Shane Fontayne, left, and Graham Nash. Lobero Live! - An Evening with Graham Nash, July 16, 2023, The Lobero Theatre | Photo: David Bazemore

Graham Nash hit the stage of the Lobero last weekend with a performance infused with kindness, sincerity, and a generosity of spirit that’s in short supply these days. It was truly a heartwarming show from beginning to end. 

The legendary 81-year-old British singer-songwriter was a founding member of both The Hollies and Crosby, Stills, & Nash, and delved deep into his archives for a two-night set alongside his musical partners Shane Fontayne (guitar and vocals; Lone Justice, Sting, and Bruce Springsteen), and Todd Caldwell (keyboards and vocals; Crosby, Stills, & Nash; James Taylor; Bonnie Raitt; Jackson Browne).

While many musicians in his position would be content to rest on their laurels at this point, Nash is still touring and put out a new solo record, titled Now, in May 2023. The songs he played from that — particularly “Buddy’s Back,” an ode to his old friend Buddy Holly; and “A Better Life,” which he described as an extension of his iconic 1968 tune “Teach Your Children”  — were every bit as appealing as the oldies that dominated Sunday night’s set. 

Among the highlights was “Marrakesh Express,” which Nash wrote during The Hollies’ Yugoslavian tour in 1967 as he “rode the train with two old ladies who had their hair dyed blue.” That was followed by “Chicago (We Can Change the World),” his solo single about the Chicago Seven and the 1968 Democratic National Convention with the famous line “Won’t you please come to Chicago just to sing?” which refers to Nash pleading unsuccessfully with his then-bandmates Stephen Stills and Neil Young to come to Chicago to play a benefit concert for the Chicago Seven defense fund. 

After a short break, Nash opened the second half with the beautifully earnest “Simple Man,” followed by “Only Love Can Break Your Heart,” and “Golden Days,” a stunner of a song co-written with Fontayne in 2016. When someone in the audience yelled, “That was a great song,” Nash joked back, “I’ll pay you later.” 

Leading into “4 + 20,” Nash spoke with great affection of his old bandmate Stephen Stills, who wrote the heart-wrenching song. “When he shared it with me, I came in with my heart in one piece, and then my heart was in pieces. I never knew anyone could write anything so beautiful,” said Nash. 

Picking up the energy, Nash showed off his mastery of performance and pace, delving into a rousing rendition of “Love the One You’re With,” followed by a solid string of crowd favorites, including “Just a Song Before I Go,” “Our House” (a nod to his old love Joni Mitchell), “Everyday” (in tribute to Buddy Holly),  and the still timely “Teach Your Children” as the finale. 

With his charming yet humble performance, his fabulous white hair, and his high tenor impressively intact, Graham Nash still has a lot to teach all of us about putting on a great show.


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