Crosby, Stills & Nash at Trusts Stadium

By Graham Reid

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Being unused to concerts starting so early, we arrived at 8.20 to find CS&N three songs into their set, delivering Nash's Marrakesh Express - and proving that those signature harmonies, while a little more raw, were still largely intact.

The joke might be that these guys - average age 64 - and their mostly mature audience might want early nights these days.

But over the two hours-plus show (with an interval) they delivered with such energy that the full-house standing ovation at the end was much deserved.

Fuelled by nostalgia and respect for this music (and Crosby's survival against the odds perhaps), the audience was also urged on by Stills' incendiary guitar work which confirmed him as the Clapton of California.

This was a set of great internal dynamics: from Nash's hippie era acid trip Cathedral and the still relevant pop-rock of Military Madness, through Crosby's urgently angry Almost Cut My Hair and the Joni Mitchell-penned singalong on Woodstock, the music swelled or became hushed, the band behind weighing in with rock drums and twin keyboards, or cutting right back to just Crosby and Nash harmonising together.

And it was a crowd-pleasing set which included Wooden Ships, Guinnevere (sounding a bit dated), Teach Your Children, and Stills reaching back to his pre-CS&N days to the Buffalo Springfield hit For What It's Worth.

They pulled in Dark Star, Southern Cross, which is enormously popular in this hemisphere, and Our House, about which Crosby quipped that surveys had shown that between 1969 and 1973, 30 per cent of women had lost their virginity to it.

The only false note of the night was Nash's unrecorded Jesus of Rio, which was so drearily earnest it should more properly have been in a Sting concert.

There were flashes of humour, some plain speaking about their President (the keyboard played by Crosby's son had a "Lick Bush in '04" sticker on it), and for a band which has had such a sporadic career, there was a sense of common purpose which was palpable.

Older, grey or greying and portly they may be, but David Crosby, Stephen Stills and Graham Nash exceeded expectation and sent a capacity crowd home very happy. And not too early either.

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