Making young men into old men into young men again

BLITZ REVIEW - Juaniyo Arcellana (The Philippine Star) - March 22, 2015 - 12:00am

The old Cubao came out in droves that night, and even the Cinema 21 signage now all dusty and forlorn seemed to glow in the dark, but this wasn’t mere nostalgia that Crosby, Stills and Nash played for almost three hours at the Smart Araneta during the coliseum’s 55th birthday on a Monday, far from it. This was consummate musicianship or how we always imagined music to be, the spirit made flesh was the same that moved young writers to write for Jingle magazine eons ago.

You might want to call it all the hits before your mother was born, and that’s true, too. Sometimes, it hurts so badly you must cry out loud: to begin the set with Carry On and wrap everything up with Suite Judy Blue Eyes. And in between the whole tour de force that made young men into old men into young men again, Thursdays and Saturdays what have you got to lose? One morning, I woke up and knew the past was really gone. The question of a thousand years is a question of how morning has broken, oops sorry, wrong folkie.

Picture this: David Crosby barely hiding behind his handlebar mustache. Graham Nash all of a sudden taking on the role of band leader. Stephen Stills equal parts gruff and melodic and alternating lyrical and strident guitar lines. The kids might never understand but sure enough they will, that’s why we must teach them the same way our parents taught us how their old folks’ hell will slowly go by. Just look at them and sigh at the sound of the pedal steel guitar.

Of the three, only Crosby didn’t sing one from his old band the Byrds, neither Eight Miles High nor Turn Turn Turn. He did Delta, unrecognizable but wonderfully about chances and choices made. Also Almost Cut My Hair that almost brought the house down. Nash not entirely unexpected sang Bus Stop from the Hollies, as the ancient ikot jeep habitués vowed not to let him out of venue otherwise. No Military Madness though a late dictator’s son was seen in the audience. There was Wind on the Water and its trademark ethereal harmonies from Crosby and Nash’s album of the same name. Stills did Buffalo Springfield’s For What it’s Worth, paranoia striking deep in the heartland of political ferment, and a bonus as well — a disarming take on Bob Dylan’s Girl from the North Country. Nothing from his band Manassas, though Love the One You’re With from his solo album was first encore.

Was Neil Young missed? Maybe he was as helpless could not be far behind, dreaming about a town in North Ontario. Maybe the coliseum would have been filled if Young were there, all academic now because only love can break your heart. Maybe Ovation can bring in Young with Pearl Jam a la Mirror Ball in future? Helplessly hoping.

Speaking of which, the former Jingle writer turned filmmaker Lav Diaz planed in on night of concert, on the eve of his being feted by the Netherlands Embassy as Prince Claus laureate. Previous winners of the award given out since the mid-’90s include Youssou n’ Dour and Index for Censorship and only one other Filipino before Lav, Elena Mirano, please google. The following evening Lav asked how was it — Crosby, Stills and Nash that is.

In between red wine and whisky, beers and samosas and assorted canapés courtesy of the gracious Dutch led by Ambassador Marion Derckx, I told him of how the Cubao we knew was reborn. Mula sa kung ano ang noon: Collapsible time brought back the corn dog kiosks and Alemars bookstore, Bamboo House and Rose Canton mami and Dairy Queen and Cinema 21 but this was no nostalgia trip. It was welcome to the matrix not even the most adept urban planners could change the layout of what once was another forever. Because the summer of Lav was also Crosby, Stills and Nash’s, and that building at the corner of P. Tuason and 7th Avenue seemed to glow in dark and breathe plainly. Countless times we walked that stretch of road upwards to EDSA, singing songs and carrying signs, for the bus home to the north.



  • Latest
  • Trending
Are you sure you want to log out?
Login is one of the most vibrant, opinionated, discerning communities of readers on cyberspace. With your meaningful insights, help shape the stories that can shape the country. Sign up now!

or sign in with