“Déjà Vu” for Classic Rock Fans at the MAC

While the people of Monmouth County were wrapping up their Fourth of July weekend this past summer, Monmouth University sparked some fireworks of their own by hosting Crosby, Stills & Nash in concert on July 6.

The auditorium was vast and almost silent as I climbed the upper-tier section of the MAC for an opening act-less 7:30 show time. The lights were dimmed as I found my seat, the only noise coming from the anxious grumblings of anticipation from a restless crowd surrounding me.

Suddenly, a flash of light illuminated the faces in the arena. The band, playing atop their infamous Persian rug flooring, filled every crack and crevice of the building with one of their most famous songs, “Carry On/Questions.” I was shocked as people of all ages stood up and swallowed me whole in my seat, dancing and swaying to a record released over 40 years prior. Who says rock is dead?

“Yes they may be older guys, but they are in the Rock n’ Roll Hall of Fame,” Vice President of Student Services Mary Anne Nagy, said. “We thought it was going to be a good show from the beginning, and we were very pleased with the ticket sales.” Nagy led the forefront of workers who helped book and set up the show, and made sure it ran as efficiently and safely as possible.

With Monmouth being only the fourth date on the 2014 tour, Crosby, Stills & Nash produced a sound that was both fresh and electric. Though not all of the 40 years of music have been entirely easy, consisting of break-ups, solo records, and losing a crucial member, Neil Young, one would not have guessed it from this performance. The trio complimented one another with highest regards, transitioned smoothly from song to song, and kept the atmosphere of the show positive, as if they had not one dispute in their careers.

The set-list for the show was a refreshing combination of new and old material, along with some Buffalo Springfield hits including “For What It’s Worth” that kept the fans on their toes. Despite the reality of most concerts, where new material is accepted with apprehensive uncertainty, the lyrical mastery of Graham Nash, David Crosby, and Steven Stills kept any sense of worry at bay. The songs were welcomed with open arms, leaving the audience teeming with excitement for more.

“They can still harmonize, and so effortlessly,” said Sharon Codd, Assistant to the Vice Principal of Student Services, when asked what she thought of the performance. “And what did I do the next day? I ordered the ‘Déjà Vu’ CD. I have it on an album, but I don’t have a turntable to play it on.”

Aside from the band’s spectacular road crew, who managed to run a new guitar on stage for the members after nearly each song, the show did seem effortless. The band took one 20-minute intermission in the middle of the three hour event, letting the crowd and the band stretch their legs and talk amongst one another. To quote Nash, who wore no shoes for the show, it also gave them time “to pee.”

After finishing up the show with a rendition of “Love the One You’re With” that left a Monmouth University crowd, myself included, roaring on their feet, the band politely said their ‘thank you’s’ and headed for the exit. However, they barely made it past the stairs when they decided to leap back onstage for one more.

Overall, the MAC Center proved to be a great venue for both the band and the fans alike. Small enough to be intimate and project sound clearly and loudly, but large enough to get the overwhelming excitement given off by larger halls.

“It’s much more intimate than the other [venues],” Codd said of the MAC. “I’ve been to PNC [Arts Center] for a lot of concerts. I much prefer the MAC.”

When the encore was finished and the music was over, all members got in a line and took their bow together. The house lights appeared, shaking fans out of their trans-like trip down memory lane and shoving them back into reality. Before exiting the stands, a man with lines of experience on his face leaned over to me and said, “Take notes, kid. They don’t make ’em like this anymore.” I walked out into the sticky July night, past the vendors and through the parking lot knowing he was right.

PHOTO TAKEN from app.com