Attended the final show of the 50th anniversary of Sweetheart of the Rodeo tour, featuring Roger McGuinn and Chris Hillman, last night. If you didn’t get the chance to take it in, that’s a real shame, as it turned out to be one of the best concerts I’ve ever heard.
They played the album in its entirety, mixed in with some great Byrds chestnuts and even a Tom Petty tribute for the encore (a gorgeous bluegrass edition of “Wildflowers” was the highlight for me). I have always loved the ringing sound of a 12-string Rickenbacker and McGuinn’s playing didn’t disappoint. Hillman’s a good acoustic picker in his own right, but he’s always been underrated as a rock bassist (listen to his lines in Younger than Yesterday, for instance) and when he picked the bass up for a few songs, like he did in “My Back Pages”, the opener, it immediately took me back… well, a half century.
The musicianship all around was superb and a lot of credit for that has to go to the band the two played with on this tour, Marty Stuart & His Fabulous Superlatives. Stuart is a virtuoso on both the guitar — he plays an electric guitar that originally belonged to Clarence White, swoon! — and the mandolin. The Superlatives were just that. They got to play a couple of songs on their own last night. Here’s one.
In his introduction, Stuart mentioned how much “Time Don’t Wait” owes to the Byrds and the path they blazed with Sweetheart. You can hear a little “Feel a Whole Lot Better” in the guitar riff on that Rickenbacker, that’s for sure.
Just a great, great show.