More Ticketing

This makes me crazy. I was just on a radio show about ticketing. Of course they gave most of the time to the college professor economist, who understood the facts but missed the point.

How come every business is seen as professional except for ticketing? People don’t understand medicine, nor do they understand Wall Street finance, those are seen as professional businesses, but ticketing? Oh, those are inexperienced idiots, we could do it better.

We can delineate the splits of the fees, which most people still don’t understand, but they don’t get to the heart of the business, the history, and the fact that THE ACTS TAKE ALL THE MONEY!

But in order to make the business work, there must be promoters to pay them. So how do those promoters get paid?

You see the acts commission the monies. Never mind that they get steep advances. The fees are outside the commission base. That’s where promoter profit is. Get rid of the fees, and you’ve got no concert business.

As for including the fees in the overall price… Stubhub did this and sales went down. Because fans are cheap and delusional. They buy Spirit Airlines tickets and then are surprised when they have to pay for overhead baggage space. Try to protect these people and they complain, they think they’re being ripped-off.

But there are no miracles. A new Mercedes-Benz doesn’t cost $10,000, why should every concert ticket be $50? Why is someone, why is EVERYONE, entitled to such a deal? THEY’RE NOT! So you’ve got uninformed people who are convinced they are right bloviating loudly. Just like politics!

I’ll make it simple, don’t go! No one is forcing you to.

So the act only has one career, they don’t want to look bad. But they’re pissed because scalpers are getting all the uplift. So either they charge more or they give up all that profit. But charging what the tickets are worth? A no-no! People spend $100 bucks for dinner, but for a concert, too much! And they’ve got to tip, otherwise the waiters wouldn’t make a living, but even worse, they wouldn’t show up to work!

And how come Taylor Swift is skating here? How come there’s no press that no one had attempted a sale of this scale previously? First time always takes risks. And the reason no one took on a sale of this magnitude is because they were worried about exactly what happened, the system being overwhelmed. As for Ticketmaster saying they could do this… Try saying no to a superstar act, good luck.

And why did all the tickets have to be sold at the same time? So Swift could spew it all over the press, the number of tickets sold, the cash generated, that’s the only reason. And is that worth the risk? OF COURSE NOT!

And everybody in the business knows Verified Fan is flimsy. Sure, it weeds out some bad actors, but tons are left. But the public thinks it’s gonna get a good ticket and at a good price which is just b.s.

So everybody has dirty hands. But, once again, the focus is only on Ticketmaster. Because the acts can’t be guilty, even if you tell the fans they don’t believe it. And the government is looking after duplicitous fans? Come on.

The fans are never happy. And a very small minority is making most of the noise, the delusional ones.

So let’s go back to the on-sale. The goal is to create mania to make the dates go clean, i.e. sell out. Yes, you hear tickets are going for a grand and you think you’d better buy yours now. And sometimes this mania works, and sometimes it does not. There’s hoopla for a day or two, and then…tickets go unsold and they never sell. Maybe they were priced too high to begin with. But everybody thinks good tickets are gone and they don’t even go back to the ticketing site. And the tickets are not sold and the promoter, who works on less than a 5% margin, may end up losing money. Apple works on 30% margins, but concert promoters, who guarantee the acts the money, huge sums, far, far in excess of record company advances, are the bad actors here? Just like the bozos believe Spotify is the devil. No, the label is taking most of the money. But it’s preferable to hate on Spotify, because Daniel Ek is young and rich and the musicians are not. Musicians whose music isn’t listened to much to begin with.

As for starting musicians…

They’ve got someone wet behind the ears testifying in Congress. Because he wrote an opinion piece in the “New York Times.” Yes, all you people who think the “Times” doesn’t count, the joke is on you. This guy went from nowhere to D.C. almost immediately.

But where is the club owner testifying? Who takes all the risk, just in opening the doors. Yes, there’s a ladder. At the bottom, the deals are worse, when you become a household name, the deals are better. They call this leverage. And club business is so good…that most of them went out of business. Been to the Bottom Line recently? Those clubs existed because the labels supported them, bought tickets and drinks, which they no longer do. As for what the industry calls “clubs’ today…many are what were previously labeled “theatres,” they hold thousands of people. But this guy testifying in Congress can’t sell that number of tickets. Where are the people who can? Who are getting good deals? Why should leverage work everywhere but the concert business?

And how about the people who love scalpers? Because they can buy good tickets at the last minute. And it’s not only the rich, the superfans do this too.

And the fans want to scalp the tickets they purchased so they can go free, or at a profit. You can make tickets cheap and get rid of resales by going paperless, but the fans HATE THIS, because they can’t scalp.

But even worse, the fans don’t understand that scalping is a professional business. You can’t compete against the pros the same way you can’t play in the NBA.

And the dirty little secret is…

Everybody can get a ticket. Taylor Swift is playing stadiums! Just show up before the show, there will be tons of tickets available, people who got caught up in the mania and bought four when they only needed two, not realizing no one is going to overpay to sit in the upper deck.

Any arena show it’s the same thing. You can almost always get a ticket.

But no, Ticketmaster is the enemy.

Furthermore, the consent degree extension has nothing to do with all this, it’s got to do with Ticketmaster strong-arming venues to sign up with Ticketmaster in order to get shows.

Wow, never have so many known so little.

Meanwhile, Taylor Swift and the acts end up smelling like a rose, when they’re the ones generating all the problems.

You want to improve the situation? Have multiple sellers of tickets like in Europe. But then what happens to the payments to the venues, all that money from Ticketmaster that goes straight to their bottom line as payment to be exclusive? The government is just going to take that away?

