Crosby, Stills & Nash at Wolf Trap by Mike Spain

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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.

Crosby, Stills & Nash. Photo courtesy of Wolf Trap.

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.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3yHQz6Q_ppM&feature=player_embedded

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2 Responses to Crosby, Stills & Nash at Wolf Trap by Mike Spain

  1. dillpickle54 July 10, 2012 at 11:51 am #

    5 stars? For those of us that grew up on CSN concerts in the 70’s, this one was frankly depressing. Stephen Stills has no voice or hearing left and he staggered around, on stage and off, taking multiple breaks while the band played on. I think Crosby and Nash were embaressed for him. Most songs were changed in both tempo and melody to be unrecognizable, good example “Marrakesh Express”. Crosby and Nash faired better but could not overcome old age and many miles on the road for 40 years. I will not attend another concert but prefer to remember the glory days when these guys could rock the house.

  2. Richard Congrove July 12, 2012 at 5:40 pm #

    The tremendous length of this tour creates an opportunity for fans young (!) and old to see CSN live. An awakening among younger fans to their music and its importance has been stirring in this country for a while. I did not attend expecting pefect pitch from band members 70, 64, and 68 years of age. It was the chance to listen to icons, to sing along and enjoy what may be the last time to spend an evening with them. This show provided all that and more.