Vicarious Music & Media

Crosby, Nash & Stills…never fading away

“These Guys are Legends”

CSN

This is what the man sitting next to me yelled at the Borgata Event Center in Atlantic City on Friday right before the three men, David Crosby, Graham Nash, and Steven Stills walked onto the stage. I’ve heard the hits, mainly released in the 70’s, and I heard whispers in the crowd, “You know, I was at Woodstock!” It is certainly no secret the fame and influence these men had in their heyday, and if anyone wasn’t sure, it was made obvious by the intense excitement and exploding anticipation of the audience as the lights rose on the stage. I was eager to see what these so-called “legends” had in store for the night here in 2009.

As the men came on stage the screams and cries from the women in the audience reminded me of the shrieks of 16-year-old girls at the sight of Justin Timberlake. However, these men were about three times the age of JT, and these women, well, let’s just they say they were not to 16.

The night began softly to ease the audience into their well known trancelike harmonies with songs like “Helplessly Hoping” and “Wasted on the Way,” but then they changed their tune by covering some songs from others like the Rolling Stones’ “Ruby Tuesday,” James Taylor’s “You can close you’re eyes,” and Bob Dylan’s “Girl from the North Country.” These were fun and unexpected additions that kept the audience reeling.

Then they returned to their own stock and played Crosby’s “Guinevere.” While reminiscing their years as lovesick young women with this smooth ballad, the now not quite as young women were near tears clasping their heart with both hands as they swayed to the not quiet as smooth harmonies. Nonetheless, this song was a hit with the audience and it was truly awe-inspiring to listen to this love song from the lips of CSN themselves.

The rockers then sped things up and invited the audience to “Go roll a big one” with “Marakesh Expresss,” to which everyone sang along. They then gave a shout out to the “Deadheads” in the audience with “Uncle John’s band.” Stills showed off his still stellar guitar skills with an intricate solo during “Long Time Coming.” Although it was slightly disconcerting seeing these nearly elderly men rock out hard (well maybe not that hard), it was these songs that gave the young people in audience their first glimpse into what made these dudes so damn cool.

CNS

Later they played Crosby’s “Déjà vu” which Nash referred to as “ the weird shit” and then, before singing the long awaited, “Our House,” they gave a dedication to some truly devoted middle-aged ex-groupies in row one, explaining “We didn’t get into Rock and Roll for the money…” Keep in mind they’re now in their late 60’s…yikes.

Anyway, the night rocked on and everyone shot out of their seats to sing along to Still’s badboy anthem “Love the one you’re with.” Then they slowed it down one last time with Crosby’s “Almost cut my Hair” which I have to say was my personal favorite. Crosby’s powerful blues-like crooning really blew me away. It was amazing the vocal power that can come of that 60-something. So far in their set, I think this was the one song I can say took me back to a place before my time.

They finished up with “Wooden Ships” and saved the best for last, with a final encore of “Teach Your Children Well” during which everyone ran up to the stage and sang along. In this jumble of middle aged men who want to be them, and women who want to be with them, all of the sudden we were back in 1974, and although their hair was a little whiter and their bodies a little frailer, I finally understood what that guy meant when he said “They guys are legends!”

Neil Young said “It’s better to burn out then to fade away,” but by the end of the show it was clear that these dudes, no matter how many harmonies that might go off, or lyrics that they might forget, what was once there undoubtedly remains and these three legends are far from ever fading away.

CNS

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