But I’ll go even further. If you’re not on the Ticketmaster site, good luck people knowing about your show. That real estate is the most valuable in concertdom. Getting the word out is impossible. You can’t reach everybody. Ticketmaster is actually providing a service here. Never mind their e-mail list. You want to use Ticketmaster!

Oh, there could be change in the sphere, but someone would have to suffer.

Acts could charge what the tickets are worth, but fans would pay more.

Acts could keep tickets cheap, but fans wouldn’t be able to resell them.

The fees could be rolled into the deal… But then the promoter would get screwed or the act would have to take less.

This system didn’t happen by accident, there was evolution. And it’s not only about Ticketmaster. In fact, most of the innovation came from Ticketmaster. Picking your own seat…you couldn’t do that with Ticketron.

So Amy Klobuchar grandstands and the fans rail against Ticketmaster and what happens?

NOTHING!

Unless Lina Khan gets involved and then…

Someone’s going to suffer.

Zach Bryan Ticketing

“Zach Bryan/The Burn, Burn, Burn Tour Announcement”: https://bit.ly/3Ho8HjB

And we thought it was all about the fees…

But it turns out it’s about process and transparency.

The public can’t figure out ticketing, and neither can the government. And that’s exactly the way the music business wants it.

There are pre-sales, holdbacks, platinum… And on the general on-sale there can be fewer than a thousand tickets available in an arena. And you wonder why the public is frustrated?

There are going to be fees on the Zach Bryan tickets. Ten to twenty dollars. And honestly, that’s not cheap, that’s not bupkes. But you know what they are, you’re not going to be surprised with a crazy number when you go to check out on the ticketing site.

Zach can’t get rid of the fees, because that’s promoter profit, and the buildings get a piece, and of course the ticketing company gets a piece… Because the acts take all the rest. The fees were created to establish a pile of money that the acts couldn’t commission.

And the ticketing company, which does not get all of the fees, as per the above, is paid to take the heat, so the act looks good. Without the fees, the whole business does not work. Or would have to be restructured, and good luck negotiating with agents to do this.

So that’s the fees.

But what are the odds of getting tickets?

Come on, you’ve got to know somebody. Otherwise you’re sitting in the rafters if you’re in the building at all.

Except for platinum, what USED to be called platinum anyway. Platinum was right up front on the floor or in the adjacent loge. And you paid extra to be close. But now platinum also includes good seats elsewhere in the building. That cost more. Muddying the water, so people have no idea what is going on. And these platinum tickets are flex-priced, as in they might be listed at $150 but then either a computer or a person sees demand is hot and makes them $250. It’s like a land rush in the old west. Gentlemen, start your engines, be ready in front of your computer at 10 AM and good luck! Hell, Wall Street traders pay millions to establish the most direct wires so they can trade a millisecond earlier, and it works. Good luck competing with the scalpers who buy tickets every day. Whatever you do with your fingers a programmed machine can do faster.

So everybody crowds in at once and the system jams up which is why with Zach Bryan tickets…

You register in advance, you get more than a week to do this.

And, here’s the new wrinkle, you’ve got to provide a credit card attached to your name and AXS charges it a dollar to see if you’re real.

Oh, of course you get the dollar back. It’s taken off the ultimate ticket price, or if you don’t get tickets at all, it’s refunded.

So, you just can’t use an e-mail address, clogging up the works. You’ve got to prove that you’re real with said credit card. And then the list is combed again for obvious shenanigans. Such that AXS ends up with legitimate customers who are ready to buy tickets. Are some of them scalpers? Yes, nothing is perfect, but they’ve been hindered here.

And then the potential ticket buyers are randomized, and then a number are picked and sent e-mails saying they can buy at a certain time.

You get a window, you know it in advance. And then either you show up and buy the tickets or not. Promoters who have used this process in the past usually establish two hour tranches. The first group can start buying at ten. The next starting at noon, etc., until all tickets are sold.

Not everybody who registers for a ticket ultimately decides to buy one, for whatever reason. So even though you may have a later window, you still might get a ticket.

And then… You can’t resell the ticket for a profit.

You can list it for resale on the AXS site for the same price, but you can’t get a lift.

For those not in the business, I must tell you there’s a rolling bar code. So what the number is today not only isn’t the number tomorrow, but may not be the same in an hour or less.

So the ticket is tied to the purchaser’s name. Let’s say one person bought four tickets. Bottom line, all four people have to show up and go into the building together. Inconvenient? Yes. But what we’re talking about here is a plethora of demand and little supply. You always have to go through hurdles in this situation. Whether it be waiting in front of your computer or lining up physically, it’s never easy.

And, a scalper who bought four tickets… Can show up with three people who he has charged a thousand bucks apiece and walk them in and then walk out himself, burning one ticket but making a big profit.

So what Zach is achieving here is allowing genuine fans a better chance of getting a ticket at a fair price. Does this mean they will get a ticket? ABSOLUTELY NOT!

The public is the weak link in ticketing, even more than the scalpers. The public wants to scalp its own tickets. The public believes it should be able to sit in the front row for a cheap price. A fan believes they’re entitled to get into the building, that’s their right! And Zach’s ticketing procedure means a fan may ultimately be SOL, outside the building on the night of the concert. Which they don’t like. You see the public wants fairness but also doesn’t want fairness. Everybody wants an edge, many believe they’re entitled to an edge, and Zach’s process clamps down on this.

Also, computer failure is obviated. Because not every ticket is available at the same time and people who are not really planning to buy tickets can’t play.

Come on, technology has limits. Facebook, Spotify, Verizon even, they all go down once in a while. Not only are there errors… Hell, try using the Apple site right after they announce a new product. Talk about slooooowwwwwwww….

