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Big Star 'Third' Concert

SXSW Showcase Reviews

Reviewed by Adam Schragin, Fri., March 16, 2012

Live Shots
Photo by John Anderson

Big Star 'Third' Concert

Paramount Theatre, Thursday, March 15

Almost two years to the day that Alex Chilton died before making an appearance at SXSW with his band Big Star, this concert re-created the band's last album, Third. The brainchild of Chris Stamey, the memorial of sorts put together an ensemble cast to flesh out the album, an endeavor that's already played in select cities. At the historic Paramount Theatre, the group joined up with a host of special guests and enlisted Austin's Tosca String Quartet to further flesh out the songs. Both the heavy rotation of band members and array of bonus players – among whose ranks were Peter Buck, Tommy Stinson, and, much earlier in the evening, M. Ward – seemed to flummox Stamey, who worked very hard to keep the songs on point, as when Peter Case forgot the words to "Stroke It Noel." The wide stage also kept musicians from keeping in sync with one another. But here's the caveat: 1978's Third is a prickly, wonderful pop/rock disc that can survive a dash of chaos, so there's no need to be afraid of the unseemly and the unraveling. God knows Chilton wasn't.

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