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Crosby,Stills & Nash - Consummate Professionals.
on 25 July 2012
This captivating concert was filmed on April 22nd,2012, in intimate surroundings in front of a receptive audience. They had every reason to be so as on stage were the legendary Crosby, Stills and Nash. The saying goes that you're only as good as your last performance, and on this evidence they are very, very good. Their interaction with the audience confirmed the mutual repartee.
The two sets contain staple numbers from their evergreen repertoire including the standards 'Marrakesh Express', 'Long Time Gone', 'Our House', 'Love the One you're With', 'Guinevere' and 'Wooden Ships'. Songs performed infrequently such as the delightful 'As I Come of Age' and the strikingly wondrous Stills's number 'Helplessly Hoping' are added. These may all be old hat but are performed with a polished enthusiasm and clarity that breathes new life into them. We may have heard 'Deja Vu' many times but the version presented at this concert is delicate and touching with solo contributions from the backing group (and a touch of the harp from Nash) Two new songs are aired: 'Almost Gone', a poignant tribute to Bradley Manning who blew the whistle on U.S. Intelligence and suffered the consequences (written by Nash and keyboard player James Raymond) and Crosby's 'Radio' where he expresses his desire to 'spread the word' to more people.
The majority of the concert is taken at a temperate pace allowing for the superb two piece harmonies of Crosby and Nash expanded to three part when Stills joins in. A lot has been said of Stills's vocal capability. Certainly it is more throaty and huskier, but I found he could handle lead vocals especially on 'Learn to Live (So Begins the Task)', clearly enjoying himself, and on 'For What It's Worth'. His lead guitar playing remains impressive. Crosby and Nash's vocals and understanding are second to none (on 'Guinevere' in particular).
I slightly preferred Set 2 when Stills really comes into his own and the acoustically played encore 'Suite:Judy Blue Eyes' is magnificent. Stills takes the lead vocal, surprisingly powerful and confidently hitting the high notes. All three members are having a ball. The affection, friendliness and respect amongst CS&N shines through clearly and is confirmed in the bonus conversation with the trio. Despite Nash appearing to orchestrate on stage, he and Stills are adamant that it is Crosby who is 'the glue' that keeps them together. Their energy is remarkable for their age. This isn't pure nostalgia. I genuinely believe their motivation is in their music and the messages it conveys.
Finally, the backing musicians play sympathetically and in an unobtrusive way. James Raymond (keyboard), Steve Distanislao (drums), Kevin McCormick (bass),Todd Caldwell (organ) and the tastefully accomplished Shayne Fontaine on guitar.
A wonderful, memorable concert begging repeat viewings. Dedicated to Mama Cass Elliot who was instrumental in taking Nash, who was touring with the Hollies, to meet David Crosby in1966. 2 CD's of the sets also included in the package. Visually and sound-wise stunning.