I almost didn’t venture out to this concert. I was feeling under the weather and not much like leaving the house, but as I was meeting up with friends I don’t see in real life very often, I pulled myself together and went. I am so grateful that I was meeting Andrea, Andrew and their daughter Holly because it turns out that seeing Graham Nash and hanging out with fellow fans was exactly the medicine I needed that day.
After a quick catch up, I took my seat in the Lyric Theatre at The Lowry ready to see Graham play his first ever solo hometown gig. Yes, he’s played Manchester before but he’s from my side of the River Irwell so this was something special.
The show opened with Wasted On The Way, which is my favourite CSN song. I was already a bit over-emotional so this brought tears (of joy). With barely time to recover from the first song I finally got to hear him sing Bus Stop! Other friends had heard it performed on a Crosby/Nash tour, but I had missed out on that one. It was followed by King Midas In Reverse, keeping the Hollies theme going.
We were treated to amazing tight and crisp harmonies from Graham and his fellow musicians. The sound was more Hollies harmonies that CSN ones, which gave a different sound to some of the songs. While I prefer the more laid-back harmonies, this brought a freshness to some of the songs that made you listen that little bit more. The venue sound was incredible, which coupled with the talent present on stage amplified the sheer joy the concert projected.
Part way through the first half, off mic, Graham said he’d never thought he’d be saying it but it was too hot in Salford. Amusingly, it was one of the cooler days of the heatwave we’d been having.
Following an atmospheric Wind On The Water with a crowd-pleasing cover of A Day In The Life, we were carried into the interval. I popped down to the second row to see how my friends were enjoying it. I was seated further back in slightly cheaper seats. It’s always reassuring to know that I’m not the only person reduced to tears at gigs, and Andrea gave me advance warning of a couple of things in the second half as they had already seen a show on this tour.
Part two began with the familiar sound of Marrakesh Express and then since Hollies drummer Bobby Elliot was in the audience, we got an added bonus of On A Carousel segueing into Carrie-Anne. I could feel my cheeks aching I was grinning so much! A little later we also got Cold Rain, a song penned on the steps of the Midland Hotel in town, all adding to the specialness of this hometown gig.
The set list gave a nod to both Stephen Stills and David Crosby with the inclusion of 4+20 and Orleans. The latter lead into a breathtaking version of Cathedral. Staying at the keyboard Graham ended this section of the show with an audience singalong to Our House.
The encore consisted of Chicago, which reminded us that we can change the world, a cover of the Buddy Holly song Every Day showcasing the vocal talents of the trio, and finally the classic Teach Your Children with lyrics that still ring true across the generations today.
Then it was out into the gentle Salford drizzle to wait for the lift. I have never felt more at home.