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AL.com: Crosby, Stills & Nash's fantastic Huntsville show: Lots of questions and one answer

By Matt Wake | mwake@al.com 
 
 
 
HUNTSVILLE, Alabama -- Was that Jeff Beck's instrumental version of The Beatles' "A Day In The Life" that played over the P.A. as Crosby, Stills & Nash walked onstage Wednesday night?

Did the 1,900 or so fans in the nearly sold-out Von Braun Center Mark C. Smith Concert Hall expect CSN, a folk-rock supergroup formed in 1968, to sound this fantastic in 2013? Did they have any idea David Crosby, Stephen Stills and Graham Nash could still nail their trademark swelling, sterling harmonies all night?

Is "Carry On," the song CSN opened the Huntsville show with, the most mystical-sounding hit from the early '70s? Why isn't Stills – who peeled off bluesy, majestic solo after solo tonight – ever ranked higher in those Best Rock Guitarists Of All-Time lists?

Why did roadies switch out Stills' guitar amps after the opener?  Has Nash always performed onstage barefoot? When Nash said, "When you've got ladies in the front row singing the words it's a good sign," after singing the hippie travelogue "Marrakesh Express," how many ladies was he referring to?

Where did Crosby get the deep gospel notes he belted out during "Long Time Gone," earning one of the biggest standing ovations of the night? Do Crosby, Stills and Nash keep up with whose songs gets more standing Os? 

How much weight has Crosby lost, because he looks great? How many copies of that "Stamp Money Out of Politics" T-shirt that Nash is wearing did he bring with him on tour? Why does Stills only wear glasses on certain songs? 

Who designed the cool, interlocking CSN logo on the banner hanging behind the band onstage?

How much did that gorgeous white Gretsch Stills played on the few tunes he didn't use a Stratocaster cost?  How many times did Nash and Stills rehearse their guitar-interplay interlude that was a highlight of the buoyant "Southern Cross"? 

Does music physically move Nash this much or are those rock star moves? Or is it a little of both?

Why did the drunken clod sitting behind me keep yelling "Get Ron Wood!" (apparently referring to The Rolling Stones guitarist of that name)? Why did that same drunken clod then start yelling "Get Bob Dylan!"

How is it that every time Stills' raspy voice sounded like it was about to crumble, it instead took flight? Does Vertical House Records have any Buffalo Springfield on used vinyl, because that "Bluebird" song CSN covered is awesome?

How long has CSN's excellent five-piece backing band (two keys, electric guitar, bass and drums) toured with them? Did CSN really steal their bass player from Jackson Browne's band like Nash just said, perhaps in jest, while announcing the bassist onstage?

Why don't more rock bands do intermissions? Have I ever been to a rock concert where this many audience members are carrying canes out of necessity? Were the tie-dye-wearing teenage chicks seated beside my girlfriend and me the youngest people at this show by 10 years?

How many $5 packs of Crosby, Stills & Nash rolling papers did the band's merch table sell tonight? How many $30 Crosby, Stills & Nash blue beach towels have they sold the entire tour? And what does one do with a beach towel the rest of the concert after one purchases said towel?

Did Nash get baked during intermission, because a couple of his song intros in the second set kind of sounded like it? After returning to the stage did CSN play too many slow and/or new songs in a row?

What does Stills do when he leaves the stage every so often during passages sung primarily sung by Crosby and Nash? How much does that piano the roadies just wheeled out weigh? Did every single fan here sing along to the chorus of the piano-driven Nash classic "Our House"?

During Crosby's inspired performance of his defiant anthem "Almost Cut My Hair" I wondered, "When was the last time David Crosby received a haircut?" Didn't Jerry Garcia play the pedal steel on the studio version of "Teach Your Children," which earned CSN yet another sing-along from Wednesday's crowd?

How many people in the audience realized the hypnotic tune "Triad" is about a threesome? 

What other band could sing lyrics as spaced-out as those on "Wooden Ships" and not sound like goofballs? Why did the band at one time rarely perform their best-known song "Suite: Judy Blue Eyes," which CSN encored with tonight bringing the crowd to their feet and into the night with "Do Do Do Do Do" bliss?

I realize those are a lot of questions.

Here's one more: Which musical instrument can match the depth and power of the human voice - especially when it's three voices from three masters, singing together like Crosby, Stills & Nash did in Huntsville on Wednesday?

None.