Monday 23 March 2015

CSN/Y: Surviving TV Appearances 1969-09

Available to buy in ebook format 'Change Partners - The Alan's Album Archives Guide To Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young' by clicking here!

The AAA Youtube CSNY Playlist is now up and running at 

Together and apart, CSN (with and without Y) recorded one heck of a lot of TV appearances down the years - interviews, concerts, documentaries, even the odd music video or two. Three of these you can see on DVD now: selections from the Wembley and Landover 1974 gigs are on the box set 'CSNY '74' (released 2014 - with the complete near four hour Wembley show out on DVD unofficially), there’s a 1982 set with an ailing Crosby at Los Angeles' Forum Ampitheatre (titled 'Daylight Again') and a 1990 set billed as 'CSN Acoustic' (along with a semi-official Manassas German concert from 1972 and a Crosby-Nash live DVD from 2012): all of these have already been covered in full in our 'DVD' section. However, there remains a great long list of CSN/Y TV appearances scattered like musical confetti across a sea of American and European TV networks.
The good news is that more CSN material seems to have survived the ravages of the years than most AAA bands: American television studios tend to keep more than British ones and by 1969 most people were in the habit of keeping things (although the loss of a BBC Manassas set from 1972 is still a tragedy of the highest magnitude). The bad news is it's hard to get hold of it all, with most of CSN's appearances tending to be one-offs in a variety of shows that have never been released commercially. So as ever with these books here's the caveat: I can personally vouch that each of these performances exist because I've seen them but, passionate collector that I am, I dare say there's something I've missed somewhere on some obscure late night channel in Moldova sometime, so this isn't a complete list of CSNY clips: it can't be, they did too much. It is, however, as complete a list as I've seen anywhere else so hopefully it will still be useful to fellow fans. (I do know of a few other TV shows CSNY did for instance but which I've never been able to track down). Youtube is, as ever, a good place to look for all this stuff, even though the clips that are there tend to arrive and disappear as quickly as a CSNY reunion. The Pandora's Box of the digital age, it's now bizarrely easier to find a rare unbilled performance from 1965 than it ever would have been at the time and we've tried to make the most of it, compiling together playlists of all our 30 bands at our Alan's Album Archives page ( that's free to see - so why not give us a 'follow' and come and say 'hello'? (You can have a look at our six Alan's Album Archives videos while you're there!) So anyway, on with our list which includes the highs, the lows, the concerts for peace, the heartfelt rows, the cheap and tacky music videos and the lengthy shows put on with a lot of love, here's our AAACSN/YTV guide starting with the band's second ever show...
1) CSNY: Woodstock (August 18th 1969)
[10] Suite: Judy Blue Eyes/[24] Blackbird/[11] Helplessly Hoping/[13]Guinevere/ [18] Marrakesh Express/[34] 4+20/’Mr Soul’/‘Wonderin'/[15] You Don't Have To Cry/[20] Pre-Road Downs/[19] Long Time Gone/[81] Bluebird Revisited/[50] Sea Of Madness/[12] Wooden Ships/[47] Find The Cost Of Freedom/[16] 49 Bye Byes
CSNY's Woodstock set is of course legendary: the band were such a major part of every hippie utopian ideal the show stood for that they get the longest song in the original film (a respectably ragged version of 'Suite: Judy Blue Eyes' with Stills desperately trying to stop his guitar de-tuning mid-song) and two slightly remixed album tracks added to the soundtrack where the roadies are setting up the stage ('Long Time Gone' and the first half of 'Wooden Ships'). In case you're wondering why the announcer gormlessly calls them 'Crosby Stills Nash...' that's because Neil Young was aghast at the idea of having cameras on stage and refused to be filmed for posterity, the 'and Young' being chopped off in the editing room and meaning that only the 'CSN' acoustic section of this set remains (the list above is everything they played that night along with Neil - including a 'different' version of 'Sea Of Madness' to the one mistakenly added to the 'Woodstock' soundtrack LP set!) The performance is understandably a bit bedraggled, what with the mud and the helicopters and the stars standing back stage watching on and CSNY had only one warm up gig prior to this, which must have been scary as hell (indeed it is, with Stills’ soundbite one of the most quoted moments from the show). However they were a huge success, most of the papers the next day calling them the stars (or at least the 'heart') of the festival and the hippie movement. Alas unlike some other AAA bands CSN had no extra performances added to the four hour 'director's cut' of the film or the four disc box set released for the 30th anniversary in 2009. However a nice performance of 'Blackbird' cropped up in the third episode of excellent 1994 set 'Woodstock Diaries'  and a fiery 'Marrakesh Express' can be bought as part of the CSN documentary DVD 'Long Time Comin' ,  a release which is going to be making a lot of appearances on this list...Grainy footage also exists on Youtube of a messy ‘Long Time Gone’ (not the studio remix used in the film but a live recording), an even messier ‘helplessly Hoping’ with a Stills ad lib about a ‘helplessly hoping helicopter that hovers nearby’ and a fascinating duel (‘duet’ doesn’t do it justice) between Stills and Young on an acoustic guitar jam that starts out like ‘Black Queen’ and ends up as Buffalo Springfield song ‘Mr Soul’ (it’s a wonder this song exists at all given that Neil refused to be filmed, although that said most of the footage is a close-up of Stills throughout anyway). All of this footage is still awaiting official release, which seems shameful for perhaps the most celebrated act at rock and roll’s most celebrated gig! Some clever so and so has also put the genuine live performance of ‘Wooden Ships’ from this gig over the top of the studio version, used in the film during the opening when the stage is built and extended to fit the extra running time, which is well worth seeing/hearing too!
2) CS: Dick Cavett Show (19/8/1969)
[34] 4+20
The very next day after their Woodstock gig Crosby and Stills were flown by helicopter to appear on the prestigious Dick Cavett show, alongside fellow Woodstock veterans The Jefferson Airplane and Joni Mitchell. Cavett, the 1960s' most likeable and open-minded interviewer of the 1960s, is surrounded by the two groups in a circle and has fun ribbing them about what their 'parents' think about all this (for the record Crosby, the oldest musician in the room, is twenty-eight!) before talking about what a major change this is in the way youngsters are being perceived by their peers. Crosby is on top form, telling Cavett that from afar in a helicopter the Woodstock crowd looked like a 'war camp' and a ‘retreat by the Macedonian armies’ and is still clearly on a high from how magical it all was. Stills too proudly displays his 'muddy trousers' like he's bearing a military cross and even throws in a quick version of '4+20' (a song which won't be released for almost a full year yet), which is excellent despite Stills messing up a line in the second verse. Strangely no mention is made of Nash or Young who both fail to appear. However the biggest factor here for the CSNY fan is Joni Mitchell's appearance. Still very much at the start of her journey of fame, her manager had forbidden her to appear at Woodstock because he figured the Dick Cavett show was so important she couldn't afford to miss it if she couldn't be brought back in time. Fed up at her boyfriend Nash and pals getting all the fun, she penned the song [32] 'Woodstock' the very night before this show, although sadly she doesn't mention it (singing 'Circle Game' instead). CSNY will, of course, have a hit with that song the following year. The entire show is a fascinating historical discussion that really takes you back, especially the Airplane's stoned conversation and thankfully is available complete on the 'Dick Cavett: Rock Icons' three disc set. Highly recommended.
3) CSNY: Music Scene (9/1969)
‘Down By The River’
What would CSNY choose to sing on their first major TV appearance together? How about a song they never recorded professionally but the four of them - and which Neil had already released a couple of months before with Crazy Horse! (The opening hints it will be from CSNY’s 'next' album, but this is clearly nonsense given that Neil's solo version had come out by then and suggests they changed their minds what to play last minute). Much as I love the Horse (especially Danny Whitten's superb inspired playing on the original), I've always adored the CSNY versions of this song which are heavier, chunkier and far more serious – even more of a matter of life and death. Stills and Young are at their peak as duelling (guitar) axe murderers, which is rather apt given the sentiments of this murderous song where Neil gets so paranoid he ‘shoots’ his baby (during these 1969 shows he announced to the audience it was ‘about blowing your thing with a chick’ but on its revival on some 1990s tours he admitted he was feeling murderous about his first wife). This is one of the greatest versions of the song around, starting off as a full ensemble piece (with Crosby on rhythm guitar and Nash on organ) before Stephen and Neil gradually edge closer and closer towards each other, lost in a world of their own as they don’t just play but fight. Time and time again they break apart, leaving each other to play, only to get into an intense battle where they both try and outplay each other with giant pyrotechnics and lots of quite brilliant noise. Hearing this version makes even more sense of Neil’s admission he wrote this song with a 103 degree fever, although it's Stills extraordinary guitar runs and pained counter-vocals that sound the most delirious. Drawn out to five minutes - far shorter than the Crazy Horse version but long for a TV appearance of its day - it's clear already just how powerful this band can be.  An incomplete clip of this song was included on the 'Long Time Comin' DVD although thankfully the full length version can be seen on Youtube.
4) CSNY: Balboa Stadium, San Diego (9/1969)
[19] Long Time Gone/[49] The Lee Shore
