Sunday, August 27, 2006
Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young carry on
Young's latest album, Living With War, is a broadside against US policies that have provoked wars in Iraq and Afghanistan after the 9/11 attacks. During his current tour with C, S & N, he opens the show with "Flags of Freedom," setting the anti-war tone for the evening. Young's clearly the leader of the band, and it's likely he would'nt have agreed to the reunion unless his partners allowed him the time to get his message across.
Throughout the show - I attended last Tuesday night's outdoor concert at Jones Beach Theater in Wantagh, NY - Young returned to his theme, performing such songs as "Shock and Awe" and the potent "Impeach the President." Peace signs and video clips - one ticked off the number of soldiers who've died in Iraq (more than 2,600) - reflected off the backdrop.
Most came to hear old C, S, N & Y classics, and the quartet augmented by a keyboardist, bassist, a pedal-steel player and drummer didn't disappoint. Crosby and Nash were in particularly good voice, while Stills held back a bit, perhaps preserving his. From "Carry On" to "Almost Cut My Hair" to "Wooden Ships" to "Helplessly Hoping" to "Our House," they reminded baby-boomers in attendance how great these songs really are. Lush four-part harmonies segued into staggering guitar duels between Stills and Young.
The 30-song showcase saw various combinations, with Crosby & Nash taking center stage for awhile and then Stills stepping to the fore, delivering the smuggler's anthem, "Treetop Flyer." Nash's alto soared on "Military Madness" and his solo hit, "Chicago," and Crosby nailed "Guinnivere" and "Teach Your Children."
But it was Young who dominated. He led a chant of "Peace is not an awful lot to ask," and for the finale, it was his own "Rockin' in the Free World," not "Southern Man," that concluded the two-and-half-hour show.
C, S, N & Y return to New York tonight for a show at the Theater at Madison Square Garden. The tour, which has another eight dates, runs through Sept. 10.
This review is also available at HighTimes.com