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solar

Fall in light: The Jeff Buckley thread

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As I was searching through posts from the old board, I realized there wasn't a thread dedicated to Jeff Buckley yet. So here we go.

The two Jeff Buckley shows I saw (Oct. 1994, May 1995) were two of my top concerts ever. He was a fantastic performer live. It should say something that the October show was the best show I ever saw, even better than the three Page/Plant shows. Met him after both shows - real cool cat.

It really hurts to hear something like Vancouver, just how amazing "My Sweetheart The Drunk" would have been had he finished it his way. Still, "Sketches" is a very good approximation, and some of those outtakes are mindblowing, especially "Jewel Box" and "I Know We Could Be So Happy Baby".

The two times I saw him were fantastic. First time near Detroit, Oct. 29, '94, there were maybe 50-100 people tops, and I swear half of them left early in the show because he said he wouldn't play any of his dad's stuff. You have to realize, this is even before "Last Goodbye" broke on MTV (that was Feb. or March of '95). No one knew who he was - I was reviewing music for my college paper and had already heard the four-song "Live at Sin-E" a month or so after Columbia released it. He played for about 2, 2 1/2 hours that night. I was supposed to have an interview with him, but his manager was worried about the chilly air and his vocal chords but he did come out and say hi, talk for a minute or two and allow our photog to snap a few pics of him. (on a sidenote, this guy is a terrific rock photog in Detroit who has shot all the big up-and-comers there, including The Hard Lessons).

So I went to see him in Pittsburgh that spring, opening for Juliana Hatfield. My friend is a Juliana freak, and we were waiting in line at this venue. My buddy starts pointing toward Juliana's tour bus about 150 yards away when he sees her. I'm like, whatever, she's way over there, and I look to my right and there's this short dude with gelled up hair standing a foot next to me in a leather jacket. Somehow, I managed to go, "You're Jeff, right?" and we ended up talking for 10 minutes. He remembered meeting me after the Detroit show and this annoying hum from the amps that the techs couldn't get rid of all that night, and just how the tour went and whatnot. Chit chat as he smoked.

Anyway, he goes back in, doors open, and my buddy and I work our way to the front of the stage (no seating). This band from Boston Cold Water Flat (not to be confused with the LA band Cold War kids - check them out) opened with a half hour set, and two feet away from me, Buckely plays just the tightest hour set you'll hear, including a ridiculously blistering Kick Out the Jams by MC5. Then Juliana comes on, and we're being rocked about in the sea of grungers and I look up out of the corner of my eye, and Buckley is running across the stage RIGHT FOR US!!! He stage dives into the audience and his ass hit my buddy in the face and sent his glasses flying! It was HYSTERICAL!!! He never found his glasses, except for a lens after the show.

He was 30 when he drowned in Memphis, about to record songs for his second album, "My Sweetheart THe Drunk" (the stuff originally recorded with Tom Verlaine of Television makes up the posthumous release, "Sketches for My Sweetheart The Drunk"). I remember where I was when I heard he drowned as vividly as when Kurt Cobain died -- and hearing about Buckley's actually made me hurt inside.

His only album released while alive, "Grace," is a must-have. Plant and Page were both fans very early in Buckley's career (Plant also covered the song "Song To The Siren" by Buckley's father, Tim, on "Dreamland").

And Buckley's music, life and death were greatly influenced by Zep. He covered "Night Flight" in his Sin-'E concerts (and released with the "Live at Sin-'E extended reissue). He admittedly was a massive Zeppelin fan. And per David Browne's excellent Jeff-Tim Buckley bio, "Dream Brother", Jeff was swimming in the Mississippi River, listening and singing along to "Whole Lotta Love" the night he was swept away by a boat's undertow.

Edited by solar

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Some great memories you got there - thanks for sharing.

Hallelujah still gives me goosebumps whenever I hear it. What a voice.

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If only there were more like him... at the same time, I'm glad there isn't... Jeff was So Real..

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I'm jealous of you Solar. Really nice stories you have there. I've heard a story about how he was at a Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction once and met Robert Plant. He was so overcome over the meeting with Plant, that soon after talking with him he left the event.

I've been searching the internets for every live show available of his. :lol: His Elton John cover of 'Curtains' is probably one of my favorite songs. Such a beautiful version.

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Jeff was absolutely amazing. I don't know what else I could say.

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Solar, what a great memory. How lucky to have seen him. Truly one of the great singer/songwriters of our time and left us way way way too soon. The first time I heard his rendition of Hallelujah, I burst into tears. Don't have the proper words to describe how moving his songs are.

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