Stephen Stills - Live At Shepherd's Bush
Stephen Stills has a developed a reputation for being a tad irascible so it is a pleasant surprise to find him in exceptionally good humour in this record of his recent London show. What you get is a cd and a 5.1 DVD of the same performance which is split equally between an acoustic Audience with… style set and a raucous feedback soaked electric set. Still’s history goes right back to his forming of Buffalo Springfield with Neil Young and it’s apparent that they are both still following a similar path, albeit as far apart from each other as they can physically arrange to be.
If you are new to the skills of Stills then this probably isn’t the place to begin. For those familiar with his canon of work this set provides a neat, reflective summation of his career. This is where he’s currently at and, as mentioned, he’s on good form, even to the point of poking fun at his own reputation for being somewhat ‘up himself’. As he introduces the crowd pleasing ‘4 and 20’ he reflects that he was thinking of renaming It but ‘3 and 60’ didn’t sound quite so good. He may well be pushing bus pass status but he’s looking pretty good for a man who’s recently been treated for prostate cancer.
‘Judy Blue Eyes’ forms a stunning conclusion to the acoustic element of the performance and from here on in, guitar whacked up to 10, overdriving the tremolo channel on his amp, the emphasis switches from folk to rock. He has a more restrained, traditionally melodic style than Neil Young but it is no less powerful for all that. Check out the searing harmonics on ‘Bluebird ‘ and then head up to the attic to dig out those old Springfield albums.