Alas you probably won't be seeing this gig officially any time soon, given that it consists of silent footage of the quartet backstage and during soundcheck for the gig. Thankfully a lot of 1969 CSNY shows exist on bootleg including this one, with one fan kindly adding two tracks of music to go along with the footage, which understandably doesn't quite synch up with the footage but is still more than good enough to watch. Some bands' muted footage would really bore me, but CSNY are such a charismatic bunch that even without the words the camera is fascinated by them and their characters: Crosby is all laidback cool, Stills is a restless ball of energy, Nash diplomatically steps in when no one else will and Young moodily stares away from the others in a world of his own. Fascinating stuff, especially when a clearly excited audience start pouring in! Sadly no footage seems to exist of the various elements that went into making this one of the more infamous CSNY gigs, interrupted by mechanical gremlins, noisy aeroplanes and a drugged out heckler.
5) CSNY: A Celebration At Big Sur (13 and 14/9/1969)
[11] Helplessly Hoping/[13] Guinevere/[21] Lady Of The Island/’Birds’/[34] 4+20/ [15] You Don't Have To Cry/[50] Sea Of Madness/[12] Wooden Ships/’Down By The River’/[10] Suite: Judy Blue Eyes/[20] Pre-Road Downs/[19] Long Time Gone/[80] Bluebird Revisited (Stills also guests on Joan Baez and John Sebastian's solo sets)
Thankfully CSNY were in a much happier mood for their headlining appearance at the Big Sur festival, a smaller open air event that is never talked about in the same breath as Woodstock but featured another whose who of music at the turn of the decade (other acts include Joan Baez, Joni Mitchell, John Sebastian, The Flying Burrito Brothers and The Incredible String Band). A little-seen film of the event came out in 1971 and was rather buried by the success of Woodstock the year before, a film which includes two unusual choices from the CSNY set - and sadly isn't available officially to date. Like 'Woodstock' the film makes use of split-screen technology and spends just as long lingering on the hippie crowd as it does on the musicians, being very much of its time. CSNY are ragged but righteous in the film, Nash and Young duelling on an intense 'Sea Of Madness' and there's another classy Stills-Young guitar  battle on 'Down By The River' which is one of the greatest on record (even if it annoyingly fades at the eight minute mark just when it’s reached blistering point!) plus Stills' solo serenade '4+20' - there's a chance that the rest of CSNY's set from the day still exists, but if so then it's never been seen, which is a shame given how many 'new' and exclusive performances there are (including a CSNY version of Neil's solo 'Birds'). The strangest part of the set comes in the middle, when a grinning Stills tries to walk towards a heckler who keeps interrupting the set with cries of 'you're only playing for the money, man!' Perhaps the fan has his eyes on Stills' clearly expensive fur coat. Stills advances in 'mock battle' pose, threatening to take his revenge, before being grappled by the heckler and the two nearly comes to blows rolling into a nearby pool of water. Stills being Stills, he calmly walks away, sits back on stage and turns in one of the most sublime versions of his acoustic solo '4+20' on record! Stills comments later, while back safely on stage, that he has some sympathy with the heckler and that 'sometimes we look at these fur coats, fancy guitars, fancy cars and say 'wow man what am I doing?' before explaining that jealousy of money is 'just a trap - I had some guys to love me out of it and I was lucky'. The hippie heckler's comments on this piece of curious Stills wisdom were left unrecorded, although closer to the truth is probably Crosby's indignation that the band have just been interrupted with a rant about the dangers of capitalism - while playing at a free festival! Oddly Young agreed to be filmed for this show and appears in the film, although once again CSN opened without him.
6) CSNY: The Tom Jones Show (25/10/1969)
[15] You Don't Have To Cry/[19] Long Time Gone
Sadly absent from the 'Tom Jones Show' DVD retrospective, this priceless footage is amongst the best of the lot. First up the band turn in a nice and rare acoustic version of the first song they ever sang together against a distracting set of blue baubles and Neil already sitting away on his own, as if an outsider in his own band (this ninety second performance was featured in the 'Long Time Comin' DVD). The real treat, though, is Tom Jones ambling up to the band to take lead vocals on Crosby political favourite 'Long Time Gone', instantly turning a song of slow burning fury into soulful posing and gesticulating. Crosby doesn't quite know whether to laugh or cry but Nash certainly does, getting hysterics by the middle of the song! Crosby later claimed to be aghast at how his song was treated, but Stills for one was always very complimentary about Jones' voice. It remains one of the most unusual of CSNY recordings, proof that even this band - made up of huge superstar names and the biggest act on the planet in 1969 - had to play the 'fame game' sometimes.
7) CN: BBC In Concert  (9/11/1969)
[66] Simple Man/[18] Marrakesh Express/[13] Guinevere/[51] Song With No Words (Tree With No Leaves)/[27] Teach Your Children/[17] Right Between The Eyes/[49] The Lee Shore/[58] Traction In The Rain
This charming Crosby-Nash gig is one of three CSNY performances as part of BBC2's beloved 'In Concert' brand, followed by Neil Young and Manassas gigs in 1972 (although sadly the last of these was wiped - boo hoo!) The show was booked as a solo Crosby concert, but the pair had been enjoying playing as an ad hoc unrehearsed duo for the past couple of weeks (in contrast to the tightly controlled CSNY mothership) and took that lovably loose show with them into the studio here (it actually opens with Nash at the piano alone, which must have confused the audiences who booked tickets to see Crosby, David ambling up to sing the second verse with his partner). The duo haven't even discussed which songs to play, breaking off for little playful arguments and disagreements ('why don't you play that one about...oh ok, you can play that one as well!') while Crosby is clearly on something strong, with some outrageous audience patter nobody seems to understand except Nash ('this is the one about the buttered elephant' 'I only understood one word in three out of that!') However the pair are obviously delighting in each other's company and the freedom and support they offer each other: 'Marrakesh Express' has never sounded as 'right' as it does here played on two acoustics, with Crosby providing train noises; similarly Nash's harmony vocals on 'Song With No Words' ('Nash called it 'Tree With No Leaves' - that shows you where he's at!') are sublime. The rare songs here are plentiful, with Nash's 'Right Between The Eyes' and 'Simple Man' plus Crosby's 'The Lee Shore' 'Song With No Words' and 'Traction In The Rain' all unreleased as of this point. The last song, very newly written and hot off the press, sounds especially gorgeous, slower and more emotional than the Nash-less version that will appear on Crosby's 'If Only I Could Remember My Name' set. The pair seem to be discussing another song to do before an engineer out of shot waves at them and they smile and walk back from the crowd, clearly not wanting this fun party to end. Thank goodness this remarkable concert survived tucked away nicely in the BBC's archives, now something of a regular on BBC4's slots whenever it 'fits' with one of their theme nights (folk, California, singer-songwriters, acoustic rock - we've had them all, folks...) It’s one of the best they ever played.
8) CSNY: Altamont (6/12/1969)
[6] Black Queen/[20] Pre-Road Downs/[19] Long Time Gone/’Down By The River’ (setlist incomplete)
CSNY were such a part of the Woodstock era that few people seem to remember that they were at its polar opposite Altamont too, the free festival organised by the Rolling Stones and 'policed' by The Hells Angels. The gig was actually a big deal for the band at the time, being the first major festival since they'd been crowned kings of Woodstock and a reunion for Crosby and Stills with ex-Byrd and future Manassas man Chris Hillman (playing with the Flying Burrito Brothers that night) and Jefferson Airplane and the Grateful Dead suggesting a similarly pally experience if only backstage . However the mood turned ugly long before the Stones' infamous late night set, the point at which a member of the crowd was fatally stabbed. Here many hours earlier 9and delayed by Jefferson Airplane’s Marty Balin getting beaten up by a Hell’s Angel for protecting a girl in the crowd) CSNY keep having to interrupt their set to calm the audience down and are getting increasingly schoolmasterly about the whole thing by the end ('Please stop hurting each other people, you don't have to!' and 'You can always just talk, man!' are Crosby's pained pleas throughout the night).More spiritual fans have retrospectively added that the Stones' dark voodoo' set of songs about rape and murder and sexism was always going to backfire karmically. However the Stones weren't alone - CSNY's set list is as dark as they come and seems deliberately designed to reflect the more troubled times of late 1969 than the happier Woodstock vibe of just four months earlier. Many of their songs for the night are 'new' to the crowd, a few months before appearing on the 'Déjà Vu' album the following year or on various solo projects and come with a dark and heavy vibe. The show includes nastiest, swampiest version of [19] 'Long Time Gone' around (about the Robert Kennedy assassinations) rather sets the tone for a set that also includes Stills' drinking song [6] 'Black Queen' and Young's song of murder 'Down By The River'. And yet by comparison to most, CSNY got away with their set and all but airbrushed their appearance out of history (their part was dropped from the Stones' DVD of the film 'Gimme Shelter' released in 1970). A dark and painful part of CSNY history.
9) CSNY: Fillmore East (June 5th 1970)
[46] Ohio/[47] Find The Cost Of Freedom/’Southern Man’/’Tell Me Why’/’Birds’
