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Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Comment of the Moment: 2013 Bridge School Benefit Concerts

Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young
Photo by John Green/Bay Area News Group
(Click photo to enlarge)

The wide range of reactions to this weekend's annual Bridge School Benefit Concerts continue to roll in.

The Comment of the Moment is on 2013 Bridge School Benefit Concerts by Dan1 in reference to the negative San Jose Mercury News review by Jim Harrington:
Yea the reviewer missed by a country mile, love how these days the masses can review the reviewer and so there's a bit more accountability than there was pre-internet.

Bridge School is a whole world in itself, they should make a video series of all the years and sell it to NetFlix ... so many incredible acts over so many years and then Neil and Pegi woven into the fabric of every one ... and then the kids, which is the real point, and their joy ... and the fact that the whole thing exists to help these courageous kids and families.

CSNY ... Stills' new song and overall spunk was really nice to see and the Young/Stills chemistry was palpable ... after reading some of the negative reviews of CSNY I was pleasantly surprised by their performance. I think the nitpicking about whether they practiced enough misses the point, its special to see these guys together after so many years, how many bands (if you can call these guys that) from the 60s are 100% intact? the sheer nostalgia of that is special. But more on nostalgia in a minute.

I personally love Singer w/out a Song ... not sure why all the negativity on it ... reunion or not? I'm betting against it ... clearly CSN wants it to happen and I'm guessing Neil is positively predisposed given these guys are his friends and they could benefit from such a tour. I keep thinking has Neil mellowed enough to stop innovating for a few months and go along with this? Then I think if they had a whole album of new material (instead of one song) or something else thematic (like LWW) then I think the set up would be perfect and it would happen ... but if not, I just cannot see Neil going out there and doing a nostalgia act especially some overhyped 40 year anniversary of '74 which itself was overhyped ... and if a Springfield reunion didn't work I struggle to see how this works ... this against the backdrop of the recent Horse reunion which was totally epic ...

I keep worrying we'll see a full Neil break for the first half of '14, we've ostensibly seen a break for almost the whole second half of '13 ... so, anything is better than nothing and I for one think within the realm of nostalgia acts these guys are impressive and its hard not to root for guys like Crosby and Stills despite my being pessimistic ...
Thanks Dan! Good points, as always. It is funny how some found CSNY under-rehearsed because if they had been all smooth andd polished then there would be complaints that they were too slick.

Someone actually commented on another thread that CSNY were much better in 1970?! Oh really? Like you say, name another band from the '60's still intact. OK, The Rolling Stones. Not bad company, we suppose.

As for a 2014 reunion? We shall see. Like so many things with Neil, the more we want a reunion, the less likely it'll be. So plan accordingly...

Labels: ,


At 10/30/2013 09:16:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I love Neil. But I'm not going to pretend to love everything he's a part of. It wasn't that it was unrehearsed. It was the lack of chemistry. Not that they had all that much chemistry in 1974. They pretty much were chemistry in 74.

Anyway, I stayed up all night anxiously awaiting CSNY. No tape replays for me. I was there! And it was late and some of what I saw was painful to watch. You mentioned the Stones. The Stones know how to fill the gaps with other musicians and backup singers. They still sound like the Stones. CSNY sounded like a group of old men that can't sing so good anymore. And on top of that they just didn't mesh. Stills and Young did and those were the best moments but Crosby and Nash? They really want to tour with Neil? If that's true then it would seem that it's only for the money. They seemed rattled by Neil's presence.

Okay, discuss. I'm rambling. I still don't like Singer Without a Song.

At 10/30/2013 09:30:00 AM, Anonymous Eric said...

This CSNY performance was awful and Neil was no better than any of them, perhaps worse, given what we expect. His songs sounded worn out and tired, including "Singer Without a Song", a metaphor if ever there was one.

At 10/30/2013 09:56:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

singer without a song seems to be the type of song done in the middle of a concert to give players a's cute,nice and simple.

mitch from brooklyn

At 10/30/2013 10:15:00 AM, Blogger thrasher said...

Hi Anonymous - You really should consider adopting a permanent handle here. Something like "Perennial Purveyor of Negativity" or something.

You realize by comparing CSNY to Rolling Stones that you're being complimentary to a degree? Is that a slip-up?

For many, The Stones are coasting along on fumes and haven't made any musical headway in decades. Others, obviously, love re-living the past in their amazing concerts.

So if you can cut the Stones some slack, why not CSNY? Do you want them to remake the 74 tour ala Stones?

Or try something new and different that might not work? Take a chance. Be risky. Dangerous, like rock and roll should be.

So maybe a failed CSNY gig is better than successful Stones gig?

Hopefully, someone will comment that they saw the Stones this year from the back for $250 but saw CSNY up front for $100 so they had a better deal.

we know its only rock and roll. but we like it.

At 10/30/2013 10:46:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I just call it as I see it Thrasher, without all the sugar on top. Geez, didn't Neil charge $300 a pop to sit up front at the "Le Noise" shows?

I'm hoping CSNY don't tour. It would be a waste of Neil's time. Bring back the Stills/Young band. Then you'd be on to something!

