Amid a barren, intimate stage at The Egg stood a wily old man, alone with his acoustic guitar, serenading the audience with his raspy, seasoned folk-style voice for nearly three hours on Tuesday night.
David Crosby, the singer-songwriter best known for his work with The Byrds and Crosby, Stills & Nash, impressed with his ageless tone, playing songs across six different decades. His banter with the audience was terrific, as he made wise cracks about music reviewers and politicians, and reminisced about working with Neil Young.
Crosby made his general distaste for Young well known. When audience members cried out the name of Crosby’s former acquaintance and fellow Rock and Roll Hall of Famer, he’d mock them, comparing their cries of “Neil” to the sound a peacock makes. Towards the end of the show when informally taking requests from the crowd, someone shouted “For What It’s Worth,” the iconic song of Young’s band Buffalo Springfield. Crosby didn’t let the teasing of his former nemesis get to him, as he scoffed, chuckled, and candidly replied, “You do know whose show you bought a ticket for, right?”
The 73-year-old Clausian figure spoke about how he thought history would remember music’s greatest songwriters as “crazy old Bob [Dylan] and Joni [Mitchell],” two of his heroes that he regarded as “poets.” After poking fun at Bob Dylan’s lackluster singing ability, he performed “For Free,” a cover of Mitchell’s. Crosby demonstrated his own lyrical prowess, however, singing songs about his 1982 stint in Texas prison and the corruption he sees in today’s politics.
At one point during his second set, Crosby said, “I don’t like politics. Actually, that’s not true. I don’t like politicians.” Crosby went on to discuss how he felt like big business and corruption had overrun the government and threatened American democracy. One politician he claimed to be an exception to his general political stance, however, was the populist senator from Vermont and presidential nominee Bernie Sanders. “I like Bernie,” Crosby professed, drawing applause from the capacity crowd of about 1,400.
Crosby played two consecutive songs from his newest album, Croz, towards the end of his show. The music from his new album, produced by his son, were more upbeat than some of his older tunes, but had a similar kind of lyrical genius and the sophisticated strumming technique that Crosby has become almost synonymous with. Several of the songs he played during the show had an irregular string tuning, some of which gave the timbre of the piece a majestic or creepy aspect to it.
While Crosby may still be the same old, free-spirited, anti-establishment hippie that rose to stardom in music festivals in the 60’s, he also demonstrated that he can still captivate an audience in an acoustic environment–a difficult task for someone on the wrong side of 70. When he concluded his encore tune, his 1971 outlaw country ballad “Cowboy Movie,” he belted some of the final notes in his gritty upper register, nailing the notes in every definition of the word. While some artists’ voices deteriorate in their elder age, Crosby proved again that he has yet to reach that point.