Concert review: Crosby, Stills & Nash take fans on greatest hits tour

CROSBY, STILLS & NASH

Thursday/The Star Theatre

John Lui

They are here, after pulling through the standard thicket of supergroup problems - addiction to drugs both hard and soft, time in jail (David Crosby, for drug and weapons charges), one liver transplant (again, for Crosby, once famed for his appetite) and most of all, the bickering that has fractured the group more than once.

The trio have survived all that to be on stage, each one present and accounted for. Which band formed in the 1960s can say that?

So the group's signature tight harmonies were occasionally a little sour. Crosby Stills & Nash could have masked it with backup singers, as The Beach Boys did in 2012 when they played here, but the septugenarians on stage let it all hang out.

When you have a fan base as loyal and a list of hits as long as theirs, you do not have to aim for perfection.

From my seat reserved for the media, located at the rear of the near-full Star Theatre, I could not tell if lingering resentments remained.

Graham Nash, standing in the middle flanked by Stephen Stills and Crosby, did most of the talking.

Banter was kept to a minimum because there was a back catalogue of hits to plough through. At one point, as more and more audience members shouted requests, as if the group were a jukebox, Nash genially pointed out that an all-hits show would take a month to complete.

The set kicked off with Carry On, a four-on- the-floor rocker penned by Stills, anchored by a nagging acoustic guitar strum pattern.

On it rolled, the list picking up songs from the pre-Neil Young first album (Marrakesh Express, Guinnevere, Wooden Ships, Helplessly Hoping), as well as the second, which had by then included the Canadian musician (Carry On, Teach Your Children, Almost Cut My Hair, Our House, Deja Vu).

Nash said they played his song Wasted On The Way at the request of chef Justin Quek, who hosted them at his Sky On 57 restaurant. This was the first time they have covered the tune in a decade, Nash added. That must have been one heck of a lunch.

Missing were tunes written by off-and-on member Young, such as the call-to-arms protest song Ohio. Also missed was the hippie anthem Woodstock, penned by Joni Mitchell (who was dating Graham Nash at the time).

The crowd, fully loosened up by the first encore, took part in a call-and-response with Love The One You're With and in the second encore, Teach Your Children.

The band ended the night with the third, Suite: Judy Blue Eyes, its rousing do-do-do final chorus sending the crowd home on a high.

johnlui@sph.com.sg