The Center for the Arts at Monmouth University has announced that tickets are now on sale for CSNsongs, a February 3, 2018 event “Celebrating the Music of Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young.”
Presented at 8 p.m., the concert represents an encore appearance at Monmouth for the New Jersey-based project that bills itself as The Only National CSN&Y Tribute Show of Its Kind — as well as a return to the Pollak Theatre stage that hosted a very special evening with the legendary Graham Nash in September 2017.
On their first visit to “Our House” in October 2016, the musicians of CSNsongs put their own uniquely Garden State spin on the California-spawned sound of what many consider to be rock’s first and most enduring “supergroup;” a musical experiment that drew amazing harmony from three different nations, and several often volatile elements of the 1960s sonic mix.
When Nash left his British Invasion mates in The Hollies (“On a Carousel,” Carrie-Anne”) for the SoCal music community of Laurel Canyon, he found common ground with two fellow refugees of the transistor-radio era —David Crosby of The Byrds (“Eight Miles High”), and Stephen Stills of Buffalo Springfield (“For What It’s Worth”). When those three voices joined together, they created a signature sound and a sensibility that transcended individual egos and strong personalities. “Suite: Judy Blue Eyes,” “Wooden Ships” and other songs from the debut album by Crosby, Stills & Nash were well on their way to becoming part of the classic rock canon, when Stills’ former Buffalo bandmate Neil Young  joined the fledgling supergroup for its second-ever gig at the original Woodstock festival — a move that resulted in another milestone hit with Joni Mitchell’s “Woodstock.”
With Young now a full-fledged member of the band, the follow-up “Déjà Vu” scored CSN&Y two more Top 40 hits in “Teach Your Children” and “Our House” — and the non-LP single “Ohio,” inspired by the 1970 Kent State shootings, confirmed that the group was as much about passionate social activism as it was about making gorgeously pretty singalongs. Even as the white-hot musical partnership burned out later in 1970, the energy and momentum continued over solo recordings like Stills’ “Love the One You’re With,” Young’s “Southern Man,” and the Nash-Crosby collaboration “Immigration Man.”
All of these landmark recordings and more can be found on the setlist of “CSNsongs,” a spot-on homage that ranges from the signature songs of the individual members’ former bands, to “Just a Song Before I Go,” “Southern Cross,” “Wasted on the Way,” and other highlights from the many on-again, off-again reunions of the core trio.
At the heart of this musical history lesson is the dynamic channeling of Crosby, Stills and Nash, by veteran performers Lou Pucci, Bill Kelly and Phil Bertolo. Boasting some impressive credentials of their own — Pucci through his long tenure as a member of Jersey cover band kings The Watch, and Bertolo with his pedigree as step-sibling to Woodstock original Melanie —  the frontmen are teamed with keyboardist Steve Magliaro, bassman Aaron Chesler, drummer John Hawes, and the band’s newest recruit, percussionist Michael Advansky.
Perhaps even more significant is the fact that the stars of CSNsongs are first and foremost a group of dedicated fans in their own right — fans who listened, lived and breathed these classic songs, and whose lives, like so many millions of others, were touched by this music. On February 3 they pay the feeling forward once more, for generations of new and old listeners.
Tickets for the February 3, 2018 performance of “CSNsongs” are priced at $25 and $30, with a Gold Circle seating option of $40, and can be reserved through the Monmouth University Performing Arts Box Office at 732-263-6889, or online at Tickets for other upcoming Performing Arts events — including The Wailin’ Jennys (February 17, 2018), and the return to the Monmouth campus of Byrds co-founder Roger McGuinn (April 25, 2018) — are also on sale now.