I still get goose bumps when I hear Jeff Buckley’s voice, especially this song off of his amazing debut, “Grace.”
I was lucky enough to see Jeff twice — at the Reading Festival on August 28, 1994 and at Liberty Lunch in Austin on April 29, 1995.
At Reading, I was in the Melody Maker Tent to see Morphine and American Music Club and didn’t know who Jeff was. Before he went on, after Morphine and before AMC, I heard people buzzing about him, so I decided to stick around. He came out and sang his first two songs acapella. I don’t remember the songs, but I remember what it felt like hearing his voice for the first time. Magical. I remember being close to the stage, no more than five feet from Jeff. The tent was silent except for his voice. His band stood silently, waiting. It’s those kind of fleeting, quasi-religious moments that keep me going back to music festivals and live concerts.
It’s eerie how preoccupied with death Jeff seems on “Grace,” particularly in this song.
Looking out the door I see the rain fall upon the funeral mourners
Parading in a wake of sad relations as their shoes fill up with water…
Sometimes a man gets carried away, when he feels like he should be having his fun…
My body turns and yearns for a sleep that will never come…
Lover, you should’ve come over, ’cause it’s not too late
Jeff’s drowning while swimming in the Mississippi River in Memphis on May 29, 1997 was a bizarre, cruel tragedy, not only to his friends and family, but to the growing legion of fans like me who had recently discovered his music.
We barely knew you, Jeff. I hope you and your father, Tim, are reunited in heaven and playing beautiful music together.