VIDEO: Robyn Hitchcock & The Sadies Play The Band’s Stage Fright

VIDEO: Robyn Hitchcock & The Sadies Play The Band’s Stage Fright

It happened at the festival this summer: Robyn Hitchcock and The Sadies took Big Bluestem stage on the hot afternoon of Saturday, July 11 to play the Band’s iconic album, Stage Fright, in its entirety. The heat didn’t stop the field packed with people from singing and dancing along to “The Shape I’m In,” “Strawberry Wine,” and the rest of the hits.

You can relive this magical workshop online

Words about this one-time only workshop, by Robyn Hitchcock himself:

I've always loved Stage Fright - it's where the Band reached fruition. Musicians (Brits especially, from Clapton to the Fairports) adored Music From Big Pink, and music lorists still venerate its successor The Band; but I just enjoyed Stage Fright the most.

It saw the boys a little spooked by fame and probably intoxicants; but oh-so warm. Rick Danko, Levon Helm and Richard Manuel were like three character actors that gave strong personalities to Robbie Robertson's songs: Rick pleading, Richard lamenting, and Levon across the dial from elegiac to lustful - virile not macho. Garth Hudson, officially the keyboard player, seemed to lace every track with a different sound: wistful accordion on "All La Glory," full-blooded sax on "WS Walcott Medicine Show," and some unfathomable Cajun instrument on "Daniel & The Sacred Harp." And Robertson's guitar-playing was delicious: never too much and always in the right place. The Band wove in and out of each other. They weren't soloists; but whoever was playing a break left me wanting to hear more.

They were mostly under 30 when they came to prominence - first as Bob Dylan's first backing group, then as the bunch of old timers they seemed to be: the anti-Doors. 'We don't hate our parents,’ observed Robertson.

I was 17 when I first heard Stage Fright, and it's kept me company for 45 years. It didn't sound like 1970 back in those hairy, meandering times and it doesn't sound passé now. Old, to be sure - the Band always sounded old even they weren't.

My friends The Sadies are a modern echo of the Band - they live, drive, drink, smoke and exhale music on an enchanted Isle where surf, psychedelia and twang all wash up on the same shore. Their roots and mine burrow into adjoining soil and I'm thrilled that we're able to exhume this gem together. 

- Robyn Hitchcock 2015


robyn hitchcock, stage fright, the band, the sadies

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