Graham Nash – Civic Theatre: March 1, 2024 (Concert Review)

Graham Nash played two hit-filled sets at Auckland’s Civic Theatre, proving at age 82, the former CSN&Y and Hollies member can still Teach Your Children a thing or two.

There weren’t many children at The Civic, in fact, I’m guessing the median age of the crowd was probably about 65 which might explain the early start time of 7:35.

Graham NashNo complaints here from your 68 year old reviewer and no apologies for being old. I first saw Nash with Crosby, Stills and Young back in 1974…that’s 50 years ago…and Graham himself has been making music since he and Allen Clarke formed The Hollies way back in 1962.

That’s a lot of legacy to cover in one evening but the two 50-minute sets did the job…showing off Nash’s high points while shedding some light on his lesser-known work, including his newest album, Now, which is pretty darn good.

Nash was backed by just three musicians, but at times they sounded like an orchestra. Keyboard player Todd Caldwell is also Nash’s producer, guitarist Zach Djanikian also played a beautiful mandolin and saxophone, while drummer Adam Minkoff also played bass and guitar, sometimes while still playing the drums.

Nash himself played guitar and harmonica, and a bit of keyboard, but it is his voice that we all came to hear and it still sounds strong and clear.

Graham NashGraham Nash has always been the ultimate team player, singing harmony to Allen Clarke’s lead in The Hollies and coming across as the “quiet one” in CSNY, when alpha males like Neil Young and David Crosby often got more of the press.

But as Nash proved last night, he was a major player both vocally and with his songwriting.

The first set was full of hits that any old hippie could sing along to…Marrakesh Express, Wasted On The Way, Military Madness, Immigration Man were all anthems from those tumultuous late 60s, early 70s. Sadly, thing seems just as tumultuous today and so songs like Find The Cost Of Freedom and Chicago still sound relevant.

As it turns out, Nash is a generous storyteller in-between tune, giving us insights in how Our House, Better Days and Wounded Bird came about…spoiler alert, they were mostly about relationships.

And Graham didn’t hesitate to throw in a couple of songs from his old bandmate, Stephen Stills, performing Love The One You’re With and 4+20, which Nash described simply as “a beautiful song”.

Graham Nash

The second set might have dragged in the middle for some fans not familiar with Taken At All or On The Line, but then Graham and the band brought things up a notch with a glorious Cathedral, followed by Just A Song Before I Go and Our House.

The encore was even better…with an audience full of geriatric rock fans singing along to Teach Your Children.

These days there is no shame in getting older…in fact it should be celebrated rather than swept under the carpet.

Sure Graham wanted to take a 20-minute break between sets to have a pee, but that’s just mother nature calling…sounds like the hippie ideal to me.

Marty Duda

Click on any image to view a photo gallery by Chris Zwaagdyk:

Set 1:

  1. Marrakesh Express
  2. Wasted On The Way
  3. Military Madness
  4. I Used To Be A King
  5. Bus Stop
  6. Right Between The Eyes
  7. Critical Mass/Wind On The Water
  8. Immigration Man
  9. Better Days
  10. Love The One You’re With

Set 2:

  1. Unequal Love
  2. 4 + 20
  3. Wounded Bird
  4. Taken At All
  5. On The Line
  6. A Better Life
  7. Cathedral
  8. Just A Song Before I Go
  9. Our House
  10. Find The Cost Of Freedom
  11. Teach Your Children
  12. Chicago