Los Angeles, California, February 12, 2000
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Tom Daniel's Review
(more reviews coming)
The show details.
An Orange Country Register review.
A lame Variety review.
An AP photo.
- Carry On
- Southern Man
- Stand And Be Counted
- Pre-Road Downs
- 49 Bye-Byes
- Marrakesh Express
- Faith In Me
- Almost Cut My Hair
- Cinnamon Girl
- Helplessly Hoping
- Our House
- Old Man
- Dream For Him
- Someday Soon
- Looking Forward
- After The Goldrush
- Out Of Control
- Seen Enough
- Teach Your Children
[7th Inning Stretch]
- Long Time Gone
- For What It's Worth
- No Tears Left
- Down By The River
- Love The One You're With
- Rockin' In The Free World
- Long May You Run
review by Tom Daniels
Los Angeles, California, February 12, 2000
CSNY is on stage playing David Crosby's Dream for Him. Crosby
and Nash are singing like angels. The band is deep in a Crosby-jazz groove.
Neil Young, of all people, is playing a crisp, jazzy guitar solo while Stills
is pumping away on bass. Reunions are usually empty, nostalgic affairs. Yet
here is CSNY playing a new song, every member engaged and contributing.
Everything working. The audience is drawn in.
On the second break Neil plays a more idiosyncratic solo -- fewer notes, more
loose, yet with the same feel. Something he would never do on his own.
CSNY stretching Neil, just as he has pushed them.
CSNY's return to their LA roots was triumphant.
A sold out crowd at Staples Center was on their feet for most of the
night. The passion, energy and just sheer quality of the show electrified
The set list was composed of bookends from the CSNY songbook -- classics
from the very early stage of their career together mixed with new numbers
from 1999's Looking Forward. The 28 or so years in between were
only very lightly touched on, with the closing Rockin' in the Free World
and the encore Long May You Run (though even this was a staple in the
1974 reunion tour). Let's look at it song by song...
Who could ask for more? 31 songs. 3 1/2 hours. Amazing energy and commitment.
Enjoying each other's songs. Smiling, laughing. One in a million it could work
- Carry On -- This sounded great. The first shock was how great
Stills sounded. His voice was much better than on Looking Forward,
coming out of the harmonies on lines like "with which we carry on ahahaon".
He came in a black jacket, which he tossed aside before playing a note.
Harmonies spot on. Sound great on the floor of Staples. Great opener.
- Southern Man -- Keeps the crowd on their feet. Young's voice sounds
so sweet and clear. If anything, he sounds younger than on After the
Goldrush. The CSNY harmonies add to the power of the song.
And Stills and Young get into it on guitar. The energy they display is
surprising, and there is no doubt that Neil is the force behind it.
- Stand And Be Counted -- Neil: "This is a
Crosby song... But we're gonna do it anyway." The verses seemed awkward
and unfinished on the CD. They seem more so here. Crosby enunciates instead
of singing, and can't seem to find the pocket to sing in. The chorus is strong
and catchy, and the energy of the performance holds it together. The crowd sits,
as they will on all new songs.
- Pre-Road Downs -- A great performance of a decent song. When they
get this much out of Pre-Road Downs, it is clear that this will be a
great evening. Nash sounds great, as always. For the first time, I notice
how interesting Neil sounds as an extra voice. I listen for it all night. Great.
- Heartland -- Sit down for a new one. The sheer beauty of this
performance catches the crowd. When Crosby/Nash sing a verse together, a whole
different part of CSNY comes to the fore. They sing together on one mic,
with the telepathic understanding of how they will phrase each line perfectly
- 49 Bye-Byes -- A highlight. Stills plays his big white Gretch a lot
in this show. This is new arrangement, but with the feel of early Stills.
Stills sang it better than I thought he could, singing alone in the verse. The
harmonies are great. More than anything else, this song took me back to the
birth of CSN(Y).
