The gig poster said “BIG STAR IN THEIR FAREWELL U.S. PERFORMANCE.” Luckily, this iconic Memphis band’s homecoming show was nothing of the kind. As Jody Stephens points out in his liner notes, “We played Los Angeles three days later and went on to play together for another 16 years. No one ever said anything about the poster.”
Omnivore Recordings is proud to present Big Star’s first appearance in Memphis since 1974, and only known professionally filmed show in its entirety. Live in Memphis chronicles that October 29, 1994 performance on CD, 2-LP (with download card), Digital, and DVD.
All audio formats contain the complete 20-song set, which includes Big Star classics like “Thank You Friends,” “September Gurls,” and “The Ballad of El Goodo,” Chris Bell’s “I Am the Cosmos,” and covers of T.Rex, The Kinks, Todd Rundgren and more, performed by Big Star: Alex Chilton, Jody Stephens, and Jon Auer and Ken Stringfellow from the Posies.
Also included are notes from filmmaker Danny Graflund, Ardent Studios’ John Fry, Jody Stephens, Jon Auer, and Ken Stringfellow in both the CD and LP packaging, as well as in the DVD. Per Omnivore tradition, the first pressing of the LP will be limited to 1,000 colored vinyl, with black to follow.
According to Stephens, “This second life for Big Star begins on April 25, 1993, in Columbia, Missouri. The performance gets recorded and released. We now have a record to support and a reason to tour. A handful of dates far and wide followed, but then an offer came from the New Daisy to play Memphis. Pretty exciting! Walking into the New Daisy that night brought on a rush of ’70s friends I hadn’t seen in years. So much support there from well-wishers, which included John Fry and my parents. Stepping onstage that night in Memphis with Alex, Jon, and Ken was an incredibly good time and a bit of magic. It wasn’t so much that we were playing to the audience as we were sharing the music with them, and they were sharing themselves with us. We all cared.”
Stingfellow wrote: “It might seem intimidating, and at the same time look presumptuous, to step in and complete the lineup of Memphis’ most beloved cult band on their home turf. However, Jon and I were (and to this day remain) absolutely passionate about the music of Big Star, and that sense of devotion and belief propelled us forward and, hopefully, silenced any grumbles about what two kids from Seattle were doing there in that lineup. By the time we rolled into town to play this show, we’d gone from the initial, delightfully fragile, show in Columbia, Missouri, to engagements in London, San Francisco, and Tokyo. There would be more heft to the show, and we were getting to know Alex and Jody in even deeper ways, musically and personally. You might even say . . . we were a band.”
“Omnivore is thrilled to release what may be the only complete Big Star concert ever professionally filmed. The exuberant Memphis hometown crowd reception made this a night to remember, and even though the concert was not recorded with the intent to become an album, we know that fans will want to be in the front row for this show,” says the release’s co-producer, Omnivore’s Cheryl Pawelski.
In the Street
Don’t Lie to Me
When My Baby’s Beside Me
I Am the Cosmos
Way Out West
Till the End of the Day
The Ballad Of El Goodo
Back of a Car
Big Black Car
Thank You Friends
The Girl From Ipanema
*”Fire” does not appear on the DVD