Every Thursday, we dig through the Paste Cloud archives to revisit some of our favorite old concert videos and audio. This week, we’ve got material from The Byrds, Jackson Browne and Duran Duran.
The Byrds: Live from the Fillmore East, 1970
The Byrds were one of the great treasures of the 1960s hippie era. Although they never quite reached superstardom in the same way as acts such as The Rolling Stones or The Beatles, they remain one of the most influential bands of all time. Many lauded their hallmark performances at early music-based gatherings such as Monterey Pop Festival. This particular performance from September 23, 1970 at the Fillmore East is a small, brief sample of why The Byrds were so significant in this era.
The beginning of this video contains a brief interview with Bill Graham and some of his staff, followed by The Byrds performing “Jesus Is Just Alright.” After that, the band gets into the meat of the performance with the nearly 10-minute long version of “Eight Miles High.” This version features an extended solo around the three-minute mark that carries the tune through the end of the performance. Although this performance is very short, it defines the band as an elite member of the initial class of psychedelic rock bands.—Ben Rosner
Jackson Browne: Live at the Capitol Theatre, 1976
Jackson Browne was vying to bring ornate melodies and baroque arrangements into the rock scene for years before he released his debut album in 1972. Becoming a professional songwriter before he even turned 18, Browne helped to shape the sound of artists from The Eagles to Nico and everywhere in between. His songwriting still holds up strong today, whether it be his personal material or tunes he wrote for others.
Browne hit the road in 1976 in support of his classic album The Pretender, hypnotizing audiences with his enchanting melodies. When rock ‘n’ roll was seen as a blood sport of aggressive drums and guitars, Browne gracefully displayed more passion and emotion through his soothing compositions and verses. The leisurely pace of “For Everyman” is cut with a penetrating guitar solo, proving that Browne’s lack of a typical rock star attitude is made up for in his musical ability alone.
Rock music was often discredited as music that was too simple to require any real talent. Rock musicians were assumed to live lives of debauchery and excess. Though no one ever argues the talent of pioneering rock icons such as Janis Joplin and Jimi Hendrix, rock stars were so often painted to be trainwrecks offstage. When Jackson Browne came around, he instilled a well-needed dose of serenity into the driving rock ‘n’ roll around him. No matter how composed he remained, there is no question that Jackson Browne can rock with the best of them.—Kurt Suchman
Duran Duran: Live at Palladium, 1982
With sunburnt songs like “Rio” and a number of music videos filmed in Sri Lanka, Duran Duran are just as known for their fast-footed worldliness as they are for their synth-pop tunes. America might have just been yet another stop on the travelogue, but somehow, the English band has left a lasting imprint on our musical terrain. Decades after the British Invasion of the Who, the Beatles, and the Stones, the five-piece made the transatlantic trek to other side of the pond—well-dressed, severely charming, and ready to make us question where our loyalties lie.
On December 31, 1982, the band took the stage at the Palladium in New York City, where they amped up the arrival of the New Year. The set begins with “Rio,” a love note to a certain “bird of paradise,” which filters sunlight unto the frigid New York tundra. Simon Le Bon grips the mic and dances around, emphatically clapping his hands when the song corkscrews into a perfectly flossy sax solo.
At the time of the concert, the mega-hit “Hungry Like The Wolf” was only in its early stages after heralding a year of chart-topping popularity in the UK. Le Bon introduces the single as a present from the band—an impeccable blend of instrumentation and high-power lyrics that would later become one of the greatest totems of their career.
“Girls on Film” is the final track of the night and begins with the sound of camera shutters flickering, as if the concert hall is suddenly surrounded by tabloid locusts who can’t get enough of the girls that they sing about. Here are these New Wavers from Britain, crawling with style and tapped into a mysterious intel of glamour that the rest of us know nothing about. The appeal of Duran Duran is present, in ‘80s MTV specials and magazines that cordially refer to them as the Fab Five, but it takes a live performance to see just how fabulous this band really is.—Mady Thuyein