Crosby, Stills & Nash

22 September 2001

Hult Center, Eugene, OR


It seems like whenever the world is being forced into change, the voices David Crosby, Stephen Stills, and Graham Nash emerge above and beyond the noise, in more ways than one. A week after the attacks in New York, D.C., and Pennsylvania, CSN opened the season premier of the Tonight Show, and proceeded to engage in a strained discussion with Senator John McCain about Vietnam.

This tour started off as one that, more than ever, showcased their greatest hits over 32 years of musical service. But, experiencing the show, hits and all, refreshed my memory of what I already knew about just how strongly their tunes eminate political influence. Throughout this review I will highlight some of the lyrics that support this point.

My relatives and I planned for this concert three months ago, and we were blessed with outstanding central Oregon weather, and fifth row seats in the 4500+ seat Hult Center for the Performing Arts theatre in downtown Eugene. Very nice architecture and sound.

A few minutes after 8 PM, David, Stephen, Graham, and band, started into a relatively obscure Graham Nash solo track from 1974, "Wild Tales", in the key of G, with words, "We came here with wild tales from the East.....", followed by "Love The One You're With", which CSN has, in the past, used to make light of losses other than just those of love. "Marrakesh Express" resembled the bluegrassy version heard on the CSNY2K tour.

Nash once turned to the audience and said "Hi Eugene", receiving the expected roar from the crowd. Subsequently, under his breath, Nash mentioned to Crosby, "We've got 4,000 people named Eugene here tonight." Prior to "Deja Vu", David proudly mentioned that, for every band he's been in, he's written the wierdest shit. After "49 Reasons", the three performed the title track from David's 1993 "Thousand Roads" CD, in the key of A instead of E.

CSN returned "Wasted On The Way" to the lineup after several years, this time with Stephen playing a White Falcon, making the song closely resemble "Teach Your Children". Then, they played a track from the upcoming Graham Nash solo album, called "Dirty Little Secret", about racially-influenced killings in the early part of the 20th Century. Stills, for the first time in many years, dug back to his pre-teen roots and played percussion, before switching to a Fender Stratocaster to end the song with a searing lead.

Stills definitely showed off his skills during the three hour performance. While introducing "For What It's Worth", he asked the audience if they had yet purchased the Buffalo Springfield boxed set, and then commented sarcastically, "Neil needs the money". Written 35 years ago, Stills has once again transcended generations: "There's battle lines being drawn, nobody's right, if everybody's wrong," and "Paranoia strikes deep, into your life it will creep."

Set #1 ended with "Almost Cut My Hair" and "Southern Cross" with Stills again on his White Falcon.

After a 15 minute break came an audio track of "Critical Mass", followed by Nash's "Cathedral": "Now I'm standing on a grave of a soldier that died in 1799, and the day he died it was a birthday, and I noticed it was mine." Stills' electric guitar harmonics added a special, subtle sound to the mix.

"Just A Song Before I Go" transformed from a simple love song into an eerie tale of this month of loss: "Driving me to the airport, and to the friendly skies, going through security, I held her for so long, she finally looked at me in love, and she was gone."

Stills mastered his Martin acoustic on the band's "Daylight Again / Find The Cost Of Freedom": "Do we find the cost of freedom buried in the ground? Mother Earth will swallow you, lay your body down", and what Nash described as one of his favorite Stills songs, "Helplessly Hoping".

Crosby introduced his song for his son, Django, called "Dream For Him", as haunting: "How am I going to explain it to him, what am I going to say when it's something that grim, how the hell do you tell them 'there comes an end', how are you going to handle it, and still be their friend?"

After a predictably perfect "Guinnevere", Crosby and Nash performed Nash's 1995 song about Oklahoma City called "Half Your Angels": "Send me half your angels, we're running out of time, send me half your angels, I will send you half of mine. Hope they get there in time."

Two more hits: "Our House", and a Stills-guitar-showboat song, "Suite: Judy Blue Eyes". The tight, CSN backing band of six years, and going strong [Gerald Johnson, Mike Finnigan, and Joe Vitale] joined in towards the end of the song.

Nash took on the percussionist role for "Dark Star", prior to the band concluding the set with "Wooden Ships".

Finally CSN played three individual encores, "Woodstock", "Teach Your Children", and "My Country 'Tis Of Thee" to a backing acoustic guitar track performed in 1988 by the late Michael Hedges.

I wanted to thank my wonderful relatives for escorting me from Vancouver, WA to Eugene, OR in a nice Dodge Durango, and for being my family. We share what we have in common.

[****1/2] - Steven T.

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