Even though technology works so well, not everything can be rendered perfectly in an instant. But by slowing the process down, AXS insures that the odds of the tech getting overwhelmed is nearly impossible.

Once again, beating up on the public, you can watch the above video and get almost all of this. But people are complaining online because they didn’t watch the video. You know, like people who don’t bother to read the instructions. Is that Zach Bryan’s fault? You can never make every single person happy, that’s a fallacious goal. In addition, ten percent of the public is literally crazy, you can’t make them happy unless Zach comes to their house and performs for free!

But unless you’re in the concert business or a Zach Bryan fan, all of the above is probably news to you.

Welcome to the modern age. Where not only is it nearly impossible to spread information, you can be less than a household name and be doing boffo at the b.o.

Yes the goal is not to reach everybody, just those who care. That old shotgun model of network TV, advertising cars to kids without driver’s licenses, just hoping their parents are watching with them? That’s done. Just worry about those who have an interest. Furthermore, if you dun those who don’t care you build anger and resentment, and that’s very hard to overcome. In other words, you might alienate a potential fan who doesn’t even know they’re going to be a fan!

As for Ticketmaster…

Well, Ticketmaster could replicate what AXS has done for Zach Bryan, but the ticketing company only does what the act wants. Not all acts are guaranteed sellouts. Not all acts want to keep prices low. Some acts are so concerned with publicity they want to generate a high number instantly to wow…I’m not exactly sure who, everybody on the inside knows the truth. You discounted your music at the iTunes Store and told your fans to buy it and the track went up the chart. Do you think people don’t know this? As for impressing fans, they’re already impressed, and usually no one else cares.

So I walked into the condo office in Vail to get something and they saw my Eric Clapton jacket and were wowed. Merch, tickets, perks of the business. Every business has perks, believe me. And then the fiftysomething majordomo spontaneously started waxing rhapsodic about Zach Bryan, how he wants to see him at Red Rocks, how his whole family loves Zach, not only him and his wife but his three kids and…

I was stunned.

I’ve done my radio show from Vail, this guy knows what I do for a living, and he has never ever expressed any interest in today’s music. None. And isn’t even that interested in the old music either.

I was floored. How did Zach reach these people? It’s not like he was on the Super Bowl, it’s not like he was on the front page of the paper, he’s got a mild hit, but where do people even hear these tracks anymore? Nobody I know listens to terrestrial radio, they can’t handle the commercials and the repetition. How did he and his family get the word?

That’s the power of great music speaking truth about life written and performed by a credible artist. We were told it was about setup, about clothing, about social media, when really it just comes down to the music, if it’s good enough, That’s how hungry people are.

Treat them right.

Re-David Crosby

If you have the vinyl of “if I could only remember my name” , open the double gate fold and there to my amazement, is a photo of me. Also a photo I took of Elliot with a bag of pot on a Chicago street corner with four cops.

I miss the f..k.

Ron Stone

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I did not know David Crosby well. I spent some time with him on the Neil Young Tour of 1973, and then not much beyond the occasional hello at some event or other. I had heard all about his excesses and bad behavior, and I remember being somewhat shocked to hear one of his last three or four albums, expecting to hear some croaking ex-druggie trying to sing and instead hearing some really fine vocal work. But one of his earliest works still stands out as a classic, and that’s “Everybody’s Been Burned,” from the Byrds album “Younger Than Yesterday.” His voice is haunting, smooth, mellow, in sharp contrast what was hip at the time. It’s still one of my favorites from that era, and it still sounds great. I’ve been listening to it today, more than a little sad, but very glad we have David’s music.

Best,
John Boylan

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You captured the essence of David Crosby as far as I knew him.

I worked with him producing videos and concerts for CSN and his collaborations with Phil Collins and yes, he could be difficult, but not always, not even most times.

His music, his art, transcended his human faults. The combination of him, Stills and Nash was a unique coalescence of talent.  They changed the course of rock forever, spawned many imitators, and delivered many rock classics.

Crosby’s solo work has received mixed reviews but I place his first solo album (If Only I Could Remember My Name)  high on my list of favorite albums.

It’s sad to know there will never again be a CSN or even a CSNY, but wow! What we are left with is f..king awesome and will be rock classics forever. RIP David Crosby.

Paul Flattery

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Bob : MEXICO never knew about crosby on that . Song and track brought me back to life so many times. Stay bright , o

Andrew Loog Oldham

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Thank you Bob for writing this. It reached me deeply. Written thoughtfully, strong, and to-the-point, just like my one experience with Crosby: recording demo vocals with him in a small NYC studio in the 90’s.

-Dan Gellert

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Got to interview David Crosby a few times at KFOG. Check out the intro to this where he leaves a VM apologizing for missing an earlier appointment: https://www.patreon.com/posts/20490484?utm_campaign=postshare_creator

Greg McQuaid

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Tom Jones & Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young

 

 

This is the craziest pairing I’ve seen in a long time, but jeez it works way better than on paper!

 

Best,

 

Michael McCarty

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I’m a mid-40s child of boomers.

My mother, who had perfect pitch and loved singing harmony with her sisters, took me aside one day, when she felt I was old enough, to tell me this important thing — like it was a serious family secret or something:

“The most beautiful voices now belong to Mama Cass, Art Garfunkel, and David Crosby. Don’t let anybody tell you any differently.”

I miss her so much.

Jennifer Carney

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Recently I’ve been playing a number of David Crosby songs. Are you familiar with the live version of “Wooden Ships” with Jason Isbell? There are some great guitar breaks.

https://spoti.fi/3JeeyJs

Nick Nichols

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Bob, All our music heroes are dying!  I still remember distinctly hearing Mr. Tambourine Man for the first time and seeing The Byrds on the Mike Douglas show and Ed Sullivan. CS&N and Deja Vu were probably two of my most played albums of all time and ingrained in my brain. I’d ride around in my red VW bug with the eight tracks blasting away and singing along with the music. About ten years ago I was in Los Olivos having lunch and David was eating in the back of the restaurant.  I was just too nervous to say hello and tell him how much his music has nourished me.  I didn’t want to disturb him.

