the Byrds were now a family friends. Joan again "I remember meeting them inside Ciro's - at first they had seemed older than the English groups. But up close it was clear that they were very young and very poor and may be they did not eat enough.
My question is why "had seemed"? For me it seems strange as "meeting them in Ciro implies that it was the beginning of the band. (it was told before in the text that they took a residency at Ciro's in the beginning of the band, so we already now that it is in the past of the past before they were a family friends so there is no need to indicate it a second time.
I think that using the past perfect emphasizes the contrast between at first and it was clear that this first impression was wrong.
Am I wrong thinking that?
Extract from Inside the Byrds/ personnal reflections