By the end of 1969 CSNY had split up for the first time (of many...) in the wake of making ‘Déjà vu’ and the four Fillmore shows they played the following June were amongst their first back together again, the start of a whole new phase in their career (or so it was hoped). It's hard to tell from the existing footage - used by Neil for his curious collage film 'Journey Through The Past' - but the rest of the band had only just come to blows again before playing it, mainly because of Stills hogging his solo set and singing four songs instead of his intended one, leaving the others waiting to come on. Alas Neil's debut as a film director is hard to track down unless you're willing to fork out the ridiculous amount of money asked for it in the 'everything' version of Neil Young's 'Archives' box set. Most of it is unwatchable and CSNY have played many a better gig (including all the ones in this list so far), but at least their angry performances of [46] 'Ohio' and [47] 'Find The Cost Of Freedom' make perfect sense, which is more than you can say for other scenes of horsebacked figures dressed in purple robes who march wordlessly across the desert or the college graduate who throws his mortar board and gown into the sea before shooting up some heroin (the first time in the history of cinema footage of drug-taking was included as part of a film - and one of many reasons why it disappeared so quick, as well as of course as its weirdness). Even though Neil couldn’t take many psychedelics because of his epilepsy you have to ask…what on earth was he on?!?
10) S: Pop 2 (French TV January 1971)
[34] ‘4+20’/’Too Much Today’
Here’s Stephen Stills introducing his London house (the one with [113] ‘Johnny’s Garden’) to a French television audience. Along the way he plays a very under-rehearsed performance of ‘4+20’ that nearly goes wrong many times before talking about his new solo career. For too long he has been ‘a product of the people around me’ and he talks about being bored in Texas (for some reason he announcer thinks it was Louisiana) and talks about how at school he always hung around with the African-American kids who ‘taught me how to drive and take care of a horse’. Stills also claims that even though CSNY have split they will always get back together one day and talks with a warm glow about the idea of playing to audiences behind the iron curtain and spreading hippie warmth, peace and love. Awww! The concert then ends with a bizarre ballad piano version of an unreleased song ‘Too Much Today’ which comes complete with guest George Terry playing a busy flute. It’s open and revealing even by Stills standards and is clearly a pained goodbye to Rita Coolidge he thought better of releasing as he sings about how he went too fast and regrets it and begs at the end for his love to come back ‘as I love you’ (it could of course be an older song for Judy Collins but the timing would suggest Rita). ‘There’s a look in your eye that suggests you’re telling lies’ Stills croons ‘You shut all the doors between us in the year that passed by she discovered that I won’t be afraid…I love you!’ A very fascinating and important clip!
11) S: Sounding Out (US TV 1971)
Interview Footage with brief versions of [34] 4+20/Who Do You Love?/Take Out Some Insurance On Me, Baby/[183] You Can't Catch Me/[4] Know You Got To Run/Hot Dusty Roads
A fascinating fifteen minute interview with Stills, where the guitarist talks in deeper and greater detail than ever before, safe and cosy and erudite in his London home studio and with an interviewer clearly in awe of him (which helps a lot to encourage someone who can often be prickly in interviews). Throughout the programme Stills keeps breaking off from tales of his youth and early influences to demonstrate his points with a series of rare and exclusive cover songs, all played acoustically. The performances are fabulous and make you all the madder that the prolific Stills never had time to fit an acoustic album into his discography until as late as 1991. There's also three definitive performances of the classic '4+20' (which serves as a neat 'introduction' and personal history over the opening credits), a solo banjo 'Know You Got To Run' ('That song was written eight years ago!' Stills tells the camera proudly, dating this song to 1963!) and the only ever performance of the Buffalo Springfield's 'Hot Dusty Road' that isn't the one on the record (it sounds awfully good too!) Along the way we learn about the young Stills staying up till four am after being at school all day so he could listen to an R and B radio station, his hatred of surf guitarist Dick Dale, his early days in first band The Continentals ('I got to sing two songs and they were both blues ones!'), the fact that at age fifteen and trying to play in bars he looked 'more like eleven' and found it hard to get in, getting cold and sick playing in a folk club at nineteen 'where I didn't know what the hell I was doing - but I knew there was something' before saving up the money to see 'A Hard Day's Night' at the cinema and concluding 'I've lived everything I've written - or observed it, they're in everybody those feelings and thoughts and reflections...' staring out the camera as he concludes 'it's all for the sake of the art!' Stills is usually a good interviewee when someone actually listens to him, but he's been caught on a particularly good day here, without the shyness or brashness of some other interviews down the years and his tale of rags to riches is a fascinating one that deserved to be told more. All in all, well worth looking out for anyone whose ever been even slightly curious as to what makes Stephen Stills tick.
12) Manassas: Unknown (?/1973)
[126] Do You Remember The Americans?
The definitive surviving Manassas gig is thankfully out complete on DVD, a 35 minute show taped for German television that features some stunning re-creations of the entire first side of the record and an extended jam through [84] 'The Treasure', alongside a couple of other items - we've dealt with it in full on our 'DVD' page. This Manassas gig is from somewhere in Europe (Germany again would be my guess) and features just a single solitary song from Manassas album number two. A bearded Stills looks the worse for wear, while the wry look of disgust in his direction early on from Chris Hillman suggests that the band aren't getting on too well here. The performance is fine, though, a typically Manassas mixture of styles that manages to sound like pure country but with a funky rock and roll beat that doesn’t sound out of place at all (and much better than the record). Compared to 1972, though, it might be significant that none of the band look at each other - compared to the earlier set where they're nearly always making eye contact. The last station stop for Manassas is clearly already insight...
13) CSNY: Winterland (4/10/1973)
[18] Helplessly Hoping/[12] Wooden Ships/[21] Blackbird/[169] As I Come Of Age/’Roll Another Number (For The Road)’/‘Human Highway’/‘New Mama’/[135] And So It Goes/[133] Prison Song/[19] Long Time Gone/[3] Change Partners
Another fascinating gig, amateurishly filmed in black and white but none the worse for it, a fan by chance happening to tape the Manassas concert when two old friends onto stage to join Stills for the final set (Neil wandering on just in time for the fifth song). The quartet are in great form, chatting and joking between songs and turn in stunning acoustic performances of lots of rare material along the way. An astonishing  six of the above eleven songs had yet to be released at the time and were clearly at least in the running for loosely planned CSNY reunion album 'Human Highway'. These include two songs from Neil's 'Tonight's The Night' album (with a plaintive 'New Mama' sounding especially good) plus 'Human Highway' itself which sounds far better than on the Young record 'Comes A Time', two songs from Nash's 'Wild Tales' record out in three months time (including a moving Crosby opening ramble to Graham's personal 'Prison Song' which he then blows by realising he was meant to be announcing 'And So It Goes!') and Stills' own 'As I Come Of Age'. Old songs 'Blackbird' and an acoustic 'Wooden Ships' sound particularly golden here too, with all four in fine voice. Along the way Crosby gives the crowd a smiley 'hello', grinning at their shocked faces, Stills self-mockingly adding 'hell fellers I played for twenty minutes straight and didn't get a reception like that!' while Nash promises to a restless crowd who won’t sit down to get comfy as 'oh, we're gonna be here for a while...' As ever, CSNY are true to their word and play for a full forty-five minutes, which must have been tough for Stills who'd already played for over two hours earlier in the day! Fans are hopeful that the next CSNY reunion will be sooner rather than later and their wish is granted just two and three gigs later when Crosby and then Crosby-Nash drop by for a similar oldies-with-newies set. Of all the CSNY concerts out there, this one ranks second only to 'Wembley '74' as my favourite CSNY gig: the band are tight yet loose and clearly thrilled to be back together again, if only for a short time as it turns out...
14) N: The Old Grey Whistle Test (10/4/1974 and 8/5/1974)
[139] I Miss You/[138] On The Line/[140] Another Sleep Song
As early as here things have gone sour and a bearded and moody Nash leaves America temporarily to find solace in the arms of Britain. While there he belatedly promotes his second solo album 'Wild Tales', out in January that year, on the BBC's 'hippest' programme 'The Old Grey Whistle Test'. For some reason Nash's appearance is split into two and broadcast on two separate shows nearly a month apart, one of them including a rather guarded interview (with Nash still in a bad place after the murder of girlfriend Amy Gossage at the end of the previous year) and a gorgeous solo piano version of 'I Miss You' with Nash close to tears. The second show features a rather ordinary 'On The Line' together with a stunning solo piano re-write of 'Another Sleep Song', which is both haunting and melancholic. It's deeply unusual to see the generally optimistic Nash this sad and he's clearly still grieving, using his distinctive piano-chord playing to try and thud the pain away. While not available officially, even on the many 'OGWT' DVDs there are out there clogging up shelf space, 'I Miss You' and 'Sleep Song' do occasionally turn up on BBC sanctioned compilations on 'singer-songwriters at the BBC' 'Californian Rock at the BBC' and 'Famous Grahams At The BBC' or whatever the heck the last one was called.
15) CSN: The Summit, Houston, Texas (22/10/1977)
[19] Long Time Gone/[12] Wooden Ships/[182] To The Last Whale/[222] Just A Song Before I Go/[216] Shadow Captain/[268] For Free (complete setlist unknown)