His music and the bands he formed are part of my DNA. I  listened to ”If I could only remember my name “after I read the news of his passing.
I thought his last solo album was one of his strongest in a long time.
He will be missed.

Alan Oreman

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I spoke with him on occasion on Twitter, usually about how much we both loved Stephen Stills’ music.  He could be cantankerous on Twitter but he also relentlessly promoted other artists’ music that he loved.  RIP Croz.

Steven Monk

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Subject: The Byrds-Session fighting.

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Thank you so much for this tribute to David Crosby. He is one of my forever heroes.

As you point out again and again, the Croz was difficult, pulled no punches and did not suffer fools gladly. There’s a saying or a notion that you should never meet your heroes only because they’ll disappoint you. Thankfully, I never met Croz. The closest I came was living vicariously through a friend who knew Croz in passing and had made it onto his joke of the day e-mail list. She used to share it with me. Then a falling out occured as quickly as it all started. I felt honored for a brief moment to be on the periphery of the circle then ‘poof’ and it was over. I first saw David Crosby as part of CSN&Y at Wembley Stadium in 1974. I was already a big fan and despite all of the stories about the drug and ego fueled state of the band on the ’74 tour, Wembley was a magical night; and a testament to Croz’s uniqueness and the band’s power.

And here we are today. As you so rightly say, the new solo work over the past eight years has been nothing short of remarkable. What a loss.

Andy Jones

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“Crosby was an untouchable god.”

That’s all that really needs to be said.  I enjoyed reading the piece, nonetheless. Thank you.

Bill Nelson

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Hey Bob, I enjoyed hearing and seeing Crosby and Nash perform with David Gilmour on “On an Island.”

Best,

Marc Andrews

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I never know where to go when someone like David Crosby, someone who meant so much to do many people, passes. It’s moments like that that I long for 3 TV stations doing news people watched so that people could gather, listen and discuss.

There is a void there that you have filled Bob!

Thank you

Mark Burrell

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You remind us that the greats made their best music decades ago yet Crosby was one of the few that still gave you fresh goosebumps..

This track from his last album “Free” was hauntingly accurate when he says ..” there’s a sliver of air between the water and the ice… that’s where I breathe .. where I live”….

he knew he wouldn’t live much longer but he shared this notion of what it feels like to be almost done… he was a brilliant singer-songwriter till the End.

Another rough January for our music era.

Marty Simon

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Thanks for this great ode to the one and only Croz.  I just want to add that in his last decade, David’s new friendship and collaborations with Snarky Puppy founder/leader Michael League was an important driving force in his late recording renaissance.  League produced three of Croz’ last four albums, and Crosby appeared with Snarky Puppy numerous times.  One of those was at Carnegie Hall in January, 2018, a 1960’s protest music concert I produced starring Snarky Puppy with guests David Crosby, Chris Thile, Laura Mvule, and Fatoumata Diawara,  It was an amazing thrill and privilege to work with Croz, as brilliant soulful and snarky as there ever has been.

https://www.rollingstone.com/music/music-live-reviews/david-crosby-and-friends-revive-protest-classics-for-the-trump-era-at-nyc-show-205822/

And it’s a fair wind
Blowin’ warm out of the south over my shoulder
Guess I’ll set a course and go

Danny Kapilian

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Enjoyed your honest tribute to Croz.

Crazy to think the first time CSN ever performed Suite Judy Blue Eyes live (or ever as a trio) was before the Woodstock audience. Despite their respective big band experiences prior, CSN were visibly terrified at sharing their newest musical gift with the massive seminal crowd and admitted such onstage.

Does anything like that ever happen anymore? Will popular music ever be so pure as it was then and there? Will there ever be an egotistical yet undeniably honest talent such as Croz?

Dylan Muhlberg

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Great tribute. It’s a testimony to Crosby’s greatness that all those lyrics you quoted are seared into my memory.

 

One minor comment on Suite Judy Blue Eyes.that song (and the Doors Light My Fire) that turned me on to FM stations (WBCN) because the AM stations only played the short versions of those songs.

All the best.

Lyndon Virkler

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Thanks for another great one, Bob.

Two of your lines stood out for me…. resonated in a personal way:

“Suite; Judy Blue Eyes…you heard it once….I tingle even thinking about it.” Me too….to the point that I have absolute recall of the moment and circumstances when I first heard those mellifuous sounds coming from my car radio….probably in July ’69. I actually recall the intersection I was traveling through at that moment…that’s how powerfully I was struck. A month or so later it was my good fortune to witness the source of that magic in person…at Woodstock. Fast forward 50 years to May 2019 when I last saw David & Friends on their Sky Trails Tour. Pretty good run!

“Sure, he lost a decade or more, but so did I……” Me too. While my circumstances were not nearly as dramatic or devastating as David’s, the waste of so much precious time is similar.  What we (all three) seem to have in common is that we each survived what might easily have been a terminal condition, and somehow emerged with new energy and a revived commitment to leading a productive life.

Thanks for all you do.

Jim Dwyer

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I remember showing up at many of their shows with Ahmet who signed the group from David Geffen to Atlantic. Their vocals together were the best and they wrote amazing songs. I Was heard of promotion in those days and worked all there hits. And also they were all very nice guys. Very  sad.  Jerry Greenberg

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Nailed it. Pitch perfect.

