Reprinted from yesterday's late editions.
In the late '60s few bands were as influential as the Byrds. They helped put Los Angeles on the musical map when every other band seemed either British, Motownish, or San Franciscan. The Byrds' lineup was star-studded: Chris Hillman, David Crosby, Michael Clarke (now the drummer for Firefall), Gene Clark and leader Roger McGuinn.
McGuinn and Gene Clark have been through several bands and several albums since the demise of the original Byrds, but Tuesday they opened a three-night stand at the newly streamlined Cellar Door as a duo.
They performed mostly new material that worked because the new tunes were strong and had a distinctly Byrds-like feel. McGuinn especially managed to repress his Bob Dylan imitation until an effective version of "Knockin' On Heaven's Door."
Of course, it wouldn't have been a complete show without soem oldies. Tuesday there was "Turn, Turn, Turn," and the now 14-year-old "Mr. Tambourine Man." "Chestnut Mare," originally done after Clark left the Byrds, proved a crowd-pleaser, and the closing pair, "So You Wanna Be a Rock 'n' Roll Star" and "Eight Miles High" have never dated. Neither have the performers.