- Slowpoke -- Neil gets his new stuff across better than anyone. The
crowd reacts audibly to the line "when I was faster
I was always behind." Crosby/Nash add a lot with their harmonies, and
are clearly enjoying it.
- Marrakesh Express -- Rearranged, a fresh take on this one. Graham
does a great job, and the harmonies on "garden in your hair" are breathtaking.
Like 49 Bye-Byes, it really works. Neil is enjoying his role on this
tour, moving, smiling, talking to CSN and playing guitar parts that he
would never play on his own stuff.
- Faith In Me -- Stills is reborn, it seems. Confident, active, singing
well. From a distance, in profile, it looks like Manassas era Stills.
Of course, up close it is a reminder that we are all older. Great beat. Sounds
better live, though not as much better as I had hoped. Stills begging for trust
he may not have earned - "Have some faith in me."
- Almost Cut My Hair -- This is always like walking out on a ledge. If
they don't get it right, they're like pitiful old hippies. I thought CPR
nailed it last year. CSNY takes it up a few notches. Neil's trademark
guitar. Crosby pouring himself into it. A highlight of the set.
- Cinnamon Girl -- A nice treat. A great sounding version. CSNY
is such a great band for Neil. Crosby plays nice chunky rhythm parts. Stills
adds another dimension on guitar. And the backing vocals take it up a notch.
CSN have a rep as a whimpy act, but when they are committed they can
really rock. Tonight they back up Neil better than Crazy Horse -- as
heavy, but more musical. I'd love an album by Neil backed by these guys, but
the politics might be tough.
- Helplessly Hoping -- Remember the No Nukes movie, when Stills
sings "Helplessly Hoping is a concert bitch"? I've heard some ragged versions
over the years. Nothing prepared me for this GREAT four-part version.
Like a dream. It is starting to seem like they can do no wrong.
- Our House -- Even this old horse sounded fresh. I would have loved
some more interesting choices from Graham - maybe Carried Away or
Cold Rain or Taken at All. But how can I complain when Our
House sounds so delightful. Graham's playing sounds great on Neil's
battered old digital upright.
- Old Man -- "24 and there's so much
more." A taste of irony here as the old men sing this one. The CSNY
vocals make this one new.
- Dream For Him -- A big step forward from the album. Great feel.
Great vocal, especially the Crosby/Nash stuff. Neil steps up on guitar. Nice.
This is a band!
- Someday Soon -- Another great group effort. Someone nearby comments
on how great it is that these old guys are writing such positive stuff. More
Crosby/Nash vocals, plus that great bridge with Steven and Graham. When Stills
comes in on his part, his mike is turned down and has to be adjusted. Is he
being turned down for harmony parts?
- Looking Forward -- The best of the new songs. Inspirational.
"I'm not waiting for time to change. I wanna live
like a free roaming soul on the highway of our love." The three
consecutive new songs demonstrate the strength of CSNY and the fact that
they are really working together. Significantly, there are no solo sets in this
- After The Goldrush -- Off to the back of the stage and the Ghost and
Mr. Chicken pipe organ. A good version, with nice Crosby/Nash backing. Now if
only people would cheer as much for love as they do for getting high.
- Guinnevere -- We've seen hints all night of the power of Crosby and
Nash. Now comes a full force demonstration. If 49 Bye-Byes takes me
back to the debut album, and Helplessly Hoping and Southern Man to
the 1970 tour, this is a little piece of the Crosby/Nash acoustic tour
(Another Stoney Evening). What is remarkable is how these two
voices and Crosby's guitar work in a huge arena. I thought this piece would be
lost in the Staples Center. It was not. Nash's limbs were flailing
wildly as he put all of himself into his harmony vocal, and Crosby led the way
with great acoustic guitar and an assured vocal, ranging from a whisper to full
voice with a perfect sense of where he was going. Another high point.
- Out Of Control -- The best of Neil's solo performance blended with
the best of the CSN additions from Looking Forward. Again
new material holds the crowd's attention. Again Crosby/Nash add to Neil's
- Seen Enough -- This was a bit of a mixed bag. Stills' voice held up.
