Relaxing with Crosby, Stills…

by Lew Harris
Chicago Tribune
August 18, 1969

After their first song there was a long ovation, and David Crosby and Stephen Stills giggled a bit and slapped hands. And Graham Nash said, "Golly, we needed that." And another ovation came.

The scene was the Auditorium theater at the first set Saturday night by Crosby, Stills, and Nash, aided by Neil Young. It was their first public appearance together after a year of preparation. And altho a little unpolished, they proved that this new group is one of the best around.

Before they began, a groupie behind me said to a fellow groupie: "O, Stevie Stills looks so gentle and so nice." It was a good description of the whole group - they act more like they're relaxing at home than giving a concert in front of a near-full house at the Auditorium.

For most of the show they play acoustic guitar. Neil Young sits cross-legged on a stool, guitar in lap. Stephen Stills sits on another stool, his right foot tapping in country time. Graham Nash stands, thumbs in pockets. David Crosby stands, his eyes half-closed, his head swaying gently in time.

They play quietly, and sing quietly with soft country harmonies, but the songs themselves are much more poetic than country. "Helplessly hoping her harlequin hovers nearby awaiting a word/gasping at glimpses of gentle free spirit he runs, wishing he could fly."

And something infrequent in current rock concerts is happening: They are having a good time.

Stills is tuning up [and has been for several long minutes]. Young says: "That's pretty good for country music." Stills plays an introduction. Young says: "Maybe it isn't that good."

A little bit past halfway thru they bring out a drummer and a bass player, Young sits down at the organ, and Stills and Crosby pick up electric guitars. Now Stills' whole body is pounding out the rhythm. And Nash's hands are out of his pockets, slapping his sides as he shouts: "Elevated, you're elated 'cause I waited a year for you./If you're thinking what I'm thinking, then I'm gonna make my love to you/yea-yea-yea...."

Then they sing another, "Long Time Gone," and it works very well, and during the ovation that follows Crosby and Young hug each other with joy.

There were two encores [after as many standing ovations], the second being "Let's Get Together" with singer-composer [she wrote "Both Sides Now"] Joni Mitchell, who is Nash's wife [sic] and who opened the show. They were all as happy with what they had done in the hour preceding as was the audience. And they got their third standing ovation.


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