Looking forward is all very well, but 1999 finds[a]Crosby Stills Nash & Young[/a] looking more like participants in a stage adaptation of [I]The Wind In The Willows[/I]. Formerly the hairiest harmonisers in the stool-rock canon, pushing their close-order post-Woodstock vocalising before them like a branded mule, now their bandelero duds moulder in a ranch closet as they drive, unleaded, towards the new millennium.
Cruel modernity, its information superhighway and its digital watches have worked its magic on Dave, Steve, Graham and Neil in a most peculiar way. Crosby, at the very least (diagnosed with ‘The 1970s’), owes his life to modern medicine, but on the strength of this record, it is as if they have each emerged from a long doze in a slatted beach hut to be astonished by the horrors of a world after Janis. C’mon, guys, they’re saying to each other, the world needs us. Call your old lady and bring your 12-string over.
How much has changed, they are saying. How little, in turn, appears to have changed for the players. Those harmonies. The idea that there should be a decent world to bequeath to ‘the children’. The fact that Neil Young‘s are still the best songs. All kind of fills you with a sense of, I dunno, [I]dij` vu[/I], I suppose you’d call it, and – especially Neil‘s Mercury Rev-like ‘Out Of Control‘ – it’s mainly fairly pleasant. When they start on with a four-part homily about the Chinese student who stood in front of the tank… well: nooooo, walrus. For that I’m not showing you how to work the video.
It’s all been tough. Jerry‘s dead. The chicks are gone. Dave can’t eat carbohydrates any more. And here they all are, anomalous: thinking about a website, but one about the good old days.