Thursday, August 31, 2006
Tuesday, August 1, 2006
because of this drive, and late work hours, i ended up missing the first 20 minutes of crosby, stills, nash, and young last night at the hollywood bowl. which means, since the setlists each night seem pretty much the same, that i missed seeing neil young and stephen stills jam out to my favorite CSNY song, "carry on." and i'll probably never get the chance to see it again (please put out a dvd!). a hard truth to get past, but i tried not to let it spoil the rest of my evening.
footing it from the parking garage of hollywood/highland all the way up to the bowl -- sprinting halfway as the anticipation and realization that i was missing it kicked in -- i finally got to my seat about four or five songs in, took off my flannel, shook out my hair, and was ready to rock.
the whole three-hour-plus show was a political statement, and one much appreciated. a good number of the songs were from young's scathing new album, "living with war," and the rest of the guys performed them with just as much gusto as old neil himself. the harmonies were so good on songs like "the restless consumer," "shock and awe," and "let's impeach the president" that i kind of wished CSN had been involved in the actual recording of the album. the latter song, late in the second set, roused a lot of emotion from the crowd (of which i was probably one of the youngest) and finally got them all to their feet -- not that they weren't enjoying the show sitting down.
besides the new young songs, the group played a lot of their best material, both together and solo. some highlights included the david crosby-penned "almost cut my hair" and "deja vu," and gram nash's "immigration man" and "chicago." all of the classics took on new politcal meanings ("immigration man" was performed in front of the backdrop of a mexican flag, etc.), and they were all stunningly performed. even though stills now looks about as bad as crosby, he and neil young rocked out. crosby and nash played more guitar than i ever imagined they would. and all four men, though in a politcal mood, were there to do what they loved and enjoy it.
the big highlights were stills leading the group in his hit with buffalo springfield, "for what it's worth," nash and crosby doing an intimate acoustic rendering of "guinivere" (a song i've never been particularly fond of in the past, but really thought was amazing in concert), young's beautiful "only love can break your heart," "almost cut..." and "deja vu" led by crosby, neil saying "thank god there's not a draft -- i wouldn't want to have to write this song again" and then busting into "ohio," neil's guitar breathing new life into the 1982 CSN gem "southern cross," and the ultimate closer, "rockin' in the free world" -- which i've seen pearl jam do live nearly a dozen times, but which is a whole new experience with uncle neil.
all and all it was an amazing night, and also a night to think. to think about what i'm really doing about the things in the world that don't seem right. it's one thing to sit around and complain, to do a little research, read the media, and come up with legitimate arguments. it's another thing to voice an opinion. strongly voice an opinion. and get involved in making a change. times aren't so different than twenty or thirty years ago -- maybe the world is bigger and smaller at the same time. maybe there are different forms of communication. maybe the same hippies that were getting high and going to see CSNY in the early 70s, protesting what was wrong in their world, are now yuppies paying their $150 to sit at the hollywood bowl and sip chardonney while watching these old guys crank out new tunes they barely know, waiting for the hits. but things haven't really changed that much. there is still a need for a voice. a voice made up of people in this country and world to call our leaders on when they are being wrong. that's the point of this tour. the "freedom of speech tour." we all need to speak up, do our part, help make a change. and i know it's easy for me to sit here and say all this, but i am now even more determined to find the ways to take action.