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April 2017

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David Crosby at The Wiltern — A Full Review

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David Crosby doesn’t need any promotion from The Dishmaster. The man is a legend, and even without Graham Nash, Stephen Stills, and Neil Young, he can carry a concert. Crosby graced the stage of The Wiltern for an intimate evening with his most devoted fans, and he delivered the goods. The iconic singer/songwriter hit the road to promote his new solo album, Sky Trails, which is a follow-up to the recently released Lighthouse. Before Lighthouse, Crosby released Croz, which was his first solo album in decades. Given the close proximity of his solo records since the release of Croz, I can only guess he got the bug and he’s on a roll. He now performs with session guitarist Jeff Pevar, and his pianist son James Raymond (“CPR”). He attributes his creative re-awakening to the demise of Crosby, Still, Nash, and Young, insisting that quitting the group “unleashed a tidal wave of new music,” because the band became solely about playing their greatest hits. They had, “No new songs, no growth, and [they] didn’t like each other. There was no reason to be there other than the money, and that’s not enough.”

So what exactly happened to Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young, and why don’t they like each other? It’s unclear, but the culprit seems to be Crosby himself, which isn’t surprising given that Crosby hilariously admitted during the show to being kicked out of The Byrds because “he was an asshole.” Here’s an elusive quote from Graham Nash about the matter:

I don’t like David Crosby right now. He’s been awful for me the last two years, just fucking awful. I’ve been there and saved his fucking ass for 45 years, and he treated me like shit. You can’t do that to me. You can do it for a day or so, until I think you’re going to come around. When it goes on longer, and I keep getting nasty emails from him, I’m done. Fuck you. David has ripped the heart out of Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young.

Crosby apparently bad-mouthed Neil Young’s girlfriend, Daryl Hannah, calling her a “purely poisonous predator,” and though he later apologized, Young was not quick to accept, telling Howard Stern that a CSNY reunion is out of the question.

The irony here is that their mutual dislike likely propelled their creativity. Bands often enjoy songwriting with people that they like, but sometimes we are at our best in moments of discomfort. Though Crosby’s new venture, CPR, gives the audience those much-loved harmonies, his original music is missing the unforgettable melodies we’re so used to hearing from CSNY. But I appreciate an effort to produce original music throughout one’s life, and I agree with Crosby that playing a band’s greatest hits in perpetuity is painful. One thing is for sure — seeing David Crosby, in person, on stage, singing beautiful harmonies, is a true privilege.