Perennial Purveyor of Negativity

At 10/30/2013 10:56:00 AM, Blogger thrasher said...

Perennial Purveyor of Negativity - first, thanks for establishing this handle. It helps us try and keep track with all the discussions.

And thanks for mentioning ticket prices. Always the best measure of value -- not.

Anyways, a Stills-Young tour? really?

Well, stranger things have happened, we suppose. But we can't imagine this will ever happen. Which of course means that it might.

Seriously, our thinking on CSNY 2014 tour? Well Neil's made it clear he would only do it with new material. So we could see a situation where the guys get together and write some new songs and go out next summer to support the 74 Box set.

Of course, this would be perfect. The 74 box set release, fans coming out for the hits and then complaining about all the new songs.

Divine justice some might say.

At 10/30/2013 11:17:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey Thrasher, you're the one who brought up ticket prices. I snuck down from my $100 seat at the back of the auditorium down to the $300 seats anyway so it's all good.

CSN are every bit as much a nostalgia act as the Stones. Neil doesn't need them and you're probably right, no one would go home happy. The new songs wouldn't live up and they'd have problems trying to convince Stills not to sing!

CSNY takes too much attention away from Neil. At this point in time I don't want to sit through their songs to get to Neil's songs. Know what I mean? At least Stills/Young would keep the focus on the more talented two.

None of us have a clue what Neil's going to do, now do we? That's what keeps it interesting.

Perennial Purveyor of Negativity

At 10/30/2013 12:18:00 PM, Blogger Electrocrusier2010 said...

I thought Stills new song was good and his guitar work was great as always. Neil seemed out of place and looking for something to do on a couple of CSN songs. CSN were unnecessary on the NY songs. Only Deja vu & Teach your Children true CSNY songs played. Two obvious observations - NY at 68 projects a stage presence that overwhelms CSN on his songs and he adds very limited value to old CSN selections

At 10/30/2013 12:19:00 PM, Anonymous Setz said...

I got a front row seat in my living room for the cost of a well placed donation! and thankful to watch and participate. Arcade Fires new Neil tune really is a Neil tune , cause 3 days later I can't get it out of my head.
Just sayin'.


At 10/30/2013 01:38:00 PM, Blogger Raincheck said...

Stills actually did a decent job, with The Rides, of writing a couple of songs in the studio. CSNY tours aren't so interesting anymore, but with Crazy Horse down, it would be interesting for them to go into the studio and actually work on album together. They only did once really, the disaster of American Dream. Deja Vu didn't have many group sessions and on Looking Forward Neil was grafted onto a CSNY project (and vice versa).

I know it is the last thing most people want. But it would be more risky and interesting at this point. Crosby and Nash made a pretty good album a few years back. Stills is rejuvenated by the Rides. Neil can always come with a handful of songs. It could prove interesting.

Oh, and Neil has to bring a real rock song for him and Stephen to stretch out on. That was lacking last time. And on. Déjà Vu, actually. But live CSNY has done some of Neil's rock convincingly. Give it a go.

At 10/30/2013 02:11:00 PM, Anonymous The Zuma Band said...

I've never been a fan of CSN, so any tour with them would just keep the Horse out to pasture too long when time is increasingly becoming more finite.

That said, though they got off to a rocky start in the Bridge performance, they did sound pretty decent as they warmed up,IMO. The harmonies they do are very difficult, as every singer subtly calibrates to the others. If one is off, as Stills certainly was, the others have to struggle to maintain their footing. Nash and Crosby have remarkably retained their voices and ears, and so they really provide the pitch anchors. NY has as well, though he can tire his voice, as he sounded during his solo stuff.

Bridge is a big undertaking this time of year. Give him a few weeks of R&R and see if he starts making noise around the New Year. I don't think he's ready to fade away just yet, and I hope the muse won't let him off either. When she comes calling that's when he'll put out the call to the boys. "Hey Poncho, you didn't die, you just broke your hand. Deal with it! The game's afoot!"

OTOH if he signs on to a CSNY cash machine that pretty much indicates that he's done- which I don't believe for a second. He has unfinished business.

At 10/30/2013 05:03:00 PM, Anonymous LRR said...

I would probably like a CSNY tour if:

-mostly electric with long guitar duel jams.
-Nash without a guitar, preferably on piano or organ.
-Everyone plays on everything.
-No sidemen other than Chad/Rick.

At 10/30/2013 06:13:00 PM, Blogger thrasher said...

@ Raincheck - yes, another CSNY album would be a surprise. But it seems that a CSNY wouldn't be in the cards if folks are pushing for the '74 Box release in 2014.

@ The Zuma Band - oh we'd disagree saying that a CSNY tour in '14 spells the end for Neil. If it happened, he'll come back with something noteworthy.

@LRR - setting the bat pretty high on this? Maybe you don't think the reunion will happen?

But how was Bridge? Your 1st trip??

At 10/30/2013 07:26:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

People saying a CSNY reunion tour or anything else would spell the end for Neil's creativity is ridiculous.Neil will be creative and growing until the day he dies (decades in the future hopefully).On this "time off" people are talking about -which is really just time out of the public eye-I hope he is pushing Archives Volume 2 towards completion and release.

