The Roots Report: David Crosby at the Z

DavidCrosbyOkee dokee folks… At age 77, David Crosby seems to be at the top of his game. It’s almost as if he has captured his third wind (maybe even his fourth or fifth at this point). David Crosby, best known as a member of two iconic bands, The Byrds and Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young, has been riding high from the success of his past couple of albums. Croz and his band treated the near capacity crowd of the Zeiterion Theatre to an aurally satiating performance.

The audience was composed of lots of grey ponytails and even a David doppelganger on December 7, and most were probably there to relive the music of their youth. They were given a taste of something new instead. Crosby’s band was simple, but he has found an arrangement that he loves. His trio of backing musicians was composed of singer-songwriters, much like the CSNY grouping. Becca Stevens added guitar, mandolin, ukulele and vocals; Toronto’s Michelle Willis played keys and sang, and Snarky Puppy’s (Crosby often spoke highly of this band) Michael League rounded out the combo with vocals, guitar and bass. Their sound felt very Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young-ish, but with a feminine twist. Crosby was the spotlight performer, but he graciously shared it with all members on the stage. Each was given a chance to present their own material in addition to what they already had co-written and performed with music legend. It took a couple of songs for Crosby to pick up a guitar, and many numbers during the night only had him contributing vocals, though during the first set he did play a couple solo. Much of the evening’s music had a jazzy, acoustic feel that fell in line with the feel of Crosby’s classic, “Deja Vu.” And while “Deja Vu” was one of the tunes he did play in an extended version, most of the material came from his latest releases. The 18-song, two-hour show did include some of his better-known songs such as “Guinnevere” and “Carry Me.” It wasn’t until the encore that he delved into more familiar territory with an amazing rendition of Joni Mitchell’s “Woodstock” that was closer to her original than the CSNY version. When Becca Stevens took a verse, you would have sworn that Joni was behind the microphone. Surprisingly (because of their falling out), but not surprisingly (because of the subject matter and anthemic nature of the song) the evening ended with Neil Young’s “Ohio.” He told the crowd to get up because they couldn’t sing this one sitting down and said, “You need to sing really fucking loud!”

Crosby seems like he has a new lease on his musical life and is helping to launch the careers of his bandmates as well. He seemed jovial at times and kept his political commentary to a minimum. Many times over the course of the evening he expressed his love for the Zeiterion Theatre and said he will be back. Hopefully he does come back again and again for many years to come!

That’s it for now.  I have added photo albums from recent concerts (including David Crosby) at the Motif Facebook page (www.Facebook.com/MotifRI). Check them out! Thanks for reading. JohnFuzek.com

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