By the time we got to the Amphitheatre, we could hear the band jammin’ and the folks singin’. We pushed our way through long-hairs with red eyes and new jacks wearing Neil Young t-shirts, making it known to all observers where the roots of their music taste lie. The crowd finally peeled back and revealed three men well into their 60’s singing in unison into their respective microphones.
During the initial set, David Crosby, Stephen Stills and Graham Nash pumped out expected classics like “Guinevere” as well as a cover of the Grateful Dead’s “Uncle John’s Band” which the band dedicated to the Dead’s late front man, Jerry Garcia. Also, a new song emerged from the set list called “In Your Name” – a song of which its lyrics scream anti-war sentiments. As I listened to the gray-hairs sing the words “Lord, can you help me deal with this pain? … Stop all this killing in your name,” I thought of today’s enthusiastic pro-peace youth searching for a cause and contrasted this idea with the youth of CSN’s day. These old hippies were singing about peace backed by faith in God while today’s rebellious youth readily sheds any religious feelings, replacing religious with spiritual or simply accepting a lack of rhyme or reason in the universe. I was thrust back into the present moment when I heard Graham Nash sitting at a piano saying, “If anyone tells you it’s [being a rock star] about fame and the money, they’re lying. They want to get laid.” They proceeded to play “Our House.” The crowed jumped out of their seats and cheered uproariously.
Intermission eventually came to fruition in which the entire audience either filed to the grassy knoll in the back of the Amphitheatre for a smoke or browsed the merch tables purchasing jalapeno-covered nachos and $30 t-shirts. I wandered around the lobby area looking for a much needed restroom. As I browsed the crowded corridors and long lines I encountered the likes of kids getting busted by the cops for drug possession and Flagler College professors.
After the band took the stage again, the moon smiled crooked as night fell, and the crowd rocked with the aid of booze and other substances. The band grabbed hold of their microphones and cried, “Let’s all go down to Morocco and smoke a big one!”
The remainder of the show was an outpouring of Woodstock-era rock n’ roll and old dudes killin’ it on guitar. More classic CSN songs made their way through the numerous amplifiers like “Love the One You’re With,” “Lone Time Gone,” and “Déjà Vu.” Bob
Dylan’s “Girl From the North Country” was covered along with the show-stopping encore of Buffalo Springfield’s ultra-famous “For What It’s Worth.”
40 years after the monumental Woodstock festival, Crosby, Stills and Nash, with the help of their St. Augustine fans, proved the spirit is not dead… at least not yet.