At 10/30/2013 07:51:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think a CSNY tour could be tasty. Stills needs to not sing some parts- the other guys should have the guts to tell him where ( nothing personal, it's just a hearing issue, no big deal) and Croz was flat a few times, but Graham's vocals were solid. Stills' playing was awesome, the new song was superb. Neil knows he'll mess up the CSN harmonies sometimes so he holds back. Also, he doesn't know their lyrics very well. But he should bother more to find harmony that'll work with them. They can work up some new songs. Neil will need a band to promote his Lincvolt movie. He's giving the movie poster background a trial run on his facebook page.They're political enuf to make it work. He'll have new songs for that. Stills has new songs.
The Horse is tired and won't work for the movie. I think it has to be CSNY.

At 10/30/2013 08:16:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

As an addendum to my previous post, Neil did SWAS as bringing one of his newest, but it's a pale shadow of Lies. And he should not be shy about joining in on harmony where he can. I know his voice isn't the best fit for them. They sure can back him up sweetly tho. They've got chemistry, they've just got to practice more and take more chances. That band really does demand more polished sound, a nice change, and Neil can do more polished.

At 10/30/2013 11:03:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Glad we got that settled. Someone let Neil know we've got it all figured out!

Negative Man

At 10/30/2013 11:39:00 PM, Anonymous doubter said...

CSNY was never a very cohesive band. They have their songs that NY sometimes plays a lil on and he has his songs that they sing a lil on. Otherwise, very separate stuff. We fans know this. NY has stated as such in interviews. I remember Oakland CSNY2K. That show was great. Unbelievable in ways. But some of that novelty of not playing together for so long but also a well rehearsed tour has largely worn off. Theres been 2 other tours since then. Still, I would go, probably. I wouldn't pay more than 80 though. No way. That guy Harrington for the SJ Mercury. My biggest problem is hes usually too nice in his reviews. Sometimes I enjoy The Dirt in a piece. Also, his taste is all over the place. He seems to like Pink as much as Public Enemy as much as Grateful Dead. To my mind that doesn't make sense. Non-sequieter, Trunk Show is really great. Not a weak track on it. The strongest and by far my favorite of the Demme/Young trilogy. The material is just that good. That No Hidden Path is up there with SNL RITFW and his Bob Fest blistering performance. RIP Long Grain.

At 10/31/2013 11:51:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I cant resist I paid 150.00 for the stones in a good seat. they played almost 3 hour brought back
Mick taylor to play with them. They were well rehearsed and on fire. Call it nostalgia call it what you will they rocked for 3 hours and ended with a 9 minute satisfaction that killed. Having said this I think CSNY could put on a great show and again anyone can call it what they want but if it moves people they've done their
job as artists. I though CSNY were good not great at bridge but they hadn't performed together in 7 years. With some time toether they
could jell. Unfortunately I don't thnk we will see a CSNY in 2014. I doubt if Neil would g out with them with no new material. It would not surprise me if the 1974 box does not get released either. the idea of Neil and Stills going out as the Stills young band could
become an awesome showcase What will happen is anyones guess. I just read that Neil will be playing Carnegie hall in Jan which I assume will be him on acoustic
which will be great.

At 10/31/2013 12:50:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Carnegie Hall? Where did you read that?

Man it takes a lot to get me to a concert anymore. I skipped Pearl Jam recently this go-round because...well for several reasons.

If by chance there is a CSNY tour next year I will likely go - alone - so I can afford a good seat & be close to the stage. But the only reason I would go is to see Neil. If Neil is playing within 300 miles of where I live, I will be there God willing.

As far as people talking about the recent Rolling Stones shows - really? Mick Jagger prances around and basically screams into the microphone - I wouldn't call it singing. Mick Taylor was the only reason to go see them and I passed on that too because of the price and knowing he was only playing on two or three songs.

I'm not sure what my top limit will be for a "gold circle" ticket to a CSNY show. I can easily foresee $400 knowing the way Elliot marketed the Le Noise tour - but that was in small theaters.

What if CSNY did a small theater tour & skipped arenas?


What if Neil goes 100% solo acoustic?

What if he pulls the Horse out for another ride?


At 10/31/2013 02:46:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Maybe you didn't go to the same stones
show as I did. Mick is still at the
top of his game and if you like the stones so are they. Mick taylor
played on 5 or 6 songs they brought out a local gospel choir
for you cant always get what you want The stones are as good live as ever and better than anyone ive seen in years. and this nostalgia thing what is cinnamon girl if it still moves someone than neil has done his job. And the upcoming Neil shows at Carnegie will there be any old songs and if they are is it nostalgia and who cares anyway except for the home fire critics out there

At 11/02/2013 04:25:00 PM, Anonymous LRR said...

Hi Thrasher...The bar has to be pretty high for everything involving Neil. I do not know whether a CSNY tour will happen. Just stating what I would like to see if it does happen. Something different. The 2000 reunion tour was cool enough for me :-)


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