The way he sings about his mother in “Carry Me” gets me every time.

Scott Kauffman

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The anti-hero is always more fun. Really great piece Bob. You missed CPR and how great that story was and the wonderful music they created.

Their first album ended with “Time is the Final Currency” and that sure hits home this week.

Thanks.

Jay Janszen

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From David Crosby’s song “Page 43”

Life is fine

Even with the ups and downs
And you should have a sip of it
Else you’ll find
It’s passed you by

Marty Bender

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Everything you said.

Also worth noting:  Crosby produced Joni Mitchell’s 1968 debut LP “Song to a Seagull.” Stripped down and quite different from Joni’s later quintessential albums, it has a dark mystique that brings to mind a one-woman Led Zeppelin. Of course, Page and Co were still a year away from their own debut as a heavy blues rock band. It’s hard not to imagine that the folkier side of Led Zep may have been at least partially inspired by Joni, with the help of David Crosby’s production.

Also, it may seem an odd comparison, but listen to any 70s Yes album and those vocal harmonies are clearly inspired by David with CSN & CSNY.

After losing Jeff Beck 2023 is feeling like 2016 as far as these things go (make it stop, please).

Thanks for the fine tribute Bob.

Peaceful Journey, Croz

Alex Skolnick,

Brooklyn

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Re: David Crosby and recovery

I had been sober a few years when that first CPR album came out. Always on the lookout for great recovery music, I took to it immediately.

I have no idea what Messrs. Crosby, Pevar and Raymond’s intentions might have been when they made the album (so of course i projected my own meaning onto the songs, thank you very much)  but I think one would be hard-pressed to find a collection of songs that explore the thoughts and feelings associated with recovery – responsibility, the power of love, the passage of time, being present for your life, etc. – any better or more honestly than the ones on the first CPR record. A brilliant and powerful work from start to finish.

Over the years I have given away dozens of copies of that album to people struggling in early sobriety. It’s like someone took all the personal stories from the back of the Big Book and set them to music.

Suffice it to say the album made quite an impression on me – so much of an impression that I decided I just had to let him know. I emailed Graham Nash, told my tale and asked him to pass it on to Mr. Crosby – if he thought it was appropriate. A couple of days later I recieved a response from David Crosby thanking me and saying that my feedback meant a great deal to him.

In the final analysis, I hope people remember that David Crosby lifted a lot of people up with his music, and that his story was an inspiration to those of us who spent time considerable time fumbling around in the darkness looking for the light.

Vince Welsh

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Good post on David Crosby.  I agree and respect that he always kept pushing the envelope and creating.  You did not mention the CPR days that I think produced some great music in the late 90’s and early 00’s and continued in different forms almost to now.  I saw the group in the basement of a Maine ski area in 1998 or 9.   I have since seen them in various forms many times.  It was a great band whose live shows sounded better than their CD’s.   That show on a cold March night rekindled my interest in David and and in searching out new music of all types.  I owe him for that.

Ralph Nodine

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This was a nice piece. I still will never appreciate him enough but you made me reconsider. Which is nice.

Michael Becker

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Thanks for this Bob – really wonderful. He was a giant who mostly lived less out front but in the middle harmony – even his songs were those wonderful “middle” tracks – but as you say, we wouldn’t have the whole without all the parts – and he was a major (complicated) part. Glad he was there to be part of making it all happen. Major part of the soundtrack of my life. RIP

Peter van Roden

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While well-done, I feel your post overlooks the most distinguishing talent of David Crosby which can be summarized in one word: harmonics.

It’s what set him apart from his peers and added a unique contribution to his and the music of others while also inspiring many of us to uncover new creative possibilities with our voices and instruments.

Gary Goff

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I greatly enjoyed reading this, even though I disagree 100% on your review of
If I Could Only Remember My Name
It’s  still to this day one of my all-time favorite records.
56 Years of Changing the way we hear harmonies forever
and a quintessential Songwriter

Long May His Spirit Fly
Morley Bartnof

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Thank you….this is the deep dive i needed this cold / grey morning in chicago. The brilliance of CSNY and David Crosby’s contributions, is not lost in any way as these songs / voices / harmonies will resonate for us all as the song goes a  “long long time”.

Joe Shanahan / Metro

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Saw him live at our little theatre out here in Eastern Long Island a number of years ago. Maybe 3 or 4.
Didn’t know what to expect. Dreading the worst, I hate to say. Boy, was I wrong. He was terrific. Band was tight. But his new songs were so good. Just great. I am so glad I saw him. One of the best shows I had seen in a long time.
Jan Burden
Westhampton Beach

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This is a wonderful memorial to a complicated artist. Thank you.

One of the reasons David’s later recordings are so worthwhile, I think, were his collaborations with younger musicians who lent fresh energy to his music. From his son James Raymond and Jeff Pevar in CPR, to Michael League of Snarky Puppy, and singer-songwriters Becca Stevens and Michelle Willis—they all made important contributions to what is a beautiful body of late life work. Croz was always acknowledging them in his Twitter feeds.

Thanks again,
Chuck Mitchell

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Have you heard this version of Wooden Ships with Croz fronting Steely Dan?

Don Bartenstein

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Memories of soaring to the magic of that first CSN LP, goosebumps, and tears this morning, Bob. You captured the Croz and effect to a tee.

Cameron Dilley

WMNF, Tampa

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Unknown to me at the time, I saw CSNY at the last concert they all played together on October 27th, 2013 for the Bridge School Benefit at the Shoreline Amphitheater in Mountain View California. They were the headliner and played the hits including my favorite as you pointed out Suite: Judy Blue Eyes. They didn’t miss a beat with the harmonies and hearing it live again after may years still brought chills down my spine. David was the foundation of those harmonies and that unique sound they all produced together will be missed.

