Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young to Release Long-Awaited 1974 Live Album in August
After years of work, Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young are finally gearing up to release a live album from their 1974 reunion tour. "It's going to come out August 27th," Graham Nash tells Rolling Stone. "It's going to fuckin' stun people. We only multi-tracked eight or nine shows from the tour, and we've chosen the best from those gigs. We've had to do a little tuning, but not that much . . . But the spirit of the band! If I take myself out the band and look at it, it was a fuckin' great band."
David Crosby shares his bandmate's excitement. "I am one of the most egotistical people on this planet," he says with a laugh. "But the legend looms larger! You have to remember that in 1974, the Beatles were over and the Stones were playing a completely different kind of music. When I hear this shit, I think, for a moment we were probably the best band. It's startlingly good."
They have yet to settle on a title. "I want to call it What Could Possibly Go Wrong?" says Crosby. "I'm going to dig my heels and seriously fight for that. You can't hear that without laughing your head off. It's important to look at yourselves with a sense of humor in retrospect and realize what gigantic egos we had and what idiots we were. But I think it's a great title. If I don't get it, I'll threaten to quit the band – at which point I'll be reminded that there's no band to quit!"
Crosby's proposed title refers to the precarious state the band was in when it reunited for a highly lucrative stadium tour in the summer of 1974. The group split up in 1970 and relations between members were, at best, precarious. Many of them were also dealing with serious drug problems. It's since been labelled "The Doom Tour." "We did one for the art and the music," Stills told Cameron Crowe at the time. "One for the chicks. This one's for the cash."
"The tour was disappointing to me," Neil Young told writer Jimmy McDonough in his book Shakey. "I think CSNY really blew it. Last time I played with 'em had been two or three years before that. They hadn't made an album, and they didn't have any new songs. What were they doing? How could they just stop? They wanted to put out a live album, and I wouldn't put it out – because it had all my songs on it."
Listening back to the actual tapes has given everyone a different perspective on the tour. "Reports we weren't singing well aren't true," says Nash. "I mean, occasionally, but not in the songs that I chose. This stuff is fuckin' magic, though it is true there were so many drugs and it was chaotic . . . I've got a version of a song that I wrote for Barbra Streisand that Joni Mitchell came and sang with me at Wembley Stadium in front of 100,000 people. It one one acoustic piano and me and Joni. Just magic."
Young has insisted the album be released with the best sound physically possible. "He's got it at two million bits," says Crosby with a laugh. "He's a fanatic. You can get him mad by just saying 'MP3.' This is getting mastered at the highest quality available in the world."