Neil Young News
(2/7/02, 3 p.m. ET) -- It was time for Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young (CSNY) and fans to "Rejoice! Rejoice!" again Wednesday (February 6) as the quartet opened its second tour in two years. Looser and more confident than on the opening night of its 2000 reunion tour--at the same venue, Michigan's Palace Of Auburn Hills--CSNY were in strong form as they charged through a 32-song, three-hour-and-10-minute (plus intermission) marathon that surveyed the careers of all four musicians, individually and collectively, for the nearly 16,000 fans in attendance.
Opening with "Carry On/Questions" from the quartet's first album, 1970's Deja Vu, CSNY distinguished itself this time out not only with expected favorites--among them "Our House," "Teach Your Children," "Suite: Judy Blue Eyes," "Marrakesh Express," "Helplessly Hoping," and "Woodstock"--but also with songs from deep in their nearly 40-year catalog of material. Some of those, such as the Graham Nash's Crosby, Stills & Nash (CSN) selections "Military Madness," "Half Your Angels," and "I Used To Be A King," were clearly chosen for their pointed political and social themes in the wake of the September 11 terrorist attacks. "Carry Me," originally recorded by Nash and David Crosby, echoed the theme in a more subtle and emotional manner.
Stephen Stills unveiled a pointed new song, "Feed The People," and delivered a soulful cover of "Old Man Trouble," which was written by tour keyboardist Booker T. Jones (who backed CSNY along with Booker T. & the MG's bandmates Donald "Duck" Dunn on bass and Steve "Smokey" Potts on drums).
Neil Young, meanwhile, debuted four songs from his forthcoming album Are You Passionate?--"Going Home," "You're My Girl," "Let's Roll," and "Two Old Friends"--while dipping into his solo catalogue for crowd-pleasers like "Old Man," "Harvest Moon," and "Rockin' In The Free World."
The group also delivered "For What It's Worth" from Stills's and Young's days with Buffalo Springfield, while the two men provided musical highlights throughout the evening with fiery lead guitar duels on "Almost Cut My Hair," "Cinnamon Girl," "Long Time Gone," "Southern Man," and "Wooden Ships."
Though the modestly decorated stage included a nod to September 11--notably a backdrop featuring literature and photos related to the tragedy--the group, known for its temperamental relationships over the years, was in good humor and in good voice, thanks to some judicious key changes. They cracked jokes about whether or not Crosby would make mistakes and were unflapped when they had to correct the starts to a couple of the songs.
Young saluted a Denver chair maker who provided them with customized stools to sit on during their quiet songs, and CSNY reprised the "seventh inning stretch" from the 2000 tour, complete with video footage of the late Chicago Cubs announcer Harry Caray singing "Take Me Out To The Ball Game."
But the group was sincere when it thanked the Palace fans for showing up. As Crosby noted at one point, "I'm so glad you guys came. We could probably have almost this much fun in a garage by ourselves--but not quite."
Young, meanwhile, tells LAUNCH that he anticipates that things will only get better as the tour goes on, and he thinks it will even leave the acclaimed 2000 outing in the dust, too. "I think now will be musically a lot more cohesive than we were last time, although I thought it was good the last time," he says. "I think this is markedly improved over that."
CSNY, which plays tonight (February 7) in Columbus, Ohio, also performs on Sunday (February 10) at Van Andel Arena in Grand Rapids, Michigan.
CSNY's full opening night setlist included:
First Set: "Carry On/Questions," "Military Madness," "Going Home," "Deja Vu," "Feed The People," "I Used To Be A King," "49 Bye-Byes," "You're My Girl," "Southern Cross," "Almost Cut My Hair," and "Cinnamon Girl."
Second Set: "Helplessly Hoping," "Our House," "Old Man," "Carry Me," "Dream For Him," "Harvest Moon," "Guinnevere," "Half Your Angels," "Old Man Trouble," "Marrakesh Express," "Suite: Judy Blue Eyes," and "Teach Your Children."
The "Seventh Inning Stretch"
Third Set: "Let's Roll," "Woodstock," "Long Time Gone," "Two Old Friends," "Southern Man," "For What It's Worth," "Wooden Ships," and "Rockin' In The Free World."
Encore: "Long May You Run"
-- Gary Graff, Detroit
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