Thursday, October 25, 2012
Autumn in New York: CSN concert and Fine Art
It was wonderful seeing CSN at The Beacon Theater in New York last weekend. It was, all things considered, amazing.
The lush and emotional performance, an almost 3 hour set with an intermission, in a packed house, was full of wonder and graceful endurance. They were supported by a great band. They didn't mince their politics. Crosby remarked that the founders of our nation probably did not intend for elections to go to the largest television ad budget. They sang Nash's "Almost Gone," a sympathetic song about Bradley Manning, which is a cause he's taken up.
( I have to say I really don't get it about supporting Bradley Manning. I personally think they should throw the book at him. Military law is not the same as civilian law and what he did was egregious. Don't get me started. I heard the song got booed the night before, but that night's audience didn't respond to it in any unusual way.)
But I admire activism and CSN is sincerely and consistently attuned to the pulse of politics and justice. On their last New York venue, Crosby and Nash sang at Occupy Wall Street.
They close the show with Stills' "For What It's Worth" and also sang "Bluebird" as a homage to Buffalo Springfield. I recall what a wake-up call "For What It's Worth" was in the sixties.
I love this music that has punctuated the narrative of its times. I am on record with my love for this music. I feel lucky to be able to be with it live, today.
Stills didn't say much, as usual, and his electric guitar work was incandescent, as usual. He stumbled a little with the acoustic guitar.
It was clear that Nash is master of the trio's cohesion. When parts went astray, and they did, very occasionally, he literally, with outstretched arms, pulled it all back into time and tune. Their set pulled the last 43 years into a lanyard of history, music, wars, protests, triumphs, endurance, stamina and harmony. The Beacon is a beautiful venue for them.
Afterward in the backstage area, which was actually underneath the stage, I got a quick hi out of Stephen Stills, who was huddled with Elvis Costello. They'd done one of Costello's songs, but I'd never heard it before and don't know its name. It was about war fought in the name of religion.
Nash greeted me with a big smile, hug and kiss, complimented my appearance and asked me how old I was now. Not a question you ordinarily hear, is it? I told him (68) and I asked his age: 71. Gee, it's worth being a geezer to have seen and heard all I've seen and heard in my time.
Now, here in Maine, when you turn 70, you get a free lift ticket at any ski area in the state. At 71, and in good shape under a thick sheaf of white hair, Nash was eager to meet and greet and take pictures with anyone backstage who asked. "I figure my job isn't over till my head hits the pillow," he said. He was incredibly gracious to everyone. He also had a show of his photos in a gallery in Chelsea. Quite the Renaissance man. It was curiously wonderful and distancing to see them all.
I'm not nostalgic for the past. I'm nostalgic for the future.
Earlier that day, I went to one of my favorite art events, the annual International Fine Art & Antique Dealers Show at the armory, which was gorgeous. I saw bound maps and maritime charts from the 14th and 15th century and other extraordinarily beautiful items.The exquisite art deco jewelry shown by Primavera Gallery included a brooch designed by Dali.
All in all a weekend full of gems. Gems from time immemorial that still glitter and sparkle through time and changes.
Mainer, New Yawka, Beijinger, Californian, points between. News, views and ballyhoos that piqued my interest and caused me to sigh, cry, chuckle, groan or throw something.
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