Concert Review: Crosby Stills & Nash at Jones Beach (Saturday August 8th, 2009)

Crosby Stills & Nash are true veteran rockers from the sixties hey day. David Crosby the once handsome rock star with the long hair & frilly brown leather jackets was a founder of Los Angeles' group the Byrds. Steven Stills came from the Buffalo Springfield and the Englishman Graham Nash from the Hollies. After each had left their original groups they were all hanging out together in the Laurel Canyon section of Los Angeles. At a party thrown by Cass Elliot the three got together and sang a new Stills song "You Don't Have To Cry". The room stopped at the beautiful harmonies the three voices made, and everyone knew a group had to be formed. The released an album and went on tour in the Summer of '69. The second gig they played was Woodstock in Bethel, New York and they went on to become legends. On the 40th anniversary of Woodstock they are on Tour in the Summer of '09, true survivors of their own demons, dependencies, & rock & roll. Last nights stop was at the Jones Beach Theater. We had great seats, 8th row just off to the left center of the stage.
It was one of the closest nights to the sixties you could ever get. 1 week shy of the 40th anniversary of Woodstock & CSN didn't even mention it. But we all knew it. Graham Nash said "We've been doing this for 40 years, and we still like each other" the crowd cheered, he then added "Except for you' to Steven Stills and they laughed. CSN put on one hell of a show last night at the Jones Beach Theater.

Steven Stills doesn't have the voice he use to, but he can still carry a tune especially when Crosby & Nash join in. Stills who I always though had one of the sweetest voices in Rock & Roll still does it good enough but he seems to struggle at it. He makes up for it playing a phenomenal lead guitar on most songs during the concert. AOn the acoustic songs he sometimes carried the band playing the only guitar behind the beautiful harmonies. He even played the bass. At times it seems even Graham Nash was amazed at Stills playing. He got standing ovations a few times during the evening.

Graham Nash is ever the suave singer. He puts all his efforts into his singing, and his voice is still great. Nash is at center stage and seems to lead most of the tunes, he played some acoustic guitar & electric piano on Our House & Cathedral. Even on songs Crosby or Stills sang lead on, Nash voice joined in and helped make the tune.
As for David Crosby he is still the man. His voice is absolutely fantastic. He can harmonize with the others sounding like a heavenly choir or he can rock out with a lead vocal of his own piercing the Oceans around Jones Beach. He seems to sing & play guitar with little effort as if it all comes so naturally with that permanent classic Crosby smirk on his face. His rhythm guitar carries most of the songs he plays on again, done with ease and a great flowing style.
Together these guys are masters and still great at what they do. Their voices together are still perfection as they were 40 years ago, when they stopped everyone in the room at Cass Elliot's party. The spirit of the sixties alive and well and its music is too. CSN see to that.

The set list was great with the exception of a a few classics they didn't play. Where was Suite Judy Blue Eyes? Other than that all was well. The first set was pretty much an acoustic set with a few cover songs, including great renditions of the Stones Ruby Tuesday & the Grateful Dead's Uncle Johns Band. Uncle Johns Band brought the crowd to its feet especially when Crosby said "I see there are alot of dead heads still around". After that Our House & Southern Cross kept the crowd on their feet leading to an intermission. Stills sounded great on Southern Cross, like he pulled a little extra out from some where.

The second set was a non stop true classic rock & roll show. More electric than the first half, featuring more sensational Stills guitar work. Interestingly the band chose not to go with any Byrd's or Hollies tunes, but gave us three Buffalo Springfield songs. Being a fan of the Springfield I thought it was great, they chose three classic Stills Springfield tunes and he rose to the occasion on each. The Springfield also had some great harmonies and Crosby & Nash only made the tunes even better. The latest release from CSN is an album called Demos, which features early demos from some of their early classics. Stills version of his own Love the One Your With opened the second set and was done more in this style. Through the Buffalo Springfield tunes and a great version of Deja Vu', Crosby brought the beach house down with his classic Almost Cut My Hair. His great voice echoed off the ocean sounding nothing short of great. If that wasn't enough the 60's classic Wooden Ships brought us back to Woodstock and a peaceful moment in time. Pure greatness. All I can say is "Carry On' guys, you were fantastic.

Crosby, Stills & Nash: August 8, 2009 Set List- Jones Beach, NY
*Helplessly Hoping
*Wasted On the Way
*Ruby Tuesday (Stones)
*You Can Close Your Eyes (James Taylor)
*The Last Thing On My Mind (Tom Paxton)
*Girl From North Country (Bob Dylan)
*A Dream For You
*In Your Name
*Uncle Johns Band (Grateful Dead)
*Our House
*Southern Cross
*Love The One Your With
*Marrakesh Express
*Rock & Roll Woman (Buffalo Springfield)
*Long Time Gone
*Just A Song Before I Go
*Deja' Vu'
*Blue Bird (Buffalo Springfield)
*Almost Cut My Hair
*Wooden Ships
*For What Its Worth (Buffalo Springfield)
*Teach Your Children


Unknown said…
Your review was on target. Unfortunately I was sitting further back/higher up but in the center. While the show was great, the sound quality and mixing left a lot to be desired. I think the show would be better at a venu like the Palladium.
Anonymous said…
I was going to listen to the concert from the parking lot since I didn't have a ticket. As luck would have it, two women approached me and offered me an extra ticket they had....FREE...and it was a box seat!
The concert was amazing...what fine musicians they are. I was SO impressed. They still put on a great show after 40 yrs. I loved them back when I was 20 and I think their music is wonderful now.
What great guys!! Graham Nash is so versatile...and Stephen Stills blew me away with his guitar solos...and David Crosby...what a voice...
Anonymous said…
I was at the show too. I have seen CSN twice before and CSNY once---all within the past ten years. This was by far the best they have played. They seemed to really be into the show, and they definitely sounded the way I hoped they would.
I think what greatly enhanced the show was the somg selection. The first set included a nice mix of covers and originals, while the second set was really rocking. I was glad they didn't experiment with new songs as they have done in the earlier shows I saw, this version of CSN was definitely worth the wait.
Anonymous said…
totally agree with everything you say.... was thoroughly a fantastic show! great venue as well.
Darren said…
I enjoyed reading this. Sorry I missed it. I'm sure they will tour next year after the new "Covers" album comes out. I see they have started playing some of the covers live! They have stopped playing "Suite: Judy Blue Eyes" live. They didn't do it last year when I saw them at Central Park Summerstage. I assume they can't sing it well these days, especially Stills.
Jill said…
Hi, I just wanted to let you know that I liked your review of the show last night at JBT, it was spot on.

I will post your setlist on my facebook so those who were not in attendance know what they missed.

Thanks much. jamp
Mike R said…
Being just a casual CSN fan, the only things that disappointed me were not hearing Carry On, Suite: Judy Blue Eyes and Woodstock. However, these 3 guys probably have the finest vocal harmonies rock music has ever heard and they were in great form at this show.

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