Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
"I had my hand on Death's doorhandle..."
o dubhthaigh | north rustico, pei, canada | 06/12/2004
(4 out of 5 stars)
"You're not likely to come across a concert DVD as disturbing as this one. Shot in 1982, weeks before Crosby would appear at The Brandywine Club in West Chester, Pa, and then flee the advance of rushing FBI and US Marshalls to hole up in his boat in Florida before surrendering, this is one of the saddest portraits of an artist I have ever seen. It is also a shining moment for both Nash and Stills.
To be sure, the Daylight Again Tour had been a personal disaster for Crosby. Stills and Nash were under extraordinary financial and professional pressure to pull this off amidst David's self-destruction. The CD itself was honestly a Stills-Nash CD with a song from Crosby. The recording sessions most frequently found Mike Finnegan taking Crosby's part. In the course of the concert tour, the three would come to blows in Philadelphia where Crosby had wandered off-stage to collapse with his crack pipe. By the time they got to LA, even Nash had given up and was determined, along with Stills, to rescue his own reputation. Crosby was a pariah to everyone, and now even his two closest professional allies could no longer bear his presence. Body language tells you everything in this DVD. Most of the time, Crosby is near catatonic, staring vacantly, absent-mindedly strumming occasional chords, slurring and humming his vocal parts, sweating far more from the horrors of his haze than from the bright stage lights. He stands stiff and looks pasty, exhausted, scared. If you have ever been with someone who is dying of cancer, Crosby has that look in his eyes that time of death is, inevitably, now a matter of weeks. Resignation and fear have numbed his every move. He tries several times to get off stage, to be turned around by someone so that he cannot resort to the pipe. Close ups of his hands show his skin looking absolutely terrible. It is painfully heartbreaking and Nash can not bear to look at the man with whom he had so soulfully bonded. Stills is keeping his distance, offering remarks on their friendship that are the kind you make when you are with someone who is dying. "Wasted on the Way" is directed at their comrade, who seems to register the pain in those lyrics in faint grimaces. Guided back to the piano for "Delta", he has the gait of someone who is at the stage of hospice care. That he manages it at all, and that Nash, Finnegan and Stills provide such redemptive treatments to Crosby's failing efforts is nothing short of miraculous. It is a triumph that seems to revive Crosby enough to get through the remainging few songs of the concert with more strength and focus than he had up to that point.
For Stills, this is his shining hour. I never heard him this good before or after this concert. It leaves one wondering what happened to his voice, the clarity of his guitar playing, the powerful and soulful songs that blended so may genres as though he were a white Ray Charles? This concert features his band and the sympathy they display is a thing of wonder. They are so on, it is their sheer power and sophistication that enables you not to rivet your entire attention on Crosby's decay. Stills covers so many aspects of his career from the CSN stuff to his solo work. His songs have an honesty that displayed a flawed character owning up to his shortcomings and yet finding both solace and renewal in music. You wonder if in fact he might have been imploring his lost colleague to find his way home. Stills rarely looks at Crosby and almost never touches him. Perhaps he has come to terms with what was happening and found the fight no longer worth it. He plays with great soul. His acoustic and electric work have never, ever been so eloquent. Precious rarities are performed here: "Treetop Flyer" and McCartney's "Blackbird". They are the best renditions of these that I have ever heard Stills deliver.
Nash is the energetic cheerleader. It is always comical to see him hold a Gibson electric, and I wouldn't bet it was ever plugged in, ala Linda McCartney, but his singing is as perfectly registered as it has ever been. He and Stills put categorically everything they had into this performance and left nothing on the table or in the dressing room. They are incandescently brilliant together. Nash's songs are another matter. His "Barrel of Pain" is a great, great song. His encouragement to the young to vote against those who would pollute the environment focused and commanding, and resonates now more than ever. On the other hand, he can write real drivel. "Miracle Child" is a lovely sentiment, and a horribly written song. In fact, I'm not sure it qualifies as a song. More like musings set to random chords. "Teach Your Children" needs to be retired, even in 1982. "Cathedral" is silly bombast, and given that it is the tale of a Brit too wanked on LCD to appreciate that he is spouting crap, seems an inappropriate inclusion in a show where his partner is literally dying on stage from the ravages of crack, cocaine and heroin. "Just a Song Before I go", however, is a thing of beauty as is "Wind on the Water."
