The ticket promised "An Evening With Crosby, Stills & Nash," and on a quiet Sunday Summer evening at Bethlehem, Penn.'s Sands Events Center, the three veteran voices easily made good on that billing. Sans opening act, David Crosby, Graham Nash and Stephen Stills brought all forty-something years of their history together and apart -- with humor and harmony -- to the Sands in a three-part, two-and-a-half-hour set for an appreciative audience largely old enough to remember their early days at Woodstock way back when.
With the lights dimmed and the intertwined CSN logo projected above the musicians' heads, the trio got the full crowd to jump to its feet for the immediately recognizable "Carry On" which featured the sweet three-part harmonies for which the band is so well known.
Indeed the 21-song set showcased the band's best-known works, including "Deja Vu," "Southern Cross," "Marrakesh Express," "Almost Cut My Hair," "Cathedral," "Helplessly Hoping" and "Love The One You're With," which ended the evening's first act and elicited one of the evening's many standing ovations.
But it wasn't always the familiar tunes that got the biggest reaction from audience. Witness "In Your Name," a Crosby and Nash country waltz Nash explained was about the ills of "killing in the name of God" that's just a few years old. The extended applause afterwards surprised him so much he mentioned it was encouraging to get such a response for a song most have "probably never heard."
Crosby, aside from his voice in the evening's various blends and as he led tunes like "Guinnevere," was the show's leading comedian, making light of all the grown men yelling passionately. "When a big biker dude yells 'I love you, Dave' it reminds me of prison," he jested. "Not a good thing… So can you ask your sister to yell it?" And of course, a chorus of female concert-goers chimed in right away.
Stephen Stills's best contribution to the evening wasn't his part in the harmonies or his indelible songwriting -- it was easily his effortless guitar solos. Throughout the night, Nash and Crosby stood aside for Stills to shred -- and the audience cheered its loudest.
While CSN's set paid homage to family -- both musical and literal -- with "Bluebird" (a tune by Stills' pre CSN group Buffalo Springfield), a song Crosby co-wrote with his son James ("Radio") and even a cover by contemporary Bob Dylan ("Girl From The North Country"), the trio's own "Suite: Judy Blue Eyes" fittingly closed out the night, with the sea of swaying bodies once again on their feet, singing along, "I am yours / You are mine / You are what you are." With a bow, Crosby, then Nash, and finally Stills left the Sands stage to whistles and applause.