Doug Hart

Set List from the Bridge School Benefit

Just a Song Before I Go

Human Highway

Don’t Want Lies

Singer Without a Song

What Are Their Names

Déjà Vu

Long May You Run

Suite: Judy Blue Eyes

Teach Your Children

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Another great one, Bob. And thanks for including the true gem “I Won’t Stay For Long.” You’re right. Some days we all wanted to be Crosby. Some days we couldn’t imagine wanting to put his shoes on. From where I am standing, there are no days that the loss of David Crosby won’t be a profound one.

Paige Mann

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This past year, I kept railing and railing at my friends to hear Crosby’s newest album. Maybe you told us about it. Some of the best work of any of them.

Steve Schalchlin

Note: “I Won’t Stay for Long”: https://bit.ly/3XHPHSk

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Many thanks for your thoughts on David Crosby. I agreed with 90% of your comments , however, in my view “If I Could Only Remember My Name” is a stone-cold classic . I bought it when it was first released and have treasured it ever since. It has an atmosphere all of its own and captures the essence of West Coast music by combining the sounds of both Los Angeles and San Francisco. It’s a remarkable achievement considering the state of Crosby’s mind following the death of Christine Hinton, the love of his life.

Being English, the foremost band of my youth was The Beatles , followed by The Byrds , who I continue to revere.

I totally agree with you that Crosby never gave up . He continued to make new and exciting music right up to his death . In an astonishingly creative period between 2016 and 2021 he released no fewer than 4 superb albums of new material , “Lighthouse”, “Sky Trails” , “Here If You Listen” and “For Free” . I was lucky enough to see the “Sky Trails” tour in Manchester and he and his youthful band put on an incredible show. Not bad for a man in his late 70’s and in poor health.

I found the film “Remember My Name” extremely poignant . He accepted who he was and what he had gone through and was ready to face his end .

David Crosby we will remember your name as an outstanding musician who has provided the soundtrack to our lives  , from the early 1960’s right up to the 2020’s.

Peter Cowley

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And this

Kaljot

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Thanks for your beautiful and dead-on testament to a one-of-a-kind artist. David will be sorely missed but we’ll keep playing his music.

Harold Love

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What a beautiful tribute to David Crosby – you hit all the right marks and left out the sordid details that have marred so many others. As I kid, he was THE hippie icon – the face of that generation, the one I gravitated to, because he looked like the most representative member of the audience. And after decades of wallowing in drugs and mediocracy, he reconnected with his lost son, found he muse again and, as you said, brought out some of the most accomplished music of his life. Plus his voice was still in full bloom – what other artist in their senior years possessed that ability? And he went out like he came in – a guy who still looked and spoke just like his hippie audience.

Iain Taylor

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Thanks for the guided Crosby tour through your eyes!  It always shines a light on stuff we may have missed…

So we get to swing back for yet another  “Damn! How did I miss THAT!”

I remember sitting a few feet from the stage at Rocky Mountain Folks Festival in Lyons, CO. in 2000 with another instructor, not knowing what we’d hear.

(The song school was a week before & some of us stayed on for the fest- we got to be in the fancy pants seats)

CPR took the stage… David Crosby & Jeff Pevar on guitar, David’s son James Raymond on keyboard…

Ok- convince me…

The sound started building, those notes & lyrics that have you on the edge of your seat, waiting for each next one to land. Sweet!

Next…  harmonies full & weaving kicked in.. the kind that David was always known for, wrapping you & swirling you back, licking all of your bones.

It kicked up to WOW!!!

I remember a sort of acoustic musical start. Nothing I wouldn’t expect. Still loving it.

THEN BOOM!

The arrangements… were freaking brilliant! It wasn’t like any folk/acoustic flow anyone would expect.

There were 3 instruments & voices on stage… but it sounded like 3 times that.

There were slaying counterpoint kind of stops & starts & bobs & weaves. My eyeballs kept getting bigger. I literally had chills.

Anyone who knew anything about music composition knew what they were doing wasn’t a simple walk in the park.

It was folk meets jazz meets funk, meets WTF!

The other instructor & I kept shaking our heads, looking back & forth “Did you hear that??!”  “Did you hear THAT!~”

Damn it was BRILLIANT!

I love that David went where the music led him through every turn.

I love that he didn’t hold back.

& damn am I glad so many of us “got” the intricacies of what they were doing…

& witnessed that night of beyond freaking AMAZINGNESS…

Annie Wenz

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Oh man. Having absorbed too many recent losses, I was driving on my way to the post office, shaken up a bit but ‘holding it together,’ when the DJ on Sirius Classic Vinyl started crying, unable to continue his appreciation of David Crosby. There’s no crying on radio, dammit! 

I have many friends who have far more to say about their experiences with Croz, professionally. My encounters with him were warm and easy. We were with him on a stunning trip to the South China Seas in 2016. After a bunch of those ‘hey, man’ nods and mutual grins on this 10-day sea voyage, which was packed with great music & practitioners, playing together in endless permutations, we were at a lunch stop at a bizarre resort hotel sorta place in extremely hot Borneo. Where we’d been looking for rare proboscis monkeys hiding by a river. (Long story, that) 

In that most obscure of environments, David, who’d mostly been huddling with wife Jan, son Django and a few others on the trip, walked over to Julie and me and let us know he’d like to know about us and what we were up to. Friendly as can be, he initiated the engagement and set the stage for vibing with him on the rest of the trip. And when I saw him next, at a wonderful Tribe show in 2019, we reminisced on our previous adventure, which he’d loved.

