Image copyright © by Marcus Trahan

CSNY Déjà Vu


I was not enthused about seeing this DVD, as I don’t much like concert films, and I’d already been to this concert. It was a fine concert, one of the best I’ve ever been to (after the first few numbers, when Stephen Stills finally stopped singing flat), but I had no real desire to revisit it. Browsing some of the reviews, I came across this quote from Kirk Honeycutt at

The average age of the band’s members is 62. They don’t even bother to disguise that fact. These men look like your grandfather, right up until the downbeat. Then the magnificence of their playing sweeps away all concepts of age.

That pretty much sums up my opinion of the concert.

Not to worry, this is not a concert film. I don’t think a single number was performed in its entirety. We get snippets, and some historical footage, but the film is about the tour, in many venues. And it’s quite open and honest about being political and strongly biased against war (it even included some scathing reviews from Rush Limbaugh types). I can live with a bias like that—I feel the same way—but a lot of people in Atlanta couldn’t. These idiots (I don’t know the percentage, Young said it was about 30%, but he couldn’t really see them, and the boos were drowned out by the cheers; I think it was more like 10%) stormed out, flashing a modified peace sign (that is, without using the index finger, just the middle one), and giving thoughtful on-the-spot reviews such as “Neil Young can suck my dick!” Thank you for that, sir. I found myself shaking my head in disbelief. What did these NASCAR redneck assholes expect from Crosby, Still, Nash, and Young? Let’s support the president? Let’s kill Iraqi women and children? Let’s bomb Iran, and Pakistan, and while we’re at it, those fuckin’ French? Morons.

(I have to add something here. I could not agree more with Neil Young’s song “Let’s Impeach the President.” Totally behind that—though it’s too late now. But wait a sec … dude’s a Canadian, isn’t he? Yup. And I found this info at Wiki, so it may or may not be true: He has lived in the U.S. for “so long” and has stated, about U.S. elections, that he has “got just as much right to vote in them as anybody else.” Gee. That’s not actually true, Neil. I love ya, sweetheart, but it just ain’t so. And thus, I had a little problem with that song from the first time I heard it. A very little problem, but a problem nonetheless. He’s not your president. You don’t have a president (lucky you!), and you don’t have a vote here, for impeachment or anything else. I have no problem with you campaigning for American candidates, in fact I applaud you for it, as a concerned citizen of the world (which, I know, is the spirit in which you wrote that song … but still …). Our First Amendment applies to everyone, citizen or not. And as I said, I am in total agreement with the stated goal of impeachment, you have a right to write and sing absolutely anything you want … but still … “ … and misleading our country into war?” Most Canadians take pains to detach themselves from the USA—and rightly so. So it ain’t your country, no matter how long you’ve lived here, unless and until you obtain citizenship. Dual citizenship would be fine with me, too, but for now, Canada is your country. And yeah, I realize that “Why don’t you dudes down south impeach your lyin’ stinkin’ asshole of a president” would be hard to turn into a good lyric. But still …)

Back to the film. I have to say it was not entirely successful. It got bogged down with little profiles of vets against the war. I have no problem with that, except it should have been cut way down. I applaud Stephen Stills for supporting anti-war candidates as the tour progressed (and the majority of them won, unfortunately not including the helicopter pilot who got both her legs blown off). I applaud Neil Young—who directed under the nom-de-videotape of Bernard Shakey—for his commitment to peace, but as a director, he needs more experience. Stick to songwriting, Neil. It’s what you’re good at.