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Graham Nash At City Winery, Sunday, May 14th, 2023, Reviewed

As my wife and I walked into City Winery last Sunday night, who should be standing in the lobby but David Byrne.  I’ve long been an admirer of his work, and it was exciting to get a chance to tell him so and shake his hand. He’s not as tall and more normal than you would think.

This was the beginning of a magical evening at a great New York venue.  Graham Nash was in fine form, and fine voice.  The set list included some welcome surprises as well as his usual classics.  He was ably supported by keyboardist Todd Caldwell and his long time guitar collaborator, Shayne Fontayne.

I have seen Graham several times before (many times if you count CSN with or without Y) and this was the first time he was wearing shoes!  His prior sets had sometimes been weighed down by his preachiness, but he kept it to a minimum at this show.  He did reprise some often-told stories about the origins of some songs – his Africa trip for Marrakesh Express, the bet he won by writing Just a Song Before I Go, the flea marked purchase with Joni Mitchell which led to Our House.

Now for the surprises:  a cover of A Day in the Life.  Two Stills songs, Love the One You’re With and  a lovely ethereal 4+20.  Neil Young’s love song to car, Long May You Run.  And perhaps best of all, Joni Mitchell’s A Case of You to open the second set. 

Nash is 81 years old and has perfected the Silver Fox look.  His voice is still in great shape, although there were a few places where in the past he would have hit high notes that didn’t quite get there.  Fontayne’s guitar work is tasty, not showy  and always appropriate for the song.  For those who don’t remember, he was the lead guitarist on Springsteen’s “other band” tour in the early 90s.  I had a chance to chat with him after the show.  I complemented him on doing well with that thankless task, but he said Bruce made it easy.

The show ended, of course, with an audience sing along to Teach Your Children, one of the first songs I ever learned on guitar.  Singing it along with its writer was a big kick. 

Set List: (approximate- don’t have the full set for this show )

1. Wasted on the Way

2. Bus Stop (Hollies song)

3. Marrakesh Express

4. Find the Cost of Freedom

5. Military Madness

6. Right Between the Eyes

7. A Day in the Life

8. To the Last Whale (featuring a recorded vocal with Crosby)

9. Immigration Man

10.  Love the One You’re With

11. A Case of You

12. Golden Days

13. 4+20

14. Cathedral

15. Love of Mine (new song)

16, Just a Song Before I Go

17. Our House

18. Long May You Run

19. Chicago

20. Teach Your Children

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