LIVE: David Crosby @ The Egg, 6/30/15
Review by Greg Haymes
Photographs by Andrzej Pilarczyk
Crosby goes it alone.
After a half century of standing on stage shoulder-to-shoulder with some of the most talented musicians of the rock era – both in the Byrds and in Crosby, Stills & Nash (and sometimes Young) – it took a certain amount of courage to take the spotlight all alone with just an acoustic guitar, as David Crosby did at the sold-out The Egg’s Hart Theatre on a recent Tuesday night.
But over the years, Crosby has endured drug and alcohol abuse, Hepatitis C, Type 2 Diabetes, a liver transplant, numerous arrests and a nine-month stint in a Texas state prison. He’s nothing if not a survivor, and he managed just fine by himself at The Egg. And though it seems nearly impossible considering what he’s put his body through, his voice sounds nearly as good as it did 40 or 50 years ago – warm and vital, sometimes keening, always inviting. At 73, he’s still quite capable of hitting the high notes, although his vocals did waver a bit at times.
The two-time Rock & Roll Hall of Famer has always been a rebel, a maverick and a rule-breaker – and that hasn’t changed. His current tour is ostensibly in support of his new album, Croz (his first solo studio album in two decades), but he played only one song from the album (“Time I Have”), although he found time to squeeze a pair of new, as-yet-unreleased songs (“What Makes It So” and the jazz-tinged “Somebody Home”) and a sublime cover of Joni Mitchell’s “For Free” into his two 50-minute sets.
Opening with “Tracks in the Dust,” he addressed “hippie hopefulness” and his disdain for politicians, both recurring themes. He dipped back into his days with the Byrds for “Triad” and “Everybody’s Been Burned” (describing the latter as “the first half-way decent song I ever wrote”). He told stories (sometimes a bit rambling), freely doled out op-eds (yeah, he likes Bernie Sanders) and referred to his pals simply as Neil, Joni and Weird Old Bob (surnames not required).
The main problem was that as idiosyncratic as his songs are – full of odd time signatures, strange guitar tunings and unconventional chord structures – they all began to sound the same after two hours – haunting, languid, slow-to-midtempo songs without the benefit of much dynamic variety.
Still, it was a genuine treat to hear his renditions of CSN’s “Deja Vu” and “Guinnevere,” as well as “Laughing” and the encore of the appropriately cinematic narrative “Cowboy Movie” (both from his marvelous 1971 debut solo album, If I Could Only Remember by Name) in such an intimate setting to close out the night.
DAVID CROSBY SET LIST
Tracks in the Dust
The Lee Shore
Naked in the Rain
Time I Have
For Free (Joni Mitchell)
Dream for Him
Everybody’s Been Burned
Rusty and Blue
What Are Their Names
In My Dreams
What Makes It So (new)
Somebody Home (new)