Crosby, Stills, Nash...

Rosemont Theatre - Rosemont, IL

July 20, 1997

First Appeared in The Music Box, September 1997, Volume 4, #10

Written by John Metzger


Crosby, Stills, and Nash wrapped up their summer tour with an outstanding concert on July 20 at the Rosemont Theater in Chicago. Many times, the final show of a tour can mean a short, tired performance, but that was not the case with these veterans. It seems that playing a series of shows in smaller, more intimate venues, further inspired the group to take their music to new heights.  After opening with a bland Love the One You're With, the trio turned up the intensity for the remainder of the two-set evening. David Crosby, in particular, was incredibly jovial, offering a number of humorous short-story introductions to the songs.

After delivering a pair of Graham Nash-penned favorites — Immigration Man and Marrakesh Express — Crosby explained, "Graham makes all the money because he writes the hits. Stephen writes all the rock ‘n' roll songs, and I write the weird shit." Then the group shifted into overdrive to perform an amazing Déjà Vu that blew away any lingering cobwebs from the evening. It was amazing that the audience remained seated as the trio embarked on a series of incredibly inspired jams. Stephen Stills just seems to become a better guitar player every time the group makes a trek around the country.

Following Stills' 49 Bye-Byes, Crosby stepped up to the microphone to explain how his 1993 solo-effort Thousand Roads was re-worked for the group. Through the speakers came the voice of James Brown stating, "It's got to be funky."

Later, turning semi-serious for a moment, Crosby stepped over to his keyboards and somberly explained how Jackson Browne was influential in completing Delta, and that it was the last song he wrote before turning his body into a "chemical dump site." Michael Finnegan added some swirling organ fills to this nugget from the group's 1982 album — Daylight Again.

The first of several new songs to appear throughout the evening appeared towards the end of the first set. No Tears Left, written by Stephen Stills, was delivered in a style reminiscent of Bob Dylan's It's Alright, Ma (I'm Only Bleeding). A rousing rendition of Wooden Ships with perfectly matched vocal harmonies and soaring guitar solos completed the 70-minute set. During the break, I pondered the message behind this powerful song, which was penned by Crosby, Stills, and Jefferson Airplane-founder Paul Kantner.

Fifteen minutes later, the lights were out once again, and the wonderful harmonies that open 1975's masterpiece To the Last Whale... filled the auditorium. The group took the stage and immediately launched into another of gem — Cathedral, and as the song built to its swirling climax, it was impossible not to be moved by its spiritual journey.

The second set featured four new songs, all of which are outstanding. Two were written by Graham Nash. These are: Half Your Angels, a touching tribute to the Oklahoma City bombing and Lost Another One, a beautiful and emotionally-charged song written for Jerry Garcia. Stills' new song for the second set was a rousing number titled Treetop Flyer. Finally Crosby's addition was a song called Morrison which was written with his son, James Raymond. Prior to the song, Crosby explained his fight against death. The doctors had told him he was going to die, and as he lay waiting for a new liver, his wife told him that she was pregnant. It was during this same period that Crosby also learned that he had fathered a son 20 years earlier, and that that son was now a musician.  The group also pulled out a scorching Almost Cut My Hair, and finally got the audience up to dance with a funky Dark Star, which originally appeared on their 1976 release — CSN. The set-concluding Southern Cross, as well as the encores of Teach Your Children and Carry On led the band back to the west coast to record a new album.

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