With their high harmonies and politically-charged spirit, Crosby, Stills & Nash brought a night full of laughter, love and good live music to Cleveland. Nash, who stood barefoot on stage full of Persian rugs, gave a warm welcome and said, “Hello, Cleveland!” First up was a CSN&Y favorite, “Carry On.”
Nash jumped around the stage like the young man he once was while Crosby stood still with his arm raised with power to the beat when not playing the guitar. Stills, known as “Captain Manyhands” from playing so many instruments on their first album, played his guitar with all of his might but gave himself breaks during Nash/Crosby songs. At one point the equipment wasn’t cooperating so Nash apologized: “Give us a second. Someone’s fucking something up.”
Even though Stills has his guitar skills, his voice was lacking true stability, but he sang Buffalo Springfield songs like “Bluebird” and “For What It’s Worth,” and even his own “Love The One You’re With.” Hey, he even played a Dylan song.
David Crosby’s, Croz came out earlier, and he started to play “What’s Broken.” He couldn’t find the right chords after he was 30 seconds in. “That’s fucked up,” he said, so instead he played Joni Mitchell’s “Real Good For Free.” The crowd seemed be more welcoming to his song choice than if he would’ve played his originally planned number. The band made jokes throughout the night of Crosby’s latest album.
A twenty minute intermission was taken after the first 10 songs for the band to gather their strength for the second half. They came back on the stage to play “Helplessly Hoping.” Before the magic and beauty of “Guinnevere,” Crosby said to the crowd: “Out there in the crowd there’s a woman who’s sad and lonely, who can’t find a decent man because a decent man is hard to find.” After the melancholy of that beautiful song, Nash mentioned how our media is obsessed with things like “the size of Kim Kardashian’s ass” rather than that 128 Tibetan monks have burned themselves because of what’s going on in our world. The intensity of the stage began as “Burning for the Buddha” was played.
The band even went on little rants about times of protest and how they have been claimed to be a politically active band. “No more war” was chanted at least 10 times.
Other CSN&Y songs such as “Our House” and “Chicago” were played before the end of the night. After “Love the One You’re With” ended, the band thanked Cleveland and left the stage. Now some of the attendants left, but you have to know there’s ALWAYS an encore. Out they came with their instruments while Nash said, “This one’s for our friends at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and all the teachers out there,” and “Teach Your Children” began.
The evening was a perfect blend of new and old. With the band continually breaking up and regrouping since 1970, they definitely have shown power, strength and beauty throughout their music. Carry on, Crosby, Stills & Nash.