Crosby, Stills & Nash
25 July 1992
The Gorge, George, WA
A college roommate and I drove from Federal Way, WA, all the way to Central WA for a concert. We unfortunately were only able to get general admission seats, and sitting on an incline on the left hand side of the Columbia River was slightly uncomfortable physically. But, the view is unmatched as amphitheatres go--a very pleasant view of the impressive Columbia River gorge.
The problem with general admission seats is that inconsiderate people sometimes don't know how to respect the personal space of others. A few songs into the show, a couple parked themselves in front of us, blocking our view. Resisting the temptation to kick them into the river, we asked them to move. The third request worked.
Anyway, the show began with Crosby waddling out to the microphone in a fuchsia golf shirt, introducing the opening act, Michael Hedges. Hedges is a new age guitarist who played on Crosby's Oh Yes I Can LP from 1989. On stage, he played several instrumentals, bringing out more than just string vibrations from his acoustic, using handslaps and harmonics to accompany strumming and picking. He sang on a couple songs.
Then it was CSN's turn at their acoustic set. They picked "Carry On", in the key of D, to open. Very interesting choice, and version of this song. The key of D allowed Nash to sing his high harmony parts comfortably. Next came "Helplessly Hoping", after which Nash spoke to the audience, "I'd like to ask the beautiful lady up front to put her top back on so that Stephen can come back down to earth!". Busted, Stephen nearly collapsed in laughter. Stills, wearing a baseball cap to avoid sunburn on his bald spot, reminded me of Mike Love of the Beach Boys, in appearance, and in attitude and spirit.
They performed "Lee Shore" in a version similar to that which appeared on their 1991 Boxed Set, and "In My Dreams", echoing thier studio version from 15 years earlier. Their version of "Marrakesh Express" contained an odd twist on their chord changes during the bridge, "I've been saving all my money....." I think I prefer the original set of chord changes better.
CSN then performed a classic by their favorite band, the Beatles, "In My Live". This version sounded much like Stills' version on his 1991 Stills Alone CD, with Nash adding a harmonica to cover the guitar riff part. Nice harmonies.
After "Deja Vu" came another rarity from the Boxed Set, "Taken At All", a version more likeable than the 1976 Crosby-Nash take. Then, a fairly stock set of songs, "Long Time Gone", "Southern Cross", "To The Last Whale: Critical Mass/Wind On The Water",
Then, the solo sets. All three artists performed newly-penned songs. Nash: A waltzy, melodic tune called, "After The Storm". Crosby: A long story-like song about losing his girlfriend Christine Hinton in 1969, called "Somehow She Knew".
Stills: A blistering political song, dedicated to Bill Clinton, titled "It Won't Go Away". This song was dynamite, played with a capo on the second fret, resulting in a key of F# minor, including phrases like, "Don't you get tired, listening to the cover up, sounds like a broken old record, when the needle gets stuck," and ferocious strumming. Probably the best new Stills song I've heard in ten years.
Then, more stock tunes, "For What It's Worth", "Our House", and "Suite: Judy Blue Eyes", with magnificent picking by a deservedly showboating Stills. The last song of the set, "Wooden Ships" magically showed the three singer/songwriter/guitarists jamming in close proximity, like old buddies, showing why they don't need a backing band.
As the trio walked off the stage temporarily, my friend pointed out a bonfire all the way across the Columbia River, spelling out, "C S N". Nice job, whoever you were!
The perfunctory encore of "Teach Your Children" ended the evening. Well, let me take that back--we did still have to wait about 1/2 hour for the field-cum-parking-lot to free up, we had to spend another 20 mintues being detoured onto Interstate 90, and we had to remit another couple hours in riding back to the Puget Sound area, during which I, as a vehicle passenger, fell asleep.
But, it was worth the drive, even for the driver.
[****] - Steven T.
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