Photos by Mark J. Smith
David Crosby had a real problem on his way to the Philadelphia area with his “Lighthouse Tour”– he came down with a cold. Now remember, this is David Crosby I’m talking about. Soft, beautiful love songs with lots of high notes to hit. As a true professional, he was determined to carry on, no pun intended, and carry on he did. Jumping to later in the first set, he started to scat sing while the talented Michelle Willis supported his voice with a foundation of soft electronic keyboards. As Crosby’s scat singing progressed, the audience realized it was the intro to the CSN song “Deja Vu”. A tough song to sing no doubt. All I can say is– wow! The end of the song brought rousing applause from the audience, and Crosby replied, saying, “yeah, that was good.” He said it was obvious he had a cold, but that he would trooper through and get there. Wow again. Get there he did. He was obviously happy with the song, understanding just how difficult it was to sing even sans cold. The house loved him for the song and the effort. His effort lasted throughout, as he delivered a great night of wonderful music.
Now, back to the beginning. Crosby’s band for “The Lighthouse Tour” consisted of Michael League, Snarky Puppy bassist-bandleader, who also produced and co-wrote a number of songs on the Lighthouse album. Joining them onstage were Becca Stevens on electric guitar and a few other string instruments as well as vocals, and Michelle Willis on keyboards and vocals. Both Becca and Michelle have both played with Snarky Puppy, and were introduced to Crosby by League.
The first set started with a love song from the Lighthouse album, “Things We Do For Love,” written for Crosby’s wife of forty years. Other songs from Lighthouse followed. “The Us Below,” “Somebody Other Than You,” a song about how politicians are happy enough to send young men to war as long as it isn’t their kid, was followed by “Paint You A Picture,” a song cowritten with Marc Cohn. Crosby then formerly introduced his band, and turned a Snarky Puppy song “Somebody Home” over to them. And, of course there was “Deja Vu.”
Through the night, Crosby explained how great it was for him to be singing new music, and you could tell he was enjoying himself. More Lighthouse album songs were played during set two, joined by songs from earlier albums, If I Could Remember My Name and Wind On The Water.
Keyboardist Michelle stunned the house with her song, “Persimmon,” which Crosby introduced, saying, “we asked Michelle to sing this song because it affects us so much.” You could hear a pin drop.
Winding down, the band dove into another CSN hit, “Guinnevere,” and closed out with another Lighthouse song, “By The Light Of The Day.” For an encore, Crosby said they had a surprise for us, and launched into “Woodstock.” Another major “WOW!”
It truly was a great night of music. If you can catch a stop on the tour, you should. If you can’t, at least go out and buy the album– filled with new music from a 75 year old guy, who sounds like he did fifty years ago.