Barbara Charone and Geoff Barton report on the day the spirit of Woodstock invaded Wembley Stadium.
Almost cut my Hair
Like a dream come true, three master of the California sound and one transplanted Englishman flawlessly revealed how after all these years and all those changes, they remain unchallenged title-holders as the definitive American band, heavyweight division. CSN&Y had been good in the past but they were even better at Wembley. From the "Love The One Your With" kickoff right on through the passionate "Ohio" finale, CSNY turned a content, sane crowd into crazy, raving cup-match brawlers.
Immigration Man/Military Madness
Too proud to deliver anything but the best, the band paid special attention to details, lyrical phrasing and spellbinding guitar duels as if the 72,000 were a room full of people. They sang emotionally and played superbly. Crosby and Nash cranked up the enthusiasm and polished off the harmonies. Stills and Young turned on the rhythms and revved up the solos. Kunkel, Drummond and Lala pounded out the beat with frenetic energy. English hard rock devotees blinked twice in disbelief and finally agreed that well, er ah, yes those Americans really could rock n' roll.
Old Man/Black Bird/Our House
The Wembley set, the last concert of this CSN&Y reunion tour, was largely similar to the summer's previous shows, yet played and presented with opening night fervour. You're not supposed to hear high falsetto or background piano weavings in a sports arena. You're not supposed to sit on the edge of the hard wooden seats eagerly awaiting the next song, oblivious to the brisk evening temperatures or the passed-out drunk to your left.
The quality was high throughout the set and the magic moments many. Joni Mitchell injected delicate harmonies into Young's stunning "Helpless". Nash earned the applause of a beautiful rendition of "Our House" backup vocal support from CSN&Y gently blasting out of the monster speakers with unbelievable clarity. A whisper-soft "Blackbird" hushed the audience to a ecstatic silence of admiration.
And again "Suite Judy Blue Eyes" got all 72,000 people clapping along as the song builds to it's joyous climax. "Deja Vu, done up harder and rockier, showed off Young's piano abilities as Stills delivered a wincing guitar solo that came out of nowhere and destroyed everyone. While Young almost stole the show with his autobiographical "Don't Be Denied".
By the time they got to "Carry On", the whole CSN&Y front line looked more like a swinging chorus revue than a rock band, as Stills and Young axed out guitar conversations that left fans speechless. The applause was overwhelming.
'It was great to be here.' Nash squealed as they stood stage centre embracing. 'We love you all'. Crosby mumbled. There were 72,000 people standing, waving, clapping and behaving like lunatics. It was rock 'n roll at it's most potent high.
SOUNDS (UK Music Newspaper)
September 21, 1974