Jeff Buckley Interview & Live Performance: So Real and Lover You Should’ve Come Over, Musiqueplus Studio, 28 May 1995

I will never forget the day I met Jeff Buckley outside The Palais, St Kilda on the 27 February 1996. It was 17 years ago to the day today.

It was like a dream, as your idol walks in the door to the McDonald’s “restaurant” you happen to be eating at hours before they are due to perform on stage. I really did not believe it was Jeff Buckley as he was sporting a thin moustache, a very long time before Movember made it cool to sport a mo’. He also carried a thin see-through shopping bag which contained some black hair dye… yes, he was faking it!

It wasn’t until he returned from the McDonald’s counter with his cheeseburger and took a seat a few feet away from me and my friends that I could actually believe it was him. He started mimicking the music over the McDonald’s radio – it was a pathetic Hootie & The Blowfish number that had reached number #1 in Australia not long before. He made us giggle into our burgers without even trying.

He continued to quickly devour his cheeseburger and with the three of us frozen in our places too scared to approach him, he soon left the store (probably after he felt our eyes piercing into his skull for far too long).

It was at that moment I caught a glimmer of gumption and decided it was now or never! I opened the door leading outside of McDonald’s and called out “Jeff”. For a split second he didn’t turn back. I thought I had used the wrong name as I remembered he wasn’t called Jeff from birth. However, after the longest second in the world he did finally turn around to see who called out.

It was then we all threw down our meals and ran out the door like a bunch of school girls chasing after The Beatles. Okay, we didn’t run, we were striding very, very quickly. Jeff was quickly heading towards the backdoor of The Palais and we knew our opportunity to meet our idol was going to disappear as he had gained a full 200 metres ahead of us.

However, we caught a lucky break as another fan loitering outside the entrance of The Palais detected his presence, and had Grace in her hand ready with a pen to sign. He was obviously kind enough to stop. Then we had another lucky break as he noticed a member from the road crew was walking towards him.

Jeff made a cute little dance of recognition towards his friend and then approach his buddy to start up a conversation. We therefore had time to return to my friend’s car parked across the road and find not only a pen but some scraps of paper!

We walked back over the street and approached Mr Buckley as timid as ever. My friend asked for an autograph made out to her, and I said the one thing I’ll always regret about this day forever.

I joked that she shouldn’t get the autograph personalised as it would be “worth” more. He looked at me with a dead stare that pierced my heart. I royally fucked up!

My friend asked Jeff to sign his name on a few extra sheets of paper which he did politely. We wished him well for the show and headed back to the car. It then started to rain so we had to quickly return our belongings and signatures to the car boot.

As we were leaving we saw Joan Wasser (who we knew was dating Jeff) and a few of the members of The Dambuilders approaching the rear entrance along with Jeff.

Soon after we were seated in The Palais watching The Dambuilders performing as Jeff’s support act. Joan was amazing rocking out on the violin, and it was nice to hear songs from their album Encendedor.

However, the real gem was getting to see Jeff perform live. He not only hushed the crowd with his amazing vocal ability, but he made us laugh as he imitated other musicians while tuning up his guitars in between numbers. It all seemed so effortless, as if a strange tune popped into his head and he had to play us a little taster to amuse us for a few seconds.

He gave us a perfect gig with pure emotion with soft moments, and also rocked out raw energy. It’s one of the reasons I loved him as a performer. He was able to sing note perfect but he chose not to. He knew that perfection didn’t necessarily equate to greatness in a performance. Just listen to his live performances and hear how he tried to add a rough edge.

Below is the list of songs he played on the night:

1. Moodswing Whiskey
2. So Real
3. Mojo Pin
4. I Woke Up in a Strange Place
5. Lilac Wine (Nina Simone cover)
6. Last Goodbye
7. What Will You Say
8. Eternal Life
9. Kick Out the Jams (MC5 cover)
10. Edna Frau
11. Lover, You Should’ve Come Over
12. Grace
13. Just Like a Woman (Bob Dylan cover)
[According to Setlist.fm – my memory is not that amazing!]

The show was so damn electrifying my friend and I decided that we would try to get tickets for the show he was to play a few nights later at The Palace (which has since burnt down to the ground in mysterious circumstances).

Unfortunately they had also sold out by the next day. Damn you other Jeff Buckley fans! I’m sure it was another fantastic night.

After the show I was given a lift back to the City so I could get home. I grabbed one of the signatures from my friend’s boot and she placed her belongings on top of the other signed sheets and closed the boot.

A few days later my friend told me that she couldn’t find the other sheets containing Jeff’s signature. It was like they had been sucked out of her boot somehow while they were driving. It was damn weird.

I still have my signed autograph… including a little drop of rain, although it sometimes pains me to look at it.

Further Exploration:

Other samples you might enjoy:

  • James Vincent McMorrow – James has a beautiful and haunting voice that is mesmerising
  • Bat for Lashes – a fabulous singer-songwriter who writes epic albums and exudes passion when she sings
  • Chet Faker – a Melbourne musician who plays music full of soul and intimacy

Q. Have you ever met one of your idols? What was the experience like for you?

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About noisynoodle

I am a noisy noodle hailing from Melbourne, Australia who loves listening to noise in all forms, but preferably in music, TV and film. I’ve moonlighted on community radio at SYN-FM many years ago when I was still a “youth”. My mission is to promote live music (get off your bum and see something!), highlight interesting TV shows that are ignored by the ratings, expose some cool films and to not go deaf trying!

16 responses »

  1. Great story. Great that you got to see him while he was still around. Hang on to that signature!

  2. eva6kora says:

    Great story! Very precious memory for you. I wish I had a chance to meet this man. Thank God his music is with us.

    • noisynoodle says:

      Thanks, I’m glad you enjoyed reading my little tale! We are very lucky so many recordings exist – it proves how special Jeff was that so many people wanted to capture the moment.

  3. prog4 says:

    I’m envious. Unfortunately for me I didn’t really “discover” his music until it was too late (ie: well past this time). He is one of my musical idols. The Live In Chicago concert DVD is one of my most treasured. Great reading your story.

    • noisynoodle says:

      Cheers, glad you enjoyed it. I too love the Live in Chicago DVD and even have the old VHS…somewhere! Eternal Life is my highlight.

      • prog4 says:

        Yep probably mine too. I love that rocked up “road” version! Interesting story behind that – about how he did it as a sort of “F You” aimed at his record company… at least that is the story his bios say

      • noisynoodle says:

        Yeah, he was cool like that. Plus he spent a bit of time in a rock band so why wouldn’t they have expected him to do something heavier? Let the man rock!

  4. Ovidiu Boar says:

    I’m not familiar with Jeff Buckley’s music at all, but this was a great story, both in content and in the way it was written. The “dead stare” bit literally had me laughing out loud. Experiences of meeting celebrities are always worth sharing and reading, and I certainly wish that one day I will have such a story to tell.

    • noisynoodle says:

      Thanks, I’m glad the story made you laugh. I have many other embarrassing celebrity stories yet to tell! I’d definitely recommend you check out some of Jeff Buckley’s music, ‘Eternal Life’ is a good starting point if you like rock, and he covered a Genesis song ‘Back in NYC’, which is also cool if you some prog.

  5. Love Jeff Buckley. What a great memory!

  6. Marie says:

    He was (and is) one of my favorite musicians of all time! Great story.

    • noisynoodle says:

      Thanks Marie, yeah I’ll always rate Jeff highly despite all the musicians I’ve seen since. It is rare to have someone create beautiful music, record it perfectly and then better it live.

  7. johnlmalone says:

    wow! you got to see Jeff Buckley. that is amazing.

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