Crosby, Stills & Nash

Live in L.A.

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On their tour promoting Daylight Again, Crosby, Stills & Nash played three nights at the Universal Amphitheater in Los Angeles over the Thanksgiving Day weekend in 1982, and they taped and filmed the shows for a TV special. The Dutch Immortal label has licensed the audio tracks for this 21-song, 105-minute, two-CD set, and it chronicles a high point in the band's career. (Immortal also has a DVD version of Live in L.A., which is essentially a reissue of the 1983 MCA home video called Daylight Again.) At the outset, a professional-sounding announcer talks over the instrumental opening of "Turn Your Back on Love," stopping the split second the vocal begins, just like a disc jockey. But that is the only incursion into the show, which otherwise draws from CSN's back catalog of hits and favorites in a familiar format, starting with an electric set that gives way to an extended acoustic segment that further breaks down into solo spots, and then revving back up for an electric finish before sending the crowd out with a singalong of "Teach Your Children" and the folk blues "Daylight Again" as a coda. After months on tour, the singers' voices are a bit the worse for wear, or maybe it's just that one is accustomed to the polish of the studio recordings. It doesn't hurt the performances, which actually sound all the more fervent for the occasional vocal grit. Along with the CSN hits, there are occasional borrowings from the individuals' repertoire (Crosby & Nash's "Wind on the Water" suite, Stills' "For What It's Worth" from his Buffalo Springfield days, a CSN arrangement of the Beatles' "Blackbird"), but most of the show is given over to evergreens and then recent radio hits from Daylight Again, notably "Southern Cross," which was peaking in the Top 20 at the time of the concert. Live in L.A. captures a resurgent Crosby, Stills & Nash before their hometown crowd. Clouds may have been gathering on the horizon, with Crosby's substance abuse problems threatening the band's future, but at these shows all seemed well.