FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

A Transcendent CSN

The power of music is one of the great unknowns in the human saga. For reasons we don’t quite understand (yet) its vibrations can lift us to great heights, drop us down into deep depression, liberate us, make us joyous, help us grieve, and so much more.

Thus its practitioners—the best of them—can rise to shaman status. They can speak to higher realities, lead us on political issues, arouse our spirits, calm our souls.

Those with the power are rare. There is a huge corporate industry designed to manufacture and sell commercial imitations.

But real ones still walk among us, and if we catch them at the right moment, they can move us as little else in this life.

Monday night was such a time. Crosby, Stills and Nash played under a pavilion on the Ohio River outside Cincinnati amidst a gorgeous warm night before some 4,000 folks who must be described at this point as elders.

(By way of disclosure, I’ve worked with Graham Nash since 1978, when he toured California with Jackson Browne, raising funds and consciousness to fight the Diablo Canyon nukes. With Bonnie Raitt, Jackson and Graham are the core of NukeFree.org, whose website I edit.)

The show was a mix of old and new, but stayed within the terrain of melodies and harmonies the trio essentially invented.

“Wooden ships on the water

Very free

And easy

The way it’s supposed to be.”

Hearing CSN’s standards reminds us Boomers of a time and place, an era of history when we were young and open and a whole new genre of music and politics and ways of being was in the birthing. There was a war on and we wanted peace, and injustices and bigotries we wanted done away with, and with all that came a mindset and culture that changed the world—but not yet enough.

With a superb supporting cast (including David Crosby’s son, James Raymond), the band reminds us of why these songs became standards in the first place. It’s not enough that music is of a time—it also has to be good on its own. The deep resonance of the chord changes, the perfect harmonies, master guitar riffs, intriguing lyrics….there are reasons these songs are still with us. Carry On, Helpless, Suite Judy Blue Eyes, Our House will always carry the touch of greatness that inspired them.

Thankfully, the group has also kept its political focus. Graham dedicated Teach Your Children to the underpaid, overworked professionals who do just that.

He also sang Almost Gone, a searing accusation written with James Raymond about the ghastly torture of Bradley Manning, the whistleblowing young soldier being pilloried by our imperial army for the “crime” of telling the truth.

Graham’s epic Winchester Cathedral asked “how many people have died in the name of Christ?” The question was underscored with Military Madness, reminding us that our species continues to poison and bleed itself with an unfathomable addiction to violence and war that could someday soon kill us all.

To do this kind of politics in a concert for which people have paid good money is a delicate dance. But these guys are good enough—and then some—to make it work. It is, after all, who they are, and have been, and we would expect no less.

The riverfront night was clear and clean, but global-warmed, and at one point Graham complained of the heat.

“Take off your shirt,” someone yelled.

“Are you kidding,” said Graham. “I’m seventy years old.”

Well, yeah, but he and his brothers haven’t lost a beat, and their core audience has the aura of being as fit and bright and full of life as we were way back when.

In those days, we never doubted we would live forever. In the parallel universe CSN still has the power to create, it seems we actually have.

Harvey Wasserman, a co-founder of Musicians United for Safe Energy, is editing the nukefree.org web site. He is the author of SOLARTOPIA! Our Green-Powered Earth, A.D. 2030, is at www.solartopia.org. He can be reached at: Windhw@aol.com

 

 

More articles by:

Harvey Wasserman wrote SOLARTOPIA! Our Green-Powered Earth. His Green Power & Wellness Show is at www.prn.fm

Weekend Edition
August 17, 2018
Friday - Sunday
Daniel Wolff
The Aretha Dialogue
Nick Pemberton
Donald Trump and the Rise of Patriotism 
Joseph Natoli
First Amendment Rights and the Court of Popular Opinion
Andrew Levine
Midterms 2018: What’s There to Hope For?
Robert Hunziker
Hothouse Earth
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Running Out of Fools
Ajamu Baraka
Opposing Bipartisan Warmongering is Defending Human Rights of the Poor and Working Class
Paul Street
Corporate Media: the Enemy of the People
David Macaray
Trump and the Sex Tape
CJ Hopkins
Where Have All the Nazis Gone?
Daniel Falcone
The Future of NATO: an Interview With Richard Falk
Cesar Chelala
The Historic Responsibility of the Catholic Church
Ron Jacobs
The Barbarism of US Immigration Policy
Kenneth Surin
In Shanghai
William Camacaro - Frederick B. Mills
The Military Option Against Venezuela in the “Year of the Americas”
Nancy Kurshan
The Whole World Was Watching: Chicago ’68, Revisited
Robert Fantina
Yemeni and Palestinian Children
Alexandra Isfahani-Hammond
Orcas and Other-Than-Human Grief
Shoshana Fine – Thomas Lindemann
Migrants Deaths: European Democracies and the Right to Not Protect?
Paul Edwards
Totally Irrusianal
Thomas Knapp
Murphy’s Law: Big Tech Must Serve as Censorship Subcontractors
Mark Ashwill
More Demons Unleashed After Fulbright University Vietnam Official Drops Rhetorical Bombshells
Ralph Nader
Going Fundamental Eludes Congressional Progressives
Hans-Armin Ohlmann
My Longest Day: How World War II Ended for My Family
Matthew Funke
The Nordic Countries Aren’t Socialist
Daniel Warner
Tiger Woods, Donald Trump and Crime and Punishment
Dave Lindorff
Mainstream Media Hypocrisy on Display
Jeff Cohen
Democrats Gather in Chicago: Elite Party or Party of the People?
Victor Grossman
Stand Up With New Hope in Germany?
Christopher Brauchli
A Family Affair
Jill Richardson
Profiting From Poison
Patrick Bobilin
Moving the Margins
Alison Barros
Dear White American
Celia Bottger
If Ireland Can Reject Fossil Fuels, Your Town Can Too
Ian Scott Horst
Less Voting, More Revolution
Peter Certo
Trump Snubbed McCain, Then the Media Snubbed the Rest of Us
Dan Ritzman
Drilling ANWR: One of Our Last Links to the Wild World is in Danger
Brandon Do
The World and Palestine, Palestine and the World
Chris Wright
An Updated and Improved Marxism
Daryan Rezazad
Iran and the Doomsday Machine
Patrick Bond
Africa’s Pioneering Marxist Political Economist, Samir Amin (1931-2018)
Louis Proyect
Memoir From the Underground
Binoy Kampmark
Meaningless Titles and Liveable Cities: Melbourne Loses to Vienna
Andrew Stewart
Blackkklansman: Spike Lee Delivers a Masterpiece
Elizabeth Lennard
Alan Chadwick in the Budding Grove: Story Summary for a Documentary Film
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail