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David Crosby sings songs both old and new

November 23, 2018

Yes, Croz, that is a guitar.

Judging from the audience assembled for Tuesday’s concert by David Crosby and Friends at Overture Center’s Capitol Theater, most had been around when the 77-year-old folk rocker came on the scene with The Byrds in 1965 and likely followed him through his days as both a member of Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young and as a solo artist.

But “Croz” is with a new band now, a group of much younger musicians that includes guitarist Becca Stevens, keyboard player Michelle Willis and multi-instrumentalist Michael League, leader of the jazz-funk-rock-fusion band Snarky Puppy. Sure, he said in his opening remarks, he’d play a few songs we had all heard before.

But the lion’s share of show was new music written in partnership with his new band mates. And it was clear from the tender, insightful lyrics, solid melodies and beautiful harmonies that Croz, not satisfied with just playing his greatest hits, was still creating music.

The list of 18 songs performed included a number of them from Here If You Listen, the band’s newest recording. “Things We Do for Love,” “1974,” “Vagrants of Venice” and the haunting “By The Light of Common Day” were among the songs that seemed to most resonate with the older audience. The harmonies, particularly those by Stevens and Willis, were beautiful, contributing to the bands “wall of sound” that was more Enya than CSN&Y.

It wasn’t until he end that Croz and the group trotted out some of the old CSN&Y standards, including “Guinnievere,” “Carry Me” and “Déjà Vu.” And for an encore? How about a lovely, ethereal version of Joni Mitchell’s “Woodstock” and a rocking sing-along to Neil Young’s “Ohio?”

We had, indeed, all been here before, and for many of us it was great to return.

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