Monday, 12 July 2010

Crosby Stills and Nash @ Liverpool Echo Arena, July 7th 2010

Review by John West

This group of legendary singer songwriters need no introduction they are without doubt living legends a perfect band for long hot summers with its warm summer breeze, combining beautiful harmonies and great musicianship one of the original surviving supergroups. Despite there longevity they defy their years, forming in 69 David Crosby (the Byrds), Stephen Stills (Buffalo Springfield) and Graham Nash (the Hollies) were here in Liverpool bringing it back home acknowledging their own influences, with Nash giving a special mention to the Hollies being at long last in the “Rock n Roll hall of fame”. For four decades plus they have bought to music a sense of perfect harmony, a political awareness rallying against oppression and the ills of war on a global scale commanding high respect amongst their musical peers be they the original Woodstock generation or influencing a wholenew generation(s) of younger musicians – Midlake, Mumford and Sons spring to mind.

The arena is vast and cavernous as they hit it the stage, no support here this is to be a pure CSN gig for a mainly older audience however looking around the age range is still varied. The opener is of course “Woodstock” with smiles on their faces they take us back to that legendary event 41 years ago allowing the audience to sit back and soak up the vibes for the next two and a half hours. After “Long time coming” Stephen Stills takes centre stage to perform his BS classic “Bluebird” closely followed by Nash with tongue firmly in cheek stating to come with them to Morocco n light a big one! Haha! “Marrakesh Express” obviously ensues. Next “Southern cross” has lost none of its edge of inequality which echoes our own state of racial disharmony . Nash then introduces a new song “In your name” the theme being the dangers of religion being the premise for conflict where ever you maybe in the world dedicating it to anyone who has died in such circumstances.

Someone shouts out for a song and Nash quipped that they would be here till next tuesday if they were to play everything they had recorded, the audience cheers! The band then laugh and banter about the “skinny Canadian” who isn’t with them on this jaunt referring of course to their legendary friend and sparring partner – one Neil Young. On this tour they will be performing a different “Shakey” song -after much deliberation beforehand tonight its gonna be “Long may you run” which is received with rapturous applause substituting the Beach Boys line with the Beatles lalalas . After this Crosby states they’re going to get weird as Deja vu is rolled out with more than a hint of psychedelia about it. There is a jam enthused organ/guitar workout of “Wooden ships” hot on the heels as the first part is drawn to a close and a fifteen minute break follows.

After the interval Nash returns to say that Spain had won - re the World cup also jovially saying that “its not like the Cavern is it ?“ They proceed to play their own take on “Norwegian wood” which was extra special for the SS team as we had been to visit Lennon’s childhood “Menlove Ave home and “Strawberry field” earlier in the day. Crosby sings his ode to love “Guinevere” as several covers follow - songs which have been originally penned by their musical friends for a try out for a future album of their interpretations which I believe is to be produced by none other than Rick Rubin, with Dylan’s “girl from the north country” kicking things off. They also deliver the Glimmer Twins “Ruby Tuesday”, and the Allman Brothers “Midnight rider”. Throughout the concert CSN have majestically displayed their vocal prowess and musical prowess.

David Crosby’s problems have been well documented and he dedicates “Delta” to their friend Jackson Browne who helped him finish the song when he was “lost” he’s very open about this, suggesting it wasn’t a nice place to be. It’s a beautiful heartfelt delivery from a true survivor with Stills simply adding acoustic guitar. Graham Nash takes to the piano bathed in low light the stage is a glow with candles and he delivers a poignant spine tingling ethereal “Cathedral” prior to the arena crowd pleaser singalong which is “Our House” when the audience erupts and couples hug each other - aah nice!.

Then an awesome cover of the Who’s “Behind blue eyes” brings it back , with Stills stretching himself across the stage with a slight hint of the Townshend windmill guitar play about him. Stills proceeds to sing and play some wonderful guitar on his Springfield’s “Rock n roll woman” in the final section prior to Crosby’s hippy anthem an epic “Almost cut my hair” which is played with venom and gutso. They exit the stage and return with encores “Love the one you’re with” and “Teach your children”. With Stills throwing his picks into the audience and they take their bows the audience still want more, if only more bands would take example these are the originals and still going with dignity pride honesty and harmony .Rock music is ageless it can be thoughtful, it can still be dangerous , thought provoking and it can still deliver and satisfy your soul. Let music bring Peace to the world !!Their magnum opus “Deja vu” is forty years young and long may they run too....!

Recommended listening :

Crosby Stills and Nash – Crosby Stills and Nash

Crosby Stills and Nash – Carry On

Crosby Stills Nash and Young – Deja Vu

Crosby Stills Nash and Young – Four Way Street

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

"Southern Cross" is a song about a broken love relationship. It has nothing to do with racial inequality. You are apparently thinking of "Southern Man" by Neil Young. I wonder if you were there at all.