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Crosby Stills Nash and Young
Tom Scott and the L.A Express
Jesse Colin Young.
Wembley Stadium , London.
Sept 14th 1974
Recollections, Film stills and Photographs.
Photo © Vin Miles
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along as a Band devotee but saw the whole concert.The stage was definitely behind
where one of the goals would have been; I think, not sure, at the end where
the players came out onto the pitch.
Where I was sitting, in the stand to one side, the sound/acoustics were awful. Jesse Colin Young didn't make much impact on me.
Then my heroes came on. Once introduced The Band spent an age tuning up before launching into their first number. Can't help thinking, that they were simply using up time without playing. They were down to play for two hours but, including their encore, only managed a little over an hour I think. I was disappointed at the time and didn't know why they had delivered so little but I suspect I know now. If you read Levon Helm's autobiography and Barney Hoskyns' book on The Band you'll realise that Richard Manuel must have been in a bad way about this time. The Band had backed Dylan on his enormous 'come back' tour earlier in the year and just listen to his voice on the live recoding of 'I Shall be Released' from that tour - the instrumental playing is gorgeous, especially Garth's organ and Danko's bass but his voice has gone completely. If you listen to his singing on 'Just Another Whistle Stop' and 'Chest Fever,' from this concert, which have been released on The Band: A Musical History, then you'll realise how poor his contribution was. Sitting there in thrall to my heroes I didn't spot it then but now I can see and hear that he cannot hold several notes and his basic technique of even keeping his mouth to the microphone was lacking.
One thing I did notice at the time was that from quite early on in the set Robertson and Helm were talking to one another inbetween songs. I suspect that they were working out how many songs they could get out of Manuel. Luckily for The Band they had three lead singers so they can share the work around to some extent but there are great songs in their repertoire such as King Harvest, Whispering Pines, Rocking Chair, In A Station, Tears of Rage, Sleeping, which do not feature in this concert and a reasonable guess is that that is because Manuel sings the lead on them all (and other songs solo and yet more jointly with his Bandmates) and they feared he wouldn't be able to deliver them. Very sad.
of those songs, and others, meant that the instrument swopping for which they
were famous never happened. Manuel never played drums (as he would have on Rag
Mama Rag if they'd performed it); Helm never came out from the drums to play
second guitar or mandolin; Danko never played fiddle. Hudson did step out to
play sax on two songs but not accordian. Even as I sat there, honestly, I got
the impression that they were doing the minimum necessary to meet their contractual
obligations and then get away. From memory, 'Mystery Train' was performed as
a four piece with Manuel off stage (he probably needed the break) and when they
performed 'The Weight' live Hudson and Manuel usually swop places as Hudson's
piano playing is the centre piece of the song, well they didn't bother to swop
I think the crowd, including me I'm sorry to say, wanted them to come back for a second encore but they didn't and someone said from the stage that the concert was running behind and Tom Scott et.al. had to set up so time was pressing...Now I reckon they thought they'd done enough to get paid and had to split - and perhaps Manuel's health meant that they needed to go as well.
37 years later, Tom Scott emerges as the most interesting to me. I recall they
did a John Coltrane tune ('Sneaking in the Back Door'?) which made me follow
up my interest in them and moved me toward listening to a lot more jazz. Joni
Mitchell was good and she got involved as a member of the concert promotion
staff, I assume, tried to get a microphone off someone in the crowd.
Check out CSNY's performance on You Tube and you'll see that Nash was right, it was awful.
My impression was that the whole of the concert was recorded on film. Robbie Robertson is in charge of tape of The Band's section I believe and, notwithstanding my reservations above, I'd love him to release all of it as at least then I'd have a full record of the only time I saw my heroes live.
Photo © Vin Miles
I was at that gig. I missed the opening acts, as I had to travel up from Lyndhurst, near Southampton, by train. I would like to add a correction to the set lists.
Before Joni Mitchell came on, her then support group/backing group, Tom Scott and the LA Express, played a short set of their own jazz based music. Joni came on to "You Turn Me On - I'm A Radio", which I believe was her current single. The song "Twisted", by Annie Ross, was her encore.
The weather was indeed wonderful and although the performances were of variable quality (as born out by the YouTube video), the atmosphere was great - celebratory, peaceful and fun.
can track the NME report of the gig, you can probably get far more detail about
the set list from there. I do not know the title of the stunning acoustic guitar
accompanied song, which Stephen Stills played, but that was definitely one of
the highlights, as was the five part harmony on some of the closing songs, when
they were joined by "Willie's" (Graham Nash's) former housemate -
Fun site to dip into. It brings back pleasant memories.
Alan Moorhouse .
Saw your site after someone posted a clip on Facebook of Neil Young singing 'Helpless', and was moved to search for the 1974 concert at Wembley, where he played with C, N & S, Joni Mitchell et al.
I have to say that I was so overwhelmed to be in the presence of so much greatness, that I can't remember many specifics! I do remember (I think) having booked a seat, but everyone moved into the centre of the stadium after a while, and there wasn't much the organisers could do about it. We must have stood for hours! I also seem to remember people having nowhere to stay afterwards, and a large hotel nearby letting them bed down in the reception area. I think I must have had a room there.
were there high up in stands, stage to right – had a stiff neck
by the end of the day
How wonderful to find this site today, as I was recalling this concert to my coworkers.
I was in London on a Syracuse University semester abroad and attended this concert. Yes, the bands played at a narrow end. I entered from the North Entrance and I remember that the stage was in front of section 60.
Hope this helps,
ticket courtesy M Bullous
Crosby Stills Nash and Young
of the concert:
I arrived early at the stadium as an American got out of a taxi. It was Dave Crosby. He threw a £20.00 note at the taxi driver as payment for the fare - £20.00 was a lot of money in 1974.
I was sat to the right of the Royal Box, and the stage was to my right.
I noticed Robert Plant in the Royal Box. Almost immediately he walked down the steps, along the edge of the field and up to the pit in front of the stage without anyone approaching him. He really stood out with his long golden hair and snakeskin trousers. He climbed over the barrier into the pit and started to take photographs of The Band . The bouncers got him back – they probably said something like ‘Don’t care who you are, you are not going there to take photographs!’. He then got recognised, and people approached him for autographs.
Wembley 1974 pages
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