On August 11, 2009, on a very warm summer evening, I set out with my friend Nellie to PNC art Center in Holmdel, NJ to see the Woodstock era sounds of Crosby, Stills and Nash. Having been a fan for as long as I can remember they did not disappoint with their free spirited sets which are now considered to be classics.
They entered the stage as fresh looking as any 60+ rockers could look. Being a warm trio of musicians, they started the concert well, all acoustically as they had did some 40 years ago this month at Woodstock.
We heard songs like "Helplessly Hoping", "Guinnevere"," Déjà Vu", "Our House" and covers of the Grateful Dead's "Uncle John's Band" in memory of the late Jerry Garcia, who died on August 9th, 1995 (14 years ago). As Crosby said, after playing the tune to the loud applause, '...there still are some deadheads out there.' And also covering a James Taylor tune, a Jackson Browne tune, that the night was going to be a good one.
Crosby mentioned that the PNC Bank Arts Center was the only hall they played that was owned by a highway authority, and how over the years of playing here, always reminded him of a space ship. Could it be that he and his band mates came from the psychedelic era? Either way, there was much banter during the show between tunes referencing age and a gratitude of sorts for a warm audience, that brought good clean laughter to the show.
As the evening grew on they switched it into a louder gear and went electric. Stills leading the way with "Love the One You're With" (and perhaps not in this exact order) then went on to play most of their biggest hits including "Carry On", "Bluebird", "Winchester Cathedral", "Long Time Gone", "Almost Cut my Hair", "For What it's Worth", " Wooden Ships", "Dark Star", and "Chicago". For all of them, Stills played either his White Eagle "Gretsch" or "Fender" Stratocaster. Crosby played both Acoustic and electric guitars throughout the night. Nash went back and forth from Piano to Harmonica, to Guitar and just used his best instrument of the night "His Voice" to make for a wonderful evening of music from a band that never seems to lose the most enduring quality, their harmonies.
For the concert goers, who wants to see their idols as they were 40 years ago, or to hear the sounds as they were from their old Vinyl LP's - this is not for you. Their voices show their age at times, and their bodies and faces have the girth and lines of well traveled troubadours, but for someone who has the love for good music, to hear it from the original musicians who played at Woodstock, this is just right for you.
Crosby, Stills and Nash has endured, and overcome all the things that come to a Rock 'n Roll band over forty + years. Drug addiction, relationships gone sour, inner band squabbles, liver transplants, and much more too numerous to mention here. The point is, Crosby, Stills and Nash still deliver! If you are planning on ever seeing them in Concert, you will be as pleased as Nellie and I were this night.
Also see more photos that Trevor shared with us!