Crosby, Stills and Nash at the Royal Albert Hall
The prestigious Royal Albert Hall seems the perfect venue to host folk-rock legends Crosby, Stills and Nash. The aura surrounding them is such that their entrance is welcomed with warmth, some standing to pay homage before the show even begins. Backed by their touring band, the trio play an astounding double set comprising 26 tracks, half of which were taken from their first two albums.
The gig starts a bit on the sly: Crosby, Stills and Nash look slightly stiff, as if time has preserved them in naphthalene and they’re only coming out of their cocoons now. It doesn’t take them long to prove how wrong this impression is – these guys play relentlessly and flawlessly throughout the evening, giving their best when harmonising their clear, yet powerful voices. Stills in particular demonstrates he hasn’t lost his sheen, enrapturing the audience with impeccable guitar solos. The setting helps by providing thrilling acoustics, but the band’s skill is tangible. Crosby, Stills and Nash, in turns, are also capable of entertaining the crowd by telling anecdotes and joking around between songs.
As Nash introduces Lay Me Down, he affirms they are in that very moment “bigger than God (Elvis…not the real God)” – and they are indeed. CSN, as they are also known, shift from oldies like Bluebird by Buffalo Springfield (in which Stills played with Neil Young) – a rockier and louder tune that leaves fans in a frenzy – to unreleased songs like Time I Have, a quieter song that will appear in an upcoming record, due next January. Déjà Vu is magnificently executed, with all the musicians on stage showing their talent through solos. Treetop Flyer sees Stills stealing the scene with his charisma, and Teach Your Children ultimately conquers the public who timidly at first, more confidently later, sing along to the chorus. Guinnevere is pure magic; Our House leaves everyone in jubilation.
Crosby, Stills and Nash’s compositions can be fast-paced, delicate, burn out in a few minutes or dilate into long suites. Whether they’re ballads or political songs, they know how to captivate minds and penetrate souls. If it’s true that reputation creates expectations, it’s true that CSN deserve the recognition they have achieved in their long career. Don’t miss out on a night of quality music.
Photos: Emre Zengin
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Watch a live performance of Guinnevere here: