Review and photos by Fred Kuhlman
Promoter: Danny Zelisko Presents
Venue: Scottsdale Center For The Performing Arts
Date: Monday October 15th, 2018
Tour: An Intimate Evening Of Songs & Stories
Seventy-six years young and still a voice as smooth as butter. Graham Nash is one of those rare musicians that might have physically aged, but has shown no sign of loosing anything in talent or musicianship. While many musicians today rely on an iPad or monitors to provide the lyrics to the songs, Graham memory is razor sharp as he regales the audience with our favorite songs. Graham was joined by fellow musicians and longtime friends, Shane Fontayne playing multiple guitars and Todd Caldwell on keyboards. Graham, Shane and Todd sang all of the songs and it was stunning how perfectly their voices blended together to produce the beautiful harmonies we are all so use to hearing with Graham’s music.
The one thing you notice is the minimalist nature of the stage. On stage left are an assortment of guitars used by Shane. On stage right is a couple of keyboards for Todd. In the middle of the stage is a single mic for Graham with a keyboard a set behind it. The only props were a large rug and an assortment of “flameless candles” all around the stage. It gave the expression of peace and tranquility that so blends with his music.
Graham played acoustic guitar for almost all of his songs with Shane providing the electric guitar licks. For a few songs Graham traded in the acoustic guitar for the keyboard include the crowd favorite, “Our House”. The one thing I always like about a Graham Nash show is that he is also a story teller. He gives the audience an incite into how he came up with different songs. Like, “Military Madness” was written about his father going off to war during World War II. Or that he and Shane spend a little over one month and wrote 20 songs that would later become his latest album, This Path Tonight. Probably one of the most unique stories was how he came up with, “Just a Song Before I Go”. He wrote it on a $500 bet when he was in Maui and leaving for the airport to return to LA. He won the bet.
Given the large number of songs Graham has created over the years between his time with the Hollies, CSN and his solo career, it always interesting to see what he selects as the show’s setlist. For tonight’s show they broke it into 2 sets with a short intermission that Graham joking said was so he could take a bathroom break. However, I did see the VIP guests get taken backstage during the intermission where they met Graham and got stuff signed.
They started the show with one of my favorites, “Wasted On The Way” and then played “Bus Stop” from when he was with the Hollies. Another favorite was when they played “Wind On The Water” also known as “To The Last Whale” that Graham wrote after seeing a Blue Whale while on David Crosby’s 80 plus foot sailboat that completely dwarfed the boat. During the second set, someone in the audience requested “Simple Man”. So Graham substituted it into the setlist (was not part of the night’s setlist). They ended the second set with the crowd favorites “Our House” and “Chicago”. Graham asked the audience to sing along and we responded singing the choruses to both songs. For an encore, Graham, Shane and Todd got together at the center stage mic and harmonized the Buddy Holly classic “Everyday”. They ended the show with Graham’s classic, “Teach Your Children” which he said was even relevant today with the kids from Parkland High School in Florida and what they are doing. Again, the audience was standing and we sang along especially the choruses.
If you are going to a show to see the glam and glitter then this is not the show for you. However, if you love phenomenal harmonies done by incredible musicians, then this is the show for you. I have now seen Graham 4 times, once with CSN&Y and 3 solo shows and I can say that I have enjoyed every one of them.
Photos © Fred Kuhlman 2018, All Rights Reserved
Graham Nash Setlist: (Album/Cover)
Wasted On The Way (Daylight Again)
Bus Stop (The Hollies Cover)
I Used To Ber A King (Songs For Beginners)
Immigration Man (Graham Nash David Crosby)
Sleep Song (Songs for Beginners)
Myself At Last (This Path Tonight)
Military Madness (Songs For Beginners)
Wind On The Water (Wind On The Water)
Day In The Life (Beatles Cover)
Marrakesh Express (Crosby, Stills & Nash)
King Midas In Reverse (The Hollies Cover)
Right Between The Eyes (4 Way Street)
4 + 20 (Déjà Vu)
Simple Man (Songs For Beginners)
Golden Days (This Path Tonight)
Just A Song Before I Go (CSN)
Orleans / Cathedral (CSN)
Our House (Déjà Vu)
Chicago (Songs For Beginners)
Everyday (Buddy Holly Cover)
Teach Your Children (Déjà Vu)