After all three slipped out of sight for a few years CSN's reunion in 1977 was on a much bigger scale than before, not in terms of audience numbers perhaps but in terms of gigs, the trio clocking in an impressive thirty in two stretches of performances in June and October that year. This one from near the end of the run (it was the twenty-eighth show) was chosen for a tv concert that was never used and is the source of both four songs on the 'Long Time Comin' DVD documentary and the pair of Crosby vocals chosen to pad out the Crosby-less live album 'Allies' in 1983. The band aren't quite at their peak and are clearly tired, while being slickly professional rather than lovingly ramshackle as per earlier tours, but there's a meat and power about their electric performances at this show that still make it a memorable one. Crosby already looks past his best, with a rather vacant stare that's actually more alarming than the more famous one from the 'The Forum' gig in 1982 (as seen on the DVD 'Daylight Again'), while Stills and Nash (the latter decked out in a rather fetching t-shirt sporting the CSN logo) are uncharacteristically muted too (although conversely this suits the nicely laidback 'Just A Song Before I Go'). By their standards they're simply going through the motions, although it would be nice to have the full concert out on something official so that we can appraise it properly as presumably it still exists somewhere in the band's collection (especially as until the 'CSNY '74' set the only place you could buy pre-1980s material was as part of the Woodstock set). Fans might be interested to note that this is the first appearance of the 'whale' film shown on a screen during the 'album' version of 'Critical Mass', which has been seen on quite a few CSN and Crosby-Nash tours since.
16) CSN: No Nukes! The MUSE Concerts For A Non-Nuclear Future (Recorded 9/1979, Released 5/1970)
[220] Cathedral (Nash Solo)/[15] You Don't Have To Cry/[19] Long Time Gone/[27] Teach Your Children (Nash also performs with Jackson Browne, James Taylor and Carly Simon)
Another gig in serious need of a re-issue is the official cinema film of Nash-organised charity concert aimed to educate the public over the dangers of nuclear power. The concert was one close to Nash's chest - the American Government had decided to bury barrels of nuclear fuel just off the coast of Hawaii where his family lived. Nash scored a coup by acquiring the services of Bruce Springsteen's E Street Band - then the hottest act on the planet - and they naturally won most of the headlines about this show which features a whole range of nuclear-concerned musicians from yester year like James Taylor, Carly Simon, The Doobie Brothers, Gil Scott Heron, Richie Furay's old band Poco and Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers. Nash was originally down to play just a solo set (which included a stunning 'Cathedral' and a then-new song 'Barrel Of Pain' from his 'Earth and Sky' album written for the event), but was persuaded by the concerts' backers that a CSN reunion would draw in bigger crowds. Nash really didn't want to - he felt that both Crosby and Stills were in bad shape and admitted later that he was particularly concerned that Crosby would take this as a 'message' that the pair had made up over his drug use and that he was as capable as he'd ever been. However he was persuaded for the sake of the festival and the first CSN reunion in two years was greeted by fans as if it was likely to be the last (which it nearly was). The trio are naturally a little shaky, the film mainly featuring them at rehearsal as the two-CD various artist set reveals that they were a little off-key during the gig itself, but CSN are often at their best ragged and are at least more passionate here than on the last tour they'd done together in 1977. However the best bits tend to be those where, in the spirit of the day, Nash quietly steps onto stage to back whoever happens to be singing, adding some unique harmonies to sets by James Taylor, Carly Simon and Jackson Browne among others, or a moving rehearsal interlude where newly born son Jackson Nile Nash tries to play the bottom notes of the piano to accompany his dad rehearsing 'Our House'! Alas this gig is not yet out on DVD (and it should be - it was big news in its day, if more for Bruce and the novelty of nuclear protesting rather than CSN's comeback), although it is shown on television about once every twenty-five years or so!
17) S: Capitol Theatre (Concert 1979)
‘Precious Love’/’For What It’s Worth’/[229] You Can’t Dance Alone/[227] Cuba El Fin/[60] Go Back Home/’How Wrong Can You Be?’/[37] Love The One You’re With/[207] Make Love To You/ [43] Cherokee/[103] Rock ‘n’ Roll Crazies-Cuban Bluegrass/[104] Jet Set (Sigh)/’Uncle James’/[230] Thoroughfare Gap/’Come In My Kitchen’
The California Blues Band Tour of 1979 was one of Stills’ best – certainly his weirdest. For the first time Stills was out of contract following the failure of ‘Thoroughfare Gap’ and he’s free to do what he likes. In this case doing what he liked involved putting together a much bigger heavier sound with new keyboard Mike Finnigan and a pre-fame co-singer named Bonnie Bramlett (mere months away from breaking big) getting equal shares of the attention. Stills has half an album ready to go – the unreleased one he was recording digitally – and many of the songs here will never be heard of again including the noisy opener ‘Precious Love’, Bonnie song ‘How Wrong Can You Be?’ and the most unexpected revival of ‘Come On In My Kitchen’, the nonsense song heard in passing between tracks on the first CSN album. The highlight though from every date on this tour is the ten minute Latin American version of ‘Cherokee’ which ebbs and flows and is turned from a cute song about a native Indian into a life or death struggle. You wouldn’t want every Stills gig to sound like this one and it’s clearly been shot from the audience in sometimes dodgy black-and-white rather than sterling quality, but this is nevertheless a fascinating chance to see history in the making.
18) S: Going Platinum! (US TV 1980)
Proof of Nash's worry about the health of CSN in 1979 came the following year when a clearly drunken Stills offered to give a half hour interview to Jim Ladd's popular interview show. Compared to 'Sounding Out' Stills seems old and tired and is guarded and monosyllabic, pausing between every sentence, rather than nattering nineteen to the dozen and breaking off to sing a few songs. There are some interesting nuggets to be found, though, including Stills’ take on band members Joe Lala ('He just seems to suddenly appear whenever I'm starting a project!') and Stills' comments that 'playing rock and roll for a bunch of people' is the highlight for him - 'singer songwriter stuff is cool but playing your ass off is it!' The highlight of the show is a sneak preview of [256] 'Southern Cross' recorded in a studio (presumably for Stills' abandoned 'first ever digital' recording in 1979) three whole years before appearing on 'Daylight Again', a little tentative and slow and missing the 'think about...' line and 'in the southern cross' tag, but still sounding wholly shipshape. Stills ends with a brief [78] 'Word Game', but is clearly struggling a little compared to the effortless years of yore. There's also some nice footage of the Stills band on tour, although sadly the only complete track is sung not by Stills but keyboardist Mike Finnigan.
19) CSN: [256] Southern Cross (Music Video 1982)
When CSN did finally get together they celebrated not just with a new LP but with their first ever music video. Unlike some bands we cover, CSNY never really got into the MTV video age (perhaps because Neil spoofed it so mercilessly with 1988's 'This Note's For You'!) and only ever filmed a small handful of songs as a trio/quintet (though they all did a few solo too). Stills' lovely 'Southern Cross' is a strong first single to release from the album and deserved to do better, especially with some lovely shots of Stills at sea and the trio back in the studio, singing in profile (the 'first' time Crosby would have sung on this song - Mike Finnigan sang his parts on the record, which was made before he arrived). CSN have always had a lot of nautical images in their songs (and were pictured on Crosby's boat for the cover of their 1977 LP) so this sweet little music video, while simple, seems a highly suitable part of their oeuvre, with some lovely shots of sailing ships at sunset and so on. One question though: why did CSN cut off the last verse from the video?!
20) SN: Rock and Roll Tonight: A Tribute To Muddy Waters (7/9/1983)
[37] Love The One You're With/‘For What It's Worth’/[221] Dark Star/[267] War Games/[60] Military Madness/[3] Change Partners/[34] 4+20/[186] Crossroads-You Can't Catch Me
Blues legend Muddy Waters had died in April 1983 at the age of seventy and a whole legion of bands who had been inspired by him wanted to take part in this televised remembrance gig. The star of the show was actually not Stills and Nash (an ailing Crosby stayed home) but Willie Dixon, who uses Stills as his 'back up' guitarist in addition to Stills and Nash's brief set. Stills is in his element, back to the blues songs he so loved in his youth and inspired enough to perform a rare outing for his acoustic covers medley 'Crossroads' and 'You Can't Catch Me' featuring some ridiculously virtuoso strumming, while Nash seems out of place getting just a brief 'Military Madness' to sing. Nobody seems to mention the elephant in the room: that David Crosby isn't there.
21) S: 'Na Sowas' (Italian TV 1983)
[37] Love The One You're With
A bespectacled Stills appeared on German TV in 1983, to promote a small tour he was playing that year. He turns in a nice solo performance of 'Love The One You're With' on with a simple jagged electric guitar accompaniment, joined at the end by a mysterious bassist in a hat who wanders onto stage unannounced. You wonder how well this free love and very 1960s song (yes, alright, it was written in 1970 but is still very 1960s!) song went down in still-divided German during the money-mad cold war era 1980s, although he gains respectable applause at the end.
22) N: The Bill Tush Show (1983)
