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David Crosby & Friends

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To some the mention of the name David Crosby conjures images of the singer's sometimes troubled past; his well-known battle with hard drugs and his stint behind bars, parts of his life that feature in the new documentary film "Remember My Name." But Crosby's legacy is as far away from that as you can get and those who came to Celebrity Theatre in Phoenix to see him perform on Sept. 12 came to honor the masterful musician and enjoy some of the music he's made over the past 50-years or so.

Crosby's back-up band for his current tour is the Sky Trails Band, a five-piece outfit that includes his son James Raymond on keyboards, bassist Mai Leisz, guitarist Jeff Pevar, keys player Michelle Willis and drummer Steve DiStanislao. Crosby played acoustic and electric guitar throughout the show and opened his set with a cut that's done double-duty; the 1977 Crosby, Stills & Nash song "In My Dreams" that Croz also included on his solo album It's All Coming Back to Me Now... some 17-years later. After playing the CPR (Crosby, Pevar, Raymond) cut "Morrison," a musing on Jim Morrison, Crosby dipped into his work with the Byrds for the only time in the evening with a take on that band's big hit "Eight Miles High." Amusingly, Crosby introduced the hit as "a crappy old song."

Crosby engaged in a lot of stage patter with the audience, peppering his speech with F-bombs and self-deprecating humor while also referencing the fact that, at 78, he is old. The introduction of band members is something that's usually ho-hum but Crosby took his time and introduced members of the Sky Trails Band by telling interesting stories of how he met each player and how they came to be in the band. To finish out the evening's first set Crosby performed another CPR song "At the Edge," a brand new song called "I Think I" and a trio of his most-beloved Crosby, Stills & Nash songs; "Guinnevere," "Long Time Gone" and "Deja Vu," the latter providing ample time for everyone except the drummer to take a solo.

Returning to the Celebrity's stage for his second set, Crosby opened with "The Lee Shore" and followed the favorite with "Breathless," a CPR song that he noted as one of his favorites. After the rhythmic rocker "Thousand Roads" Crosby played the Crosby, Still & Nash cut "Delta," which he introduced with a candid explanation of how he wrote the song. Mired in drug addiction at the time, Crosby couldn't figure out how to finish the song and was ready to give up and go get loaded. But Jackson Browne intervened, telling Crosby he had something great at hand and even taking David to Warren Zevon's house where there was a piano and a bit of solitude (Zevon was away) and staying with Crosby until the song was finished. Crosby told the story with obvious pride and his reading of the song was clearly imbued with positivity.

The show headed to its ending with the brief acapella cut "What Are Their Names," Willis singing "Janet," a cut from Crosby's Here if You Listen album from last year, and perennial favorite "Wooden Ships." After the audience demanded an encore, Crosby and the band returned to thunder through Neil Young's "Ohio."

Other cool concerts coming to Celebrity Theatre include:

Sept. 24 - Jeff Beck with Dan Reed
Oct. 1 - Get the Led Out (Led Zeppelin tribute)
Oct. 19 - A Night with Janis Joplin (Musical featuring Mary Bridget Davies)
Nov. 2 - Oingo Boingo Former Members
Nov. 9 - Lou Gramm (Original Foreigner vocalist) with Asia
Nov. 15 - 1964 The Tribute (Beatles tribute)
Dec. 13 - Nick Offerman
Dec. 19 - The Brian Setzer Orchestra 16th Annual Christmas Rocks! Tour

For a complete list of shows coming to Celebrity Theatre go here.

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