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Wednesday, March 23, 2022

RARE VIDEO: Buffalo Springfield 1986 Rehearsals

Buffalo Springfield - 10/23/10
2010 Bridge School Benefit Concerts 
Photo by Thrashette
 (Click photo to enlarge)

Here are rare 1986 rehearsal videos of the original 1960's Buffalo Springfield line-up of "ROAD OF PLENTY" (aka "Eldorado") for a reunion tour which  did not fully culminate until 2011. (Thanks Neil Young Unreleased - NYU !)



Buffalo Springfield 1986 Rehearsal Part 1 

Songs include "Road of Plenty" and "Eldorado". The video posted on YouTube by Mindstash is described as the following:

In the summer of 1986, the original members of the Buffalo Springfield met at Stephen Stills’ home to rehearse new material that Stephen and Neil Young were working on and to make tentative plans to reunite for a 20th anniversary reunion tour. The 2 day practice session marked the first time that the five founding members had played together since their break-up in 1967. The rehearsals were kept a secret and my understanding was that management was not keen on having the sessions videotaped. However, after some deliberation, the band over ruled management and decided that they wanted to document the get together. 

I’d just finished wrapping a shoot when I received a call with an anxious Bruce Palmer on the other end filling me in- Neil and Richie (Furay) were in town, the Buffalo Springfield were going to be rehearsing, could I make it over to Stephen’s with a camera and lights and be set up in an hour and a half? LMAO! (Nothing like having plenty of advance notice, guys.) As fate would have it, I was on the freeway on my way home from work, I had a camera package in the car and was only 15 minutes away from Stephen’s place. I just happened to be the right person, with the right camera, with the right contacts at the right position in spacetime to record the practice, otherwise we wouldn’t have anything to look at right now. 

From what I can remember and from the comments that can be heard on the tapes, at the end of the rehearsal the band was planning on more rehearsals and moving forward w/ the reunion tour. However, the paradigm was about to shift and I saw it happen in front of my eyes. 

A couple of weeks later, in wee hours of the morning, I was listening to Stephen laying down some bass tracks in his studio when David Crosby, (who had just gotten out of a Texas jail the day before) made a surprise visit and came through the door with guitar case in hand. I remember the moment as if were yesterday: David: “Hey, Stephen. Do you want to hear some open chords that I’ve been working on in my cell?” Stephen: Uhh…well, hell yeah!” They played together for about an hour and a day or two later Graham Nash showed up. Stephen’s priorities shifted to reuniting with CS&N, in large part, to help out an old friend who was down and out at the time. 

A few months later, the Crosby, Still & Nash reunion tour was in full swing, Bruce Palmer and Dewey Martin were having a successful run with the Buffalo Springfield Revisited, Neil Young was on the road with the Live In A Rusted Out Garage with Crazy Horse tour, Richie Furay was back in Boulder doing his thing and I wrapped up the rehearsal tapes and put them into a box where they were to remain for the next 30 years. For what it’s worth, from what I’ve been able to dig up, this is likely the only rehearsal footage of the original Buffalo Springfield that has ever been recorded. 

The practice session began with a “theme" that was in Neil’s head and moved onto Stephen shredding the guitar on a new blues tune that he was in the early stage of conceptualizing. In this clip, the band is working out the nuts and bolts on a new tune of Neil’s that he would later develop into “Road of Plenty” which made its performance debut during the Crazy Horse tour in November of 1986. The song would, subsequently, evolve into its studio version, “Eldorado”, which was recorded 2 years later and released in the states on Neil's Freedom album. 

Buffalo Springfield - 10/23/10
Photo gallery by Nan Philpot | Facebook



Buffalo Springfield 1986 Rehearsal Part 2 

Part 2 of the 1986 Buffalo Springfield rehearsal catches the band winding down from Neil’s new song which was later to become Road of Plenty (live Crazy Horse version) before morphing into the better known studio version, Eldorado which you can see the band rehearsing in Part 1. Stephen’s new song follows this break in the action and will soon be released as (you guessed it) Part 3. 

This is my favorite sequence because it gives a rare look of a band at work and shooting the shit w/ no one being overly self-conscious about a camera being in the room recording them. In other words, it’s real…. and, it is the founding members of the Buffalo Springfield chatting it up together for the last time. It was edited down to condense it w/o losing the vibe. Enjoy my friends and fellow rock ’n rollers.