This is an interesting interview – if this had been a radiobroadcast you’d have assumed Nash is sooo happy, he’s giggling, talking about making music with The Hollies and CSN ‘for fun’ and joking with fellow panellist writer Ray Bradbury while at his most Mancunians. But he looks so serious, in retrospect clearly painfully aware that CSN aren’t as strong as they once were and that his options are being limited. Bill says that the band have ‘never had a flop’ and Nash seems wary – he says CSN have only done ‘three albums in fourteen years’ and seems more nervous that they blew it than keen to take the applause. Nash also says he doesn’t think the band would ‘ever record for anyone else’ than Atlantic – aww…He also jokes that he doesn’t want to talk about his last Hollies single ‘Jennifer Eccles’! His concluding thought ‘I want to play with whoever I want to play with…and we were cheeky, we pushed through whatever we wanted to do’.
23) S: [270] Stranger (Music Video 1984)
…Which is more than you can say for this legendarily laughed at music video to promote Stills solo LP 'Right By You'. Remember the mania Hollywood had for speedboat chases and dodgy action sequences in this era? Well, this video tries to jump on the bandwagon, but with a very limited budget and Stills looking very nervous as surely the world’s least likely action figure as he's followed by pouting female shadows and he looks deeply uncomfortable at the controls of the striped powerboat from the album cover. Like many a music video, the footage also has nothing whatsoever to do with the song, which is about falling in love albeit with reservations after what happened last time.
24) CSNY: Live Aid (13/7/1985)
[151] Only Love Can Break Your Heart/[47] Daylight Again/[46] Find The Cost Of Freedom (Neil Young also plays a solo set: Sugar Mountain/The Needle and the Damage Done/[31] Helpless/Nothing Is Perfect (In God's Perfect Plan)/Powderfinger
Neil Young had always vowed never to work with Crosby while he was in the throes of addiction, but the Live Aid spectacular raising much needed money for Africa was too big an event to pass up when Bob Geldof sent them the invitation. CSNY took part in the 'Philadelphia' half of the concert and came on near the end, rather overshadowed by the reunion of three members of Led Zeppelin on before them and new favourites Duran Duran on after. Crosby, recently released from prison for the first time, looks terrible and the quartet visibly wince as a number of technical problems interfere with their set. The quartet don't get long together either with just three songs to sing together, although at least two of these are brave and apt choices, with Stills' Civil War horror scene an apt re-enactment for a day that's all about Africa (Stills had already taken part in a sadly forgotten 'Band Aid' spin-off, 'The Texas World Reunion' charity single 'Here Is My Love, Pass It Along', which is a lot more satisfying musically than 'Do They Know It's Christmas' I can tell you!) Neil got more kudos for his solo set, which included one awkward country song that never made it to record, the slightly insulting 'Nothing Is Perfect' and an excellent 'Powderfinger'. Alas the Live Aid four disc DVD set skips almost all of these, with just 'Needle' and 'Nothing Is Perfect' from Neil's set and nothing from CSNY's making the set (presumably theirs was rejected on 'technical' rather than musical grounds).
25) N: [280] Innocent Eyes (Music Video 1986)
Having seen Stills make a mess of things, Nash played it safe for his music video. The title track from his fourth solo album, 'Innocent Eyes' is simply mimed by an alarmingly thin looking Nash standing against a backdrop of the digitised 'Earth' as seen on his LP rear cover and interrupted by a giant digital 'winking eye' which doesn't look at all innocent to me! This video is most notable for the prominence it gives to the session musicians who worked on the record who are interestingly all far from the young hip things the record is aimed for.
26) CSN: NBC Rock Profiles (1987)
A fascinating interview/feature about the band during the 'missing' year between Crosby's rehabilitation and their return with 'American Dream' in 1988. The trio are shown backstage fighting (the biggest fight that was ever taped, with Nash swearing his mouth off at Stills who arrives 'maybe just a little drunk' and four hours late!) and they are – probably sensibly - interviewed separately, most of the time badmouthing each other. The general story of CSNY goes that all was harmony when Crosby got out of prison, but that's clearly not the case (even if the interviewer is admittedly 'digging' for mucky stories!) Nash talks about responsibilities that artists have to reflect their generation and that CSN in particular have duty to each other and the 'muse' they felt that first day they sang in 1969. He admits that three albums together is 'not enough' and that the problem is all at Stills' door for treating them as 'backing singers': 'It's the first time I've ever said this but he's shut us out for years in his egotistical quest to be better than anybody!' Stills' response? 'Well you could have fooled me - a lot of it is just accidental. Why, what did Graham say?' Stills then complains about the tour being excessively clean - that he loves his 'fine wines' too much to stop and while it's unspoken he's clearly cross at Crosby getting away with being an addict for so long and the spotlight being turned on him for recovery. 'It's not the public's business or yours' he stares angrily at the camera when his drinking is raised again. 'That's the end of subject'. Unusually Crosby is the calming influence of the trio, his new zest for life making him feel as if all the in-fighting is clearly stupid, claiming that it's too easy for rock stars to feel they're the centre of the universe and still clearly finding it painful about his months kicking drugs in a 'steel box' (there's some short but priceless footage of a clean-shaven short-haired Crosby playing his first post-prison gig). Oddly the interviewer turns not on Crosby but Nash, claiming that Crosby was 'your bread and butter' and had to be on stage, so the others plied him with drugs (Nash's response? 'What could I have done? Keep him away from him my friendship, my love - and the music as well? I couldn't do that!') Meanwhile the usually placid Nash rants about 'not being able to sing with you if I hate your guts right now' and explaining 'that this is why we've not made more albums’, worryingly adding 'hopefully we'll get it together and do another one - but don't hold your breath!' CSN are clearly in an unhappy place, Nash having the last word: 'We met life face on and we suffered for it - but we're as real as you can get in the rock and roll world, sometimes it's painful to look at, but sometimes it's amazing to listen to.' Amen to that! Sadly this revealing part of CSN folk lore is not commercially available.
27) C: The Bob Costas Show (US TV 1988)
Crosby, meanwhile, was trying to remind the world about his rock star past and plug two lifelines that helped him pay back some of the fortune he owed in back taxes in this era: his book 'Long Time Gone' and the CSN video 'Long Time Comin'. Crosby, still recovering from a motorbike accident, is on fiery and argumentative form, alternately praising and slapping down his colleagues (complaining that Nash is too obsessed with being 'clean' and calling Young 'as strange as a snake's suspenders!') that suggests he still feels a little estranged from his CSN buddies. Crosby is particularly angry about Rolling Stone Magazine calling their record reviews 'bubblegum for adults' and complaining 'we don't give a damn!' and adding that critics count as 'one voice - one ticket' and don't matter as much as the ‘real’ people 're-acting like crazy'. However he gets mellower as he talks about Woodstock, which is being hailed as a monumental moment in history for pretty much the first time, before rarely and reluctantly talking about 'Altamont' and being brave enough to defend the Hell's Angels ('You can't invite the tiger to a party and say 'please don't eat me!') Crosby then turns on Jim Morrison when asked whether a story of him and Janis Joplin hooking up is true (it is, but she knocked him out with a bottle of Southern Comfort for getting fresh with her!!!) A strange conversation, but still a major and revealing part of CSN history – Crosby’s first solo TV appearance post-jail sentence. Alas this too is not currently officially available.
28) CSNY: [292] American Dream (Music Video 1988)
CSNY's hilarious promo for the title track of their reunion album is a wry comment on how much the world has changed since the band's heyday and is a lot better to watch than it is to listen to. All the band star in various cameos, with Neil doubling as a paparazzi reporter and a scary-looking punk, David is a wheel-chair bound crook and Stephen a smartly dressed politician with a gun. During the course of events a few crooked deals on the side get blown open wide and the papers put such pressure on the establishment figures in the song that they're forced to take action (Stills' character presumably committing suicide when he takes his gun out). Meanwhile whenever the chorus kicks in the whole band sit on a cloud surrounded by American flags, offering help 'from above', including a fidgety Stills whose clearly not taking the video seriously! Note the slightly extended opening, which loops the pan pipe riff for slightly longer than on the album (or indeed the single). Alas this video is not currently commercially available.
29) CSN: [281] Chippin’ Away (Music Video 1989)
When CSN re-recorded the Nash solo song ‘Chippin’ Away’ for release as a single following the fall of Berlin they also commissioned a specially shot video of lots of footage of the history of the town from WW2 to the present day. Along the way we get inserts of the audience pulling down the wall that once separated West and East Berlin and they pose as tourists, complete with cameras, against the crumbling remains of the wall. There’s also a brief flash of the trio’s actual performance, although frustratingly the director is more interested in looking at couples kissing in the crowd! Unavailable.
30) C: [239] Drive My Car (Music Video 1989)
Crosby, meanwhile, plugged his 'comeback' solo album 'Oh Yes I Can' with this moody video for his first single, a song actually written back in the pre-jail days of 1979. There's lots of cars in it, as you'd expect, merged with a blue-tinted shot of Crosby and backing band performing. Crosby looks much more comfortable here and is clearly much more in charge of his destiny, but dare I say it this promo is a little too obvious and boring by CSN standards. Unavailable.
