McGuinn, Hillman Open ‘Sweetheart’ Tour With Surprises

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Chris Hillman and Roger McGuinn, The Theater at Ace Hotel, Los Angeles, July 24, 2018 (Photo: © Best Classic Bands; used with permission)

Byrds co-founders Roger McGuinn and Chris Hillman opened their tour in Los Angeles on July 24 to celebrate the 50th anniversary of their groundbreaking album, Sweetheart of the Rodeo. The pair is performing with country greats Marty Stuart and His Fabulous Superlatives. And for the first concert at the Theatre at Ace Hotel, another prominent guest joined them onstage: Mike Campbell of the Heartbreakers sat in for three poignant encores.

The evening included a whopping 28 songs, far more than the 11 tracks on the Sweetheart album, as the musicians offered many other prominent Byrds songs plus well-chosen covers of Bob Dylan, Woody Guthrie, Pete Seeger, Gene Autry, Merle Haggard and… Tom Petty.

Watch the opening number from L.A., Dylan’s “My Back Pages”

Watch McGuinn, Hillman and Stuart share lead vocal duties on Sweetheart‘s “You Ain’t Goin’ Nowhere”

Watch Hillman sing lead on “Hickory Wind,” originally sung by Gram Parsons on Sweetheart

After the concert’s first encore of the Byrds’ “So You Want to Be a Rock ‘n’ Roll Star,” covered for decades by Petty and the Heartbreakers, the band’s Campbell, who had been seated in the audience, joined the others for a cover of “American Girl” (with McGuinn singing lead).

Watch them perform “American Girl” on July 24, 2018

Two other covers followed: “Wildflowers” (which Hillman covered on his 2017 solo album)…

and “Runnin’ Down a Dream,” which Campbell co-wrote with Petty and Jeff Lynne, and sung on this occasion by Stuart. (See the complete setlist below.)

Watch Stuart sing “Runnin’ Down a Dream” at this concert

Sweetheart of the Rodeo is widely considered to be one of the most influential country-rock albums of all time, credited with giving rise to the genre. The album introduced new band member Gram Parsons, who was seeking success with the International Submarine Band, whose debut album was weeks from release.

Watch a portion of the evening’s final encore

 

Thanks to Thomas K. Arnold!

The Theatre at Ace Hotel, Los Angeles, July 24, 2018 Setlist

Set 1
My Back Pages
A Satisfied Mind
Mr. Spaceman
Time Between
Old John Robertson
Wasn’t Born to Follow
Sing Me Back Home
Drug Store Truck Drivin’ Man
Mr. Tambourine Man

Set 2
Country Boy Rock & Roll
Time Don’t Wait
You Ain’t Goin’ Nowhere
Pretty Boy Floyd
Hickory Wind
Life in Prison
One Hundred Years From Now
Nothing Was Delivered
Blue Canadian Rockies
The Christian Life
You’re Still On My Mind
You Don’t Miss Your Water
I Am a Pilgrim
You Ain’t Goin’ Nowhere (Reprise)

Encore
So You Want to Be a Rock ‘n’ Roll Star
American Girl
Wildflowers
Runnin’ Down a Dream
Turn! Turn! Turn! (To Everything There is a Season)

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In Best Classic Bands’ Album Rewind, our reviewer called Sweetheart… “a cornerstone of country-rock and point source for alt-country and Americana, The Byrds’ most consequential stylistic stroke since the band’s pioneering folk-rock debut three years earlier.”

The individual performers’ existing tour commitments are preventing the Sweetheart tour from being seamless. Stuart, for instance, is on an arena and amphitheater tour with Chris Stapleton, from July into November.

Sweetheart Of The Rodeo Tour Dates (Tickets for several dates are available here and here or via an individual venue’s box office. Several of the original dates are already sold-out but may be available on StubHub)

Sep 09 – Kansas City, MO – Folly Theater
Sep 17 – Albany, NY – Hart Theater @ The Egg
Sep 18 – Albany, NY – Hart Theater @ The Egg
Sep 20 – Hopewell, VA – Beacon Theatre
Sep 24 – New York, NY – The Town Hall
Sep 26 – Boston, MA – Emerson Colonial Theatre
Oct 03 – Akron, OH – Akron Civic
Oct 08 – Nashville, TN – Ryman Auditorium
Oct 10 – Roanoke, VA – Jefferson Center
Oct 15 – Durham, NC – Durham PAC

More dates are expected.

Watch the performance of “Hickory Wind from Sweetheart

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3 Comments so far

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  1. Carlos
    #1 Carlos 25 July, 2018, 13:58

    FYI: I was there. Mike Campbell left after ‘American Girl.’ He didn’t play on any other songs. Great, great show.

    Reply this comment
  2. Smorgy
    #2 Smorgy 26 July, 2018, 21:14

    Monumentally thrilling show.
    Loved the comraderie of the musicians, and the way they blended their talents and enthusiasm. Beautiful, meaningful songs played with heart and passion.

    Reply this comment

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