He performed it with passion. But the paranoid, finger-pointing rant seemed out
of place with the rest of the show. The energy was good. The performance was
good. But the mood seemed all out of place. It's a little like the old
America's Children rant - you admire the passion, but the overall effect
is almost cartoonish.
- Teach Your Children -- I dreaded this, having tired of the lazy
sing-a-long it had become. No need to fear. Steven & Neil on electrics, a
real arrangement, no sing-a-long. I remembered why I used to like this song.
- Woodstock -- Stills simply could not sing this song. Good arrangement.
After the acoustic set it was a great, recognizable burst of energy. But I think they
should replace it with a Nash tune (none in last set), or Wooden Ships or
something that Stills can actually sing. He had trouble with this live in 1970.
But the harmonies again sounded great.
- Long Time Gone -- A fairly standard reading of this classic. Another
solid, energetic performance. Why doesn't Stills sing his old parts anymore?
- Ohio -- This is great live because of the great opening riff. They
did a great job, though I thought this could have been heavier. Croz was on
acoustic. It also seems a bit dated. The "heat" isn't killing the kids anymore
(well, not the school kids), the kids are. Young's great Drive By would
be more appropriate. But it wouldn't get the old folks off their asses.
- For What It's Worth -- Praise the Lord. The painful CSN version
is retired, and we have a return to the Buffalo Springfield approach.
Neil seemed to be playing his parts note for note, while Stephen embellished.
Crosby/Nash did the Furay/Stills backing parts. I had hoped for some bonus
BS in LA, but this will do nicely. "If you're still listening I hope
you'll remember the kid with the big white guitar, and all the sad stories to
tell." A brief detour back to the Whiskey in 1967.
- No Tears Left -- Stills is having a career night. After For What
It's Worth, the crew brings out the guitars for Down By the River.
Young seems to come over to Stills and suggest a set change. There is
discussion all around. They change guitars. Stills is having trouble with his
guitar - seemingly both tuning and the wah pedal. He is working on the problem.
Neil: "One Buffalo Springfield song and we're
already tuning for an hour." Stills does not look amused.
What follows is a ragged version of No Tears Left. Stills continues to
have guitar problems. Crosby/Nash's vocals are buried in the mix. I can't hear
Neil's guitar. Stills is missing lines in the song, looks like a deer in the
headlights, and his voice seems to have gone on him. I flash to every Stills
show I have ever seen - his voice gets better through the night. Maybe it is
nerves - he relaxes as the show goes on. Here he looks stressed, and sounds bad.
It seems Neil threw him a curve, and he whiffed. After a night of paradise, a
hint of the old days.
- Down By The River -- Stills regains his composure for a great
CSNY run though of this old chestnut. A highlight of early CSNY
shows, it is a stretched out masterpiece tonight. Stills and Young duel on
guitar as Crosby kneels before his amp creating feedback. Stills plays a verse
in Neil's style. Neil is a ball of energy. Stills and Young roam the stage,
Stills frequently moving over to be with Neil. This has been going on all night,
but this is the peak.
- Love The One You're With -- Stills sings this well, proving that
No Tears Left was an exception.
- Rockin' In The Free World -- Crazy who? Crosby's energy on this,
after three hours and change, is testimony to his new liver. He looks a little
trimmer and fully engaged. Can they really keep going like this through the
rest of the tour? CSNY have completely triumphed, showing almost all
of their many facets. This is the hardest rocker of the night, and a worthy
closer. It had to be to live up to Almost Cut My Hair, Down By The River,
- Long May You Run -- In the spirit of Looking Forward and
Someday Soon, an optimistic forward looking closer. Two big white
Gretches. Reminds of the Springfield, CSNY 74, the doomed
Stills/Young project. So much history, and tonight all of it was on display.
A great, many faceted band.
(more reviews coming soon... --RE*AC*TOR)