Graham Nash – Sixty Years of Songs and Stories at The Anvil

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When a cluster of what are affectionately known as ‘silvers’ (us older ones) gather for…

When a cluster of what are affectionately known as ‘silvers’ (us older ones) gather for an event, there is an inevitable degree of chaos.

This started at the car park where some newfangled machine controlled entry and spread to the parking payment machines.

The assorted mutterings caused by a failure to understand the simple instructions give way to raised voices as the lengthening queue for this service adds to the pressure. ‘Where are you supposed to…?’, ‘how stupid’, ‘it was much quicker when there was a man on the gate’, ‘could you just shut up for a moment and let me think’, and so on and so forth.

The audience was mostly 60 or 70-years-old with hairstyles lovingly maintained from the 60s and 70s. And of course, the loos were in incessant demand.  

The good, humoured crowd settled by 7.30pm and off we went. Graham Nash, the star, was accompanied by Shane Fontaine (really?) who has played with Sting, Bruce Springsteen, and Todd (Caldwell) from Lubbock, Texas (big cheer because Lubbock is where Buddy Holly was born). Todd used to be in Steve Stills’ band.

The second song was Bus Stop, a Hollies favourite from years ago, written by a 15-year-old boy called Graham Gouldman who went on to form 10cc.

Already we missed the distinctive voice of Allan Clark (lead singer of the Hollies), but Shane did well in his absence.

Nash’s voice at 81 is remarkable. He clearly puts a big effort into each song and he is note-perfect throughout, hitting high notes with strength and precision.

His performance was dotted with interesting anecdotes and respectful or affectionate tributes and references to many of his former musical partners.

Did Joni Mitchell break his heart? Allan Clark, his oldest friend, David Crosby, I will think of him every day till the day I die, Neil Young, wrote Only Love Can Break Your Heart for him during a difficult patch with Joni, and Steve Stills wrote a song that really did break his heart.

His choice of songs from a massive catalogue reflected his continuing political and social conscience. We were all glad to hear Military Madness with a swipe at Putin and the Whale song – but the rendition that the three musicians did of Day in the Life was almost as good as the Beatles’ version.

When Todd broke loose with Love the One you’re With we were encouraged to, and did, participate. In fact, we could not have been stopped.

It was a fabulous concert. Well worth the £63.50 including the £4 commission that was the cost of a nice seat in the Stalls.

We all filed out after an encore that featured Buddy Holly’s song Everyday and Nash’s Teach Your Children Well. A quick trip to the loo and a head scratch about where on earth we had parked and home again.

Nash’s humility had been as engaging as his ability. He even thanked us for coming back after the interval – as if? 


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