The crowded parking lot, the sold out Filene Center, and the standing ovation Crosby, Stills & Nash received just for walking out on the stage speaks volumes. The fact the crowd on the lawn stayed and listened through a thunder storm echoes the reverence and devotion fans have for this band. The band showed their devotion and reverence to the fans with a two-set performance featuring over two hours of music and 21 songs. There was no opening band which freed up more time for the band to perform.
After forty plus years of performing together – some of the harmonies aren’t what they used to be. Sometimes the voices didn’t quite mesh, other times they tried and cracked. That being said – there were plenty of moments when those vocals soared to the occasion. “Just a Song before I Go” is a shining example of when the vocals worked. Stephen Stills voice might not be what it once was but his guitar solos might actually be better. He played a remarkable solo on “Long Time Gone.” Throughout the night he appeared to be the master of the tremolo bar solos. Some of those accented with the tasteful use of harmonics.
Crosby, Stills & Nash were smart enough to have a five-piece band of talented musicians backing them up. The band included organist Todd Caldwell, guitarist Shane Fontayne, drummer Steve DiStanislao, bassist Kevin McCormick and keyboardist James Raymond. James Raymond is David Crosby’s son and a key songwriting collaborator on some of the newer songs. His songwriting abilities highlighted on “Lay Me Down” and “Radio.” Even after all these years Crosby, Stills and Nash showed they were still willing to get political with a new song “Almost Gone.”
The set list was daring – filled with a mix of classics, a few new songs, and some surprises. Graham Nash sang his song “Chicago.” Stephen Stills revisited Buffalo Springfield with “Bluebird.” There was even a cover of Bob Dylan’s “Girl from the North Country.” They closed the first set with a strong version of Stephen’s “Love the One Your With.” I thought “Cathedral” was a bit of a deeper track. Old favorites were plentiful as well including “Southern Cross,” “Marrakech Express,” and “Our House.”
The second set ended strongly – first with a strong performance of “Almost Cut My Hair,” which showed some of the power David Crosby’s voice can still manage. The song also included some awesome guitar soloing from Stephen Stills. The final song of the set was the classic “Wooden Ships.” On that song Nash and Crosby’s interplay of vocals sounded fantastic. The encore started off with just Crosby, Stills & Nash performing “Suite: Judy Blue Eyes.” Three voices and an acoustic guitar added to the intimacy of the evening. The band joined in late in the song to finish out a wonderful night of music at Wolf Trap.
Running Time: Approximately 2 hours and 35 minutes with one 15 minute intermission.
Crosby, Stills & Nash played one night at Wolf Trap at The Filene Center – 1551 Trap Road, in Vienna, VA. on Tuesday, July 3, 2012. To view upcoming events at Wolf Trap, check out their calendar.
Crosby, Stills and Nash website.