David Crosby & Friends!
It was an unusually warm spring day on May 18 and the streets in Westbury, NY were all bustling, especially near The Space At Westbury, as excitement grew over the evening’s performance by rock legend David Crosby and Friends. Crosby has such a rich history and a very successful solo career, being recognized by the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame and inducted twice for his works with the Byrds and Crosby, Stills and Nash, both bands he was a founding member of.
The Byrds formed in 1964, and one year later had a number one hit on both the US and UK charts with “Mr. Tambourine Man.” In 1968, around the time Crosby departed from the Byrds, he formed a new band with Stephen Stills and Graham Nash. In August of 1969 Crosby, Stills, and Nash appeared at Woodstock, which catapulted a musical relationship that would last for decades, including quite a few years spent off and on with Neil Young as part of the group.
With so much more to say, Crosby released his first solo album, If Only I Could Remember My Name, in 1971 and his solo career is still going strong to this day. And if this was not enough to keep him busy, he formed CPR (Crosby, Pevar & Raymond) in 1996 with a longtime band mate, guitarist Jeff Pevar and his son, pianist James Raymond. With countless songs to his credit he shows no signs of slowing down as he just released a solo album this past October, Lighthouse, and another release is soon to drop any day, it will be called Sky Trails.
In April of this year Crosby gathered together some friends to tour with him, they are James Raymond (keyboards/vocals), Jeff Pevar (guitar/vocals), Michelle Willis (keyboards/vocals), Mai Agan (bass) and Steve DiStanislao (drums/vocals). They came for a stop on Long Island, and even though fans were slow to arrive at the venue as they were enjoying the nice weather outside, as the eight o’clock hour approached the seats were filling up, packing tight with die-hard fans that have been following Crosby’s work for the past five decades. Sprinkled among them were fans of all ages, the ones who grew up listening to his music.
With no opening act, fans cheered in excitement as the band took to the stage, anticipating a night dedicated to their favorite songs. Crosby walked straight over to his microphone with a huge smile on his face, he was dressed casually in comfy jeans, button down shirt, suspenders and a wool hat atop his long flowing silky white hair. Without much ado they kicked the night off with a Crosby, Stills and Nash song, “In My Dreams,” and continued to weave in and out of his solo works and songs from the Byrds, CPR and CSN throughout the evening. He often spoke between songs, either sharing his thoughts behind them or the history that brought them alive.
Before performing one of his new songs, Crosby announced, “After I do this next song four black suburbans might pull up and they will come and cuff me and take me away!” But he was smiling as he said that and continued with his feelings on the state of US politics today being the reason for the song, “Capitol.” He also gave his fans the history behind CPR and said it stood for “Cardio Pulmonary Resuscitation” as he looked side by side at Pevar and Raymond as they all smiled at each other before playing “At The Edge.”
At one point during the first set a male fan screamed out between songs, “The band sounds great!” to which Crosby swiftly replied, “Yes they are, they are fucking great!” They rounded out the first set with CSN’s “Long Time Coming” which not only had everyone singing along but it had them up on their feet. Then, before leaving the stage for a well-deserved intermission Crosby shared, “In the old days we would leave the stage to smoke a joint but now-a-days we go out for some fresh air and good clean water.” The crowd cheered and laughed as he and the band headed backstage.
After about a twenty-minute break, they returned to the stage and went right into a CPR song “Map To Buried Treasure” as well as “Angel Dream.” They played a Crosby & Nash song “Homeward Through The Haze” which had fans singing along to all the words. Mid way into the second set Crosby introduced the band and in a very warm way shared some of his history and personal experiences he had with each one of them. But when he came to introduce Raymond he said, “This is James Raymond, he is my son and a much better musician than I am. We have been writing and playing together for twenty years now and I hope to keep doing that for many years to come. His name is James Raymond and I love him.” Afterwards the audience went wild cheering.
They rounded out the night with another crowd pleaser, a Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young song, “Déjà vu.” Crosby took a few moments to thank everyone for coming out and enjoying this night filled with the music of his life. Earlier in the evening Crosby had spoke about his frustrations with politics but he is loves the idea of a democracy and “I love this country,” so it was no surprise that they closed out the night with a very patriot song, America (My Country, ‘Tis Of Thee). The fans loved it and clearly enjoyed the whole evening as they left the venue smiling ear to ear.
David Crosby and his friends put on an awesome show. It was not full of glitz and glam, no fancy laser light show or costume changes, but it was packed with spot on quality, superb harmonies and awesome musicianship. Crosby’s voice was as smooth as it has ever been and he was warm and charismatic. The tour is rounding down at the end of this month, but with the expected release of his next solo album, Sky Trails, fans should keep an eye out for the next tour that will hopefully hit the road again soon.
You can view the rest of the gallery here.
Remaining tour dates: http://www.davidcrosby.com/tour
Photographer/writer: Diane Woodcheke (http://www.dwoodcheke.com/)
Venue: The Space at Westbury in Westbury, NY (http://thespaceatwestbury.com/ )
Performance by: David Crosby (http://www.davidcrosby.com/