Three men - two prodigious paunches and a waistcoat. All filmed in tasteful, but unnecessary, black and white.
Monochrome may be able to provide depth and tone to many a portrait, but its application couldn't lend this 1991 unplugged ego-stroking get together any noir edginess. Though David Crosby is the true powerhouse songwriter of the three, with Stephen Stills no slouch, the years have been much kinder to the trim Graham Nash. Having said that, watching him here, it's possible to see where soccer pundit Mark Lawrenson's hairdresser gets his tips from.
The careers of Crosby, Stills And Nash are as convenient an index of what happened to the Woodstock hippy dream as you could wish for. After the Bruce/Clapton/Baker unholy trinity that made up Cream, CS & N, as they became, were really rock's second super-group.
Nash departed from Manchester's The Hollies, a hit factory of a band, but one to be forever marginalised by The Beatles/Rolling Stones/Who/Kinks pantheon of Brit-rockers.
Canadian Stills left the terminally sparring Buffalo Springfield, one of the most fondly remembered groups of the '60s, early psychedelic period.
Crosby was famously ejected from California's Rickenbacker-riffers The Byrds for insisting the band record his song Triad. Band leader and spectacle-model Roger McGuinn objected to the content of the song, essentially about what the News Of The World might call "a sexy threesome". As he was 20 years too early to join Motley Crue, Crosby threw in his lot with Stills and Nash. Besides, his barnet was already beginning to recede, and all that hairspray would only have made things worse.
After a debut album, the three hooked up with Stills' ex-Springfield running mate, Neil Young, and recorded 1970's Deja Vu. Young later pulled any images of himself recording with the group from the Woodstock movie. Though the three would record with him again, Young's presence and non-presence defines the band.
The bulk of the songs on this DVD are comprised of the songs from those first two albums. The three (and sometimes four) part-harmonies often redeem the oft-grating tweeness of those early recordings, and so it is with this DVD. Since those songs were recorded, occasional re-unions and further recordings have surfaced, none with similar impact, but the trio's sense of self-importance has never been found wanting.
Caught in the eye of the hippy hurricane, just as the Age Of Aquarius was a-borning, CS & N were always going to believe that the distinctly middle-class revolt was one of profound worldwide consequence, rather than a few pampered musicians and their Californian coterie. Much of the between-song chatter of Crosby and Nash doesn't convince that their opinion has changed, and neither will the sheer eco-concern chutzpah of a song like To The Last Whale, with some attendant cringeworthy graphics.
The word is that Nash is the real curator of the CS & N legacy, and responsible for reunions like this. That may explain why the set has more of Nash than may be considered polite. At turns cosily platitudinal and suffocatingly homespun, it's hard to love songs like Our House and Try To Find Me, no matter how well intentioned.
Without Young, Crosby's compositions alone have provided genuine fire to the CS & N oeuvre. Long Time Gone and 1000 Roads find him in fine voice, yet it's difficult to suppress a snigger or three when he compels all to: "Speak out against The Man!" That's right, flower children, speak out. And while you're at it, snort loads of coke and carry firearms. That'll bring the Love Revolution much closer.
As for Stills, though he's the most expressive guitarist of the three, he sees fit to treat For What It's Worth with all the care and respect that a bull would treat a china shop, but does redeem himself with Suite: Judy Blue Eyes.
For fans only.