Roger McGuinn - vocals, guitars; Gene Clark - vocals, guitars
Billed as "An Acoustic Reunion," it was the first public appearance of Roger McGuinn and Gene Clark in more than a decade. An attempt to reunite all five of the original Byrds in 1973 had resulted in an LP, but no tour.
These shows, featuring the two men only with their voices, guitars, and songs, would have to suffice until a more formal partial Byrds reunion (which also included bassist Chris Hillman) would take place the following year. It was, in fact, these shows that were the basis of that reunion, which lasted for two studio albums and a number of U.S. and European tours.
Gene Clark was the second eldest of 13 children raised in a close family in Tipton, Missouri. He learned guitar at age nine, and was soon teaching himself songs by Hank Williams, Elvis Presley, and the Everly Brothers. After high school, he moved to Kansas and was singing in a local club act when he was asked to join the New Christy Minstrels in August,1963. Six months later, while living in Los Angeles, he and another member of the Minstrels, Jim (later, renamed Roger) McGuinn decided to form a band that would be the American equivalent of the Beatles. Whether their group, which would be named the Byrds (and also include singer/ guitarist David Crosby, bassist Chris Hillman, and drummer Michael Clarke) ended up being the U.S. answer to the Fab Four is highly debated, but they did become one of the most popular and influential rock acts of the'60s and early-'70s.
With Clark's smooth baritone and McGuinn's Dylan-esque vocal style and distinct Rickenbacker electric guitar sound, the Byrds scored a number of massive pop hits (many of them written by folk's biggest star, Bob Dylan), including "Mr. Tambourine Man," "Turn! Turn! Turn!," "You Ain't Going Nowhere," "All I Really Want To Do," "So You Want To Be A Rock And Roll Star," "My Back Pages," and "Eight Miles High."
When worldwide fame descended on the band, problems developed between Clark and the others. He had a crippling fear of flying, which he tried to compensate with drug and alcohol use. In the end, that inability to continue touring would force him to leave the Byrds in 1967. McGuinn took control of the Byrds after the departure of David Crosby in 1968 and would also send the band in a more country-pop direction. He would keep the Byrds alive until 1972, and then after a sole studio LP reunion of all five original members in 1973, would retire the band name for a solo career.
After leaving the Byrds in 1967, Clark would next form one of the earliest country rock bands (Dillard & Clark) and then go on to record and release nearly a half dozen critically acclaimed but commercially disappointing solo albums between 1967 and 1977. His solo career would always suffer by his inability to fly and effectively tour. His drug and alcohol use would also increase dramatically, and in May of 1991, he died at the age of 46. Although his death was ruled as a result of natural causes, it is widely believed his health had deteriorated due to his substance abuse.
Among the highlights of this show are "Chestnut Mare," a signature McGuinn song recorded by the final version of the Byrds in 1971, and several Byrds classics from the '60s including "Mr. Tambourine Man," "Turn! Turn! Turn! (To Everything There Is A Season)," "5D (Fifth Dimension), and the closing, "So You Want To Be A Rock 'N' Roll Star."