Wednesday, July 9, 2014

40 Year Itch : CSNY Begins Doom Tour in Seattle

“It was insane.We were completely high every moment. Cocaine, marijuana – oh, and sleeping pills, too, because you have to come down."
       Graham Nash

     On July 9, 1974, in Seattle, Crosby Stills Nash and Young began a notorious  two month 31-concert, 24 city stadium tour that has just been documented in a new box set called CSNY 1974. ( You can stream four tracks here. )

  Rehearsals lasted for three weeks at Neil Young's Broken Arrow ranch in La Honda. Stills told Crawdaddy's Cameron Crowe:

“Neil built a beautiful stage right across the road from his studio. We get out there in the sun and play for about four or five hours a day. We haven’t done the old tunes in years, man, it’s almost like playing them for the first time. Everybody’s a better musician. And there’s plenty of new songs too. We’ve all been writing a lot, especially Neil. It’s been tons of fun and no hassles. 
The concerts were epic affairs, especially the first one which began at 9 and ended well after one in the morning and consisting of up to 40 songs ranging from the expected "Ohio" and "Our House" to solo cuts like Neil Young's "Revolution Blues" and Stills' "Change Partners".

      There are also rare cuts on the new box set like "Goodbye Dick", performed five days after Nixon 's resignation. 

  It had been four years since all four had worked together ( which led to the Four Way Street recording) But the promise of a big pay day and the success of the Dylan and Band tour had helped convince the guys to get together. Young--barely recognizable after getting a haircut-- had released a few commercial clunkers (Journey Through the Past and Time Fades Away) and agreed to the tour as long as he had his own bus.

The Seattle concert opened with a six minute version of "Love the One You're With" and ran for three and a half hours.

After Seattle, we realized we could hold on to tens of thousands of fans through a diversity of electric and acoustic sets.
-Graham Nash to Wall Street Journal

The rest of the set list looked like this:
wooden ships
immigration man
cowgirl in the sand
change partners
grave concern
black queen
almost cut my hair
suite: Judy blue eyes
helplessly hoping

human highway
prison song
as I come of age
carry me
for free
southbound train
another sleep song
our house
4 and 20
know you got to run
word game
love art blues
long may you run
a man needs a maid
don't be denied
first things first
deja vu
my angel
pre road downs
my favorite changes
long time gone
revolution blues
pushed it over the end
carry on
what are their names/Chicago

Of the camaraderie Crowe wrote:

The hostility between Stills and Young that at one time often stopped just short of onstage fisticuffs no longer hangs threateningly in the air. The same lessening of tensions since the last tour has infused the backstage atmosphere with a good deal of genuine warmth, back-slapping, hugging and verbal repartee.

It was David Crosby that called it "The Doom Tour". Why? You can read this Rolling Stone article for stories of drugs, groupies and inter-band squabbling. The tour was supposed to end in a recording session for a new album tentatively titled Human Highway ( the title cut, "Tonight's The Night" and "New Mama" were all going to Neil's contributions to the album). Obviously that never happened.

For a single soundbite try road manger Chris O'Dell's memory might explain why:

"One time they spilled cocaine on the carpet. They just got down on the floor and sniffed it off the carpet. I just went, 'Oh my God, this is so weird.' I'd never seen anything like it. They probably don't remember that." 

No comments:

Post a Comment