Yesterday’s Yo La Tengo show reminded me of the first time (technically it was the second time, Stephen played an instore earlier that afternoon) I saw Magnetic Fields when they were their opening band. Compared to the lighthearted banter and fantastic sound of the shows like this one that was recorded at Cat’s Cradle in North Carolina, they were very distant and sounded “off” live. It could have been the large venue, huge stage and nearly empty room that got to them, but it was very disappointing compared to the live recordings I had heard of them up to that point. This show and another one that I have of them from DC in ’95 are still some of my all time favorite live recordings.

[audio:|titles=San Diego Zoo (Live)|artists=Magnetic Fields]

Download: Magnetic Fields – San Diego Zoo (Live)


  1. It’s really interesting to hear different takes of the songs that Stephen doesn’t sing on record but plays live. I really love both versions.

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