Seven years ago, legendary indie-rock progenitors Big Star were meant to perform a highly anticipated set at SXSW 2012 when frontman Alex Chilton died from a heart attack just two days before the show. In December of that year, a group of musicians including Big Star member Jody Stephens, as well as Mike Mills of R.E.M. and Chris Stamey of the dB’s, as well as a full orchestra, came together for a tribute concert performing Big Star’s incredible album Third along with other songs from their catalog, and ended up taking the show on the road, giving fans both old and young a new chance to experience the group’s music live.
Today, Concord Bicycle Music announced that they would be releasing a live concert film and CD of a 2016 edition of the show, held at the Alex Theatre in Glendale, Calif., and featuring a slew of guest performers, titled Thank You, Friends: Big Star’s Third Live … And More. The film, which was directed by Benno Nelson, will be premiered at the SXSW Film Festival on March 16 before its Blu-Ray/DVD release on April 21, and a live Q&A with Nelson, Stephens, Mills, Stamey and others will take place after the screening. Additionally, a live, orchestrated performance featuring many of the band members seen in the film will take place at the Central Presbyterian Church in Austin, Texas, on March 17.
The list of guests who appear in the film should be enough to excite any music fan, even those who may be unfamiliar with Big Star and their influence on the alternative music scene, with names like Jeff Tweedy, Robyn Hitchcock, Yo La Tengo’s Ira Kaplan, Benmont Tench and The Kronos Quartet all joining in to tackle some of Big Star’s best songs. Find out more information on the concert film here, including full track listings for both the movie and the accompanying double album.
Below, watch the trailer for the movie and check out the performance of “In the Street,” a song the unfamiliar may recognize as the theme song for That ‘70s Show, which premiered on Rolling Stone today and features Mills, Brett Harris and Tweedy. Also, be sure to listen to audio from Big Star’s 1996 concert at Tramps, available below via the Paste Cloud.