31) Phil Collins/Crosby: That's Just The Way It Is (Music Video 1989)
Unusually Phil Collins chose to shoot a video for the album-only song Crosby guest performed on rather than the single the pair worked on together 'Another Day In Paradise'. This is the better song, actually, a very Crosby-like debate based around  the word 'why?' which questions whether 'there's something very wrong with you and me' for allowing greedy governments to build huge gulfs between the haves and have-nots of this world. The video merges concert footage with media coverage of various atrocities and homeless figures, mixed in with specially shot footage of Collins singing in a film studio with Crosby perched behind his shoulder, the camera occasionally catching him full-on. The pair will be back in four years time with another joint video...Sadly this isn’t available on anything commercially either.
32) C: Kippenvale (Dutch TV 1989)
Crosby is asked to sum up his career over the opening credits as is traditional for this Dutch TV show: ‘One of the best stories in the business, certainly one of the biggest drug addicts in the business, probably one of the ones we thought we’d lose from the business…big surprise! Controversial figure, not a bad harmony singer’. A long haired Crosby has his hair blown badly by the wind in Holland as he chats about making ‘Oh Yes I Can!’ by a canal (unfortunately Crosby’s, erm, waddle causes the camera to lurch, making this an easier clip to listen to than see). ‘I tried to make this record for a long time and when I was trying drugs it wouldn’t happen’ Crosby sighs, ‘the more you did them the less work you can do’. Asked what he did inside Crosby says ‘I spent the first four months in solitary kicking drugs, worked in a factory, read a lot of books, wrote a lot of letters, read a lot of letters and after a while I started to write songs again. I hadn’t written any songs at all for maybe three years!’ He also says that Neil is ‘amazing’ and Graham is ‘my best friend’ though he doesn’t mention Stills. A nice, moving interview interspersed by the video clips for [339] ‘Drive My Car’ [256] ‘Southern Cross’ and [50] ‘Sea Of madness’ live at Big Sur.
33) C: Unknown (Italian TV 1989)
[239] Drive My Car/[310] Lady Of The Harbour
A rough flaky live performance of two songs from ‘Oh Yes I Can!’ Crosby is enjoying himself by the looks of things but sings a rather under-par version of the two songs, singing with an audible croak and its keyboard player Mike Finnigan who takes over the lead, filling in for Croz’s ailing vocals and singing his own bluesy finale to the second song. Crosby sports a rather fetching Harley Davidson jacket.
34) CSNY: Bridge Benefit (Concert 1989)
[255] Wasted On The Way/[3] Change Partners/[49] The Lee Shore/[222] Just A Song Before I Go/[12] Wooden Ships/[10] Suite: Judy Blue Eyes/[13] Helplessly Hoping/’Human Highway’/[293] Got It Made/[37] Helpless/’Silver and Gold’/[256] Southern Cross/[46] Ohio/[27] Teach Your Children
CSNY have played multiple Bridge School Benefit shows down the years. Organised by Pegi Young, Neil’s wife, to raise money for handicapped children its exactly the sort of good cause CSNY always made a name of playing. This one – as far as I know the only one to be televised – is one of their very best, finding CSN reuniting shortly before they got back together to make ‘Live It Up’ a three-way effort. Stills, whose been struggling for a decade or more, suddenly rediscovers lots of his old charisma and is stunning all night, especially his guitar work with this night’s pyrotechnics on ‘Suite: Judy’ perhaps the best the trio ever played. Note also that CSN add some lovely harmonies to Neil’s then unreleased track ‘Silver and Gold’ – I was always amazed they didn’t revive it for their ‘Lookin’ Forward’ reunion album where all the acoustic songs of Neil’s they didn’t sing end up coming out on the Young album, erm, ‘Silver and Gold’. Plus CSNY finally sing the title track of their abandoned 1974 album ‘Human Highway’ in concert (and very gloomy it sounds too!)
35) CSNY: Farm Aid (7/4/1990)
[10] Suite: Judy Blue Eyes/[296] This Ole' House (Neil Young also performed 'Rockin' In The Free World' solo)
Neil was also a big supporter of Farm Aid, a regular charity event held to help out struggling farmers held most years since 1985. One year he brought CSN with him for a brief all-acoustic gig. CSNY are on slightly creaky form and the setlist doesn't do them many favours: 'This Ole House' is a slow country ballad that never suites the foursome and while 'Judy Blue Eyes' is a genius song it sounds rather torturous here with Stills again struggling to keep his guitar in tune across nine whole minutes. The gig, which isn't available officially but was streamed on some American TV channels, probably deserves to be lost unless you're a completist and/or a farmer with cows names Moosby, Stills, Nash and Young after the proceeds you gained that night.
36) MTV Unplugged (11/8/1990)
[255] Wasted On The Way/[11] Helplessly Hoping/[34] 4+20/[47b] Daylight Again/[47a] Find The Cost Of Freedom/[10] Suite: Judy Blue Eyes
'Welcome to MTV's Unplugged, this is fun isn't it?!' Having recently set out on their first ever acoustic tour, CSN were naturals for the second year of MTV's 'Unplugged' series featuring bands re-working their act without amplifiers. While less well received than Neil's set from 1993 (which also appeared on an album), CSN are on pretty good form here and clearly relish the chance to show off their vocal and guitar skills without anyone else getting in the way (unusually all three play guitars for the start of the set - a CSN first!) Sadly, though, the band simply sing their 'acoustic' material rather than re-working their electric stuff. There is one surprise though: Crosby and Nash add harmonies to the last verse of '4+20', as Stills had originally planned back in 1970! The trio's 'Acoustic' video/DVD, also released in 1990, offers a much wider range of material and catches the trio on a slightly better night, but this fairly rare and sadly unavailable concert is another good 'un.
37) N: The Inside Track (12/10/1990 and 19/10/1990)
The Inside Track was an interesting television series, inviting a range of figures from all sorts of fields to become both interviewer and interviewee on successive weeks. Nash rather woodenly interviews Greg Allman of The Allman Brothers, but is on safer territory talking about his memories of his friend and their meeting backstage at the Fillmore East in 1970 and later handles an audience question and answer session with typical aplomb (he's great working live, it seems, but hates the teleprompter!) Nash probably ended up working on the programme because of its 'creative consultant', CSN keyboardist and occasional co-writer Craig Doerge.
38) CSN: The Ring (c.1990)
[12] ‘Wooden Ships’
For a time Nash also had his own short-lived chat series on which he interviewed everyone from Jackson Browne to Grace Slick (with whom he sang her Jefferson Airplane reunion song ‘Panda’). The show CSN fans are most interested in though was a Crosby-Nash reunion with Grace once more guesting. Performing in a ‘ring’ in the middle of the audience, C-N are palpably nervous and are mixed badly with Jeff Pevar’s sub-Stills guitar ducked too low in the mix, though its good fun to hear Grace singing Stills’ parts (as written by her one time partner Paul Kantner!) which she also sang for Jefferson Airplane’s ‘Crown Of Creation’ record back in 1969.
39) CSNY: Golden Gate Park (Full Concert March 1991)
[27] Teach Your Children [37] Love The One You're With [206] Long May You Run [19] Long Time Gone [256] Southern Cross [151] Only Love Can Break Your Heart' [12] Wooden Ships [46] Ohio
An excellent free show that was a complete one-off with no other shows or an album that year broadcast on San Franciscan TV held in tribute to concert promoter Bill Graham who had died in a helicopter crash and which ended up being the biggest audience CSNY ever played after ‘Woodstock’. Monitor issues and a lack of rehearsal mean this gig is dodgy more often than its not, with Crosby and Nash struggling to stay in tune unusually while Stills and Young don’t often bother to sing at all. The band also play acoustically all night making this sound like a ‘warm-up’ from years before without the storming electrical sets or solo spots of the olden days. It’s still a heart-warming show though and a rare chance to hear Young play on latter-day CSN fare like a particularly lovely ‘Southern Cross’ and CSN return the favour by playing the world’s first four-way version of ‘Long May You Run’. Neil also sings ‘Only Love Can Break Your Heart’ which he claimed was ‘Bill’s favourite CSNY song’. Interestingly Young and Stills, traditionally standing in the middle, are now at the ends of the stage.
40) David Crosby with Phil Collins: [333] Hero (Music Video 1993)
Crosby and Collins are back again, this time promoting the lead single from David's 'Thousand Roads' album. Most of that record is made up of covers, but this is one of two songs written in collaboration with a 'famous friend' and easily the album highlight. A typical Crosby tale of life being different to how he thought it was going to be, it's enhanced by a typical Collins keyboard lick. The music video largely follows the words, with Crosby trying to read a boy a bedtime story, intercut with scenes of him going to prison and waving a teary farewell to the lad (who is an actor) and real-life wife Jan. Collins also appears, singing behind Crosby's shoulder this time as part of some inserted shots that appear to be filmed in the same blacklit studio as ‘Just The Way It Is’ years before.
41) CSN: Woodstock '94 (August 13th 1994)
[37] Love The One You're With/[61] Military Madness/[11] Helplessly Hoping/[23] Déjà Vu/[348] Only Waiting For You/[18] Marrakesh Express/[353] It Won't Go Away/[351] Unequal Love/[327] In My Life/[19] Long Time Gone/[355] Street To Lean On/’For What It's Worth’/[20] Pre-Road Downs/[256] Southern Cross/ [12]Wooden Ships/[30] Carry On/[32] Woodstock
