Jeff Buckley, Radiohead and Fake Plastic Trees

On 1 September 1994, Jeff Buckley played a set at The Garage, Finsbury Park (London) that has taken on almost mythical status. Here is a wonderfully evocative description of what happened that evening:

… it might be the most harrowing and disturbing performance he ever gave, and it certainly engendered the magnificently angry “road version” of Eternal Life. The final encore starts breezily enough, with a relaxed Jeff joking about a lost phone number and dedicating the song to a fan …and then to “someone else”. Nina Simone’s beseeching All That I Ask morphs into Big Star’s Kangaroo and then into Jeff’s own Chocolate improvisation, here stretched and extended into the kind of wired, spontaneous theatre which might have made Jim Morrison proud. It’s a descent into the underworld, a stream-of-consciousness assault on stores of memory and desire, a devastating self-flagellation.(“There you stare, your finger twisting your red hair, your accusations flying from you, oh you call me a liar, a cheater, you call me a whore..”) It’s sometimes violent, sometimes erotic, sometimes tender, sometimes terrifying, and so painfully intimate that it becomes overwhelming to witness. “Some day I’d like to become you and to know what it’s like to feel me inside…when I wake up in your hair, when I wake up in your arms, I swear upon my blood I understand you, I swear on my grave I understand you…” A Sony executive in the audience later sent him a memo asking him not to repeat the half-hour encore, claiming he was failing to “do justice to himself as an entertainer.” Jeff reacted by turning his song Eternal Life into a vicious piece of hardcore directed straight at the music business he so mistrusted …

Web Article, Clare O’Brien, ‘Flowers in Time’ website

 

Fortunately, bootlegs of the gig exist, they are right here …

 

 

and here …

 

 

If the gig wasn’t legendary enough as it is, the mystique that surrounds it has been enhanced by Thom Yorke’s presence in the audience. He was – apparently – blown away by Buckley’s singing, and the power of his performance.

Thom had been struggling for weeks to make a satisfactory recording of Fake Plastic Trees. The very next day, he went to the studio and – inspired by Buckley – simply nailed it.

 

Jeff Buckley – Lover, You Should’ve Come Over

Continuing our emphasis on music ahead of the opening of Bar Cafe Fabriken tomorrow

fabriken poster A

… while Micky Siamendes takes care of our Blues needs in the comment thread to this post,  I thought I’d run a Jeff Buckley series.

Jeff Buckley in Atlanta, in August 1994

He was – really – a miraculously gifted singer, whose life was woefully short – he was killed in a swimming accident in 1997, aged 33. For anyone who doesn’t know about him see here. There is a wonderful 30 minute Radio programme about him available here.

So, let’s run down some of his greatest songs, starting with “Lover. You Should’ve Come Over” …

Looking out the door i see the rain fall upon the funeral mourners
Parading in a wake of sad relations as their shoes fill up with water
And maybe i’m too young to keep good love from going wrong
But tonight you’re on my mind so you never know

When i’m broken down and hungry for your love with no way to feed it
Where are you tonight, child you know how much i need it
Too young to hold on and too old to just break free and run

Sometimes a man gets carried away, when he feels like he should be having his fun
And much too blind to see the damage he’s done
Sometimes a man must awake to find that really, he has no-one

So i’ll wait for you… and i’ll burn
Will I ever see your sweet return
Oh will I ever learn

Oh lover, you should’ve come over
‘Cause it’s not too late

Lonely is the room, the bed is made, the open window lets the rain in
Burning in the corner is the only one who dreams he had you with him
My body turns and yearns for a sleep that will never come

It’s never over, my kingdom for a kiss upon her shoulder
It’s never over, all my riches for her smiles when i slept so soft against her
It’s never over, all my blood for the sweetness of her laughter
It’s never over, she’s the tear that hangs inside my soul forever

Well maybe i’m just too young
To keep good love from going wrong

Oh… lover, you should’ve come over
‘Cause it’s not too late

Well I feel too young to hold on
And i’m much too old to break free and run
Too deaf, dumb, and blind to see the damage i’ve done
Sweet lover, you should’ve come over
Oh, love well i’m waiting for you

Lover, you should’ve come over
‘Cause it’s not too late