After Buffalo Springfield:CSN&Y
Winter was slowly turning into Spring of1967, while me as a 15 year old spent some afternoons watching “WHERE THE ACTION IS” with its usual cast of characters featuring the likes of PAUL REVERE and THE RAIDERS,DON and THE GOODTIMES,when the show’s host Dick Clark introduces a new group, BUFFALO SPRINGFIELD.Two night later the same band is on THE SMOTHERS BROTHERS COMEDY HOUR. A few weeks hence, same guys (or so I thought at the time-see bass player arrested) wearing cowboy hats and fringed leather jackets were on HOLLYWOOD PALACE (verified by angelfire.com).Who are these guys? More importantly, Where do I get their music?
In short order I have their 45, “For What It’s Worth” b/w “Do I Have To Come Right Out And Say It?”. Not enough, I needed more. So I hop on the bus to the neighboring TSS store which had a great record department. There I pick up a mono copy of the band’s first album but while at the register the guy behind the counter informed me this collection in hand did NOT have the “For What It’s Worth” single on it.He suggested I pick up the newer copies, the ones with “Newest Hit Single Included” sticker on it, to which I did.Looking back, as I vinyl record collector I wish I would have purchased the original copy, worth a few bucks today. Anyway,I digress, this is where my Neil Young, and in many parts Stills and Furay, story begins…I loved listening to the Buffalo Springfield, however short their time in the limelight was.
SEPTEMBER 20,1969: CROSBY, STILLS, NASH and YOUNG/ LONNIE MACK @ FILLMORE EAST
During the Summer of 1969 I purchased 2 tickets to see CROSBY, STILLS and NASH who would be headlining a bill with COUNTRY JOE for the weekend of July 25/26 (3 weeks BEFORE Woodstock)at FILLMORE EAST.Great seats arrived. Their debut album was on heavy rotation on my turntable and needless to say I was excited to see them live.But as fate would have it, they cancelled.Then mid-August, a FILLMORE EAST ad in THE VILLAGE VOICE announced shows for September and October. BINGO, Crosby Stills and Nash were advertised but it included Neil Young a part of the group???“Seriously”, I thought, “no way they added NEIL YOUNG”!!! Oh, I must go. Great seats, fourth row center arrived.
Now, its’s a month after Woodstock and here they are, CSN&YOUNG. Ahhhhh… The opening act, Lonnie Mack was playing his legendary Flying V Gibson offering a very tasty, short and sweet set. Along with 2600 others I waited patiently as the crew prepared the equipment for the next act. A Hammond B-3, huge drum riser, plenty of different models and types of amps, racks of beautiful guitars, and more microphones then I ever saw graced the stage.Bill Graham did the intro and the band (CSN) seated on strolls, playing acoustic guitars kicked off with the album’s opening track, Suite:JudyBlue Eyes. After a few more tunes a bass player and drummer join in as did NEIL YOUNG. What was already a great show, a 10 out of 10, but once Neil Young plugged in he pushed the band into the stratosphere. The highlights of the night for me were Broken Arrow, Wooden Ships and the closer, Down By The River.
SUITE: JUDY BLUE EYES
BLACKBIRD (Beatles cover)
LADY OF THE ISLAND
GO BACK HOME
ON THE WAY HOME
I’VE LOVED HER SO LONG
YOU DON’T HAVE TO CRY
LONG TIME GONE
SEA OF MADNESS
DOWN BY THE RIVER
Nine months later, a life time for an 18 year old in 1970: JUNE 7: CROSBY, STILLS, NASH and YOUNG
Earlier that spring Bill Graham announced the listing of shows booked for the remainder of the season. He also told the crowd that a new FILLMORE EAST sound system would be installed over the summer, as if this place needed a new one, already having the best system around. One of the announced shows was a six night engagement featuring Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young, no opening act, one show per night at 9PM. These tickets sold out in an unprecedented time. My SASE returned without tickets, a true first for me. I was disappointed but hey, I saw them once.
The Friday night of the CSNY run I attended my girlfriend’s senior prom. There at the table, the 8 of us, four couples, vowed to attend the next night’s show. Even if we did not get tickets we would stay outside listening to the music. Arriving early in hopes of scoring tickets we wandered around the famed venue in our attempt to get tickets. But to no avail. Our lady friends took it upon themselves to wait on line for “stand by” tickets. The show was scheduled for 9PM, and the box office usually released the “stand by” tickets about an hour before show time. However, tonight was different as the woman in the ticket booth, after listening to our girl’s tale of woe took pity on them. The girls bought two tickets each, totaling eight tickets, all seated together in the fourth row center.