Musically, he always played an essential, yet subtle part in every band he was in. He was the ‘middle’ guy. With the lower and upper harmony parts usually pretty obvious in any situation, he was a master at finding the middle, buzzy, unpredictable, harmonically stretching element that changed vocal harmonies from predictable to thrilling. Not the obvious parallel movement. He did it in the Byrds, CSN & sometimes Y and elsewhere. In his beautiful recent recordings with my pal Michael League & others. In his harmonies with James Taylor, Joni Mitchell and David Gilmour. 

Fuzzbee Morse

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Hey Bob,

This past Wednesday, January 18 REO played the iconic San Jose Civic, and before the show my friend and longtime promoter Alex Hodges took me on a little tour of the venue’s history. We passed photos of Eric Clapton, the Kinks, the Yardbirds, but when we got to the photo of Crosby, Stills and Nash, on the stage where I would be standing that night, I couldn’t help but stop and share my love of that band, and those three legendary musicians. On the following day, Thursday January 19, I would be heartbroken by the news that David Crosby had passed away.

It would be a stretch to call David a friend, but he was my neighbor, and the interactions David and I shared were always friendly and inspirational. By the time I met him, Crosby’s wilder days were behind him, he had moved in with the love of his life Jan Dance, and his main vice was herbal tea! I was working on a song with Stephen Stills, a response to the bombing of Iraq in 1991, and my plan was to get the song recorded and on the radio as soon as possible. It seemed like a job for CSN, so I left a note in David’s mailbox.

 

I recognized his voice when he called back that afternoon and invited me over.  David was so joyful, having rediscovered his love of music, and was into writing songs with Phil Collins via Fax machine …very high tech for the early Nineties! Jan brewed the tea, and David handed me one of his beautiful acoustic guitars. I will never forget how David Crosby sat, cross legged, eyes closed, swaying gently to the rhythm as I played my song, “Hard to Believe”. When I strummed the last chord, he was still, in a trance-like state. He felt music with every ounce of his being; he really listened. I don’t know anyone who loved music like David Crosby. Then his eyes flashed open, and his face broke out in a big grin. “I’m in”, he said, “Let me know when and where.”

The recording session was booked for later that week, and in the meantime, unbeknownst to me David had skidded out his Harley on the treacherous S-curve just up our street. My friends Richard Marx, Bill Champlin, and I were at the studio sorting through the various sections of the song, thinking about who would sing what lines, when the doorbell rang. Through the peephole I recognized the unmistakable twinkle in the eyes of the great David Crosby. But when I opened the door, my mind was blown. David stood on crutches, bruised and battered from the motorcycle accident, yet ready and willing to add his distinctive tenor to our record.

 

I had loved David Crosby as a singer, songwriter, musician, and artist since I was a teenager. But now, having gotten to know him personally, I also love him as a man. David led a challenging life, and obviously made his share of questionable choices …haven’t we all? But he showed his true colors during the “Hard to Believe” project. Richard Marx and I agree that that recording session was one of the most rewarding and inspirational musical experiences of our lives.

 

I am so sad in the wake of David’s passing. I had always held out hope that our paths would cross again, or for the elusive CSN reunion. But I will always remember that twinkle in David’s eyes and how he had my back when I needed him. REO worked up an impromptu version of “Almost Cut My Hair” for our concerts this weekend, and I channeled David as I sang the song live last night, and will do it again tonight at the Pearl in Las Vegas. It helped me to remember that David’s music will live on forever. My condolences go out to his sweet wife Jan, his children, and his band mates Stephen, Graham, and Neil… much love and sadness, kc

Kevin Cronin

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The impact of David Crosby on me as a musician is as fundamental as anything I’ve been exposed to, ever, full stop. Because I’m Latino and bilingual, was classically trained on symphonic and choral music, was raised on American Top 40, and came of age in the singer-songwriter era of the 1970s, my influences are broad.

I loved it all, from Vicente Fernandez to Aaron Copland to Dylan to Ray Charles to Laura Nyro to Miles Davis to Brian Eno to Nana Mouskouri and a myriad of points in between. I was in high school when The Byrds took flight, and I started college and began playing and writing in the immediate glow of the first CSN album, so it was Croz who caught my eye and ear.

Sure, Jim/Roger was the Byrds’ leader, his 12-string the trademark sound, and Gene was the best writer by far, but David’s wild-ass high harmonies made the Byrds the Byrds, distinguished them from everyone else, even the Beatles. High school kid that I was, I mainlined Turn Turn Turn, then flipped it over and inhaled She Don’t Care About Time, which didn’t even appear on an album until an import best-of in the 1970s. It was the set opener in the earliest Lowen & Navarro shows.  The Byrds sang mostly two-part, not three part. Gene and Roger usually sang unisons (?!?), and Croz’s vocals were so…magical and unique…that the harmony sounded fuller than it actually was.

Where I lived in 1967-69, we weren’t hip to any inside dope or rock gossip. So I had no idea of the drama his firing from the Byrds or the implosion of Buffalo Springfield. But CSN rocked my world with the first note, just like everyone. And it was Croz who was the vocal glue in CSN, the guy who could take, essentially, a bluegrass/barber shop vocal blend and make it utterly transcendent. He made CSN CSN. Jeez, that’s twice!

I hung on very note, every word, every nuance. And when If I Could Only Remember My Name came out, I was one of the ones who flat out loved it. Gobbled it and digested it. Especially Orleans, which is all-David at his best. For my young aspiring singer-dreamer’s money, no better singer ever existed in pop music. Period.

I only got to work with him once, in a benefit at The Ace Hotel in July 2019, as one of the backing singers on Ohio and Long Time Gone. Bucketlist, man. And I was all ready to go the The Lobero in Santa Barbara next month, Feb 22, to see his return to the concert stage, with several of my closest friends manning the band — Steve Postell, Chris Stills, Hutch Hutchinson. Then the clothesline shock of my phone blowing up with the news of his death. A nuclear dart to the heart.

