LIVE: Crosby, Stills & Nash @ SPAC, 7/28/09

To read my review of CSN @ SPAC in the Times Union, go here. For a second opinion, check out Brian McElhiney’s review in the Daily Gazette.

Here are a few additional notes and the set list:

Crosby, Stills & Nash are like a favorite old sweater on an autumn evening. A little frayed around the collar. A few more holes than last year. But still warm. Comfy. Cozy.

With CSN, less really is more. They were at their very best when they were pared down to the minimal – just three voices and a guitar or two.

Speaking of minimal, it was delightfully quaint and oh-so-refreshing to watch a concert at SPAC without all of those usual arena rock bells and whistles. NO video screens. NO stage set. NO costume changes. NO computerized lighting effects. Just the music. What a concept.

Quote of note: “We’re going to do all the songs that I remember the words to – and that’s at least three,” declared David Crosby. “Maybe four.”

Watching CSN, I found myself flashing back to Woodstock. Not the Grand Daddy 1969 festival – I wasn’t there. But rather the 1994 25th anniversary fest in Saugerties where CSN blazed through their mainstage set only to pass the torch to a mud-caked Nine Inch Nails.

I knew that CSN has been in the studio working with producer Rick Rubin on a new album of cover songs, so when Crosby said, “We’re gonna take some chances and play some songs you’ve never heard us do before,” I had some high hopes. Unfortunately, the selections were too obvious, too cliched – except for Tim Hardin’s “Reason to Believe.” If only they were willing to attempt something even vaguely more contemporary, like R.E.M.’s “Everybody Hurts.” Better still, wouldn’t it be a hoot to hear CSN singing a Fleet Foxes tune?

Helplessly Hoping
You Don’t Have to Cry
Ruby Tuesday (Stones)
Close Your Eyes (James Taylor)
Reason to Believe (Tim Hardin)
Girl From the North Country (Dylan)
Dream For Him
In Your Name
Uncle John’s Band (Dead)
Our House
Southern Cross
Love the One You’re With
Military Madness
Rock & Roll Woman
Long Time Gone
Marrakesh Express
Deja Vu
Almost Cut My Hair
For What It’s Worth
Wooden Ships
Teach Your Children

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