Graham Nash

Graham Nash played a wonderful concert last night in Madison, Wisconsin, along with incredible guitarist Shane Fontayne (who also contributed backing vocals).  At age 75, he sounds great.

The venue was perfect.  This was my first visit to the ornate Capitol Theater, which was incorporated into the Overture Center, which opened in 2004.  Acoustics were perfect, the environment comfortable and attractive, and the music was never too loud.  The earplugs I brought along just in case went unused.  A lovely evening.

Here’s the setlist from the October 14, 2017 performance:

Set 1

  1. Bus Stop (The Hollies song)
  2. King Midas in Reverse (The Hollies song)
  3. Wasted on the Way (Crosby, Stills & Nash song)
  4. I Used to Be a King
  5. Immigration Man (Crosby & Nash song)
  6. Sleep Song
  7. Myself at Last
  8. Marrakesh Express (Crosby, Stills & Nash song)
  9. Military Madness
  10. Wind on the Water (Crosby & Nash song)
  11. A Day in the Life (The Beatles cover)

Set 2

  1. Just a Song Before I Go (Crosby, Stills & Nash song)
  2. Taken at All (Crosby & Nash song)
  3. In Your Name
  4. 4 + 20 (Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young song)
  5. Golden Days
  6. Mississippi Burning
  7. Back Home
  8. Cathedral (Crosby, Stills & Nash song)
  9. Our House (Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young song)
  10. Chicago (Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young song)

Encore

  1. Blackbird (The Beatles cover)
  2. Ohio (Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young song)
  3. Teach Your Children (Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young song)

I’ve been a fan of Graham Nash since his 1971 album, Songs for Beginners and, of course, his work with CSNY.  I’ve always appreciated his deep political convictions and antiwar activism.  This was in full evidence at last night’s concert, with Immigration Man, Military Madness, In Your Name, Mississippi Burning, Cathedral, Chicago, Ohio, and Teach Your Children still as relevant today as they were when they were originally written—some of them decades ago.

This activism was reflected in some of his comments to the audience.  Prior to performing Military Madness, he shared that he is “tired of doing this song” as he reflected on the current dire political situation in this country and around the world.  At one point in the song, he replaced the words “military madness” with “nuclear madness”.  Nash made it clear at various points throughout the concert that he despises Donald Trump and his administration, and as near as I could tell, everyone in the audience agreed with him (Hillary Clinton received over twice as many votes as Donald Trump in Dane County, thankfully).  In Chicago he replaced the words “Don’t ask jack to help you ’cause he’ll turn the other ear” to “Don’t ask Trump to help you ’cause he’ll turn the other ear.”  And so on. His occasional comments between songs about war and violence were heartfelt and sincere.  He lamented, “What ever happened to ‘all you need is love'”, and that each of us must do our part to “stop all the killing”.  Nash also noted that many people now and in the past have been killed in the name of religion.  [That is why I take such a dim view of organized religion—none of us have it right.]  He also mentioned the news focuses on all the horrific things that happen in the world but not the “thousands of good things” that happen everywhere every day.

For more about Nash in a recent interview, see Tom Kobinsky’s interview published October 12 in Isthmus, “Finding peace in chaos”.

There were a number of good balcony seats available in the Capitol Theater on Saturday, October 14, 8:00 p.m.  If you weren’t there, you missed a fabulous concert.  Graham Nash and Shane Fontayne will be playing Milwaukee tonight.  Future concert dates can be found here.  Enjoy!

References
Kobinsky, Tom, Isthmus, “Finding peace in chaos: Graham Nash on teaching our children in the age of Trump”, Oct. 12, 2017 <https://isthmus.com/music/songwriter-graham-nash-trump/>

setlist.fm <https://www.setlist.fm/setlist/graham-nash/2017/capitol-theater-overture-center-for-the-arts-madison-wi-53e3d7e5.html>

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