Picture this, fellow music nerds. In this dream I had, I experience the following moment: The Bangles have left the stage. Before Aimee Mann comes out to sing with Susanna Hoffs — and before we hear from Chris Stamey of the dBs — we have on stage Jon Auer from the Posies, and Jason Falkner, formerly of Jellyfish and The Grays. Auer and Falkner are standing in front of the microphones, ready to sing the next song. Behind them, holding an electric guitar, is Mitch Easter, legendary producer of REM and front man for Let’s Active. At the drums is Jody Stephens, the only living member of Big Star. But . . . where is the bassist? There’s none on the stage. Ken Stringfellow, who plays bass, walks diffidently onto the stage and picks up a bass, his body language saying: this isn’t really a song I was going to play, but whatever. And then, the real bassist comes running onto the stage and takes the bass guitar from Stringfellow. That bassist is Mike Mills, the bassist from REM.
Yes, it’s a crazy dream to have: all these music legends on a single stage. But it wasn’t a dream. It was last night’s performance at the Wilshire Ebell Theater — a star-studded tribute to Big Star, presented as a benefit for the Autism Think Tank.
Someone has many (maybe all) of last night’s songs on his YouTube channel, filmed from a seat far better than the ones occupied by myself and Mrs. P. When I found this treasure trove this morning, I immediately looked for a video of the most magical moment of the night. And I found it. After the songs listed on the program were finished, Chris Stamey came to the stage and said that they had one more song to perform, but that legally, they had to turn off the PA system (the Wilshire Ebell is in a residential neighborhood). But they would do the song acoustically, without any amplification, and if everyone was quiet, they ought to be able to hear just fine.
And then, they played this:
I had thought this moment would live on only in my memory. Thanks to the Internet and YouTube, it also lives on right here. Watch the video. It’s worth your time.
If you like that, I have a couple more beneath the fold.