Setlist: Buffalo Springfield - 10/23/10
Photo by Thrashette

From 1986 Buffalo Springfield Rehearsal: Neil Young, Stephen Stills & Richie Furay,  back in 1996, the following description of the session was posted on Hyperrust by B.J.Haines:

The video opens with a close shot of Neil who was standing to Richie Furay's right. Neil is wearing a faded yellow t-shirt which has the sleeves cut off, or at least mostly cut off -- there are remants of sleeves there. The front of the t-shirt has a drawing of tropical trees and on top of that is the words St. Maarten. I'll bet he STILL has that t-shirt and if there's anything left of it, he STILL wears it!! He's wearing jeans also (natch). Ratty jeans, too. His hair is on the short side, but still over his ears, about the length it was during his Rust Never Sleeps days.

Richie is playing a blonde Gretsch. He's wearing a t-shirt as well, but there's nothing remarkable about it, except that it's in a lot better shape than Neil's.

To Richie's left is Dewey Martin seated at the drums, which themselves are a natural blonde or gold or yellow color. They might be Stephen's drums, because at the end of the video we get to see the car the Dewey drove to Stephen's house and which broke down as soon as he arrived there. I don't think it was a big enough car to get the drums into, but maybe I'm wrong. I'm not sure what kind of car it is either, but it seems like it might have been a Cadillac or Buick. Something like that. And there's the possibility that he was towing a trailer, but we don't get to see that far back. But I digress....

Buffalo Springfield Concert Reviews: Oakland, CA, June 1 & 2, 2011

Dewey is shirtless and smoking a cigarette from which he inhales and exhales without removing it from his mouth, even when he's not playing. He's older now, that's for sure, but he's still thin and in fairly good shape.

Which brings me to Bruce Palmer. Bruce is seated with his bass and facing Neil and Richie. Dewey is to Bruce's right and slightly behind him. Bruce is playing a bass with a split headstock. I was told what type of bass it was while we were watching the video, but I can't recall the name. Anyway, Bruce is graying, and when you see him straight on, it appears that he has a short, conventional haircut which is parted on the side and combed to the right. When he turns his head to the side however, we see that he is sporting a ponytail, a rather long one, about mid-back. Bruce is not thin. He's put on some poundage over the years and it shows. A lot.

Bruce is wearing some baggy pants and a khaki short sleeve button down, two pocket shirt. At one point Stephen, during a group pose orchestrated by Neil, walks over to Bruce and rubs his belly and makes a comment meant to be humorous about Bruce's thick girth, and which I can't recall. I should note that Stephen has little room to talk. He's replaced the six pack with a kegger as well. Stepehen is wearing a large, black t-shirt which is not tucked in.

Back to the session. Stephen is seated facing the camera but slightly towards Neil. Stephen is wearing a red ball cap which has a Navy ship's logo and serial number on it. I think it was the U.S.S. Enterprise, but I'm not clear on that either. He's playing a black Steinberger guitar, the one with the rectangular body and headless neck. As the video opens, Neil is saying to Stephen, "Yes, that's great, I really like the way that you played that, that's great, we should do that", and tells Stephen many times that he likes what he's doing there.

Stephen plays a few chords and patterns, which Neil praises (and rightly so). It's a Neil Young song they're working on, something like Road Of Plenty, or something like that. Neil counts off, after getting Dewey and Richie's attention. They had been having a little conversation and a laugh in the meanwhile. They start up in the middle of that tune and play it well.

After about 2 minutes of jamming, they stop, and the video fades out. It then fades back in, and we see the boys standing and Neil looking at the camera and saying "we should all stand together for a group shot, this'll be good", and he kind of gathers them all together and they stand there in various poses, cracking jokes, Neil commenting on how 18 years have passed since they were all together and how special it all was and is. This is the point where Stephen goes over to Bruce and rubs his belly.

Bruce is standing to the extreme right in the group shot, Neil in the middle, Stephen behind and to Neil's right. Richie is on Stephen's left, and Dewey stands next to Richie. You get the feeling that Dewey and Richie are most friendly with each other, as if they've always been friends through the years. They like each other a lot. They all like each other, but Dewey and Richie have a little something extra there, and to tell you the truth, I find it heartwarming to see such old friends getting reaquainted and picking up where they left off. That goes for all of them.