CSN were one of the few bands from the 'real' festival to play at the 25th anniversary event, although predictably Neil - who didn't much like the original - stayed away. The press had a field day, laughing at the excessive ticket prices, aging hippies and capitalist merchandise, but it was a good chance for newer acts to experience the thrill of an American festival for themselves and gave a boost to several flagging old ones. Crosby, very ill from liver failure and awaiting a transplant, is visibly struggling and Stills sounds unbearably hoarse, but this is still an impressive gig, rather neatly introduced by fellow Woodstock alumni John Sebastian, so nearly a member of the group. The trio introduce a few songs from their latest record 'After The Storm' that sound particularly well live, as well as going for their usual run of hits and live favourites. The band then end the only way they can, with an energetic performance of 'Woodstock' itself that was the clip used in most of the 'best-of' compilations screened around the world the next day!  All in all the band perform for eighty-five minutes - not bad for a band a quarter century on from their debut performance!
42) CPR: Kippenvale (Dutch TV 1998)
[23] Déjà vu
Nine years on and Crosby returns to Dutch television where he dodges canal barges for another rambling interview in between priceless footage of Crosby, son and friend in the studio. A fiery ‘Déjà vu’ sounding much like it will on ‘Live At The Wiltern’ is performed too and sounds pretty darn good, especially Jeff Pevar’s guitar solo.
43) CN: Later...With Jools Holland (UK TV 2006)
Split across two shows this year: [13] Guinevere and [101] Immigration Man and with David Gilmour's band On An Island
Crosby and Nash are plugging their 'Crosby*Nash' record and David Gilmour's 'On An Island' set both out near the same time and clearly taped their insert the same week as they were guest singers for the Pink Floyd guitarist, though it was split across the series for broadcast purposes. Jools Holland is as irritating as ever, asking all the wrong questions and completely failing to understand Nash's irate rant about Tony Blair being a war criminal. Crosby and Nash turn in acoustic performances of two old classics revived for the occasion (and Nash dedicating 'Immigration Man' to everyone being hassled by immigration in the wake of 9/11)  but neither performance really hits the spot and the pair come off sounding a little sluggish. The duo performance backing Gilmour is better, the pair remarkably on the ball considering they're playing with an entirely different band to their own, but even this doesn't quite have the 'wow' factor somehow, at least compared to their performance on the Gilmour Royal Albert Hall show released on DVD as ‘Remember That Night’ the same year.
44) C: Stories and Songs With David Crosby (2008)
Part of ‘The Aspen Writer’s Foundation’ series ‘Lyrically Speaking’ as Crosby speaks about his new book ‘Since Then’. He talks more about the foursome than his book though, cheekily asked by interviewer Paul Zollo why he got top billing (it sounds better!) and joking ‘Stills wanting his name to be first and that he and Young had shirts up that read ‘SYNC’ – Stills Young Nash Crosby!) He also says that Stills is ‘wrong’ that the union happened at Mama Cass’ house and it was in Joni’s kitchen and how ‘Wooden Ships’ was written (again arguing with Stills’ memories – ‘don’t read out his quotes it will piss me off!’) He also says that ‘I have been trying to write a good song about America for a looooong time!’ and mentions that CSNY rehearsed [314] ‘My Country ‘Tis Of Thee’ for the ‘Freedom Of Speech’ tour 9and he does a pretty good Southern accent too!) He also says that most of his songs turn up when he’s falling to sleep and ‘another level, intuitive magic, gets a shot at the steering wheel for a second’. Crosby is on top form funny form for a full hour on this excellent interviewer, one of the best he ever gave.
45) CSN: Glastonbury (27/6/2009)
[256] Southern Cross/[61] Military Madness/[18] Marrakesh Express/[19] Long Time Gone/’Rock and Roll Woman’/’Uncle John's Band’/[11] Helplessly Hoping/ [13]Guinevere/’Ruby Tuesday’/[23] Déjà Vu/[70] Chicago/[29] Almost Cut My Hair/’For What It's Worth’/[12] Wooden Ships/[27] Teach Your Children (Neil Young performed a solo set a day earlier)
Finally, what should have been a big cause for celebration - CSN's first time ever at the famous UK Glastonbury festival - was overshadowed by a blistering set from an inspired Neil Young the night before (in which he played a version of 'Rockin' In The Free World' that went on for twenty minutes, with false ending after false ending and a miraculous cover of Beatles classic 'A Day In The Life', with a feedbacking guitar filling in for the orchestra!) By contrast with all that energy and excitement, a bland CSN set playing safe had no chance, with the trio occasionally falling short of their best with a slightly scrappy performance. However this gig will become highly important to fans in years to become because it's a rare (unique?) recording of the band in the process of trying to record their 'covers' album with producer Rick Rubin which was ultimately abandoned at the end of the year. Nice folky arrangements of The Grateful Dead's 'Uncle John's Band' and The Stones' Ruby Tuesday' boded well for the project and a surprise powerful revival of Buffalo Springfield tune 'Rock and Roll Woman' also hinted at what might  have been (with covers of The Byrds and Hollies songs also mooted for the project).
46) C: Rockburn Presents David Crosby (2014)
Crosby is more prickly and more serious on this interview, perhaps because his first question is about his liver transplant (which is as odd an opening question as any in the whole of these books). He urges transplant victims to take the list seriously by not drinking or abusing their bodies. He’s on happier form talking about his relationship with his audience and that he always respects what they tell him – that it pays to air songs early on to see what people think of them and admits that CSNY might have made more records if they’d set ore deadlines but that the music would have been worse. He also discusses the brilliance of having a son with a home studio he could use whenever he wanted.
47) C: Tavis Smiley (US TV 2014)
This is the famous interview that stirred all sorts of trouble when Tavis reads out Crosby’s twitter feed knocking Kanye West. Crosby clarifies that he likes some rap stars – just not that one – and says that Lin-Manuel Miranda is the best writer in the genre. ‘Bring it!’ he jokes when he’s told that he’s going to get blitzed on social media, ‘There are some people who are great and some who are joking, it’s the same in every industry’ he concludes.
48) CSN: The Tonight Show (2015)
For years presenter Jimmy Fallon had been doing a pretty awful impression of Neil Young (in truth he sounds more like the band America singing ‘A Horse With No Name’). For this special show CSN turn up as his backing singers, adding some pretty nifty harmonies to Iggy Azalea’s weirdo song, which makes for an uneasy last performance by the trio on a TV show that anyone actually watched.
49) CSN: National Christmas Tree Lighting (US TV 2015)
‘Silent Night’
Alas their last recorded performance is worse as CSN appear as one of several guests at President Obama’s Christmas Tree lighting ceremony. The trio were mocked soundly for their a capella performance of a Christmas Carol that’s actually really tricky to sing and isn’t helped by stage and equipment problems. All three singers sound great individually, just not together and on the original version (since pulled from Youtube) the crowd snickers. It’s not as bad as many people said though and the arrangement itself is rather nice and certainly a lot better than most godawful Christmas cash-in CDs doing the rounds.
50) N: The Late Show (2016)
Graham did a lot of work plugging ‘This Path Tonight’ – and the interviewers spent a lot of time asking about the good old days. Nash is asked about the CSN name order and says that it sounds better in that order (presenter Stephen Colbert says its ‘Stockhausen Syndrome’), Colbert laughs that his 1969 self looked like ‘someone admitted to Hogwarts’ (Graham looks very distinguished to me – Colbert looks a mess!) and Nash discusses first meeting The Beatles in 1959 when they were ‘Johnny And The Moondogs’.
51) N: One Plus One (Australia TV 2017)
Graham gets much the same questions down under but this is a much more interesting interview all round, mostly because of the old questions and a few slightly better questions. ‘Love, family, friends’ are the most important things in anyone’s life according to Nash and that he still has flashbacks to WW2 which makes him complain a lot less as after surviving that ‘the rest is a bonus’. He still beams when he remembers handing his first pay cheque to his family, his early childhood interest in photography with his toilet as a dark-room and gets teary when he remembers his dad going to prison for not grassing on his friends. There’s a fascinating story that he was on the same programme as the judge who sentenced his father to jail – on a show when Nash was singing [133] ‘Prison Song’, a piece that wouldn’t have been written without that incident (I can’t find what show this might have been by the way, maybe Nash has stuck two memories together?)
52) N: NPR Music ‘Tiny Desk’ Concert (Online 2017)
‘Bus Stop’/[449] Myself At Last/[448] This Path Tonight
These ‘Tiny Desk ‘concerts are great – two or three people crammed into a very tiny tiny room with acoustic guitars playing whatever they wanted to play. This week Nash and Shane Fontayne are plugging their new album with the opening two songs which sound nice in concert but the killer is the special request of an opening song, the Hollies hit from 1966 Nash had only recently started reviving in concerts. This arrangement is clearly modelled after Graham Gouldmann’s solo acoustic version.
53) C: The Tonight Show (2017)
[460] She’s Gotta Be Somewhere
Undeterred by the weirdest moment on this list a few years before, Croz is back solo to perform a song from his new record. The extended CPR band sound better than they did on record, adding much more life to the record and Crosby attacks the song rather than simply coasts on it. Alas there’s no time for him to speak though.
 And that's that - to date anyway. CSN will no doubt be there again the next time a benefit gig is held, a tribute night is filmed or an establishment figure needs a well-deserved kicking. CSN, with and without Y, continue to fulfil their 'responsibilities' of reflecting their generation - and on the evidence of the best of this list may they long continue to do so, being one of the world's most passionate and charismatic bands, give or take a dodgy promo or two. 

