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Crosby Stills Nash & Young
Freedom of Speech '06

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Post-Gazette Pavilion, Burgettstown, PA


Set 1
1. Flags of Freedom [LWW]
2. Carry On
3. Wooden Ships
4. Long Time Gone
5. Military Madness [Nash]
6. After The Garden [LWW]
7. Living With War [LWW]
8. The Restless Consumer [LWW]
9. Shock And Awe [LWW]
10. Wounded World
11. Almost Cut My Hair
12. Imigration Man [Nash]
13. Families [LWW]
14. Deja Vu

Set 2
15. Helplessly Hoping
16. Our House [Nash]
17. Only Love Can Break Your Heart [Young]
18. Milky Way Tonight [Nash]
19. Treetop Flyer [Stills-Young]
20. Roger And Out [LWW]
21. Southbound Train
22. Old Man Trouble
23. Carry Me [Crosby]
24. Teach Your Children
25. Southern Cross
26. Find The Cost Of Freedom
27. Star-Spangled Banner (Jimi Hendrix at Woodstock)
28. Let's Impeach The President [LWW]
29. For What It's Worth [Stills]
30. Chicago
31. Ohio
32. What Are Their Names
33. Rockin' In The Free World [Young]

My Concert Review

(9/11/06) David Crosby, Stephen Stills, Graham Nash, and Neil Young finished their Freedom of Speech '06 Tour last night at the Post-Gazette Pavilion outside of Pittsburgh, PA. The tour was largely in support of Neil Young's latest anti-war anti-Bush album Living With War. Rounding up the old gang of CSNY for a protest tour was the perfect idea. I'm not one to spend too much time arguing about politics, but last night was the greatest protest concert I've ever attended. CSNY sounded great together, and Neil Young was as heavy-handed as he was on the Greendale tour - it was certainly great to see him perform live again. The majority of the songs from the album Living With War were played last night, and they sounded fantastic. I'm more of a fan of the album now than I was when I first listened to it when it came out. I may not be that interested in the politics, but I like that Neil Young is sticking up for freedom, and is not afraid to speak his mind. He definitely put on a very patriotic show with his pals C, S, and N.

The first set opened with Flags For Freedom, a track from Living With War, with huge flags raised and lowered in succesion at the back of the stage - America, UK, Canada, and Mexico. The first set (my favorite of the two) was particularly more electric than the second, and featured the majority of the tracks from Living With War played that night. Two of my favorite songs each from CSN's 1969 debut album and CSNY's 1970 album Deja Vu were played in that set - Wooden Ships, Long Time Gone, Almost Cut My Hair, and the title track Deja Vu, which closed out the set. They all sounded great live, and one of the most interesting parts of the show was watching Stills and Young trade off guitar parts and solos and figuring out which of the two was playing which parts of the song. Stills and Young both sounded fantastic.

After hearing so many good cuts in the first set, including most of Living With War, I could have left then and still considered the show a great success. The second set was a bit more laidback, and early on featured Nash and Young each playing one of their solo piano songs. At one point, Stills and Young shared the spotlight for Treetop Flyer. Before Carry Me, Crosby said that he wasn't going to do this song, since his throat was sore, but since it was the last show, he'd give it a shot. He said it was a 'song of transcendence', so he'd try to transcend.

Towards the end of the night, the band walked off and the stage went dark, except for one spotlight, shining down on a group of three or four dark figures lifting up a giant microphone, shrouded by mist being generated all over the stage. On the one hand, the scene was reminiscent of that famous photograph of the soldiers raising the American flag. On the other hand, the giant microphone reminded me of the Rust Never Sleeps tour. Neil Young later explained that the microphone was for us, for us to sing along. As the microphone went up, the Star-Spangled Banner in full feedback-rich glory could be heard from the stage. It was still dark and foggy, and my first thought was that it was Neil Young playing, but it soon became clear that it was the recording of Jimi Hendrix from Woodstock. A better use of that recording could not have been chosen. After the anthem's finish, Neil Young led the group in his activist song Let's Impeach The President, complete with lyrics showing up on the video screens, as well as subtitled clips of George Bush saying various things that backed up the content of the song. All in all, it was a pretty passionate performance.

A few more politically-minded songs before the show's end, including Stills' classic For What It's Worth, from the Buffalo Springfield days, as well as Ohio, which sounded particularly crisp, in terms of Neil's crunchy guitar tone. The final number was the song that I think everyone in the crowd was waiting for. Throughout the entire show, I heard people all around me shouting out for Neil to jam, or requesting the song Powderfinger. Well, the final number was the aptly chosen Rockin' in the Free World, and a fine performance it was. Neil went all out on this one, with some deliciously controlled feedback, and the crowd sang along on the chorus. You know how, when you go to see a fireworks display, at the end of the display, they do the finale, which is totally off-the-hook, full of explosions and crashes as the sky lights up, and it totally puts the rest of the display to shame with it's power and energy, and it just goes on for longer than you can believe it should be able to sustain itself, like how do they have so many explosives? Well, that's what this song felt like - it was the fireworks finale of the night, and it really felt like you were watching the finale of a fireworks display - and there wasn't actually any fireworks. It was awesome. And there were dozens of false endings, too, but the song just kept on jamming. When it finally did finish, it was just after curfew, and the band took their bows and retired. There was no encore, but I'm sure the band had played what they came to play that night.

Ah, the sweet, ear-splitting sounds of freedom...

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