After my recent deja vu experience, it seemed obvious we were supposed to see Crosby, Stills & Nash at Jones Beach. I was pleasantly surprised to find $20 tickets online. I asked the kids if they wanted to go, and they did (we have cool kids!), so I got four tickets.
On a nice summer night, there is no better venue than the Jones Beach theatre. We had one of those nights, about 75 and breezy, with a clear sky and a bright moon.
My daughter Rebecca (17) was somewhat familiar with Crosby, Stills & Nash, but of course I had to go on and on about how they are "cultural icons of the 60's".........part of a "dying breed of social commentators"......"they were at Woodstock".......and "they did the song OHIO, which is about Kent State, and it changed my world view". She accepts my commentary, but I heard myself sounding like a big "blah blah blah", so I decided to can it. She did ask me if I thought they would play "Deja Vu", and I said I hoped so.
Here are three guys in their late 60's, who still play and sing at the highest level and with tremendous feeling. The only noticeable concession is that Stephen Stills can't sing as well as he used to. However, they adjust their song selection to accommodate this, and he still plays a mean guitar. He was attacking his guitar solos, almost in defiance of his lowered place in the singing.
David Crosby and Graham Nash can still sing and harmonize like nobody else. David Crosby did most of the intros and talking, and after a few songs said "We always do one Neil Young song, and we always have a big discussion deciding which one to do, so here's tonight's Neil Young song." They then did "Long May You Run". It's a great song, though it is such a Neil Youngish song that I kept thinking "This song is missing something.....Neil Young". You can't replace this
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nszR0tfp4Es , but it was still nice.
I was also surprised that they played many covers, including Norwegian Wood, Ruby Tuesday, Midnight Rider, Behind Blue Eyes and Girl From the North Country (a Bob Dylan song). These were well chosen and very enjoyable.
About halfway through the show, David Crosby said, "You know you can't come to one of our concerts without us playing Wooden Ships, but before we do, we want to get weird on you." Then they played Deja Vu. As we used to say at Stony Brook......"Pretty heavy". Here's a youtube of them performing the song 20 years ago http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HiDOMuhpqUo It will give you the flavor, but I like the way they do it now even better.
The best song of the night was one that I had not considered a favorite, but I now change my mind. It was Guinevere. It was haunting and beautiful, and it also received the ultimate compliment when halfway through I noticed Felicia had a tear in her eye. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jsmC1zrpwfQ&feature=related (Not our show, just a representative sample).
They did not do every song in their catalogue, and while everyone expected them to do "Suite: Judy Blue Eyes" in the encore, they did not. When I looked at youtube clips of this song, it struck me that it's a Stephen Stills song that he probably can't sing to a satisfactory level. No big deal. Here is an interesting Wikipedia entry about the song, with some history and facts and I never knew http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Suite:_Judy_Blue_Eyes
After the concert Rebecca wondered what these guys looked like when they were young. I had a great time looking at youtube clips and showing them to her. Here are a few.....
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=az9Az6S1nus (Teach Your Children)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t1WGF5sA-3c (Suite: Judy Blue Eyes...at Woodstock)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-QsSc95pPPY&feature=fvst (this one is "Down By the River", performed on the David Steinberg show)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9XWmwvT8bCw ("Almost Cut My Hair", in 2009, and a good sample of what they look like now)
Comments on this blog are always welcome.