CROSBY & NASH AT THE ZEITERION
“Words can’t reach it.”
My sister, Jeanne, used this phrase when she was at a loss for words to describe an experience so moving, so overwhelming, so mind blowing, that there were just no words in her vocabulary (extensive though it was) to verbalize it. “Words can’t reach it” is the only phrase that comes close to expressing the experience lived by myself, my family and over a thousand devoted fans of Crosby & Nash at their recent performance in New Bedford’s Zeiterion Performing Arts Center on Tuesday, May 24, 2011.
Tuesday’s performance, the last date of a successful and strenuous tour schedule, was nothing less than spectacular. Joined by keyboardist (and Crosby’s son) James Raymond, Dean Parks on guitar, bassist Kevin McCormick and drummer Steve DiStanislao, the pair offered up classic favorites and new songs that had the crowd eating out of their hands from the very first note. Their hair may be a bit more on the gray side but the vocals are still strong, tight and true. Put that together with their superb guitar fingering and voicing techniques, which have only ripened with age, and Crosby and Nash proved they can still put on an amazing live show.
On impulse, I had emailed David Monday morning with my cell number, just in case he wanted to hook up with Spider in the afternoon (all my family had flown in for the show) or needed anything in general. I also mentioned homemade Italian meatballs and sauce. My cell rang a few hours later, as I was standing in the linen department at Target.
“Hey Dori, it’s David Crosby.” My hands started shaking as I temporarily lost control of my shopping cart and crashed into a clearance rack of flannel sheets and down comforters. “Hi David, what’s up?” The lady coming down the aisle in my direction was looking at me strangely as my knees buckled, forcing me to sit down abruptly on a display of fluffy alternative down pillows. “Well hey, were you serious about that home cooked meal invite?” My mind started racing. Oh my God! I have to call Laurie and tell her to clean the house and damn, my car’s a disgusting pit: What if I have to pick him up? “Sure, we’d love to have you. Where are you staying?”
A few hours later, David and I and 12 of my family members were breaking bread together, sharing stories and jokes like we had known one another for a lifetime. David is a kind, generous, passionate, articulate, witty man; a good soul who loved my sister Jeanne, dearly. And in turn, loved us too. It was an evening I will not soon forget.
Yes, I was a little nervous about being alone in the car with David on the ride from his hotel in Providence back to Dartmouth. Would I be able to put two intelligent words together and not sound like the star struck fan I knew I was as I conversed with this musical legend? Plus, my car was a mess. And, as usual, I had gotten lost getting there.
When I finally gave in and called David to tell him I was lost in Providence, he very calmly handed the phone to someone at the desk and they guided me in. When I arrived, he walked up to my car and opened the back door, threw in his computer bag, looked at my mess of a back seat and smiled. I shrugged and said, “Yeah, I’m a slob with a lousy sense of direction. Hop in.” After that, it was easy….we talked non-stop the rest of the way home.
When I asked him about life on the road:
“I never know where I am, where I’ve been, or where I’m going to.”
When we were talking about alternative guitar tunings and I mentioned Joni Mitchell:
“In a hundred years, people will still be listening to Joni and Bob (Dylan). They are the premiere poets of our generation. But I think Joni is better. And more musical.”
When I wondered why Dean Parks, an LA session player, had decided to go on the road with them:
“Well, he wanted to try something different. And he likes us – we don’t tell him what to play.”
Then, later on at dinner…..
When I warned him about my large, loud Italian/Portuguese family as we drove into the driveway:
“Loud Italians are some of my favorite people”
To my mother, as he took a bite out of one of her famous cinnamon nut rolls:
“Are you the person responsible for this?”
To all of us, as he queued up some of his new songs on his Mac Book to play for us:
“Here’s some new stuff – hope you like it.” (how could we NOT?)
In the Green Room
Months of anticipation and over three hours of musical exhilaration were coming to an end as the band began to grab their things and head out the stage door onto the tour bus bound for NYC. Even though the Green Room was still filled with friends and family, everyone seemed to melt away as David, Spider and I drew close to say our goodbyes. Hard hugs, claps on the back, and heartfelt goodbyes were exchanged between all of us…and tears, yes there were a few. Just before he turned to go, David looked at me intensely, with those piercing baby blues and said:
“I don’t know when I will see you again…but we are now friends.”
We all could use a friend like David Crosby.