The CSNY show was recorded each night and the best performances from that week were compiled and released a few months later as FOUR WAY STREET. Our show started with solo sets from each performer doing a few of the classic tunes they were known for. KING MIDAS IN REVERSE, a HOLLIES classic was done by Nash. Stephen Stills did manic solo piano work on 49 BYE BYES, Crosby scored with TRIAD. But for me the highlight was acoustic Neil Young. Geez, what a great start to a show. And the band didn’t even do their collective electric set yet. It only got better.
Suite:Judy Blues Eyes
On the Way Home
Teach Your Children
Tell Me Why
Another Sleep Song
Man in the Mirror
Don’t Let It Bring You Down
Down By The River
Love the One You’re With
Long Time Gone
As I Come of Age
Find the Cost of Freedom
36 Years Later:
I lost interest in CSN and/or CSNY as a collective unit early on, probably about the time I first saw the NEW YORK DOLLS. Somehow, guys sitting on a stool playing acoustic guitars made little sense to my rock n roll mind. Don’t get me wrong, I would go see Neil Young at the drop of a hat and did many times. Stills, once solo at a good show in Tramps, and Crosby once recently at City Winery NY, he still has the pipes. Nash showed up at the Steve Earle benefit last year, and well, best left unsaid. But 1970-2006 I had zero enthusiasm for the band(s)CSN/CSNY recorded or live. Then, my buddy’s wife bought a bank of 20 tickets expecting my bride and I would join the gang.
August 22, 2006: CSNY Freedom of Speech Tour @ Jones Beach
My notes are limited so I leave it to a review from VARIETY:
For the half of the 3½ hour show in which Young took the spotlight, you could believe that music may have the power to change events. He and a band that includes longtime Young collaborators Spooner Oldham and Ben Keith performed songs with a raggedy intensity that perfectly suits the material’s broadside emotions.
He opened the show with “Flags of Freedom,” a compassionate account of a family sending their son to fight in Iraq; they ended the second set with “Find the Cost of Freedom,” accompanied by thumbnail photos of the war’s 2,576 fatalities. He’s especially offended by the fact that President Bush has yet to attend a funeral of a fallen soldier (a fact twice mentioned on the “Living With War” news reports that run during his songs). With CSN adding their harmonies in place of the 100-voice choir on “War,” the new songs bristle with a righteous anger.
The other three never left their late ’60s/early ’70s comfort zone. You could argue that Nash’s “Military Madness” has some relevance today, but it’s hard to make that case for Crosby’s “Almost Cut My Hair” or Nash’s “Chicago” — for most people nowadays, the image of someone “bound and gagged” and “chained to a chair” does not bring up memories of Mayor Daley and the ’68 Democratic Convention. And closing the first set with “Deja Vu” only served to remind people that, yes, we all have heard this all before.
Their attitude turned protest into nothing more than a pose; it’s as if they believe that by replicating the sounds of ’60s protest, they’ll be able to ignite a similar movement today. Like one of the peace signs on their backdrop, the band is looking a little worse for wear. Nash’s voice is often strained, while Stills’ is ravaged. When he takes the lead, the results are sad to hear; unlike other singers whose voices have aged badly, he doesn’t seem to have figured out ways to get around it. On “Wounded World” and “Treetop Flyer,” he veers into Bob Dylan territory. Crosby, on the other hand, ignores all medical science, retaining his voice against all odds.
For all its faults, a show like CSNY’s brings up some intriguing questions about what protest music in the 21st century should sound like. In our more corporate time, in which record labels and radio stations tread lightly on controversial topics, perhaps only a band such as Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young, which no longer cares about radio airplay and has a loyal cadre of fans, can get away with calling for the president’s impeachment and project the lyrics of Young’s indictment onto giant video screens. They may be preaching to the choir, but it’s still good to hear.
Band: David Crosby, Stephen Stills, Graham Nash, Neil Young, Spooner Oldham, Chad Cromwell, Rick Rosas, Ben Keith, Tom Bray. Reviewed July 31, 2006.
ME: Needless to say, the bill should have read NEIL YOUNG with…
Flags of Freedom
Long Time Gone
After the Garden
Living With War
The Restless Consumer
Shock and Awe
Almost Cut My Hair
Only Love Can Break Your Heart
Milky Way Tonight
Roger and Out
Ole Man Trouble
Find the Cost of Freedom
Let’s Impeach the President
For What It’s Worth
What Are Their Names
Rockin’ in the Free World
Teach Your Children