Ron Onesti: Crosby, Stills & Nash at The Arcada … sort of
He walked in the backstage door wearing a wool ski cap and that iconic bushy mustache. Holy cow, THAT’s DAVID CROSBY of Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young! Here! At OUR theater!
We had his solo show this past Monday night at The Arcada. For two straight hours (with a short intermission), he sang and played guitar backed by a stellar group of musicians. But before that, he sauntered about, calmly and friendly. He would throw out a quip and a quick joke here and there. Passers-by would just proclaim his name, to which he would just respond, “What?”
He had his preshow dinner in the Club Arcada Speakeasy. He was blown away by the decor, stopping at every antique lamp and painting. He asked question after question, just nodding his head.
Then, he sat in the club’s Gatsby Room on the over-comfy retro couches. The sitting became laying down, which turned into a 30-minute nap. The first time THAT’S ever happened!
After he awoke, and ate, he proceeded to go back downstairs to the theater. We met outside the theater door and my security chief officially introduced us.
“So you’re the nut job who did all that upstairs?” he asked. “That’s one of the coolest places I have seen, from what I can remember. But I don’t remember much these days,” he said.
From Howie Mandell to Paul Anka to Billy Gibbons of ZZ Top, all the celebs love our retro, 1920s-style Speakeasy.
A short while back, we had another rock icon, Graham Nash, appear with his solo band. He’s another Crosby, Stills & Nash veteran who previously was in the Hollies, the popular ’60s pop hitmaker.
David Crosby was the guitar player for the Byrds. As the group toured England in 1966, Nash met David, and reconnected with him later in Los Angeles when the Hollies were touring in the states. They became good friends, and David introduced him to a former Buffalo Springfield band member Stephen Stills.
Crosby had just left the Byrds and Buffalo Springfield had just disbanded. At a party one night, the three guys sat down and jammed for fun. What their voices produced hit them all like a thunderbolt. “Not only were our harmonies spot on, but our friendship was harmonious, as well,” Nash said.
Creatively frustrated with the Hollies, Nash packed up his world and moved to California. When David introduced Graham to his folk protégé, Joni Mitchell, the two fell in love, sealing his deal to become an American citizen.
“This really shouldn’t have happened,” Graham said of his new bandmates. “Crosby from the Byrds in L.A., Stills from Dallas and Buffalo Springfield, me from England. How could it happen?”
So many great songs, so many great stories.
Also a few months back, I received a call from Stephen Stills’ manager. A show he had booked on his tour needed to be canceled, which left a hole in his schedule. He had another legend appearing with him, Judy Collins. Judy is Stills’ former girlfriend, about whom he wrote the CSN classic “Suite: Judy Blue Eyes.”
It was only 28 days before the canceled date, but we were able to have his show at our place. It was a scamper, but we made it happen. The show was a sellout and an incredible evening of rock ‘n’ roll history.
So, “unofficially,” Crosby, Stills & Nash have now appeared at the Arcada Theatre. That is my story, and I’m sticking to it!