26 September 2002
Paramount Theatre, Denver, CO
Graham Nash solo. A rarely explored combination, if you will. I think his last full-fledged solo tour occurred in 1986, in support of his Innocent Eyes release. The Paramount Theatre has a certain vibe that tends to calm what would be an otherwise misbehaving audience. This vibe was present at a Conway/Korman comedy show earlier this year.
Nash and band walked out to a quiet, polite audience, and received a respectful round of applause with a half-dozen or so people standing up. After the applause quieted, Graham confidently walked up to the microphone and introduced the first song by describing an encounter with a friend of Elliot Roberts who was telling an unbelievable story of bad luck, involving infidelity, a job being replaced by a computer, etc. Nash's comment was that, despite the bad luck, Nash got a song out of it, "Wild Tales".
Graham remarked, "This is much like being in my living room, isn't it?" and, "After playing in 84 basketball stadiums with CSNY, this is definitely a different, unique experience." Later, he mentioned, "We here to play some old, some new, some borrowed,.....some blues.....can you even imagine me singing the blues?" and proceeded with "I Used To Be A King", similar to the CSNY2K2 version. "Military Madness", and "Marrakesh Express" rounded out the first four.
He followed with two songs from his recent solo CD, Songs For Survivors: my favorite from the disc, "Lost Another One", which he introduced as ".....dedicated to my friend George," and "Nothing In The World", which borrowed a lot of flavor from his 1994 "Unequal Love". He told the audience, "If you buy the album, there's a cockroach inside.....you figure it out."
I recognized everyone in the backing band. On keyboards, Crosby's first son James Raymond. On guitar, CPR's Jeff Pevar, and Dean Parks, who amongst many other studio accomplishments, played on CSN's "Delta". On bass, the former Mr. Joni Mitchell, Larry Klein. On drums, Russ Kunkel, the widow of Nicolette Larson.
Pevar and Parks performed an instrumental of "Critical Mass", and Nash actually followed it with "Wind On The Water"! "Cathedral" appeared later.
Nash's vocals were unrestrained, unforced--great this evening, especially during "Fieldworker" and Richard and Linda Thompson's "Pavanne". A key-of-E version of "Wasted On The Way", with Nash taking Stills' vocal part, finished set #1. This live version of this classic song actually sounded, rhythmically, more like the studio hit version than any other version I've personally witnessed/heard.
After a 15 minute break, G.N. walked out by himself, and introduced a song he wrote 30 years ago for "his friend Stephen, who had just separated from Judy Collins", "Wounded Bird". He added another solo track on electric piano, "Simple Man".
Performing with the band produced a rare "Barrel Of Pain", and "Just A Song Before I Go". G.N. mentioned that CSN had to cancel their 9/11/2001 appearance in Denver, but that they would be back!
Occasionally, a stray fan would yell out a request. One such request for "Bus Stop" actually got Nash to sing the first verse to the 1966 hit, after which he shook his head and said, "It was only a couple years ago that I realized just how popular the Hollies were!" After one request for "Yellow Submarine", Graham commmented, "I'd like a pound of whatever he's having."
The band threw in a surprise "Taken At All", that sounded remarkably close to the 1976 Crosby/Nash version, thanks largely to Russ Kunkel. Next, "Dirtly Little Secret". Nash dedicated "A love song" to Vice President Cheney, his "Take The Money And Run", from 1975.
The set ended with "Pre-Road Downs" and the sole Crosby/Nash Billboard hit, "Immigration Man". The expected encore featured "Our House" and "Teach Your Children".
He didn't perform his sole Top 40 solo hit, "Chicago", any Hollies hits (except for the brief "Bus Stop" interlude), any tracks from Innocent Eyes, or any CSN(Y) tracks newer than 1982.
Because Graham Nash is so courteous and reverent, he often understates his talent as a songwriter, particularly when headlining with David, Stephen, and Neil. Tonight many got to focus on an otherwise partially masked, exceptional talent.
[**** 1/2] - Steven T.
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