Crosby, Stills & Nash
04 September 2005
Maryhill Winery, Goldendale, WA
"Personally, I think the man is clinically insane," once said Graham Nash of his longtime partner Stephen Stills.
Over the years, Stephen has developed a reputation for being "difficult", and history endlessly supports this development. Tonight's supporting evidence was about as strong as ever.
Off the heels of the release of his first solo album in 14 years, Man Alive, Stephen Stills seemed to be less interested in promoting his album than promoting onstage awkwardness.
As the sun set on the banks of the Columbia River near Goldendale, WA, a brisk breeze from the West Northwest quickly cooled the stage. So much so that, at the beginning of the vocals for Stills' 1970 classic "Carry On", Stephen mockingly bounced off to the side of the stage, as if the wind had sent him the several feet he had traveled, leaving Crosby & Nash the burden of trying to make two-part harmony sound like three-.
Througout tonight's show, Stills would frequently adjust his baseball cap, and change attire often to stay warm, often at the expense of paying attention to, or even conducting, his vocal parts.
Tonight's setlist didn't differ significantly from a typical song sequence in their 2004 tour--my guess is that the CN and Stills camps are, at this point in time, still on somewhat divergent musical muses, and therefore not collaborating as much as they otherwise would.
After "Questions", Nash commented on the cumulus cloud-laden backdrop by saying, "Are those really clouds? It looks like The Simpsons." Graham also made reference to the effect of the cold breeze on Stills, as ".....getting blown backstage."
During "Marrakesh Express", a fan approached the stage, followed by a paid security representative, who asked the fan to return to her seat. During this discussion, Stills wildly waved his hand towards the security guard, not hitting the guard, but nonetheless discouraging him from attending to the fan. Like, the guard was just doing his job! Later David Crosby wryly stated, "Just remember, the rules are, you cannot approach the stage.....unless you're very attractive."
Stills performed two songs from Man Alive, "Feed The People" and "Ole Man Trouble", a song Booker T. Jones wrote for Otis Redding, who because of his passing, couldn't record it. Stills played electric piano for "Trouble", and used a towel to fan Jeff Pevar during his guitar solo.
Crosby & Nash added material from their 2004 double-CD, "Grace", "Jesus Of Rio", and "Don't Dig Here", which Crosby introduced, explaining that the title was James Raymond's submission for a contest for what to print on a marker atop Yucca Mountain, a landmark marked in controversy surrounding issues related to the burial of nuclear waste.
During "Military Madness", a fight broke out on the East side of the outdoor amphitheatre. After the anti-war song concluded, David stated, "I guess the lesson learned there is, 'Don't take a swing at security people.'"
"Wooden Ships" ended the set.
After a 20-minute break, CSN and band performed "Helplessly Hoping", during which Stills yelled, "Give me a break" towards a row of fans and security personnel, in the middle of his vocal part.
Then, during "Southern Cross", as a security guard pulled a few people back from the stage, Stills yelled out, again in the middle of his vocals, "Where were you earlier, asshole?"
.....I've always loved the game, "Who's The Asshole?".....
"Long Time Gone" sounded different, and "For What It's Worth" sounded closer to the original take than any previous version I'd heard in the last 25 years.
During Crosby's "Almost Cut My Hair", Stills showboated by holding his Stratocaster behind his head and smiling wildly at Crosby.
After "Love The One You're With", "Deja Vu" again featured solos by Nash (harmonica), Raymond (piano), Pevar (guitar), Finnigan (organ), Dave Santos (bass), and Stills (guitar).
CSN encored with "Woodstock".
All the above being said about Stephen Stills, I still regard him as perhaps my favorite singer/songwriter/musician on the planet. And, as with many a profession, one often must separate one's appreciation for another's talent, versus one's appreciation for another as a person.
[***1/2] - Steven T.
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