A Now Complete List Of CSN/Y and Solo Articles Available To Read At Alan’s Album Archives:

'Crosby, Stills and Nash' (1969)

'Deja Vu' (CSNY) (1970)

‘Stephen Stills’ (1970)

'If Only I Could Remember My Name' (Crosby) (1971)

'Songs For Beginners' (Nash) (1971)

'Stephen Stills II' (1971)
‘Graham Nash, David Crosby’ (1972)

'Stephen Stills-Manassas'  (1972)

'Wild Tales' (Nash) (1973)
'Down The Road' (Stephen Stills/Manassas) (1973)

'Stills' (1975)

'Wind On The Water' (Crosby-Nash) (1975)
'Illegal Stills' (Stills) (1976)
'Whistling Down The Wire' (Crosby-Nash) (1976)

'Long May You Run' (Stills-Young) (1976)

'CSN' (1977)
'Thoroughfare Gap' (Stills) (1978)
'Earth and Sky' (Nash) (1980)

'Daylight Again' (CSN) (1982)
'Right By You' (Stills) (1984)
'Innocent Eyes' (Nash) (1986)
'American Dream' (CSNY) (1988)

'Oh Yes I Can!' (Crosby) (1989)

'Live It Up!' (CSN)  (1989)

'Stephen Stills Alone' (1991)

'CPR' (Crosby Band) (1998)

‘So Like Gravity (CPR, 2001)

‘Songs For Survivors’ (2002)

'Deja Vu Live' (CD) (2008)

'Deja Vu Live' (DVD) (2008)

'Reflections' (Graham Nash Box Set) (2009)

'Demos' (CSN) (2009)

'Manassas: Pieces' (2010)

‘Carry On’ (Stephen Stills Box Set) (2013)

'Croz' (Crosby) (2014)
'CSNY 74' (Recorded 1974 Released 2014)

'This Path Tonight' (Nash) (2016)

‘Here If You Listen’ (Crosby)

The Best Unreleased CSNY Recordings
Surviving TV Appearances (1969-2009)
Non-Album Recordings (1962-2009)
Live/Compilation/Rarities Albums Part One (1964-1980)
Live/Compilations/Rarities Albums Part Two (1982-2012)
Essay: The Superest Of Super Groups?
Five Landmark Concerts and Three Key Cover Versions

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