We hear Neil comment about Dewey getting deported for drugs and a few other reminisceses. We get a better perspective of the room they're in. It looks to me like a finished basement. We see some gold and paltinum record awards hanging on the wall, although the video resolution won't allow for any details as to what records they are for. We see stereo equipment and knick knacks of varying kinds. I think I see a bar in there, not sure if that's right or not. From what I know of Stephen, I think that it probably was!! At any rate, and by any standard, it's gotta be one of the nicest basements I've ever seen. Fade to black.....

....Fading in, we are now outside in Stephen's driveway. Stephen does a hilarious mock TV reporter routine in which he is facing the camera and looking directly into it, reports to us the goings on in his driveway. And what IS going on? Well, remember earlier that Dewey's car had broken down in Stephen's driveway? Who do you think is repairing it? Dewey is!! He's on his back, under the car with his legs sticking out. The guy who has this video and was kind enough to show me is now in the picture and Stephen mock-interviews him to get the breaking news from the man on the street.

He makes a few funny comments about how the car waited to break down in Stephen's driveway. The video then does a cut and we see Dewey standing there with cigarette in mouth, and the greasiest hands and arms you ever saw. He's got grease all over his face as well. I'm thinking how strange this is to see a famous and (presumably) wealthy rock star on his back in somebody's driveway (albeit a famous and wealthy somebody) working on an old car. And why would a famous and wealthy rock star have such an old and broken down car, I wonder aloud?

I am told by my friend that in fact Dewey was not wealthy, at least not anymore, and that he was really counting on this reunion to get the cash flowing again. He really isn't too well off at all. Hasn't been working steady in years. The fact that this reunion didn't go any further than this one occasion was a big blow for Dewey. He really wanted it to happen.

I'm told also that it was soon after this all-too short reunion that Dewey formed a pseudo-Buffalo Springfield band, he and Bruce being the only original members and calling it Buffalo Springfield Revisited. They apparently did a tour or two and then broke up, leaving Dewey even deeper in the hole. I was told that Stephen even jammed with this pseudo-Springfield on a couple of occasions. That was news to me!!

But anyway, that's about it. It ends there in the driveway. My friend said that Neil had gone by that time, or maybe was in the house, but was certainly not in the driveway during the repairs or the "Stillscast" shennigans.


The Buffalo Springfield, v. 2010
Joe Vitale, Stephen Stills, Richie Furay, Neil Young and Rick Rosas

Photo by Eleanor Stills
(See The Buffalo Springfield Portrait by Eleanor Stills)

Also, see complete reports on 2010 Bridge School Benefit Concert (24th Annual) with reviews, photos, YouTube videos and commentary.

Also, see The Triumphant Reunion of The Buffalo Springfield, Pearl Jam and Neil Young @ 2010 Bridge School Benefit Concerts.

More on 2010 Bridge School Concert Highlights: Pro Shot Video on YouTube.

Also, see Buffalo Springfield, Pearl Jam & Others: "Rockin' in the Free World" @ Bridge Concert.

And  Revisiting The Significance of The Buffalo Springfield.

Finally, here's the bottom line ... The Significance of The Buffalo Springfield Reunion: The Lefsetz Letter 

Neil Young, Rick "The Bass Player" Rosas, Richie Furay
2010 Bridge School Benefit Concerts  
Photo by Joe "The Drummer" Vitale

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At 3/23/2022 10:28:00 PM, Blogger willforestwater said...

Amazing video! Thanks so much for sharing!

Gotta agree with drummer Dewey Martin - the best was when they were first playing the song. Never much liked the over produced version on Eldorado, and Road of Plenty still isn't as good as the beginning of this version.

just a taste of what could have been, but glad these musical crumbs still exists...

At 3/24/2022 12:53:00 AM, Blogger Tomatron said...

Yesterday I visited two record stores in my area I’d never checked out. One of them was by chance, driving around the block to get onto the highway. This is a place that has a ton of classic pressings, reissues, and some brand new stuff too. I had thought they were mostly a cool t-shirt printing company. But they had a 1989 LP of Freedom I had to grab. Not cheap, but worth supporting the local establishments.

Freedom is a challenging listen for being such a crowd-pleaser entry in his discography. The production is striking, and the single LP vinyl is such a strange way to hear the record. (It’s 61 minutes long!) Would love to get Eldorado when it’s released and spin a fresh copy to compare the two mixes/masters. This video was my first taste of Road Of Plenty. What a refreshing blast to hear the essentials of this song come through. Neil Young on Old Black, jamming in a rumpus room. Those chord changes, the inherent beauty of electric guitar tone, melodies that were there from the beginning. It’s been fascinating to hear early visions of Freedom in a variety of settings: this video, Summer Songs, Eldorado, Bluenote Cafe. Freedom comes off as a darker record in the way that it masks the essence of a lot of this material. But enough of the rawness is included to bring the listener in deeper than allowed for by the Volume Dealers’ studio ambition.

