Harvest Evening (no label)
Boston Garden, Boston, MA – August 5th, 1974
Disc 1 (79:18): Love The One You’re With, Wooden Ships, The Losing End, Prison Song, Almost Cut My Hair, Immigration Man, Down By The River, Teach Your Children, Only Love Can Break Your Heart, Blackbird, Helplessly Hoping, Guinnevere, For Free, It’s All Right
Disc 2 (74:05): Love Art Blues, Out On The Weekend, Heart Of Gold, Change Partners, 4 + 20, You Can’t Catch Me/Word Game, Pre-Road Downs, First Things First, Deja Vu, My Angel, Black Queen, Revolution Blues, Pushed It Over The End, Military Madness, Ohio
Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young’s reunion tour in 1974 played two shows in Boston in August. This tour, together with Bob Dylan’s comeback tour in January, was one of the most anticipated and well attended of the year. And it has since become one of the legendary rock tours. The New York and Oakland shows received heavy rotation on vinyl and cd titles in the past.
Several years ago the two Boston concerts were released in a four disc set Good Evening Boston (Screamer-04001-004). The August 5th show is contained on discs one and two documented by a good to very good audience recording.
Harvest Evening utilizes a new tape source that is a significant improvement over the older tape. It isa three dimensional, very vivid recording capturing the dynamics of the performance and of the audience’s reaction to the events on stage. The inferior tape is used between 7:36 to 8:30 in “Down By The River,” a few second afterwards with audience clapping, first couple seconds of “Heart Of Gold” and the beginning of “Pushed It Over The End.”
CSNY’s songs were never politically and socially shy in taking a stance on particular issues. August 5th is important in American history as being the day when President Richard Nixon’s “smoking gun” tape was made public. It was this recording that proved that he knew of the Watergate cover up all along and saw his political support evaporate. This event is the direct reason for his resignation three days later on August 8th.
The only explicit mention of the day’s news is after “Guinnevere” when Crosby says he wants to celebrate that the constitution works. The taper asks his friends if they heard the news from today, and goes on to tell them that Nixon admitted the cover up.
Unlike the 1970 tour in which the set was divided neatly into an acoustic first and an electric second half, they chose a different set. The acoustic set is played in the middle, enveloped by the electric numbers. The show opens with a fast paced, out-of-tune “Love The One You’re With” followed by an epic “Wooden Ships.”
Neil Young’s first song is “The Losing End.” Stills adds many country flavored riffs to an arrangement that is slowed down significantly.
The mellow middle of the set contains and excellent rendition of “Only Love Can Break Your Heart,” “Blackbird” and Stills’ “Helplessly Hoping.” Young continues this segment of the show with three relative rarities. “Love Art Blues,” he introduces as a song they’ve never heard before. It was premiered a month before in Seattle and would be played only a handful of times after. “Out On The Weekend” was played extensively in 1973 but appears in only the July 31st show in Texas and this performance. This would be the last time it would be played live for twenty-three years. Finally, “Heart Of Gold” receives the first of only two performances on this tour.
Stills takes the stage to finish this portion of the show with “Change Partners,” “4 + 20,” and an energetic “You Can’t Catch Me/Word Game” with him yelling at the crowd to calm down.
CSNY play an extraordinary set of songs to complete the show with “Black Queen” serving as a highlight. Young’s “Revolution Blues,” released on On The Beach just several weeks before, is a chilling closing followed by the bizarre “Pushed It Over the End” (aka “Citizen Kane Jr. Blues.”) It would appear in many of the shows on this tour only with the final performance at Wembley in September.
The politically charged, and entirely appropriate in context, “Military Madness” and “Ohio” close the show. It’s a great show to have since it has tremendous sound quality and an energetic performance. The artwork pays homage to the old vinyl titles, using fonts and color schemes popular in the 1960’s LPs.