Crosby, Stills & Nash
14 September 1994
State Fairgrounds, Puyallup, WA
I hadn't taken my mom to see CSN until now. I happened to be visiting her and saw that CSN was booked at the Washington State Fair. It was a typically overcast Puget Sound day when mom and I walked by the stadium to catch the trio during their soundcheck, in which they performed "In My Life" and "Helplessly Hoping". Stills waved to the small crowd we were in that had gathered on the right side of the stadium seating. Crosby mentioned that he thought the venue had great acoustics.
After we got our seats, CSN approached their microphones and Nash politely stated, "Though we have a new album out, we put our heads together and decided to do 90 % stuff you know," garnishing some applause. Without a backing band, CSN had to put together a setlist different from their recent 25th anniversary tour.
They opened by trying "Love The One Your With" with Crosby on acoustic 12-string, Nash on acoustic 6-string, and Stills on a Telecaster. Something wasn't right. Crosby seemed a half beat behind the whole song, almost as if his monitor wasn't working. Stills looked over in Crosby's direction for most of the whole song. After it was over, the ovation was handclaps only.
They then tried "Wasted On The Way". The end of that song was awkward, as it appeared that they hadn't agreed, beforehand, on whether to include or exclude the chorus, "And there's so much love to make up.....". Since the band consists of three members, they have the advantage of majority rule--two of the three decided to skip that chorus, and the song ended sooner than some expected.
Things got a little better with "Helplessly Hoping", but got worse with "Lee Shore"--right before the last verse, Crosby stated, "I forgot the words", to which Nash, like a true professional, saved the day by singing, "Sunset smells of dinner....." Crosby forgetting the words to his own song. Something was clearly wrong with Crosby.
Though, Crosby did recover some with "Deja Vu". CSN, as a whole, further recovered with "In My Life", "Marrakesh Express", "Find A Dream", a brilliant, rare performace of "See The Changes", and "Long Time Gone".
The stage props featured plants and pale blue sofas, perhaps to dig back to their roots when they literally went from house to house playing in people's living rooms. On either side of the stage were projection screens showing some nice smiles by these three people who have finally learned how to be friends. Stills' pony tail was gone, by the way.
After a break came "To The Last Whale: Critical Mass/Wind On The Water", Nash singing two songs off of After The Storm solo: "Unequal Love" and the title track, and Crosby singing "Almost Cut My Hair" as strongly as ever. During Nash's solo set, Crosby lay on one of the sofas.
The surprise for the evening was when Crosby introduced the next song by saying, "This next song really pissed us off, because Stills had the nerve to put it on one of his solo albums!" During this introduction, Stills tuned his guitar while camping on the edge of the sofas. Afterwards came a wonderful version of the Manassas tune "So Begins The Task".
Then, the almost predictable songs "Southern Cross" and "Wooden Ships". Right before the latter of the two, Crosby looked at Stills and said, "Nice guitar!", and Nash added, "He calls it "The Shredder". Finally, a beautiful encore of "Our House" and "Teach Your Children".
Shortly after the show, the news reported that CSN had cancelled the rest of their tour because doctors had discovered that Crosby's liver had failed. We wish him the best--he's got too much to live for. Bless his heart for performing, in pain, and knowing that his health was in significant trouble.
We are looking forward to when we can see David Crosby on stage again.
[***1/2] - Steven T.
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