Graham Nash. 20.7.18. The Sage.

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In parts, today’s culture seems, worryingly, fixated on the traits of self-publicity and self-importance.  Held in high esteem, the behaviours required to stand out from the crowd, whose characteristics would include arrogance and interruption, seem like those which society rewards and recognises highest.

Luckily, the Graham Nash story is one about the good guys and the reality that the most impactful ways to touch others is not always by being the loudest.  Fundamentally his is a story about a singer so keen not to show off his own voice that he built a career out of being one of many.

Nash, 76, is a testimony to living a life of purpose.  Active, comprehensive and humorous his show is filled with good will and a personality shaped 6 decades ago when the business required its stars to be pop sensible, polite and master-craftspeople.

Operating as a three piece (acoustic and electric guitars, organ) Nash’s show is stripped down and acoustic, littered with perfect three part harmonies and ambitious musical arrangements.  Spanning his Hollies, CSN and solo material Nash takes us on a journey of his life through his song writing, with standouts including the harmonious delightful rendition of ‘Bus stop’, the gorgeous ‘Marrakesh Express’ and a superb cover of ‘Day in the life’.  This is a show defined by harmony and musical arrangement magnificence.

Crowd stealers are the exceptionally intimate, often forgotten b-side, ‘Sleep song’ which allows Nash to demonstrate his emotive vocal ability, as well as ‘Immigration man’ and ‘Military madness’ which both, subtly, allows us to reflect on continuing issues underpinned by imaginary, man-made, territorial lines and the importance which holding onto his fundamental values has played in shaping Nash’s career.

Unintentionally, tonight brings attention to the genius of Nash’s song writing, guitar playing and vocals in an environment that takes them out of their usual setting.  This is a  masterclass in humanity and allowing the music to speak for itself

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