David Crosby is a story teller.
And he told plenty of them Wednesday night in Kelowna.
The former member of The Byrds and Crosby Still Nash & Young, multiple-time member of the Rock and Roll Hal of Fame, the Grammy Hall of Fame and a member of the Songwriters Hall of Fame, Crosby interspersed his acoustic set—accompanied very well by his son James Raymond on piano—with plenty of stories and memories from his more then 50 years in the music business.
And the near capacity crowd ate it up.
Crosby talked about how some songs to came to be, about meeting, for the first time, and getting “herbaly enhanced” with the Beatles in England in the 1960s, about how he introduced George Harrison to the music of Ravi Shankar,who would prove to be a great influence on the late Beatle and even weighed the singing and songwriting abilities of his friends Joni Mitchell, a former girlfriend and Bob Dylan.
For the record, Crosby feels that while Dylan is a true poet, Mitchell, whom he described as a turbulent personality, can “sing rings around him.”
Watching Crosby on stage feels like you’re sitting in his living room listening to him strum his guitar, sing a few songs and just reminisce.
His laid-back delivery—though not lacking in political opinion—offered the feel of a much more intimate setting than Kelowna’s 850-seat Community Theatre.
Playing what he described as “weird stuff,” Crosby joked that many may have showed up expecting to hear hits from the two famous bands he was in, The Byrds and CSN&Y.
“But I never had a hit,” he said to laugher from the audience. “Sure, the bands I was in had a few. I just wrote the weird songs.”
Crosby’s “weird” stuff, however, went over well with his audience—several shouting out encouragements, with most adding the word “eh” to the end after Crosby joked about travelling in Europe with the Maple Leaf on his shoulder, pretending to be Canadian because “everyone like Canadians” and saying “eh” all the time.
He lamented that his own country is not as well regarded in the world right now.
“It’s embarrassing to be an American right now. In fact, it has been for some time,” he said.
And he predicted that could get worse if Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump gets in.
“That guy’s an idiot,” said Crosby, adding Democratic candidate Hilary Clinton was not his “favourite” person either.
But, he said, he has long looked forward to the day a woman was elected president of the United States.
“Schools should be funded better,” he predicted.
He made it clear several times, he likes Canada.
And not just because it sent him two of our biggest musical exports— Mitchell and Neil Young, he said.
“You elected a guy (Liberal Prime Minister Justin Trudeau) who we like. We really like him.”
But while Crosby talked a lot, he also also sang a lot. At 75, his voice showed no sign of losing the ability to harmonized so beautifully that was a trade of mark of his work with his former bands.
In the end, Crosby’s Kelowna performance may have been low-key but it was memorable.
And, he joked, with the prospect of Trump getting elected U.S. president, we may be seeing more of him in Canada.
“I may just have to move up here,” he said to applause.