Big Star were (and are) just as underrated by the music-listening public as they are beloved by fellow musicians and music writers.
The Memphis-based power-pop band only put out three albums with their original line-up in the ‘70s – ‘#1 Record,’ (1972); ‘Radio City’ (1974); and ‘Third/Sister Lovers’ – (1978) but all three remain classics decades later. Any chance of a proper reunion ended with the passing of front man Alex Chilton, guitarist Chris Bell and bassist Andy Hummel, but there are still a slew of talented musicians that have taken the stage with drummer Jody Stephens over the couple of years to help the songs live on for those who never got a chance to see the band live.
‘Thank You, Friends: Big Star’s Third Live… And More’ is an impressively moving set (on a 90-minute DVD and spread across two-CDs) of some of those artists that devoted a night to playing songs off the band’s third album, ‘Third/Sister Lovers.’
Among those who appear here are members of Yo La Tengo, Wilco, R.E.M., Semisonic, the dB’s, Let’s Active, Robyn Hitchcock and the Kronos Quartet joining Stephens on stage for a series of shows highlighting that 1978 album. There are also standout performances by relative newcomers like Brett Harris and Skylar Gudasz, among others. While the focus is on the third album they play tremendous versions of “In the Street” and “September Gurls,” from the band’s first two records, as well.
‘Thank You, Friends: Big Star’s Third Live… And More’ is a beautiful reminder of just how remarkable a band Big Star were.