When: Mon., March 24, 7:30 p.m. 2014
This August marks 45 years since Crosby Stills & Nash went global with a slightly ragged but undoubtedly rousing performance at Woodstock. The rapturous melding of voices they'd captured on record could not be re-created onstage, but it didn't matter. As Ed Sullivan did for the Beatles, the event launched the vocal group worldwide. At that moment, the ascendant CSN were very much successors to the splintering Fab 4. Described in a press release that year as the band "that brought back happiness and laughter to rock & roll," CSN had seemingly unlimited promise.
But the laughter was short-lived: The critical addition of Neil Young provided several gems and a needed electric edge, but Y, who'd butted heads with S back in Buffalo Springfield, brought the seeds of dissolution. Tensions produced a legendarily toxic level of backstage backbiting and rock-star excess. The de rigueur, chart-topping double-live LP 4 Way Street captured the onstage lightning of a fractious tour but documented the end, too.
CSN had already made a lasting mark. Their unmatched harmonies soared over plainspoken grit, utopian politics and introspection in songs that became entrenched in the vocabulary of popular music. Every soft rock act and singer-songwriter of the 1970s owes much to the distinct CSN sound and sensibility.
You'd be hard-pressed to say that they've made any essential new music since 1977, excepting perhaps a cut from the CSNY album Looking Forward. Still, it seems churlish to ask what have you done for me lately with a band like CSN, who mostly secured their status in the pantheon with a single record, anyway—a sun-streaked self-titled debut, whose cover pictures the jean-clad trio sitting on an outside couch, ready to wow the world. The album opens with what still may be their signature song, "Suite: Judy Blue Eyes," which has the power to stir up a storm of audience participation during its ecstatic wordless climax, just as it did for half a million strong at Woodstock. —David Klein