This one hurts, cuts deep, and makes ever so clear that time is marching on. Our heroes are leaving us. And me too sometime. Time to appreciate more, listen more, acknowledge more, and to work harder than ever to do this silly job that he inspired me to do. That’s how I grieve. Sh..chyeah.

Dan Navarro

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I briefly met David Crosby over 30 years ago when my friend Jeff Pevar began playing with David and Graham Nash, I believe it was backstage at Carnegie Hall.  A few years later, David enlisted Jeff and his newly discovered, uber-talented son, keyboardist James Raymond,  to create the band CPR. In 1998, I was able to facilitate a show at The Wheeler Opera House in Aspen Colorado with my band Little Blue opening for CPR and then joining them for some rousing encores, thus my first time onstage with one of my heroes. 

Over the years, as I continued to collaborate with Jeff and James on different projects, David and I became more and more friendly. Eventually this led to some co-writing, playing on some of his records, and a few memorable shows. We always had a special rapport. Aside from a natural musical connection, David enjoyed teasing me, and I think he was equally pleased that I could give it right back to him. He had many nicknames for me; most recently he referred to me as “Pudding Head”. I once asked him if I had to be as big an a..hole as he was in order to play on his record, he told me that was something I could never achieve. 

About a year and a half ago I was visiting with him when he told me he was going to retire from performing, which he did indeed announce to the world. He said his hands were too f..ked up to play adequately anymore, and a surgery to try to fix it had been unsuccessful. In kind of a throwaway comment, I told him that if he ever decided he just wanted to sing, I could play his parts. I joked that if I could play Bach … I could certainly play Crosby. I thought nothing of it, but 6 months later, I guess he started feeling antsy, and he called to ask me if I would like to learn the parts, some of which he had been playing for 50 years, and see how it felt. I went up to his house, wrote down all the tunings, and filmed his hands as he did his best to play through the repertoire. Then I dug in, between my iPhone videos and many years documented on YouTube, I studied this music as carefully as when I actually did play Bach in my conservatory days. 

About 4 weeks later I met with David and James, we played through 6 or 7 songs, and he said “yep, I thought you could do it, let’s put a band together”. With James on keyboards and musical directing the project as he had brilliantly for years with David, me being David’s hands and singing the Nash parts, we added longtime Crosby, CPR and CSN drummer Stevie Distanislao, Hutch Hutchinson on bass (with Leland Sklar on call when Hutch is out with Bonnie), James Harrah alternating with Dean Parks on electric guitar, and in a brilliant move, Chris Stills singing and playing his dad Stephen Stills’ parts. As luck would have it, I had been speaking to David Asbell, who runs the Lobero Theater in Santa Barbara, about helping him create an event to celebrate the theaters 150th anniversary on February 22nd. Now we had a band … and a gig!  

On Wednesday, Jan 18th, after talking to Croz about among other things recording the show, I spent the day as I planned to spend almost every day in the next month, surrounded by guitars, playing and singing through the show. David had the idea of instead of ending the last encore with a raucous rocker, we should bring it down and play his intimate and beautiful ballad, “Anything At All”. After playing through it once, I texted David to tell him I thought it was the perfect, poignant way to end the night. The last 2 lines are:

I’ve got time for one more question here

Before I fall, fall

Is there anything at all

11 minutes later, as I was playing through the song again, I got a text from James that the great Croz was gone. 

I have lost family members, parents and friends. There is something particularly cutting and heartbreaking about losing Croz 4 weeks before we were going to share this new project with the world, a prospect that brought everyone a lot of joy, most notably Crosby himself, who seemed practically giddy with all of it, from having the opportunity to play music again, to figuring our what kind of bus to rent. 

This music is indelibly etched in my hands, heart and mind, and through that I will carry the memory of one of the most magnificent, flawed and beautiful human beings I have ever known. 

My heart goes out to Jan, Django and James, the rest of his family, as well as all who loved his massive contribution to the fabric of our world. 

RIP Croz, I will love you always

Steve Postell aka Pudding Head

SET LIST – Lobero theater – Feb 22, 2023

1) Naked In The Rain

2) Long Time Gone

3) Homeward Through The Haze

4) Carry Me

5) Wooden Ships

6) Delta

7) Guinevere

8) Deja Vu

9) Carry On / Questions

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Encores:

Woodstock

Almost Cut My hair

Ohio

Anything At All

Bonnie Raitt Originals Playlist

Spotify playlist: https://spoti.fi/3XPmd56

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I AIN’T BLUE

Bonnie Raitt

Willie Murphy/Spider John Koerner

LOVE YOU LIKE A MAN

Bonnie Raitt

Chris Smither

TOO LONG AT THE FAIR

Bonnie Raitt

Joel Zoss

LOVE HAS NO PRIDE

Bonnie Raitt

Libby Titus

CRY LIKE A RAINSTORM

Bonnie Raitt

Craig Fuller/Eric Kaz

I FEEL THE SAME

Bonnie Raitt

Chris Smither

THAT SONG ABOUT THE MIDWAY

Bonnie Raitt

Joni Mitchell

WHAT IS SUCCESS

Bonnie Raitt

Allen Toussaint

FOOL YOURSELF

Bonnie Raitt

Little Feat

RUN LIKE A THIEF

Bonnie Raitt

J.D. Souther

I’M BLOWIN’ AWAY

Bonnie Raitt

American Flyer

LOUISE

Bonnie Raitt

Paul Siebel

GAMBLIN’ MAN

Bonnie Raitt

American Flyer