Sunday, August 12, 2012

Love the One You're With

To give you a little perspective on my attendance at Thursday's Crosby, Stills and Nash concert, held at Kansas City's Starlight Theatre, CSN released their first album fifteen years before I was born. That being said, I have always preferred the music of the 1950s, 60s, and 70s so I decided that even though I am not a huge CSN fan that I should not pass up the opportunity to see the classic rock act.

Unfortunately, between buying the tickets and the actual date of the concert I happened to catch a television broadcast of a relatively recent CSN concert and then I regretted having purchased the $58 ticket. The CSN of today did not sound like the CSN of yore. My excitement for the concert plummeted.

The crowd at the outdoor theater was of a certain age, but you wouldn't have known it by the enthusiasm gushing from most everyone. Surely the alcohol flowing freely did not play a part! CSN's first set was filled with rocking, up tempo hits, including their most well known song, "Love the One You're With." The crowd greeted every song with cheers and showed appreciation with mini ovations at the end of each song. After a short break, the group took to the stage for a more somber second set that could have used a little editing. The crowd was there to rock not slumber. I overheard a woman remark that she started to doze off during the second set - agreed. But they finished on a high note with a double encore and ended the night with a tried and true crowd pleaser, "Teach Your Children."

Given what I had seen on the broadcast of their concert, David Crosby and Graham Nash performed remarkably well. As the eldest member of the group at 70+, Crosby sang very clear and had control over his voice. Nash was also very well tuned and neither seemed to tire during the nearly three hour show. 

Stephen Stills was a different story. On the songs that featured his voice alone rather than as part of a harmony, it was apparent that he has lost his ability to sing. At times, it appeared he was suffering from some sort of an ailment. Stills stumbled on the lyrics and pronounced words in a way that sounded as if he had a mouth full of marshmallows. The electric guitar was his saving grace, and he can still shred with the best of them. Props to the production manager who wisely kept him off stage for some of the songs that did not require his picking prowess.
Stills' voice aside, the group transported the audience back in time and put on a great show.