What A Field Day For The Heat
If you're the Beach Boys 50th Anniversary Reunion Tour with Brian Wilson to keep Mike Love in check, Mike Love to keep Brian Wilson on an even keel and the second most important catalog in rock history, you can open with the howitzers, drop back to hand grenades and finish with tactical nukes. Otherwise, you'd probably best stick with the standard rock act strategy of opening with small arms, dropping back to firecrackers and closing with the big guns -- which Crosby, Stills & Nash more or less did at the Township on Wednesday night.
The trio kicked the show off with "Carry On", and the signature tight (detractors say "painful") harmonies were spot on in a pretty decent sound mix:
They then moved fairly quickly to "Marakesh Express"
and "Just A Song Before I Go"
Inasmuch as there was a front man for the group, David Crosby took the role. He alluded briefly to his famously self destructive ways back in the day, and did most of the commentary and introductions. He seemed a bit froggy when speaking, but nailed all of his leads, sometimes with vocals of surprising power. Stephen Stills was vocally in worse shape. I don't know if it was due to being 69 years old, or if he just blew out his voice over the course of the tour, but it was very noticable on his solo leads -- not enough to spoil the enjoyment, but definitely there. Somehow his harmonies were still pure though. Graham Nash was the most retiring presence on stage, and didn't seem to have a lot to say.
During the "firecracker" portion of the show, CSN did several new tunes, both as a group and as three solo artists. I thought the best of these was a lament for the Tibetian monks who have set themselves on fire protesting Chinese rule of that mountain land.
The way they approached the solo and new material was a bit odd as often the two who were not involved with a song would leave the stage. It was certainly a reminder that CSN is as much three people showing up together as it is an organic group. While it gave each man a time to shine, I would have preferred the solo songs to be presented in group arrangements as was done very effectively with Still's famous ode to carnal convenience:
And with the exploration of Stills's previous membership in Buffalo Springfield:
The show closed with a meditation on education:
Big guns conspicuously silent: "Suite: Judy Blue Eyes", "Ohio", "Woodstock" and Neil Young.
Certainly a great show.
(Would have posted this last night, but was having a terrible time getting the video uploaded. I will swap out the low-res for high when I finally get it transferred).