Crosby, Stills & Nash
30 July 1987
Seattle Center Coliseum, Seattle, WA
My sophomore year college roomate probably heard all of the CSN he ever needed to in 1985. But, it was time to see the reunited trio in person. Without a new album, CSN hit the road for a summer-long U.S. tour to take advantage of their surprising cult following, as well as to show that the resurgence of the recently clean and sober David Crosby makes singing together again all the more vital.
In December 1984, I passed on seeing the same group because I had heard that Crosby was in sad shape. I didn't want to be left with a bad first impression of CSN. And, lucky for me, I avoided having to see Crosby arrested for firearms charges shortly after that show.
But, now it's 1987. The hype for this show was extensive, with radio stations interviewing various members of the group. Several friends of mine from college, I found out that day, also were huge fans, and were going to the show.
Before the show, we got to see Jan Dance, whom Crosby married only two months earlier, politely waving to fans, as well as Crosby's Harley-Davidson, next to three separate touring vans.
Earlier in the tour, Mason Ruffner was axed from the opening lineup, and so we got to see a full CSN set this evening. The trio stepped out to hear a roaring standing ovation, and to open with their 1982 top ten single, "Wasted On The Way". Their opening acoustic set included the first song they ever sang together, "You Don't Have To Cry", "Blackbird", a new song by Nash dedicated to Pegi and Neil Young's work for children with Cerebral Palsy, "Try To Find Me", Crosby's "Almost Cut My Hair", and his new song of sobriety, "Compass". Crosby and Nash harmonized together on "Guinnevere", Stills provided an explosive rendition of his 1971 anti-apartheid song, "Word Game", medleyed with "Crossroads", and the three joined forces on Stills' acoustic guitar-showcasing "Suite: Judy Blue Eyes".
After a break, CSN joined forces with Michael Finnegan, bassist Bob Glaub, drummer Joe Vitale, and Percussionist-from-Blues-Image Joe Lala for an electric set. They ripped into "Love The One You're With" and "Change Partners". While playing their 1977 hit "Just A Song Before I Go", Stills' purple Gretch hollowbody was apparently WAY too loud on their monitors, and, at one point, Crosby signaled to cut the sound down. Stills, a little confused, stopped playing altogether. At the end of the song, Crosby marched over to the sound board to offer his commentary. Once the song was over, I think many people were glad that bad vibe was similarly over.
Crosby and Nash each featured new anti-war tunes in the electric set, "Night Time For The Generals", and "Soldiers Of Peace", respectively. Conspicuously, Stills didn't offer even one new composition for the evening. But, to his credit, he did bring, by my count, at least ten different guitars from his collection. He played on strong versions of "Dark Star", "Southern Cross", and "For What It's Worth", during which he AGAIN blasts the audience for not saying "HEY!" after his "Stop!". He even apparently remembered his recent appearance ten miles north of Seattle ten months earlier, and sayed, ".....And I was just HERE!"
They performed "Long Time Gone", with, strangely, Crosby instead of Stills handling the ".....such a long, long, long, long time, before the dawn." parts.
CSN re-appeared for three one-song encores, "Wooden Ships", "Teach Your Children", and "Our House".
Perhaps the best CSN show in ten years at least. Now, let's have a new album!
[*****] - Steven T.
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