Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Crosby, Stills & Nash: Carrying On After All These Years

Carry on, love is coming, love is coming to us all.

"It looks like my class reunion," I said.

"Yeah, except you don't know anyone," my son laughed.

We were in the Kings Theatre in Brooklyn, far from my Tempe, Arizona HS alma mater on that May 16th.  Middle age was everywhere. Pot bellies and love handles. Balding or graying heads.  Wrinkles. Tie dye shirt, pony tails, and other hints of the 70s emerged also.  I practically apologized to my son for bringing him to hang out with all these old people. "I know their music," he noted.

I sneaked a peak at the band's recent set lists before the show. Previous concerts had featured a two-part set with 24 songs.  This would be a longer concert.

The moment the band walked onstage, applause broke out and the crowd rose to their feet. "Really?" I thought.  We were in one of the most luxurious and exquisitely beautiful theaters I've ever stepped inside, with burgundy velvet plush, padded seats and my generation wanted to do this concert on their feet?  Except for a few acoustic solos in the second set .... yes, they did. The exhaustion of my extensive NYC jaunt that day was showing.

Hearing the opening song, "Carry On," took my breath away. If the song remembers when, they took me back to junior high and high school with hits like "Our House,” “Southern Cross," and "The Road to Marakesh".  Their distinctive, classic harmonies were as compelling as they were over 40 years ago, even though at times, not surprisingly, they sounded like grandpas. And with good reason: all are in their 70s.  

The acoustic portion of the concert featured new material. "As songwriters, we'll fossilize if we can't sing new material," they explained.  Captivating and melodious but unlikely to see the top of a chart.  The show finished with "Wooden Ships" and they treated their fans to “Teach Your Children” and “Judy Blue Eyes” for the encore.

I can't remember what time the show ended, but it was plenty late.  All I could do was shake my head and say "wow."  Unbelievable they are still in the game.  We sauntered to the exit with a throng of others singing "do do do do do."  Outside, a downpour of spring rain awaited us.

A few comments about Brooklyn's Kings Theater. It's exceptionally beautiful, with every corner adorned with ornate and luxurious decor.  The building was once a Loew’s movie theater.  After being shuttered for years, it reopened in its repurposed state in February 2015 and is a great tribute to those who refurbished it.  The staff was very friendly and accommodating.  If you ever have an opportunity to hear a concert at Kings, you should go.  It's a breathtaking, one-of-a-kind venue.



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