Summer Songs and the early versions are the pure, uncut cocaine of Neil Young’s work, and Freedom is the crack rock he and Niko cooked up with it.

At 3/24/2022 08:25:00 AM, Blogger Unknown said...

Good stuff man. How fun! Almost like the Beatles getting back together.
Like most things from Neil Young, He Left his message etched inside my brain!

The saddest words, Of tongue or pen
Are these four words, It might have been....


At 3/24/2022 09:13:00 AM, Blogger wsanjose01 said...

That Bridge was a fun night. Rain never seemed to dampen the Fall Classic. In fact it makes this sort of soggy camaraderie among the crowd. We're all in this deluge together people (esp lawn dwellers). I remember looking around just before BS came on and there was still many many ppl there. That might not sound surprising to the novice BSB patron but often after 9 hours of music like half the crowd is gone by the time the last act gets to stage. Its also the show Vedder tells a funny story about Billy Idol you can hear on the PJ boot. Billy was doing his set and they screwed up the song early on. Just after that a huge roar comes from the crowd. Idol stops the song assuming the audience had busted him on the mistake. They restart the song getting it right. What he didnt know was that massive roar was because our beloved SF Giants had just won a World Series game lol :). After many decades out west the SF Giants were on the way to their first WS victory. Almost 12 years already where does the time go.

At 3/24/2022 10:39:00 PM, Blogger Richie Cruz said...

That Saturday Bridge show in 2010 was one of the greatest live music experiences of my life. What a night in the rain.

Dancin along to Billy Idol right after the Giants got into the World Series was an absolute blast, even though Billy really had no idea why the crowd was going THAT crazy! Pearl Jam gave us a great set, including their tribute song to my home, Santa Cruz. Seeing Kris Kristofferson was a treat, though Merle Haggard's absence was the only bummer of the night.

All of it led up to Buffalo Springfield. You could feel a real nervousness in the air, as no one really knew what to expect, but as soon as we heard Richie's voice on "On The Way Home", everyone breathed a sigh of relief. Richie sounded perfect, Stephen looked and played better than I had seen in a long time, the backup guys were the perfect choice, and of course, Neil was Neil. Their performance was far far better than anyone could have hoped. From my seat, I had a great view of Emmylou Harris backstage swaying along to the music, she stayed in that spot for the entire time they played. When they broke out "Burned", I figured I was having an out of body experience. At the climax of "Bluebird", Stephen and Neil looked at each other with total "WOW" looks, total magic.

I've seen a lot of shows in my time, and that's one that really stands out as one of the truly best.

At 3/26/2022 01:21:00 PM, Blogger wsanjose01 said...

Friend to Bridge School and Foo Fighter Taylor Hawkins has died. Man. So sorry and terrible news. RIP

At 3/26/2022 05:31:00 PM, Blogger Richie Cruz said...

Wow, that's sad and stunning news about Taylor Hawkins. I'm not a big Foo Fighters fan, but they do have some great songs and he was a big part of that band. Plus, that's way too young to be checking out. Sad news.

At 3/27/2022 09:50:00 AM, Blogger Abner Snopes said...

I read that Taylor had "ten different substances" in his body (toxicology). That is a lot of substances, and it is sad, way too you ("please take my advice").

This is a great thread, really enjoyed reading the musical memories. Usually I would have nothing to add as I don't know much about music and I have a bad hearing problem from a long ago head injury. Hence not many concerts.

But our kids wanted to go to Bonnaroo in 2011 and like fools we went with them. 98 degrees in the shade and no wind in that wretched state of Tennessee. I did, however, get to see Buffalo Springfield and remember the highlight was a 15 minute version of Rockin in the Free World. I was way in the back. I also saw My Morning Jacket do a brilliant set.

I would leave early in the evening because the Bruins were playing Vancouver Canucks for the Cup- another symmetrical memory to those above. I was basically raised in Boston Garden, Bruins are a religion. They took down Vancouver in seven. As my family was at the last evening of the concerts, I was watching Bergeron and company win the Cup (which they very well might do again this year),

My memory of Neil and Springfield is sketchy, but they were clearly a highlight. They came on BEFORE that awful mess that sings "Little Lion Man" (can't remember their name).


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