For many, Southern California’s 1960s folk rock scene began with the 1965 release of the Byrds’ Mr. Tambourine Man. That prolific scene, which also included The Mamas & the Papas, the Association and the Beach Boys, is seeing its 50th anniversary this year with celebration by Beck, Fiona Apple and Jakob Dylan, paying homage with covers of their ’60s favorites.
While the tribute album, Echo In The Canyon, won’t be out until spring next year, Los Angeles fans were treated to a one-night-only preview at the Orpheum Theater on Monday night. Because of expected high ticket demand when the first show was announced a second late-night show was added immediately. Both shows were taped for a future airing, but unlike many tapings, which are frustrating with stops and starts and retakes, this one flowed smoothly like a concert — thanks in large part to Dylan.
“Someone has to emcee,” Dylan said halfway through the second show. “And I’m happy to sing with all of them.”
With the Wallflowers frontman playing ringleader to a skillful and tight backing band, the hour-long main set ran through an eclectic and surprisingly left of center cavalcade of Sixties songs.
After that, Dylan brought out Beck for two unexpected Byrds numbers, selecting “Goin’ Back” and “Bells Of Rhymney” over some of the band’s bigger hits like “Turn, Turn, Turn,” “So You Wanna Be A Rock And Roll Star” or “Eight Miles High.” Meanwhile images of the Byrds flashed behind them on a giant screen.
Later, one of the night’s highlights came as Apple and Dylan showcased gorgeous harmonies on a sweet rendition of the Beach Boys’ “In My Room.”
As each of the artists made their way out, they brought their own signature style and highpoints, like Cat Power’s superb vocals on the Association’s “Never My Love” or Regina Spektor’s emotional take on Buffalo Springfield’s “Expecting To Fly.” The night predictably ended with an all-star finale of Beck, Spektor and Jade coming back onstage to join Dylan and the band for the Mamas And The Papas’ “Monday, Monday.”
“Go Where You Wanna Go” (Castrinos)
“Dedicated To The One I Love” (Castrinos)
“Going Back” (Beck)
“Bells Of Rhymney” (Beck)
“In My Room” (Apple)
“It Won’t Be Wrong” (Fiona)
“Never My Love” (Cat Power)
“You Showed Me” (Cat Power)
“No Matter What” (Spektor)
“Just Wasn’t Made For These Times” (Castrinos)
“Expecting To Fly” (Spektor)
“Monday, Monday” (Beck, Spektor, Castrinos)