Yes, I am still in love with Stephen Stills. This recently rekindled relationship has lasted almost 45 years.
From row G, at Tucson's Fox Theatre, my friend Kay and I enjoyed Tuesday evening with the highly talented Mr. Stills. The audience demographics were predictable; I suspect everyone was a fellow Baby Boomer and several left as the hour reached 10pm. Case in point: the theatre's wheelchair section was full.
I'd most recently seen Stills with CSN in 2012 (Marin Center), and with Buffalo Springfield in 2011 (Fox Theater, Oakland). Seems these guys will reunite for a tour anytime, with anyone (as long as they're alive and can hold a guitar)! For perspective, I first saw Stills in 1974 with CSNY at the Cleveland Stadium. At that historic concert with an audience of 90,000, Santana, The Band, and Jesse Colin Young were the warm ups. Those were the days, indeed. You can actually listen to that 1974 concert if you'd like.
Here in Tucson, the last stop on his solo tour, Stills treated us to his mastery on what seemed like a dozen different guitars, acoustic and electric. He prevails as a rock and folk guitarist, and clearly those extended electric jams are his favorite things. Explaining that he was particularly tired of doing the songs he's written (he just released a 4 CD boxed set of his music), almost a third of his concert setlist was covers from other artists, including Bob Dylan , Graham Nash, and Neil Young. His encore, perhaps predictably, ended with Love the One You're With which included much audience participation (and gyrating mature adults!).
Although you'd never know it from his pick-tossin' guitar playing, Stills is 69. His voice is definitely not the instrument it used to be. He told us that Tony Bennett convinced him to change keys on songs to adapt to an aging voice. In retrospect, Crosby and Nash didn't sound too good in solos when I last heard them, either. However, even now, when CSN are singing 3 part harmony, it is awesome. My theory is that their voices are each so beautiful that they can be functioning at 50% and still sound magical as a trio.
Rather sadly, Stills does not actually look like the above photo, which was used on the tour poster. His boyish handsomeness has turned to ruggedness, but he still glowed when he offered a rare smile. (I must admit that he seemed rather grumpy and impatient on stage at times.) Let's face it, we are all learning the dance of maturity. Thus, I remain an adoring fan, and am thrilled to have spent yet another musical evening with him.
CSN begin their 2014 tour on July 2. Maybe you can catch him there.