I believe it is an extraordinary act of courage and humility for CSN to release this concert, not because the music is so great, but because of what else is happening. I would have liked to hear the reflections of the three of them looking back on this now, especially David, who has emerged such an entirely new man. Perhaps even some direction on where to get help, or how you can help a loved one who is either in extremis, as Cros was surely here, or heading there inspite of themselves. In the end, any AA or NA program will tell you that the person has to hit bottom, but none of us likes to give up on the ones we love. This film draws just that conclusion."
One of my favorites
Patrick G | Portsmouth, NH USA | 04/08/2000
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I was 10 years old when this album came out, so unlike others who were already contrasting the "aging hippies" with their younger days, I knew nothing of previous CSN. (Or of Crosby's drug problems for that matter.) I simply enjoyed "Wasted on the Way" and "Southern Cross" when listening to Casey Kasem's American Top 40, right alongside efforts by Michael Jackson. It never occurred to me that CSN was an "older" group ; I simply loved both of those songs, great singles then, great songs now. I think this goes to show how much more enjoyable music can be when we actually listen to it innocently for its own sake, rather than getting wrapped up into who's "in," "out," "old," or "young."Anyhow, I officially became a true CSN fan in 1989 at 17, and listened to about half of the songs on this album tirelessly. I think half of the songs are great, if not flat out killer songs that represent CSN/Y at their best, while the other half are just weak filler that are not unlike what we have (sadly) come to expect from this band. The best moments here are "Delta" (my favorite CSN/Y song ever) the two previously mentioned singles, "Song for Susan," "You are Alive," "Might as Well Have a Good Time," and "Daylight Again." The rest I can do without, but anyone who has only listened to the two singles really should give this album another spin because there really are some gems here. These are the type of songs that to me are so soothing and beautiful and unique and eternal, that it's really hard for me to imagine the egos behind the scenes getting into their fights, etc. I experience such serenity when listening to CSN.In the end I think there are three phases of CSN/Y studio albums : 1) Crosby Stills and Nash (1969) and Deja Vu (1970) - both killer albums from beginning to end 2) CSN (1977) and Daylight Again (1982) - 1/2 gems mixed with 1/2 junk 3) American Dream (1988) Live it Up (1990) After the Storm (1994) Looking Forward (1999) - almost entirely trash, some rare good moments in each at best.Maybe this album seemed disappointing at the time relative to the first album in 1969 and Déjà Vu in 1970, but wouldn't CSN/Y fans do anything for something like this now? Can you imagine Stills once again managing to write something as good as "Southern Cross"? Why do they (CSNY) keep telling us that they think they are getting better? Even Crosby seems to be apologizing during the CSNY concerts when he explains that "we like the old songs too, but the new songs keep us alive."Go for Daylight Again if you are in any way a fan of CSN's music. And pray that they will make an album like this again someday."
It's better than nothing
David H. Sharrett | Oakton, VA United States | 07/09/2004
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I go this DVD as soon as it became available. Working my way through the menu I began to listen to the songs I really wanted to hear. It was tough because there are so many great covers of their stuff on this concert. Wooden Ships shows Stills just blistering the guitar. I had my 15 & 24 year old watch it with me and just waited to hear them respond. They DID. Then i took them to Suite Judy Blue Eyes and that floored them as well. Same with Southern Cross and Wasted on the Way, especially the vocals. Stills' voice is so strong on this, as is Nash's. Stills is clearly in control both vocally and musically. When i first saw the DVD it appeared that Crosby was stoned out of his mind. When i checked the date of the concert i realized this was just before I saw him at The Wax Museum (an irony for his present condition) in Washington, DC. He was barely coherant then and kept leaving the stage to do whatever it was he was doing to stay high. He had the same look in this concert. His voice is tentative and he comes across as almost terrified to be on stage. Nash's harmonies are heavenly as usual. The song selection and delivery is well worth the investment. The back and forth between Stills and Finnegan during Wooden Ships is amazing."
ONE OF MY ALL TIME FAVORITES!
BeatleBangs1964 | United States | 08/24/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I love this collection. "Southern Cross" is my single favorite song on this collection and as one reviewer aptly noted, it is the music that keeps us alive (to a certain extent). Crosby, Stills & Nash show great growth and development in this collection, while they remain true to the gentle sounds that made us love them. "Song for Susan" and "Might as Well Have a Good Time" and "Delta" are songs of extraordinarily high caliber.They did a nice job. And like another reviewer stated, we'll pray for them to do something like this again. This CD has a place of honor for car listening as well as home listening. And yes, I do have my 1982 original (from the stone age before CDs). CROSBY, STILLS & NASH ARE MY ALL TIME FAVORITES!"