....................... ...........April- 2002-Oakland
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Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young
...Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young: They came, they rocked at the sold-out Oakland Arena on Thursday. The legendary quartet offered several decades worth of great songs and a few clinkers. They threw themselves into ragged but passionate performances informed by off-key singing and rip-roaring guitar jousting. For anyone who appreciated the change-the-world bent of the collected works of David Crosby, Stephen Stills, Graham Nash and Neil Young, from Buffalo Springfield's "For What It's Worth" to CSNY's "Ohio". ..........A pair of post-Sept. 11 tributes, Young's "Let's Roll" and Nash's "Half Your Angels"—sank beneath the weight of their lyrical and sonic clichés (Nash's loungy electric keyboards, Young's hackneyed guitar riff). But Young's "Going' Home" upheld his legacy for raging, "Hurricane"-style epics, its big guitar chords pounding through the drone of Booker T. Jones' Hammond organ.
..........Neil Young also unveiled some soul numbers from his forthcoming solo album, including "You're My Girl" and "Two Old Friends." The straw-haired guitarist's presence energized everyone on stage, particularly Stills. If Young's solos tend to unwind with a similar slow-burn patience, Stills remains a master of many voices: a fusion of raga-rock and flamenco on "Suite: Judy Blue Eyes," a gleaming blade slicing through Young's jagged barbed-wire tone on "Woodstock," a jazz bassist on Crosby's "Dream for Him." Crosby and Nash never found a comfortable vocal range for the demanding, quirkily brilliant "Genevieve," but Crosby brought fire to "Almost Cut My Hair" and "Long Time Gone."
.......Nash played cheerleader for the guitar solos, and his nursery-rhyme facility in "Our House" and "Teach Your Children" remains quaintly inescapable. The foursome buckled down hardest for "Rocking in the Free World." "Don't feel like Satan, but I am to them," Young sang, a line that cut to the heart of the matter. It used to be a black and white world for the socially conscious rock 'n' rollers of the '60s.
.......C.S.N.Y got plenty of power from the backing of organist Booker T. Jones, his MG's bassist Donald "Duck" Dunn and drummer Steve Potts. Throughout the show, Crosby beamed a beatific, Wilford Brimley-like smile, Stills played and sang with rare passion, and Nash lent his sweet, high voice to several songs of his own and to the always scintillating CSNY harmonic and Neil Young led the quartet-perhaps the late '60s and early '70s' quintessential conglomeration of socially relevant hippie musicians-to numerous peaks during a 3-hour performance mix.
.....They are the answer of music that makes you forget life's problems for the time your with them.

By Randy Cohen

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