CROSBY, STILLS, NASH
Due to a box office snafu, I got into this show late. When I did
make it in, the cantankerous quartet was just getting into a slew of Neil Young songs from
his recently released Living With War. The
album is full of intense songs protesting the war in
It all started getting ugly with the new song
Families. Neil dedicated it to the troops fighting overseas and declared his
support for them. Here is what apparently passes for divisive lyrics in the
During these lyrics, there was footage on the screen of American casualties and coffins. This is footage that the US Government has decided that the average American shouldn't be allowed to see. About halfway through the song, I heard a woman in front of me begin to get belligerent. She started yelling to the people around her, "I can't believe they'd dedicate this to our troops. How could they?" Then her voice blurred into a series of blubbering. At the end of the song, she stood up. "I'm leaving. How about you?" Her friends didn't get up. Then she yelled the same thing. Her friends got up slowly and began to leave. As they walked out, a middle aged man wearing a Hawaiian shirt in the same row but on the other side of the aisle leaped to his feet pointing his finger at the stage and screamed, "If you don't know who the real enemy is, SHUT UP! This is World War III." So much for Freedom Of Speech '06 (as the tour has been branded). I couldn't help but notice that all of those people were on row 'W'.
The band continued with the classic "Deja
It was obvious that this was echoing the previous
song and asking how the
During intermission, the Hawaiian shirt guy was nearly ranting and in tears. His wife tried to soothe him. "It's just a song", she said. But it's not. We all knew it. "Just a song" doesn't do that to people. This is much more than that.
When the band returned, they launched into a
series of pretty acoustic numbers. But it wasnt to last. As a transition into the
last set, haunting harmonies rang out for Find The Cost Of Freedom.
I have to tell the truth. I was nearly overcome by
this beautiful song but strangely, all around me, people began to boo. Some were clearly
conflicted and confused. They loved this song back when they were against
"Let's impeach the President for lying
Stephen Stills didn't miss a beat, he punched back the boos with his Buffalo Springfield song "For What Its Worth". I have never heard more timely and perfect lyrics for a single moment.
There's battle lines being drawn
Paranoia strikes deep, into your life it will
I looked, I saw and it hurt me. It seems that even the hippie, liberal CSNY crowd is totally split now. We are splintered. We are breaking. About this time, I heard some guy behind me yell "Neil Young must be a fucking Muslim." The man kept yelling more and more inflammatory insults and finally got up to leave. When he picked up, the whole row left with him.
Near the end, Graham Nash revived
No one else can take your place. We can
change the world. Re-arrange the world.
To wind up the most emotionally draining concert that I've ever seen, Neil Young tore into a blistering version of "Rockin' In The Free World" that had more passion than I've heard onstage from anyone in years. It eventually devolved into a thundering, feedback laden cacophony that revealed itself slowly as "Taps."
I was blown away. I was disgusted that no artists of the younger generation have the guts to stand up and make a difference, or at least to try. I was saddened that no one outside of this arena will experience this. It was absolutely heart-wrenching, then heart-breaking, then empowering. I knew there were elections coming up shortly. I had to hold on to hope that people would stand up and make a difference. It couldnt go on like this. It just couldnt. Could it?
Photos and review by Chris McKay / concertshots.com
(Chris McKay / concertshots.com)