Last night at the Katherine Hepburn Cultural Arts Center, aka The Kate, Graham shared the stage with Shane Fontayne, whose gorgeous rich and playful lead guitar was matched only by the harmonies that evoked heavenly moments and memories of CSN&Y singing together. They were that good….
Graham was humble and sweet and told a story of time through the songs he chose. He started with Bus Stop, the big Hollies hit. He then proceeded to go through a lifetime discography of songs and chose the ones I knew all the words to, and I did my best not to disturb the guy next to me who I prayed appreciated my combustion of musical experience.
For a guy in his 70’s, I found it endearing that Graham exposed his vulnerabilities and it was an affirmation of my sense that he was a particularly sensitive romantic musician. When he introduced The Sleep Song, he shared that it was written for Joni Mitchell, and it was the first of many references that reminded me of the great love that inspired so much music midst the west coast Laurel Canyon groupings of artists. His first breakup song, I Used to Be a King, the song written the morning of their breakup sung on stage later while he faced Joni in the third row, Simple Man. It has one of my favorite lyrics in a love song, “I just want to hold you, I don’t want to hold you down … ”
The mono syllable reference to our President came out through his well known political songs like Chicago, Mississippi Burning, and Military Madness which he suggested not only refers to the madness of killing and warfare, but of defunding Planned Parenthood or the head of the EPA being someone who doesn’t believe in climate change.
All this truth and validation and sweetness while singing along to Marakesh Express, Immigration Man, Just a Song Before I Go and so many others. Two full sets with a short intermission, classy and rich. It cannot go unmentioned that it was the first time there was a line for the men’s room and not the ladies! Women know exactly the amazement I am referring to….
The end of the second set had the auditorium of carefully dressed hippies singing along to Our House, Chicago, where one couldn’t help but feel the hope in his heart as we chanted along to the recurring hook of “We can chaaaaange the world, rearraaaange the world … ”
They ended with “Teach Your Children” which at this point did not require his prompting to sing along. Treated to some new songs from his latest album/CD, “This Path Tonight” it felt that the path of the night was lined with shimmering gold…