Sunday, July 13, 2014

CSN&Y 1974

40 years ago on a hot July day, the 18th to be exact, I rolled up to Royals Stadium with a running rival, Curtis Martin, for an amazing day of music.  Little did I know that I was witnessing a tour of historic proportions.  Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young were making the first stadium tour in the history of rock and roll.

I remember drinking a lot of beer and smoking a little pot.  It was blazing hot sitting somewhere in the middle of the diamond, at about 2nd base.  The massive stage was set up in the middle of center field.  Jesse Colin Young opened the show.  His set was mostly forgettable, save for his greatest hit "Get Together."

The Beach Boys took the stage next, probably around 6 p.m.  They rocked the house.  I wasn't much of a fan, but Mike Love, Bruce Johnston, Al Jardine and the Wilson brothers, Carl and Dennis, brought their "A" game.  They were great.  I've seen them three times since that show and they were very good but it simply wasn't the same.  It felt like they were trying to prove something to the crowd. 

When CSN&Y finally hit the stage, the sun had taken its toll and I had sobered up.  They played for well over 2 hours.  The show is mostly a blur now.  I was there mainly because I wanted to see Neil Young.  He refused to play until the crowd quieted down, and sat down, for his acoustic portion of the show.  He played the epic "Ambulance Blues", and a couple of my favorites, "Long May You Run" and "Only Love Can Break Your Heart."  David Crosby's "Almost Cut My Hair" left a strong impression as well.  They were good damn good. 

So it was great to hear a monster release of that summer of 74 tour.  I give credit to Graham Nash for making it happen.  I suspect it only happened because the set is decidedly Neil Young heavy.  You can feel the cocaine coursing through their veins when you listen to the music, especially Stephen Stills on the opening number, "Love the One Your With."  The music doesn't measure up to their other live offering from that era, "4 Way Street."  I think it's partly due to the drugs and the fact that this new release doesn't have any overdubs.

It's a great palate cleanser after listening to Neil Young's latest release, "A Letter Home."  It's a low-fi offering of Neil traipsing through some covers.  It's quite frankly embarrassing, especially in light of his push for better digital sound with his Pono project.  I would love to hear these songs recorded in  a real studio.  Instead, Neil fucks his fans over one more time, (yes, I'm talking about 2012's Americana) by recording these great songs in a portable recording booth owned by Jack White. 

I love Neil Young, but when he records crap, which 2 of his last 3 projects have been, he owes to his hardcore fans to do a better job of opening his vaults.  Archive 2 needs to come along and soon.  Thank goodness for Graham Nash.  Because of his efforts, I can enjoy Neil at his best.

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