The Byrds this weekend. In a concert recorded at The Avalon Ballroom in San Francisco on November 2, 1968. By this time there was a new incarnation – only Jim (Roger) McGuinn and Chris Hillman remained as the original members. The band included Gram Parsons and took a decided direction turn to what would become Country Rock. They had come a long ways from their initial success as an American answer to The Beatles, whose interpretations of songs by Bob Dylan won them a mania following. But by 1968 those days were passed – replaced by their psychedelic explorations, through the albums 5D and Younger Than Yesterday to their transitional period of The Notorious Byrd Brothers to a change of sound and change of location and what would eventually become Sweetheart Of The Rodeo, recorded in Nashville – along with a somewhat disastrous appearance at the Grand Ole Opry and an equally disastrous South African tour.
But even if the dyed-in-the-wool Country audience objected to this new incarnation of The Byrds, there was still the original rock audience, who hung in with them. And so this appearance at the fabled Avalon Ballroom in San Francisco offered some comfort that, no matter how far the strayed, The Byrds would still be The Byrds and Eight Miles High was still an anthem.
Before this concert though, there were more changes in the offing. With Gram Parsons abruptly leaving – and the release of Sweetheart Of The Rodeo considered something of a disaster, their future was in a precarious place. And before this concert, co-founder Chris Hillman would quit, leaving McGuinn as the only original member of the band to carry on. In October of 1968, a newly reformed band would head into the studio and begin work on Dr.Byrds and Mister Hyde, with McGuinn doing all the vocals.
So this November 1968 concert features an almost all-new Byrds with only Roger (Jim) MGuinn as the original founding member left. So despite the lack of original personnel, the sound on this concert is excellent and offers an excellent example of what audiences were hearing, towards the end of 1968.