Standing Ovation (Mainstream MAST-106)
Greek Theater, Los Angeles, CA – August 30th, 1969
Acoustic set – Suite: Judy Blue Eyes, Blackbird, Helplessly Hoping, Guinevere, Lady Of The Island, Black Queen, Birds, I’ve Loved Her So Long, You Don’t Have To Cry, So Brings The Task -electric set- Pre-Road Downs, Long Time Gone, Bluebird Revisited, Sea Of Madness, Wooden Ships, Down By The River
Standing Ovation utilizes a brand new almost complete very good audience recording. There is an older complete tape source of the entire show that was released on the fan produced cdr Bring Me Sadness. That source is described by one collector as “horrendous” that wouldn’t even appeal to a hardcore CSN&Y diehard. The two Neil Young tracks from the acoustic set, “Birds” and the rarely played “I’ve Loved Her So Long”, surfaced from a professional source on the fan produced compilation A Perfect Echo. This new tape source comes very close to the stage, or perhaps even on stage, capturing the performance very well. It emphasizes the treble frequencies although the lower end isn’t absent either, capturing Young’s guitar in the electric set. The August 26th show at the Greek Theater was CSN&Y’s third ever performance after two shows in Chicago followed by their appearance at Woodstock.
The title Standing Ovation comes from Robert Hilburn’s review of the event for the Los Angeles Times. “Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young – pop music’s new supergroup-is starting its career at the top and is giving every indication of staying there….Its opening Monday night at the Greek Theater was a triumph of the first order as the group gave a staggering display of individual and collective talent…. But Monday’s ‘sold out’ sign and lengthy standing ovation were indications that Crosby Stills, Nash, and Young have lived up to, if not exceeded, all expectations…. CSNY is composed of David Crosby (an ex-Byrd), Steve Stills (part of the old Buffalo Springfield), Graham Nash (formerly of the Hollies), Neil Young (also an old Buffalo Springfield) plus Dallas Taylor on drums and Greg Reeves on electric bass….In the namesakes, CSNY has four strong writers, musicians and lead vocalists. One of the most impressive things about the group is its resulting versatility.
“With so much writing and performing talent, the group, unlike many current outfits, is not limited to a narrow musical path…. By the end of the evening, Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young, on such songs as ‘Wooden Ships’ and Young’s excellent ‘Sea of Madness,’ had moved a long way from the simple acoustic background and sweet harmony of ‘Suite: Judy Blue Eyes.’…In the process, they gave the Greek Theatre audience a generous sample of the strength and creativity of pop music’s newest supergroup.” Mainstream has done a good job in producing this tape. There is evidence of its being downloaded from the internet with slight swooshes of sound in the higher frequencies, but nothing to distract from the music. This tape is important enough to overlook such deficiencies and the warmth of the performance is enough to make this title an essential piece of the CSN&Y collection. (GS)