Crosby, Stills & Nash at Bayou Music Center, 8/25/2014
"I don't know how people got this idea that we are a political band," David Crosby -- trademark flowing grey hair and walrus mustache intact -- said Monday night. "It might be from just those one or two songs. Or 18."
And indeed, while it seems incongruous that anyone buying a ticket to see Crosby, Stills & Nash is utterly unaware of their strongly left-leaning views, those who came strictly for the warm buzz of a hippie-fest nostalgia trip sure got a rude awakening.
Oh yeah, they got the sweet, comfy love songs like "Guinnevere," "Helplessly Hoping," and a nicely done "Our House." And the bong-fest barn burners like "Wooden Ships," "Long Time Gone," and "Almost Cut My Hair."
But smack dab in the middle of that set, CSN shook it up with a number of new songs all about some pretty contemporary issues, and one decades-old that could have been written yesterday. Remember, this is three-fourths of the group that recorded and released the protest anthem "Ohio" in about a week after the 1970 Kent State shootings that it was about.
"Burning for the Buddha" addressed the plight of Tibetan monks who have self-immolated as a protest against Chinese authorities. Crosby's "How Can There Be Only One Way?" took on religious superiority and one-uppery. And Nash's "Watch Out for the Wind," completed just four days ago with tour guitarist Shayne Fontayne, was all about the Michael Brown shooting in Ferguson.
Needless to say, in Red State Texas -- even at a CSN show -- his earnest denunciation of local police-force militarization got a tepid reaction. His thrown-in comment about how tough of a job the police have got a much warmer response. Introducing the Crosby/Nash old a cappella number "What Are Their Names?" Crosby said he would offer the crowd just one political opinion.
When some dissenter began to yell unintelligibly at him from the back of the auditorium (as concert dissenters are wont to do), Crosby -- not for the first time in the evening -- called the perpetrator out.
"Hey, dipshit! I have the microphone!" he said to applause. "You can't win this one. Not a chance!"
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