Muziekcentrum Vredenburg, Utrecht, Holland - May 13, 2003



Not only was this performance by Chris Hillman and Herb Pedersen an important event in itself for Byrds Flyght’s webmaster, but it also gave us the opportunity to meet in person with several people that we’ve corresponded with for years (particularly one of them we’ve been in touch with for nearly 25 years without ever meeting him – exchanging Byrds related tapes since the mid-eighties … remember tapes?).

So we would like to say to all of them that’s it been a real pleasure to meet them, and this goes out to Jaap, Gerard, Wim, Horst-Peter, René, Peter and all the others. Guess what we all talked about! Byrds, CDs, CDRs, concerts…but you knew that already. Not always easy for a French speaking webmaster to converse in Dutch, German, English and French with various people simultaneously while having to translate from time to time....

Special thanks to Jaap, who regularly organizes concerts in Holland, and particularly a yearly event called the Blue Highways Festival (Chris and Herb headlined the 2002 edition). Visit Jaap’s festival pages at

Thanks also to all Byrds Flyght visitors who were there and told us how much they enjoy reading these pages. We know that several people would have liked to be there with us, but couldn’t make it…coming from the US to Europe for this concert only is too big a trip, even for those located on the East Coast…  

Thanks to Sven for sending corrections to some of the song titles.

Special mention to Horst-Peter Schmidt, who came all the way from Germany to meet Chris Hillman and give him a demo version of Have You Seen Her Face, that Chris suggested him to have a try at with his band.


The webmaster (wearing a Byrds tee-shirt) with Horst-Peter Schmidt


Horst-Peter has a heavily Byrds sounding group called Different Faces. He manages to put CDs out, with more Rickenbacker 12 string sounds than Roger McGuinn does!Horst-Peter’s CDs probably sound more Byrdsy than the latter day Byrds ever did, let alone the post-Byrds solo recordings. You can visit the Different Faces website at . Byrds Flyght visitors located in America, who would like to hear Horst-Peter’s music but don’t like to buy CDs from abroad, can order them directly from a US-based CD shop. You can find the link to contact this US seller on Different Faces’ webpages.

We managed to talk to Chris and Herb at 4 different times during the day. What follows is a chronological review of  the events.


We were in the hall at about 5 pm, when Chris and Herb arrived for the soundcheck and the rehearsals. They immediately agreed to have their pictures taken, sign some autographs and discuss some topics with us. You know, the sort of things that are very important to everyone of us Byrds fans…such as, who played drums or sang third harmony vocal on a Gosdin Brothers single that Chris produced 35 years ago…{:-}}} (by the way, it was Michael Clarke on drums)


CHRIS HILLMAN and HERB PEDERSEN arriving at the hall


CHRIS HILLMAN, a Happy Webmaster and HERB PEDERSEN  

Chris and Herb then started rehearsing and sound-checking, and afterwards they came out for another talk. This time, we asked some questions about Chris’s discography; for instance, about having a single in our collection, by a singer called Chris Hilman but who is not THE Chris Hillman. Herb told us about George Martin’s reaction when he first heard his version of The BeatlesPaperback Writer (included on Herb’s Southwest album). Chris signed autographs for some other German fan, who asked him sign CD artwork and some guitar picks. We noticed that Chris carefully looked at the CDs before signing them, making sure that he plays on them before signing. For instance, presented with a compilation with a latter day Byrds picture on the cover, he said “do I play on this one?”, then opened it to see the track listing before signing it. Both artists then left for dinner.

We managed to talk to them again just before the concert started, and we can confirm that they both were very kind to us and to the other people coming to them with questions, congratulations or items to sign.


The performance took place in a small hall with approximately 350 people in the audience (it was meant that way, as an intimate concert).

Opening for Chris and Herb were local heroes The Blue Grass Boogiemen, an excellent group of 5 young Dutch musicians, that Chris had met before in the USA. They sang and played guitar, standing bass, violin, banjo and mandolin. They did their own songs, in between tracks written by Jim and Jesse, Bill Munroe, and many other well known and lesser known bluegrass artists. 



