April 17, 2002
Philips Arena-Atlanta, GA


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With an average age of 58 for the four members of this band, you'd expect them to take it easy. That's not so. The show started just after 8pm and ended three hours later. You don't get much more classic than this stuff. Add in legendary players Booker T. Jones on keyboards and Donald "Duck" Dunn on bass and you're already batting a thousand. Starting the show with an almost ragged "Carry On," CSNY's set list spanned thirty-four years. No less than four songs from Neil Young's brand new Are You Passionate album were interspersed with a ton of radio staples like "Wooden Ships" and "Old Man." Crosby was clearly not feeling well this evening and yet his duet with Graham Nash on "Guinnevere" was as haunting and smooth as ever. Everyone in the band definitely had roles. While Crosby was featured on more of the down tempo tunes, Stephen Stills was the bluesy rocker. His gritty, over the top vocal on Booker T.'s "Ole Man Trouble" was a highlight of the night. Graham Nash was the polished guy. "Our House" was a pristine little pop classic that could have been co-written by McCartney. As always, Neil Young is the wildcard in CSNY. One minute he'd be tearing out a chill inducing "Southern Man" and then you'd find him gently crooning "Harvest Moon" in a sweet falsetto.

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Tonight's show was broken into 3 sections. First was a mostly muted electric set that contained "Southern Cross," "Military Madness" (which once again seemed relevant) and a great rendition of Nash's "Used To Be A King.”  After a particularly rocking "Cinnamon Girl” there was a 20-minute intermission. Then, the four of them returned without the extra musicians for almost an hour of acoustic numbers. Beginning with "Helplessly Hoping," this section of the show was musically the most satisfying even if it was a bit longwinded. With Young offstage, the other 3 climaxed the acoustic set with "Suite Judy Blue Eyes." This featured a stunning solo from Stephen Stills that had the crowd keeping time with their claps.

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Always a politically motivated band, the events of last year hung literally over the proceedings. A backdrop was covered with flyers from NYC that were posted by relatives and friends in desperate attempts to find their loved ones. Nash and Crosby revived "Half Your Angels" which was written about the Oklahoma City bombing but eerily fit the more recent situation. Of course, the big nod to last September was just after the band re-plugged. Neil Young led the band through the dissonant, powerful "Let's Roll." This was inspired by and sung from the point of view of citizens on the flight that went down in Pennsylvania. The lyrics were based on cell phone conversations that passengers made to their families explaining that they were about to attempt to regain control of the plane. Neil was particularly animated during this one. With lighting effects simulating a thunderstorm, Young stomped like a Yeti having a seizure as he tortured his guitar. Following a surprisingly loud "Woodstock," the band ended the show with a slower, rhythmically straighter "Rocking In The Free World" that had everyone up and dancing. As a surprise, Neil and Stephen dug into their Buffalo Springfield catalog and retrieved a slightly reworked "For What It's Worth" for the first encore. The foursome ended the show with psychedelic swirls of light behind them for the country tinged hippie anthem "Teach Your Children Well." Over the course of the long show, the band occasionally wandered into self-indulgent, yawn inducing territory, but overall CSNY 2002 was a full night of stellar entertainment that also managed to prove that they're not merely a nostalgia act.

Chris McKay/


CSNY Set List (4-17-02):

1.Carry On
3.Military Madness
4.Goin' Home
5.Wooden Ships
6.Feed The People
7.You're My Girl
8.I Used To Be A King
9.Southern Man
10.Southern Cross
11.Cinnamon Girl
---acoustic set---
12.Helplessly Hoping
13.Our House
14.Old Man
16.The Lee Shore
17.Harvest Moon
18.Ole Man Trouble
19.Half Your Angels
20.Suite: Judy Blue Eyes
---7th Inning Stretch---Take Me Out To The Ballgame
21.Let's Roll
22.Long Time Gone
23.Two Old Friends
25.Rockin' In The Free World

26.For What It's Worth
27.Teach Your Children