CSN at the Wellmont: We Have All Been Here Before

OK, maybe not ALL of us, but I would safely say that MOST of last night’s sold-out audience at the Wellmont Theater had been hanging out with Rock and Roll Hall of Famers David Crosby, Stephen Stills and Graham Nash (as well as their sometimes fourth band member, Neil Young) since their first album was released in 1969. The bulk of the audience had clearly “Been Here Before,” and the flashbacks of moments past were flying around the venue so thick that a sort of memory air traffic control might have been appropriate. But, in the spirit of the Baby Boomer generation, everyone’s personal deja vus mingled in a peaceful co-existence, as did the dancers, swayers, sing-alongers and screamers. But, while it was a concert that evoked a bygone era, the music was fresh, and the players were spot on.

The general consensus from Baristanet’s informal exit poll was that the guys have still got everything they ever had; exquisite and intricate harmonies, riveting musical phrasing, outstanding guitar playing (a special thank you goes to Stephen Stills), a bit of political commentary and a warm stage presence. Wooden Ships was a notable song, along with their encore, Suite Judy Blue Eyes, but really, everything that came from the stage last night was excellent. And the crowd was special, in a way that is worth noting. Hard to put a finger on it, but it definitely felt like hanging out with old friends who were all in great spirits and had a similar take on life. I guess when you’ve all been there before, that can happen.

CSN is at the Wellmont again tonight. Get there early if you can… maybe you’ll catch a glimpse of the musicians before the show. And, if you’re not of the Boomer generation, go anyway to hear what is — without a doubt — one of the iconic American musical acts.

Here’s a video clip from a particularly charming sing-along moment of last night’s concert. Thanks to our reader Gail Prusslin for catching it.

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  1. Interestingly, last night’s Beach Boys concert at the PNC Arts Center was not at all “geezerville,” but rather a nice, cross-generational evening where a good time was had by apparently all. but then, the concept of fun, fun, fun will always be better to embrace that David Crosby and Graham Nash’s consistently rather dumb political comments. (Their old “Chicago” song which posted that the likes of Jerry Rubin and Abbie Hoffman were my “brothers” and that I should thus be upset they were bound and gagged is my personal choice as their worst song ever, but the glory of their back catalogue is how many candidates there are. Anyone for “Triad” or “Wooden Ships?”)

    David Marks in particular, the long-gone Beach boy from the original group, was a special revelation. Looks like the aged actor Tom Aldredge, sang like an angel. And even soloed on that weird closing instrumental from “Pet Sounds.” They all seemed enthusiastic and in good voice last night, including the two “backup” guys who actually do many of the high notes.

    But Brian, alas, once he was pulled from behind his piano, looked as baffled and drug-addled as ever. It’s very sad. Sadder still that, as I’ve read, he’s actually been allowed to adopt children in this condition. What, nobody just thought to ask Carnie and Wendy about his parenting skills?

  2. Very disappointed in the concert. The sound was extremely loud, tinny, and the vocals were unintelligible from where I was sitting. Walked out after half an hour.

  3. I think the sound at the Wellmont is awful. I was thinking about getting Fiona Apple tix tomorrow but I always leave there disappointed with the sound. Believe me I’m not an audio snob but I know bad sound when i hear it.

  4. That’s the dirty little secret of all electronically amplified concerts in big halls. The sound is crap. It’s always too loud by about 30 percent and the separation is total mush. For instance, I saw Bob Dylan a few years ago at City Center, which is a small-ish place, and I couldn’t tell Boots of Spanish Leather from Like a Rolling Stone. Two weeks ago, Tallest Man at Town Hall was a little better, but there was some resonant frequency in the middle ranges that muddied things up. This kind of thing drives me crazy, but the people I’m with usually think I’m crazy.

  5. In the specific case of Bob Dylan, walleroo, how can you ever be sure it’s the venue’s sound system which is to blame?

    And who or what is “Tallest Man?”

    Also, how come nobody in Baristanet ever goes to see the countryfied likes of Kenny Chesney, Little Big Town and Jason Aldean? If they do, they never mention it here. Yet we do again have a country music station in the general NY area, “Thunder 106.3” out of Eatontown. Not terribly “traditional country” in the music it plays which is mainly young, studf-like “hat acts” so far), but it generally comes in fine on the car radio.

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