After a short break, Chris and Herb came on stage, Chris with his mandolin and Herb with his guitar. They would stick to these instruments during the whole performance. They started with an intrumental, and then came Bury Me Beneath The Willow, and then Love Reunited. Chris told the audience that the latter was the first number one hit that they had with the Desert Rose Band. Herb sang  the lead vocals on the next song, A Heart Always True. The audience applauded heavily after each song. Actually, this was a permanent audience attitude during the whole concert. People were there to listen, and did the applause after the songs only. Then Chris explained that the following song was about a guy who feels he’s going to lose his girlfriend, because her ex-lover is back (Somebody’s Back In Town).



Next, Chris told us about Gram Parsons refusing to go with The Byrds to South Africa, then making friends with him again, then the both of them buying bikes and Gram actually crashing his BSA…this event inspired the next song, Wheels. Then came I Hear A Voice Calling and Hard Times. At that point, Chris invited the opening act (The Blue Grass Boogiemen) to join Herb and himself on stage, and they did two songs together: Love And Wealth  and Are You Missing Me? (lead vocal by Herb).

CHRIS HILLMAN, HERB PEDERSEN and The Blue Grass Boogiemen

Chris and Herb complimented the band several times, with Chris even telling one of the members that he was his son, which led the musician to kiss Chris on the forehead! The Dutch band then left the stage, at which point Chris said they were so good, he thought about asking them to back him again or permanently…then started laughing and said: <Actually, they are so good, WE should think of joining THEM>.



Chris said the next song was dedicated to all the record companies they recorded for during the last 40 years: You Done Me Wrong. Herb then sang lead again on No One Else. Sin City was next, and generated a lot of applause from the audience when it came to an end. Then came The Other Side, and next A Good Woman’s Love (complete with a false start). The Old Crossroads came next, and then Herb was lead singer again for the next song, Wait A Minute, a song about the feelings of artists’ wives when their men leave home for touring. Next came You're Learning, Nine Pound Hammer,  and Bakersfield Bound. Then they did  the first Byrds song performed during this concert: Mr Tambourine Man, after Chris explained how the Byrds came to hear this Bob Dylan song before it was released by its writer (they heard a demo of a duet version by Dylan and Ramblin’ Jack Elliott). At the end of the song, Chris threw in some licks from Roger McGuinn’s intro melody to the original Byrds version, which, played on the mandolin, had a very pleasant but strange effect on us, and we liked it. Next came the surprise of the day: Eight Miles High, done in a magnificent way with vocals, guitar and mandolin. Both singers then left the stage, saying thanks and goodbye. But we all knew they would come back for an encore, as the audience gave them a standing ovation. And back they came for You Ain’t Going Nowhere, with the usual audience participation in singing the chorus, while both Chris and Herb stopped singing. The encore ended with Heaven’s Lullaby, and they then left stage for good. Wait … for good? Remember, we’re in Holland, and Byrds are Gods here! The audience asked for more, and they came back to do one more song, Mansions To Me. And that was the end of this exceptionally good performance. It was the last concert of their European tour, and it ended on a high note. 


The die-hard circle of Byrds fans gathered next to the bar, to keep on discussing all that is Byrds and Byrds-related. But then came a rather unexpected other surprise (incredible how often we were surprised…) when Chris and Herb arrived.


CHRIS HILLMAN and HERB PEDERSEN with unidentified fans

They started signing autographs, having pictures taken with and without fans, shaking hands, answering questions, all this very kindly and smiling. This was the moment when Horst-Peter had his picture taken with Chris and him shaking hands.


Horst-Peter Schmidt with CHRIS HILLMAN  

Chris and Herb stayed there for nearly half an hour, and then left for the hotel, to have some rest before going back to the US the next morning.


CHRIS HILLMAN and HERB PEDERSEN just about to leave...


It was time for us to say goodbye to everybody as well, and take the road for the trip back to our home in Belgium (280 kilometers – 175 miles). Among other things, music kept on playing in our head all along the road. When arriving home, we had a look at our e-mail box and there were some pleasant messages there already…can you ask for more to end such a nice day?



Since this review was uploaded, several people sent us pictures taken during and after the performance.

Here are some of them. Thanks to Horst-Peter Schmidt, Peter Overbeeke and Sven Simonsen.

More to follow.










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