“I was so much older then, I’m younger than that now,” sang Roger McGuinn as he stepped on to the stage of Cardiff’s Glee Club with electric guitar on Tuesday evening. The American singer/songwriter looked much younger than his 72 years, displaying all the showmanship and musical expertise performers half his age would be in awe of. No band, no frills, just Roger with two guitars, one electric, one acoustic, regaling tales and songs from over half a century of his own back pages.
From been inspired to play 12 string guitar by Leadbelly, via chart success with The Byrds and his enduring friendship with Bob Dylan, there was much to enjoy as Roger displayed a natural gift of storytelling while encouraging participation from the audience.
Naturally, the concert featured many of The Byrds hits, among them Mr Tambourine Man, Turn Turn Turn, Eight Miles High and Pete Seeger’s The Bells of Rhymney. “I received an e-mail from a lady in Wales that said “You’ve been pronouncing it (Rhymney) wrong all these years,” Roger explained, “We only sang it the way Pete Seeger sang it.” Roger then sang a corrected version, much to the audience delight.
There were other treats too, a performance of a Beach Boys style recording Roger wrote in his early days as a songwriter, an acoustic instrumental called Right out Of the Box and a beautiful interpretation of Bob Dylan’s Knocking on Heavens door.
Clearly Roger and the audience (myself included) all enjoyed the show, itself a rare chance to get a first hand glimpse into the life of one of rocks true legends.