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Saturday, April 06, 2019

BOOK EXCERPT: "Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young: The Wild, Definitive Saga of Rock’s Greatest Supergroup" by David Browne

Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young: The Wild, Definitive Saga of Rock’s Greatest Supergroup by David Browne
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A new book titled Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young: The Wild, Definitive Saga of Rock’s Greatest Supergroup by David Browne has just been published.

Here is an excerpt on CSNY’s 2006 Freedom of Speech tour.
When the main set ended soon thereafter, the group hurried backstage only to find Young’s manager, Elliot Roberts, screaming at him, “No fucking encore!” Young responded in kind, announcing they would be doing one; after all, he retorted, this was called the Freedom of Speech Tour for a reason.

Young led the musicians back out for one more song—“Woodstock”—but the tension didn’t subside when the music ended and the lights went up. Instead of jumping onto tour buses, the musicians and Cerre were driven out of the venue and straight to a nearby airport in SUVs flanked by a motorcade of Georgia state troopers. Since the major airlines had shut down their flights as a result of the terrorist threat, a DC-10 was quickly chartered, and nearly two dozen musicians and crew members piled on for the flight out. “They were really shaken but also invigorated,” says Cerre. “It was like, ‘Yeah, that is what music is about, and I guess we got people’s attention.’ And at the end of the day, it could have gotten much worse. Nobody got hurt and it didn’t turn into a riot.”

For the first time on the tour, Young was rattled.

He and the group were confronted with a startling new reality: that some portion of their fan base, solid counterculture types from the Vietnam era, no longer shared the group’s political leanings. In 1972, according to an American National Election Study, 51 percent of eligible-voter boomers identified themselves as Democrats, and 29 percent as Republicans. But in a similar poll that would be published in 2008, two years after the Freedom of Speech Tour, the number of Republican-leaning boomers would jump to 48 percent.

Especially after the Atlanta fiasco, the implications of this generational drift were immediately felt. In Young’s hotel room in Washington, DC, before the next show in Bristow, Virginia, security guards poked behind the curtains in search of unwanted intruders. Before they went onstage, the four men had a long-standing tradition of a band handshake, which replaced the shared joint of years before. That evening, at the Nissan Pavilion concert in Bristow, Young huddled with Crosby, Stills and Nash and instead told them how nervous he was. They slapped him on the back and did their best to comfort him. “We got your back,” Stills responded. For a moment, at last, Young no longer needed them just for musical or financial reasons; he needed them for emotional support.

That night, as bomb-sniffing dogs were ordered up for that and future shows, some booing again erupted during “Let’s Impeach the President.” But showing a fortitude that had escaped him during the Stills-Young Band tour of three decades before, Young gave no thought to canceling. “We thought, ‘Let’s just keep going,’” recalled Pegi Young, then married to Young. “If we stopped, would the terrorists win?” But another month of shows awaited them, and those in the touring party who weren’t accustomed to those responses made peace with the new normal. Fans in Missouri also walked out during “Let’s Impeach the President,” and the bomb detectors continued to try to protect them. “The first time I saw the bomb squads, I thought, ‘This is not good,’” says Chad Cromwell, the drummer on the tour. “I thought, ‘Is this going to be the gig where the bomb goes off? Is this how it will end?’ I was nervous, but after a few more gigs, it wasn’t that bad. Everyone settled into it.”

The set list never changed, and “Let’s Impeach the President” remained the first encore.
More on Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young: The Wild, Definitive Saga of Rock’s Greatest Supergroup by David Browne.

Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young: The Wild, Definitive Saga of Rock’s Greatest Supergroup by David Browne
(Please shop locally & independently. But if you can't, we appreciate your supporting Thrasher's Wheat by clicking link above. Thank you!!!)

CSN&Y - Concord, CA, July 25, 2006

Also, more on Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young and "Freedom of Speech 2006 concert tour:

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