Crosby, Stills & Nash
15 June 2003
Fiddler's Green Amphitheatre, Englewood, CO
Just about the only thing we've heard about these three legends recently is that each of them have had limited edition guitars named after them. With no album, or any musical project for that matter, in progress, their manager booked them for a three leg tour across Northern America on this, their 35th year of working together.
This tour/show seemed to have essentially no pre-conceived notions, almost with an approach of, "Let's walk on stage together again, and see what happens."
What's happening are a few new songs, mixed in with an almost non-challant, but relaxing attitude on stage. This time without Neil Young, at 7:40 P.M., they opened as all four did in 2002 with a D-tuned "Carry On / Questions". Stills appeared very unhappy with the monitor mix, and exhibited his characteristic hands-in-the-air frustration with sound engineers. One of these years he may actually like himself enough to not need to behave like this.
Next were Nash's "Wild Tales" and a smooth "Marrakesh Express".
After "Lee Shore", stagehands brought out a guitar for Crosby, and "accidentally" tripped over it, stepped on it, and broke it. Crosby was quick to realize that this incident was all a mean practical joke, and that the crushed guitar was in fact not his 40+ year old Martin that he often plays for the ensuing song, "Deja Vu". Almost immediately, Crosby informed the crowd of the conspiracy, as well as a previous evening's prank involving a gift he received--a turkey baster.
After flawless versions of Graham Nash's "Military Madness" and "Wasted On The Way" Nash introduced a new song he co-authored with Stills, "Wounded World", as an atypically (for Nash) bluesy tune.
CSN performed "Dirty Little Secret" without Stills on percussion (unlike their rendition in 2001).
"Almost Cut My Hair" got the biggest crowd response of the evening.
The trio ended their set with "Southern Cross", and no verbal indication whatsoever of when they intended to return.
The audience assumed a 15-minute break, and the band returned as predicted with a cool version of "Helplessly Hoping". Two items to note are Stills a) didn't touch a single acoustic guitar the whole evening, b) walked on what appeared to be a foam-padded carpet on his side of the stage--the guy has had somewhat of a gimp for over 15 years--perhaps all his years of wrecking cars, getting thrown off horses, skiing Lake Tahoe, and jumping up and down on stage in cowboy boots, may be showing their toll.
After "Critical Mass / Cathedral" came a nice band-version of the Crosby's classic, "In My Dreams". In particular, Stills' mellow lead guitar, Mike Finnigan's pleasant electric piano, and Joe Vitale's soft drums, all combined, closely resembled their 1977 recording of this track.
"Feed The People", still unrecorded, returned for this tour. "Lost Another One", from Nash's 2002 solo tour, also made the setlist.
The biggest surprise of the evening was a rockin' brand new song in the key of B minor by Crosby, "They Want It All (They want it now, they wanna get it and they don't care how)", about fraud in corporate America. Stills introduced the song by simply saying, "F#$& Martha Stewart."
Stills performed yet another unrecorded cover of Booker T. Jones' "Ole Man Trouble" on electric piano.
"Guinnevere", "Half Your Angels", and "Our House" were poignant enough to significantly quiet the crowd. This evening, on several songs, Mike Finnigan's vocals replaced those ordinarily covered by Stills, actually improving the vocal mix, and freeing Stephen to pick away on one of his Stratocasters.
"Dark Star" and "Wooden Ships" ended the second set, with new bass player David Santos flubbing up a couple bars, but not so much that the band couldn't rely on their experience to recover from the snafu--if anything, it gave Stills eight more beats of guitar solo.
"My Country 'Tis Of Thee" and "Woodstock" ended the evening at 10:25 P.M.
My hope is that they get these several new songs on tape soon. Everyone's best guess is that they'll have an album out next Summer to coincide with their 35th anniversary of their first album.
[****] - Steven T.
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