Sunday, October 10th, 2010
"I Want You Back"/"Billie Jean"
Belle & Sebastian cover The Jackson 5 and Michael Jackson
Frank YangFlashback to November 2003 and Belle & Sebastian’s second last visit to Toronto and first at Massey Hall – an eminently memorable show for both reasons bad and good. The bad being an invitation to have an audience member come up and sing a song with the band backfiring when she demanded they play one of HER own songs (which they did, politely and awkwardly) and the good being pretty much everything else but particularly their impromptu (at hollered audience request) cover of The Jackson 5’s “I Want You Back”, which began with Bob Kildea goofing on the bassline, the rest of the band looking at each other, shrugging and joining in with Stuart Murdoch showing off his falsetto.
It was a magical moment that still stands out in a magical show, and one that since it came before camera phones with video and audio capability became ubiquitous, one that I thought was undocumented except by anecdote and a handful of blurry photos. As it turns out, I just haven’t been looking hard enough, because an audience recording of that Massey show – or at least that one song – has been circulating in live bootleg circles for some time and only just came into my possession. The audio quality is pretty dire, as to be expected of anything of that vintage, but it’s listenable and more importantly triggers the right memory synapses. But since I prefer to have the stuff I post here be of a certain aural standard, I’m making this week’s post a twofer with a slightly better-sounding MJ cover of undetermined origins.
Belle & Sebastian return – triumphantly, I’m sure – to Massey Hall on Tuesday night in support of their new record Write About Love. And, if they do anything interesting – or anything at all – I’m sure a million videos will appear on YouTube within 30 seconds. Ah, technology.
MP3: Belle & Sebastian – “I Want You Back” (live in Toronto)
MP3: Belle & Sebastian – “Billie Jean” (live)
Video: The Jackson 5 – “I Want You Back” (live on American Bandstand)
Video: Michael Jackson – “Billie Jean”