock from the 60’s & 70’s. Thanks for sharing!

    By MisterManiac on Dec 4, 2019

  12. Mark,
    Holy freaking crap! You know what’s going on inside those brains don’t ya? Fun times ,eh?

    By otis t on Dec 4, 2019

  13. Tom Petty did an excellent cover of “I’ll Feel A Whole Lot Better (When You’re Gone)” on his album Full Moon Fever. Richard Thompson did a stunning version of “Here Without You” on the live album More Guitar.

    Do any of you know of other stellar covers of Byrds songs?

    By Mark on Dec 4, 2019

  14. Thank you for this great Band!!!

    By Frank on Dec 4, 2019

  15. Haven’t heard from Scar Rad in awhile. Hope your health is ok . Seasons greetings.

    By Bill on Dec 4, 2019

  16. Wow! What a jewel….made my day. Thank you DoobieBro.

    By Kevin M on Dec 5, 2019

  17. McGuinn and McGuire just a-gettin’ higher
    In L.A., you know where that’s at
    And no one’s gettin’ fat except Mama Cass

    By The Unknown Mark on Dec 5, 2019

  18. La dernière partie du show (avec David Crosby) est remarquable.
    Au fait, écoutez la version de HEY JOE par les BYRDS. Elle est tout à fait fantastique !!!

    By Bernard (France) on Dec 5, 2019

  19. Ou est Derrick?J’aime lire ses histories de sport americain et de sodomie avec ses amis qui ont les bites magnifiques.

    Derrick, mon brave, ou es-tu?

    By Bernard (France) on Dec 5, 2019

  20. Bernard, petit filou, au moins ça m’a faire sourire, pas comme les postes idiotes réguliers ici.

    Par contre, pour moi, le “Hey Joe” des Byrds est loin derriere pratiquement tout le monde qui l’a fait à l’époque. Une mauvaise (et tardive) idée de David Crosby.

    By Ceci est juste pour dire on Dec 5, 2019

  21. Last night I was opening files on an old hard drive and found out that this show was included as the 3rd disc in the (unofficial) Byrds Transmission Impossible 3 disc set. It includes the missing (from this) Gene Clark songs.
    Thanks for this BigO. As I had already got this before my discovery.

    By sking on Dec 6, 2019

  22. Michelle Phillips implied in interviews that Gene Clark was hung like a horse .

    By Scaromouch on Dec 7, 2019

  23. So was John Phillips too according to Michelle.

    By Scaromouch on Dec 7, 2019

  24. Hi Bill. Thanks for asking how I’m doing. Still fighting infection left leg from the knee down since March. Get treated up to three times a week. The infection starts in the Spring for months every year ever since a nasty spider bite 13 years ago.

    By ScarRad on Dec 8, 2019

  25. Best wishes for your recovery, ScarRad!

    By Mark on Dec 8, 2019

  26. Hi I’m a recent visitor and tried downloading to no avail. Any suggestions as to why? Thanks.

    TC

    By Terry on Dec 22, 2019

  27. Chris Hillman is accompanied by singer Kim O’Kelly, then a backup singer in his own touring band. Bound to Fall is from Manassas. Chris wasn’t performing without a band at this time, but the two had a natural vocal chemistry.

    By ScarRad on Jan 7, 2020

  28. Website is not taking my comments.

    By ScarRad on Jan 7, 2020

  29. Kim O’Kelly is a backup singer from Chris Hillman’s touring band, who sings with him in the first 2 songs.

    By ScarRad on Jan 7, 2020

  30. “You Ain’t Going Nowhere,” a track recorded for their Sweethearts of the Rodeo album. This is another fascinating performance, even more so for having Gene Clark’s and David Crosby’s vocals, both of whom were gone by the time of the original Byrds recording.

    By ScarRad on Jan 7, 2020

  31. To kick off this reunion of 4/5 of the original Byrds, they go right back to the beginning with Bob Dylan’s “Mr. Tambourine Man.” Slowed down and with McGuinn, Clark, and then Crosby each taking a verse in turn, this is a remarkable performance that sees that unique harmonic vocal blend on the choruses.

