Warner Cable Amphitheater
September 15, 2010
Crosby, Stills & Nash could do no wrong. Well, almost.
In the middle of the trio's concert Tuesday night at Time Warner
Cable Amphitheater, a barefoot Graham Nash mentioned they had an
upcoming gig in Miami.
"We'll give our best to LeBron for you," he teased.
Cue a resounding "BOO!"
For most of the performance, however, these Rock and Roll Hall of
Famers basked in one well-deserved standing ovation after another.
With a first-quarter moon hanging low over Cleveland's Flats, David
Crosby, Stephen Stills and Nash stood before a near-capacity crowd
like three-fourths of a classic-rock Mount Rushmore.
"Woodstock" made for a surging opener and set the tone for an evening
of countercultural echoes in rapturous three-part harmony.
Fortunately -- at least for CSN, albeit maybe not for humanity in
general -- the anti-war sentiments at the heart of oldies such as
"Military Madness" and "What Are Their Names?" rang true as ever.
"Southern Cross," an early highlight, soared on the strength of CSN's
exquisitely multilayered voices. Those fabled harmonies of theirs
have been hit or miss lately, but on this occasion, they were remarkably tight.
Stills, 65, struggled with the second verse of occasional bandmate
Neil Young's "Long May You Run," although there was a valid excuse.
"I swallowed a bug," Stills explained afterwards.
It must have been a firefly. He lit up tune after tune with a series
of incendiary guitar solos, making liberal use of the whammy bar and
standing on his toes, as if to launch those squealing high notes even higher.
Pricelessly, Stills and Crosby also treated us to hilarious
imitations (inspired by Jimmy Fallon) of Young warbling the Dockers
"I Wear No Pants" jingle.
On a more serious note, Crosby, 69, brought down the house with a
full-throttle rendition of the hippie anthem "Almost Cut My Hair."
Nash, 68, had numerous opportunities to shine, particularly during
"Cathedral" and a protest song of more recent vintage, "In Your Name."
CSN's four-piece backing unit was deftly propelled by a rhythm
section with deep Northeast Ohio roots, featuring Cleveland native
Bob Glaub on bass and Canton's Joe Vitale on drums.
The concert also brought a windfall of "songs we wish we had
written," as Crosby put it. Judging from their impressive updates of
hits by the Beatles ("Norwegian Wood"), the Rolling Stones ("Ruby
Tuesday"), the Who ("Behind Blue Eyes") and others, CSN's forthcoming
covers album (produced by Rick Rubin; release date TBA) should be a knockout.
CSN delivered a pair of hourlong sets, followed by a two-song encore
of "For What It's Worth" (a throwback to Stills' pre-CSN days with
Buffalo Springfield, which has a reunion in the works) and "Teach
By then it was clear: In terms of superstar chemistry, a certain
Miami Heat player and his new teammates could learn a thing or two
from these three amigos.
Long Time Gone
Just a Song Before I Go
In Your Name
Long May You Run
Girl from the North Country
What Are Their Names?
Behind Blue Eyes
Almost Cut My Hair
Love the One You're With
For What It's Worth
Teach Your Children