Although many of my musical heroes died much too soon, only two of them threaten to choke me up whenever I think of them. One is Elliott Smith, who I'm sure we'll get to at some point in this series. The other is Jeff Buckley.
Grace was nothing less than a revelation to me in 1994. Suddenly, and seemingly out of nowhere, there was this guy who wrote exquisite songs, could rock like Zeppelin, could melt even the steeliest resolve with a romantic ballad, and had the sweetest, most angelic voice I had ever heard. It was a stunning, near-perfect debut by an immense talent, it positively blew me away, and it was exciting to consider the prospect of watching Jeff grow and evolve, and to imagine the decades of great music that were surely in front of him. Then came that horrible week in May of '97 when he disappeared while swimming in Memphis, then turned up dead a few days later. I remember precisely where I was when I got the news, and again, I get rattled just thinking about it.
But less talk, more Jeff. Here's his tremendous turn at the Glastonbury Festival in June of '95, as recorded by the BBC. It's an exceptional tape, and the setlist is heavy on songs from Grace (which means it's great), with a then-unreleased song ("What Will You Say") and an MC5 cover tossed in for good measure. If only I had dozens or hundreds more Jeff Buckley shows, recorded over all the years since, to have to weed through and choose from. But even if I did, I bet this one would still be tough to top.
JEFF BUCKLEY - Live at Glastonbury, June 24, 1995
02 Dream Brother
03 Lover, You Should Have Come Over
04 So Real
05 Last Goodbye
06 What Will You Say
07 Mojo Pin
08 Eternal Life
09 Kick Out The Jams