Graham Nash

Graham Nash brought two hours of musical memories to the Lobero Theater last night, from “Bus Stop” with the Hollies to “Better Life” from his 2023 release, Now. I give great credit to an 81-year-old who is performing five nights a week on a tour through the U.S. and the U.K., hitting the high notes and performing as rock star, not a nostalgia act. (And his new record is not at all bad.) But it was nostalgia that carried the night. With two exceptions, however, the songs were never my favorites. In fact, one of the crowd-pleasing highlights, which also lifted my spirits in comparison, was Stephen Stills’s “Love the One You’re With,” which I hated at the time for its cynical message. One common thread of Nash’s own songs, which I had not noticed, was their narrative nature. They told a story or had a message–no “moon/June” or breakup tears. A highlight of the evening was Nash’s introductions, telling stories about how he came to write each song. As for the two numbers that count among my favorites, “Wasted on the Way,” a 1982 CSN hit, was damaged by the over-amplified or poorly mixed sound system. Instead of the clear voices and fine harmonies one expected, the first half of the concert, especially, was raucous and muddy. When called back for a second encore, Nash and his two backups did a sweet a cappella rendition of Buddy Holly’s “Every Day” and then, as I wished and predicted, ended with “Teach Your Children” from 1970.  More exactly, they let the audience end the evening by singing the final lines, “And know they love you.”
July 17, 2023

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