Crosby, Stills & Nash
at the Star Pavilion, Hershey, PA
(26 August 2001)

It's not unusual for musicians to earn a standing ovation after a grand performance. For Crosby, Stills & Nash, all they had to do Sunday was walk on stage at Hersheypark's Star Pavilion in Hershey, Pa. David Crosby waved. And the crowd went nuts.

Crosby, Stills & Nash are not known for high-energy acrobatics, leaping and twirling around the stage like maddened dervishes. This trio of hardened rockers -- household names since 1968, when they came together from respective stints with with the Byrds, Buffalo Springfield and the Hollies -- were more sedate, standing or strolling a bit as they played and sang. That suited the audience, nearly 5,000 strong, just fine. No one came on that warm August night to see on-stage aerobics or outrageous antics. This show was about the music from a long-standing musical tradition, the seminal Woodstock band.

"This takes me back," said Pat Giacalone, who traveled to Hershey from Long Island, N.Y., with her husband, Jim, and their sleepy-eyed daughters Lindsay, 10, and Kimberly, 7.

"They've never been to a rock concert before," she said, indicating her young daughters. "They want to know when they can go home."

"I like it!" the two girls chorused in protest.

Lancaster, Pa.'s Bob and Wendy Miller were there for mellower reasons. "It's kind of like being around the ocean," Miller said. "It's so relaxing."

Jaime Cole and Caitlin Konicky, both up from Silver Spring, Md., for the show, said they grew up with the band. But CSN is missing something without the Y, they agreed. "Neil Young was my first concert," said Cole. "They need Young," Konicky agreed. So why drive so far for a Young-less performance? "The lyrics. The harmonies," Cole explained. "It's a good vibe."

It was a fairly passive crowd at Hershey for this concert, generous with cheers and applause after each song but fairly quiet and still during the actual music. A few people tried fruitlessly to exhort the crowd around them into dancing but, sadly, the audience tended to boo anyone who got up to groove to the tunes.

The show started strong with "Wild Tales," rocking through crowd-pleasers such as "Love the One You're With," "Marrakesh Express," "Deja Vu," "Faith in Me," "Wasted on the Way," "Almost Cut My Hair" and Buffalo Springfield's classic, "For What It's Worth." "We'll get to every single song we know the words to," Nash promised.

The band may be showing its age in some ways. Voices sounded at times a bit worn from too many years on the road -- but no one was complaining. The three musicians took turns in the spotlight for some songs, shared it equally for others, and for the most part their vocals were solid, their harmonies tight. And for people who grew up in the late '60s and '70s, the show was drenched with memories.

The second set began with an atmospheric "Critical Mass" and "Cathedral," with Nash trading his guitar for a keyboard. Highlights of the second half included "Helplessly Hoping," "Just a Song," "Dream for Him," "Guinevere," "Our House," "Suite Judy Blue Eyes," Dark Star" and "Woodstock."

Anyone looking for more from this band can count on Nash's guarantee to the crowd: "You keep coming," he said, "and we'll keep coming." The audience roared.

[ by Tom Knapp ]
Rambles: 16 October 2001

Buy the CSN box set from