When Crosby, Stills & Nash opened their tenth engagement at the Greek Theatre Friday night with a spirited opening duo of “Carry On” and “Questions” they were probably questioning the audience response. David Crosby joked about the latecomers, talkers and texters early on, but after ten songs, which included the excellent emotional ballad “Lay Me Down” written by keyboardist (and Crosby’s son) James Raymond, a couple with the best seats in the house appeared and caused such a commotion that a rightfully angry Graham Nash said: “It’s hard to sing a song when fourteen people are in front of you moving into different seats because someone arrived late!”
CS&N, whose three stars are in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame twice for their other work in the Byrds, Buffalo Springfield and the Hollies respectively, then got the audiences’ attention for the rest of the warm evening. Oddly enough, they did so with a new lovely ballad by Crosby and son entitled “Radio” followed by five songs that lead to intermission including the Stills-penned “Love The One You’re With” and the Springfield classic “Bluebird,” both of which earned the lead guitarist a rousing ovation.
The second half of the show opened with the ballad “Helplessly Hoping,” one of six songs they performed from their classic 1969 debut album. For the rest of the evening, the trio constantly displayed the unique harmonic blend of their three voices, especially on the haunting Stills compositions “Daylight Again” and “Find the Cost of Freedom.” Nash’s “Our House,” Crosby’s “Almost Cut My Hair” — a resonant social anthem even for bald baby boomers — and the apocalyptic “Wooden Ships” ended the show.
The first encore “For What it’s Worth,” proved once again that Stills has never rightly received recognition as a guitarist. For a band whose second gig was at the 1969 famed Woodstock music festival, one would have assumed their final encore would be their rocking hit of Joni Mitchell’s song, “Woodstock.” Instead CS&N did what they do best: they challenged and surprised their fans with “Suite: Judy Blue Eyes,” a song long absent from the trio’s setlists. When Stills playfully clutched his throat after hitting the hard high notes in the finale, his bandmates smiled and showed their approval.