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Old and in the way?


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Crosby Stills Nash and Young...

we all know the term "young" can hardly be used in reference to these guys. However last night at the ACC, Neil Young helped bring the energy and vigour characteristic of youth to the band's performance and elevated what could have been a truly mediocre concert.

Wednesday night's show at the ACC in Toronto, upon dissection, was rather touch and go. It was apparent throughout the eve that both the crowd and performers experienced highs and lows. The first set seemed to jolt many in attendance. There were definitely many there expecting an "unplugged"-esque concert. Those that were ready to sit back and listen to sweet harmonies and warm acoustics. The poor sound at the start of the electric first set was eventually remedied; however, poor sound was only one of the many barriers between the band and the audience. Other low moments that come to mind were Steven Stills' voice faltering on several occasions, Nash's determination to turn his performance into an aerobic workout (clap, clap, stomp, stomp) and a certain element of cheese that seemed to sneak past nostalgia and overpower some songs on more than one occasion.

The hilarious crowd moments were abundant though: one being watching all the old folks navigate the stairs at the ACC; another being the fact that they had a "seventh inning stretch" during the show for all the arthritic adults in attendance. Not to harp on the old folks too much though - I was there with my parents and it was quite nice to look around and see parents and kids bonding over the same music. The tune "Teach your children" took on a whole new and rather touching meaning.

The high moments were generally attributed to Neil Young. I felt almost bad for CSN at points as the crowd's adoration seemed disproportionately (yet rightly) swayed in Neil's favour. Nostalgia was what the crowd was there for last night and newer songs, such as Nash's tribute to the Sept 11th victims, were met with lukewarm reactions. The entire crowd was brought to a fervor led by Neil on more than one occasion: namely during Southern Man, Cinnamon Girl and "Rockin' in the Free World". The money I shelled out for the show was well worth it if only to hear this rendition of the song.

The acoustic set was definitely where CSN's strength lay. Yet, during this set I still found myself seeking out Neil's vocals in the harmonies. His voice seems, to me, to be the only one out of the four that has remained sweet and pure over the years. Don't get me wrong, there is a certain charm in the raggedness of aging rock stars. However, the charm fades when it begins to affect the quality of the music that is played. Thankfully for Neil Young and his career, it seems that age doesn't seem to affect the music he performs or creates.

Although he dabbles in nostalgia, he doesn't rely on it.

Upon dissection - touch and go, but on the whole - an enjoyable evening.

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Y'know, I saw these guys, was it last year? It was a great show, and again, because of Neil. I've seen CSN before and they play like "Hey, I'm N of CSN and no matter how I play, people will eat it up." At CSNY it was more like "Jeses, Y is playing like he's auditioning for his first record contract, I'm gonna look like an idiot if I don't try a little harder." Because of that vibe and the absurd pricing I encountered, I gave it a pass this time. I have records if I want nostalgia.

Glad it was a good show, Neil always rocks.

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hmmmm, interesting review. I went both nights. First night was amazing. Neil tore the place up. Second night was a better setlist. but not nearly as good. yes stills was embarrasing some times, and nash was embarrasing all the time, but, hey who can complain. The second night we got wooden ships, southern cross, and teach your children, three big songs not played the night before. I went to both shows on Y2K tour, and they definately sounded much better this time around. unfortunately there were some sound problems at the beginning of the second night, but they were taken care of immediately.

great shows both nights.

they may be old but when i look back at all the shows i've seen in the last year, both those shows rule over a lot of the jam bands shows i've seen . ( mmw, sci, db, moe, ) just to name a few.

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M,

I didn't see this show, but your review pretty much covers the ones i did see. I do find it interesting that nobody has mentioned david crosby (actually nobody mentioned any of their first names either except neil) at all in any of the reviews, is he just mellow and cool ? flying under the radar? Just curious. I'm also surprised that so many people have singled out stephen stills - i thought he played great when i saw him - but a couple of people have specifically mentioned that he was embarrassing - interesting, he use to be a great guitarist... oh well ...

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