Back in the year 2000 CSNY was touring for the first time in over 25 years, I read an account of a fan who had gained access to one of their rehearsals at Cleveland State University, he ended up being like a fly on the wall for over five hours, what an experience! He even recorded part of the rehearsal and shared it with other fans. The first show of that tour was at the Palace in Auburn Hills Michigan, which I attended with my brother and our wives, we had front row seats! One of my memories of that show was being baptized by Neil Young … prior to one of the encore songs the band members went to the edge of the stage to acknowledge the crowd, Neil took his glass of harmonica water and threw the liquid onto the audience, I ducked but the majority of that water landed on the back of my head and down my shirt … yes the water that he dipped his harmonica in to keep the reeds moist, water with his spit and DNA. My hair dried hard like there was sugar or something in that water. At the end of the show we moved front and center (we were at stage left) and enjoyed the encore performance of “Woodstock” and “Long May You Run” from that perspective.
Two memories of that show that would have escaped me if I did not write them down are Neil and Steven walking out at the beginning with their arms around each others shoulders … and when Neil walked up behind Croz, center stage before the second encore, and gave him a big ‘bear hug’.
My notes also contained “most impressive songs”:
“Almost Cut My Hair”; David’s great vocals!
“Only Love Can Break Your Heart”; Neil directly in front of us on piano!
“Rockin’ In The Free World”; as good as any Horse version!
I was inspired by that stalking fan of 2000, so when I found out that a rehearsal for their 2002 tour was going to be in Saginaw (the first show again was at the Palace) … well … here’s installment #3 of my writers block deep dive into my hard drive …
CSNY 2002 Saginaw rehearsal
> > > At 07:54 PM 2/2/02 EST, I posted:
Yes, the CSNY crew is in Saginaw, as evidenced by 7 semi tractor trailer trucks outside the rehearsal venue. I spoke to Rocky (from Neil’s road crew, he ran the “Meet & Greets” during the ’99 solo tour) he said that the “boys” won’t be there until the day before the opening show and that they’re having set up and equipment rehearsals until then.
> > At 10:39:40 PM 2/4/02 EST, I posted:
……….add now 3 tour buses (between venue and hotel), and word from local venue employees of Tuesday PM rehearsals……….
> At 5:45:54 PM 2/5/02 EST, I posted:
… 5 more tour buses arrived (one of them Neil’s custom bus) and another semi tractor-trailer with a “Lionel Train” logo.
So …. a total of 8 semi tractor-trailer’s and 8 tour buses … and as of 3:30 pm no music has been heard coming from the venue, but it looks like everyone is there!
It appears that rehearsals were held between 4:00-8:00 pm today (Tuesday Feb. 5th). I arrive at that conclusion because I was there between 2:00 – 3:30 pm, Neil’s bus arrived about 2:30, and I returned that evening and saw it leave at about 8:30 pm.
But it was not time wasted for me….
… about 3:00 pm ….
The venue was very secure, almost impossible to enter. But when I went to the doors by the venue office, with the intent of going to the office to inquire about allowing me to enter for no other reason than being a fan, as I went through the first set of doors, of which you had to go to the office on the right because the second set of doors were locked, someone was leaving and as I grabbed the door they asked if I needed direction, I said “no, I think I know where I’m going”.
With not a clue I went to the left to find a door to a room that had about six tables set up and a buffet lunch. In that room was David Crosby sitting with his wife Jan, and a few others who I did not recognize. I peered in the door, took a deep breath, and said to myself “wow”. I proceeded past that door to the next, that one entered the same room, I again saw David, but also saw entering from a door on the other side of the room Neil’s son Ben in his wheelchair accompanied by two people, at first I thought one was Neil, but it was not. I then walked back to the first door and stood there for a few seconds before I got up the nerve to walk in and introduce myself to David Crosby, shake his hand, and ask for an autograph (I just happened to have the “Déjà vu” CD cover with me). As he signed it I apologized for intruding on his privacy, and apologized at least twice (I did feel like a heel bothering him, but it was a once in a lifetime opportunity!). He was very gracious about my intrusion. When he signed his autograph the table he set the CD cover on had one of those soft cushioned table clothes and he poked the pen through the paper, he said “oops, sorry” and started signing again with a lighter touch.
I thanked him and left the room and found my way to the arena, the smell of burning sage was present (a spiritual cleansing ritual that Neil had been doing on recent tours, I first experienced it on his 1999 solo tour). The stage was set and they were testing different light patterns on the screen behind the stage. I was on the upper level and proceeded toward the stage, I stopped when I was to the immediate right of it where I saw Larry Craig (Neil’s guitar tech) down by the stage side. I decided to sit down, trying to decide what to do, still in awe of being there! I thought it would be great if they started to rehearse, and I would just sit back and listen. Surveying the area and the people on the floor I noticed an bald elderly gentleman who could have been Mo Ostin or Ahmet Ertegun (recording industry execs known for their close involvement), not sure … but very possible.
After about 5 minutes I saw someone walking toward me on that same upper level I was on, it was a large black man, about 300 lbs … shit! As he approached behind him was another man who I heard say something like, “were did they say they saw him”, the large man said, “he’s right here”. I was asked what I was doing, I said that I worked in the area and had heard of the rehearsal and thought I would check it out, he said it’s a private rehearsal and that I would have to leave … “by those doors right there” … pointing to the first exit he saw. I said I’m parked on the other side of the building, can I go out by where I’m parked, he said “no” … “those doors right there!” … I said “okay”.