    By ScarRad on Jan 7, 2020

  32. Hillman then introduces Roger McGuinn to the stage, and he plays two numbers of his own, beginning with the song he wrote for the Easy Rider movie soundtrack, “The Ballad of Easy Rider.” McGuinn next tackles a traditional number, as he enjoys conveying the scurvy buccaneer in “Jolly Roger.” At this point, McGuinn entices Hillman and Gene Clark to join him onstage. Switching to his signature 12-string Rickenbacker and with Clark playing acoustic and Hillman adding beautiful mandolin accompaniment, the trio perform a highly engaging read on McGuinn’s “Chestnut Mare.” With Hillman and Clark also adding harmony vocals on the choruses, this is undeniably infectious and a hint of things to come later in the performance.

    By ScarRad on Jan 7, 2020

  33. With McGuinn and Hillman remaining onstage, Gene Clark next fronts things beginning with “Crazy Ladies.” Clark was arguably blessed with the most penetrating voice in the Byrds, and this performance is lovely and features McGuinn adding some trademark Rickenbacker leads reminiscent of his distinctive stylings on “Eight Miles High.” Clark next delivers the longing “Train Leaves Here This Morning,” a song written in collaboration with former Flying Burrito Brother (and member of the Eagles) Bernie Leadon. This is another lovely performance, with McGuinn and especially Hillman adding beautiful accompaniment. Following this, McGuinn announces that another friend is in the house and, much to the delight of the audience, invites David Crosby to the stage.

    By ScarRad on Jan 7, 2020

  34. McGuinn’s classic Rickenbacker riff next kicks off “Turn, Turn, Turn,” another of the Byrds’ greatest hits, and although it’s unrehearsed, that distinctive Byrds chemistry is still very much intact. This segues directly into another Dylan song, “Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door,” with McGuinn and Clark trading verses, and all four harmonizing on the choruses. Instrumentally, it is again Hillman on mandolin that may be the most valuable player. McGuinn next fronts the group on the waltz-paced “Bye Bye Baby,” a song penned by McGuinn and collaborator Robert J. Hippard, before they wind things up with a forceful reading of “So You Want to Be a Rock ‘n’ Roll Star.” Crosby and McGuinn encouraging the audience to contribute the screaming sections found on the original studio recording quite effectively.

    By ScarRad on Jan 7, 2020

  35. Sorry for the out-of-order sets of notes, which unfortunately I lost the info of the source. It accompanied a very poor copy of the same source you’ve posted.

    By ScarRad on Jan 7, 2020

  36. Thanks ScarRad, Great notes.

    By sking on Jan 8, 2020

  37. notes started with this: One of the most groundbreaking American bands of the 1960s, the Byrds, had been influenced and in turn influenced nearly everyone who came in contact with their music, including Bob Dylan and the Beatles. By 1977, each of the five original members had been pursuing individual projects. Roger McGuinn had been touring with his own group Thunderbyrd; Gene Clark hit the road with his Kansas City Southern Band in support of his solo LP, Two Sides to Every Story; Chris Hillman had formed his own group to support the release of his second solo album, Clear Sailing; drummer Michael Clarke found success in the band Firefall, and of course David Crosby had enjoyed monumental success with Crosby, Stills, Nash and sometimes Young, as well as becoming one of the most in-demand harmony singers in the business. That Spring, a European promoter enticed McGuinn, Clark, and Hillman to tour the continent with each of their respective bands, figuring that many European Byrds fans would support such a tour in hopes of an onstage reunion. This happened during a two-night engagement at London’s Hammersmith Odeon, where, following McGuinn’s set with Thunderbyrd, Clark and Hillman joined him onstage for several classic Byrds numbers. The results wouldn’t see the light of day until 20 years later, when the BBC recordings were issued in part as “Three Byrds Land in London,” and, despite the fact that the ambitious tour would be prematurely cancelled due to management/promoter disputes, this short-lived experiment would sow the seeds for the three original Byrds members to begin working together again.

    By ScarRad on Jan 8, 2020

  38. That Spring, a European promoter enticed McGuinn, Clark, and Hillman to tour the continent with each of their respective bands, figuring that many European Byrds fans would support such a tour in hopes of an onstage reunion. This happened during a two-night engagement at London’s Hammersmith Odeon, where, following McGuinn’s set with Thunderbyrd, Clark and Hillman joined him onstage for several classic Byrds numbers. The results wouldn’t see the light of day until 20 years later, when the BBC recordings were issued in part as “Three Byrds Land in London,” and, despite the fact that the ambitious tour would be prematurely cancelled due to management/promoter disputes, this short-lived experiment would sow the seeds for the three original Byrds members to begin working together again.

    By ScarRad on Jan 8, 2020

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