Graham Nash performing An Intimate Evening Of Songs And Stories at The Town Hall Birmingham on Thursday 26th July 2018

Images and review by Kevin Cooper

Graham Nash has been shaping the soundtrack to our lives for more than five decades now, having begun his career with The Hollies and through the years with Crosby, Stills & Nash and sometimes with the fourth member, Young.

Inviting this audience to an intimate journey, you would be forgiven for wondering if at 76 years old, Nash would deliver more than just a jukebox show of his greatest hits, but last night’s set at the Town Hall in Birmingham dispelled any such concerns in epic style.

He was accompanied on stage by his producer Shayne Fontayne and long time Crosby, Stills & Nash collaborator Todd Caldwell, and all three held things together with superb capability, providing understated but stunning support to Nash’s vision with guitar, Hammond organ and perfect harmonies.

He opened his set with a couple of Crosby Stills & Nash numbers, Taken At All and Wasted On The Way whilst other songs such as Sleep Song and Myself At Last attested to Nash’s growing maturity as a songwriter.

I Used To Be A King, taken from his debut solo album, Songs For Beginners retained all of its original poignancy and majesty, whilst Immigration Man still brimmed with righteous indignation and political intent.

Closing the first half with an audacious take on The Beatles’ A Day In The Life which met with the approval of the audience and still managed to raise the hairs on the back of your neck. What had set Nash apart from most other artists is that he delivered lovely stories behind his music and took the audience on a lovely journey as he recounted how each piece of his musical puzzle fitted together.

For the second half he delivered the instantly recognisable Marrakesh Express and Military Madness, showing that this was not a solo set; so vital was the interplay between Nash, Fontayne and Caldwell. Our House with the expected Joni Mitchell dedication closed the second set but the greatest cheer of the night was for the encore song Teach Your Children which was recreated as a cheerful community sing along.

Nash’s set had been drenched in nostalgia but his gentle anecdotes served to not only stitch an incredible career long story together but to connect Nash and his audience who he left feeling that they had lived those moments alongside him. It was a wonderful night of lovely entertainment.