Monday, June 29, 2009

Excuses... and Crosby, Stills & Nash

Lately, I've been very lazy about blogging. The sun is shining again in Cork and I have been stumbling my way through a new story that just doesn't want to finish, and that's about it, really. Excuses.
I've got tickets for tonight's concert at the Marquee. Crosby, Stills & Nash. I've been lucky enough to have seen most of my favourite performers over the years but this particular trio has always eluded me. Half a lifetime ago, I picked up a copy of their first album and was hooked. The harmonies were truly a thing of beauty, the songwriting ethereal and evocative, the playing always immaculate and at times even breathtaking. Stephen Stills can wield a guitar like few others, I think. Since that first listen, I've tried to keep tabs on them, in all their various incarnations and combinations. It hasn't been all sweetness and triumph, but it has always made for an interesting journey.
Actually, they fascinate me as characters too. Crosby's much publicised addictions and arrests, Stills's rage-games and unfortunate health (and hearing) problems, and Graham Nash, the peacekeeper, caught in the middle, trying to keep the boat afloat. Add to the cauldron the brittle genius of Neil Young (who last year blew the Marquee away with a stunning set of rock God-speak) and you happen upon a volatile mix. At their best, at their peak (and Woodstock was, incredibly, forty years ago this summer), to herd them on stage together must have been like trying to juggle dynamite. With four such disparate personalities, and four such enormous egos, you had to be prepared for virtually anything. These days, of course, age and circumstance must have tempered them, at least somewhat, but I'm certain that a glimmer of that noxious essence still survives. I'm hoping for fireworks tonight!

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