ADA Global (2-CD & DVD)
Frankly, these guys deserve a medal for simply being alive. Many succumbed to the excesses that followed the ‘summer of love’ and survivors don’t come much more battle hardened than David Crosby, Stephen Stills and Graham Nash.
2012 – a two CD / single DVD set captures them alive and well in April this year as part of world tour that saw them once again trawling a back catalogue that spawned a whole generation of West Coast bands.
Yes, all the old favourites – like Carry On, Marakesh Express, Long Time Gone, Déjà vu, Wooden Ships, Suite: Judy Blue Eyes et al – are present within a career spanning 25 track set.
The main feast, of course, is served on the DVD – their first live recording for over two decades – which includes interviews with the trio, the road crew and band. The CDs replicate the DVD setlist. So the question is, can they still cut the ice?
Well, musically it was never going to be a car crash, not least because they’re surrounded by a top rate cast of supporting players. No, the strengths of C,S & N always lay in the songs and the vocal harmonies.
Well, it’s only natural that time (to say nothing of chemical indulgences) has taken a toll. And you’ve only got to witness the attempts of many of our elder statesmen of rock – McCartney being a prime example – to realise that to hold back the ravages of time on a set of vocal chords is mission impossible.
So first let’s say that Stephen Stills may be no Joe Satriani, but he’s still got the chops and licks so integral to the C,S & N sound that demonstrates that what makes a great guitarist isn’t necessarily speed and dexterity.
OK, so on to the vocal performance – well, while they might not individually and collectively always hit that sweet spot, the combined harmonies are still good enough to make this more than a cash cow.
Aurally, and visually, CSN 2012 is a respectful celebration of better days when the summer was one of sunshine, free love, and peace.
Review by Pete Whalley
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