Crosby, Pevar & Raymond
30 May 1998
Fox Theatre, Boulder, CO
Many bands starting out new begin by playing gigs at small venues, from town to town. But, when the band contains a two-time Rock and Roll Hall of Fame legend, the task becomes more curious. Why would David Crosby spend effort starting up a new band when he already has established himself as a successful artist both with CSN and as a solo performer? Because David Crosby likes to do what he wants to do.
And, there's a good argument for this. This artist is at his best when he's most comfortable. As such, David and Jeff and James have, this Spring, played venues such as the Fenix in Seattle, WA and the Avalon in Grand Junction, CO. This evening, the Fox Theatre in Boulder, CO, a thin, limited seating bar in the heart of the university district.
David's current band includes his favorite guitarist Jeff Pevar, and his son James Raymond. But, unlike their last tour, this Summer CPR has a rhythm section of bassist Andrew Ford and drummer Steve DiStanislao.
From their opening track one could easily tell that David was quite comfortable. "Morrison", composed by Crosby and Raymond, not only exposed, for truly the first time, David's deep jazz influences in his early years of life, but it also revealed how highly competent his son, James Raymond, is as a songwriter and piano player. Very solid number. Many have described Jeff Pevar's guitar playing as resembling that of Larry Carlton. I could hear such a resemblance this evening.
Next came an even more jazzy version of his "Triad", which had more of a "Lady Friend" feel from his Byrds days, than an acoustic feel as it fisrt appeared on vinyl in 1971. Before performing "Evette In English", David described the song's co-author, Joni Mitchell, as "probably my favorite songwriter on the planet." He also mentioned, in passing, that she was not speaking to him at the present, for reasons he wouldn't get into.
Besides feeling comfortable with the music, you could tell David was comfortable with the crowd, his band, and his sense of humor. At one point, he jabbed Jeff in a friendly fashion for a minor miscommunication on stage by saying, "Better shape up or you're going to be playing for Neil."
One slight source of discomfort for David was the altitude. At 5,400 feet, Boulder, CO does a number on the voice boxes of many performers. David's comment was, "This is a great place, except for one thing--why does it have to be so high up?" David compensated as best possible by draining bottles of spring water.
CPR has a self-titled album hot off the press, and they covered several tracks during their set, including James' "One For Every Moment", CPR's "At The Edge", "That House", and "Somebody Else's Town", and a song called "Little Blind Fish". Interestingly, CSNY apparently wrote, but didn't record, a song having the same title in 1973. Not sure if this 1998 version borrows part of the composition of 25 years earlier.
Also new on the setlist was a track that, for all practical purposes, sounded like "Long Time Gone". Moreover, its title matched that of a 1995 live album David released, "It's All Coming Back To Me Now". Not terribly original, but the song does rock.
Next, "Deja Vu". What track could more appropriately close a set than the already jazzy title track of a multi-million selling album. If only James Raymond were in Wally Heider's San Francisco Studio in 1970.
CPR encored with "Eight Miles High". Probably sounded more like the raga outtake from RCA studios in 1966 that Columbia producers eventually replaced with the more mainstream version we all are now so accustomed to.
Jeff Pevar was nice enough to greet people in the lobby after the show. I briefly chatted with him about his appearance the previous night on Dave Letterman's Late Show. He was supporting a performance by Jackson Browne.
I'm not sure if the musical direction David is taking with this album will pan any significant success financially, but this direction definitely accomplishes an artistic goal of exposing the true David Crosby sound, moreso than any work he's been involved with in the last 35 years, if you can believe it.
[****] - Steven T.
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