Photos by Chuck France/Special to The Star
Somewhere in the middle of a show that lasted two and a half hours (intermission included) and comprised two dozen songs, David Crosby reminded his audience: This is our 40th year together. By "our" he meant Crosby, Stills and Nash. But the trio's career goes back farther than that and it includes membership in some of the more elite bands in rock history (the Byrds, Buffalo Springfield, the Hollies).
Sunday night, CSN drew about 4,500 fans out to Starlight Theatre to revisit those 40 years and a few that preceded them. After opening the show with two of their own, including the '80s hit "Wasted On the Way," Crosby announced they'd be performing a few well-known covers -- a sign of a recording to come, apparently.
So they put their own spins on the Stones' "Ruby Tuesday"; on James Taylor's "You Can Close Your Eyes"; on Dylan's "Girl From the North Country"; and on the Allman Brothers' "Midnight Rider." A few songs later, they covered the Dead's "Uncle John's Band" and dedicated it to Jerry Garcia. The arrangements on all were no-frills: lots of acoustic guitar and warm three-part harmonies.
The setlist also included a few songs from the Buffalo Springfield catalog: "Rock and Roll Woman," "Bluebird" and one of the closers, "For What It's Worth."
Not many singers in their late 60s sing like they did in their 20s (Crosby is 68, Stephen Stills is 64 and Graham Nash is 67), but all three have sustained enough quality and control in their voices to deliver respectable re-creations of nearly every song. Nash still has some Hollies in his voice, and Crosby especially sounded soulful during two of his bigger moments: "Guinevere" and "Almost Cut My Hair."
Of the three, Stills has lost the most vocally, but he more than made up for that with his guitar play. WIth some help from the backup band, which included bassist Bob Glaub, "from Kansas City," Crosby said (apparently he's not). Stills indulged in some extended instrumental jam during a few songs, like "Deja Vu" and "Almost Cut My Hair," which turned into one of the evening's highlights. Crosby pretty much nailed the vocals, and Stills and the band cooked up a nice rock/blues jam in the middle.
That was one of the few times all night the vibe in the place rose above room temperature. Some sing-alongs broke out here and there -- especially the one Nash orchestrated during "Teach Your Children" -- but for the most part, this was a sit-down, kick-back affair for an older, seasoned crowd. "We have all been here before" goes the line in "Deja Vu." It was also the theme, and the point, of this nostalgic, late-summer evening.
| Timothy Finn, The Star
Setlist: Helplessly Hoping, Wasted On The Way, Ruby Tuesday, You Can Close Your Eyes, Girl From the North Country, Midnight Rider, Guinevere, Dream For Him, In Your Name, Uncle John's Band, Our House, Southern Cross. Intermission. Love the One You're With, Marrakesh Express, Rock and Roll Woman, Long Time Gone, Just A Song Before I Go, Cathedral, Deja Vu, Bluebird, Almost Cut My Hair, Wooden Ships. Encore: For What It's Worth, Teach Your Children.