Wembley Stadium 1974 (Masterport-246)
Wembley Stadium, Wembley, Middlesex, England – September 14th, 1974
Disc 1 (42:34): Love The One You’re With, Wooden Ships, Immigration Man, Helpless, Military Madness, Johnny’s Garden, Traces, Almost Cut My Hair
Disc 2 (75:19): Teach Your Children, Only Love Can Break Your Heart, The Lee Shore, Time After Time, It’s All Right, Another Sleep Song, Our House, Hawaiian Sunrise, Star Of Bethlehem, Love Art Blues, Old Man, Change Partners, Blackbird, Myth Of Sisyphus, You Can’t Catch Me/Word Game, Suite: Judy Blue Eyes
Disc 3 (67:51): Deja Vu, First Things First, Don’t Be Denied, Black Queen, Pushed It Over The End, Pre-Road Downs, Carry On, Ohio
Wembley Stadium 1974 was released by Masterport several years ago along with the three disc set for Crosby Stills Nash & Young’s Oakland show. This contains a very good audience recording of the event capturing the massive event. There is very little audience interference on the tape (usually someone close to the taper begging for “Southern Man”) and there are a couple of insignificant cuts scattered throughout the three hour performance.
Several tracks are available on The Complete 1974 Tour Anthology (Regency 017/018/019/020), but this remains the most available audio document of this show and makes a good compliment with the video which surfaced several years ago.
This show is significant because it is the only European gig on their dramatic 1974 reunion tour and was the only opportunity for many to see them in their apex. People came from all over Europe and many celebrities also were in attendance. After the show Neil Young and Steven Stills jammed with Jimmy Page in a London club (no tapes exists although there is photographic evidence). Joined by Joni Mitchell and The Band, the show received mixed reviews in the British press afterwards. Michael Watts and Steve Lake in an article titled “CSN&Y- Journey Through The Past” published in Melody Maker on September 21st observe:
“The Wembley Music Concert, starring Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young, Joni Mitchell and the Band went off … well, okay is probably the best word. Not climacteric, or transcendental, or phantasmagoric, or even plain outasite – just … okay. I mean 72,000 people showed up from all over Europe (according to the promoter, Mel Bush), and the peak of excitement recorded two cats in front of the stage doing an Indian shuffle dance to a one-note jam on ‘Carry On’?…The long jam on ‘Carry On,’ which closed the set, was mindless and boring; Crosby’s ‘Almost Cut My Hair’ seemed more daft than ever – a sentiment now totally displaced in time.
“Their earnestness couldn’t always pull them through. It was both right and totally inappropriate that they should finish as an encore with ‘Ohio’. ‘Tin soldiers and Nixon coming.’ Well, Nixon’s gone now, in almost every sense. But that song was emphatically about a particular era – about McGovern, and student politicking, and fierce idealism – and Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young are firmly of that era, the placard reading ‘Good Vibes’ hung about their necks. And that was why Saturday’s gig at Wembley was somewhat washed-out. Because, after all, you can’t help but make comparisons. Nostalgia is rampant in the blood. Where will it all end?”
Barbara Charone and Geoff Barton wrote in the September 21st edition of Sounds:
“Everyone had their doubts. Throughout the daylong musical orgy of all 72,000 paying customers sat in nervous anticipation, enjoying the exceptionally fine music and the low-key atmosphere but privately wondering if the rave reviews from the states were true.
“The Wembley set, the last concert of this CSN&Y reunion tour, was largely similar to the summer’s previous shows, yet played and presented with opening night fervour. You’re not supposed to hear high falsetto or background piano weavings in a sports arena. You’re not supposed to sit on the edge of the hard wooden seats eagerly awaiting the next song, oblivious to the brisk evening temperatures or the passed-out drunk to your left.
“The quality was high throughout the set and the magic moments many. Joni Mitchell injected delicate harmonies into Young’s stunning ‘Helpless’. Nash earned the applause of a beautiful rendition of ‘Our House’ backup vocal support from CSN&Y gently blasting out of the monster speakers with unbelievable clarity. A whisper-soft ‘Blackbird’ hushed the audience to a ecstatic silence of admiration.
“And again ‘Suite Judy Blue Eyes’ got all 72,000 people clapping along as the song builds to it’s joyous climax. ‘Deja Vu, done up harder and rockier, showed off Young’s piano abilities as Stills delivered a wincing guitar solo that came out of nowhere and destroyed everyone. While Young almost stole the show with his autobiographical ‘Don’t Be Denied’.
“By the time they got to ‘Carry On’, the whole CSN&Y front line looked more like a swinging chorus revue than a rock band, as Stills and Young axed out guitar conversations that left fans speechless. The applause was overwhelming.”
Although normally a CDR label, Masterport pressed these two CSNY shows on silver disc and limited to three hundred numbered copies. Despite the reaction from the press, this is a fascinating concert before an appreciative audience of almost 80,000.If you liked this review, buy me a cup of joe. (Suggested: $3 a shot or $7.5 for a double)