Recently, Paste compiled a list of the best supergroup albums of all time. Unsurprisingly, one supergroup (and an equally legendary second iteration of that supergroup) triumphs above them all: Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young’s Déja Vu (1970) secured the number one spot on our list, while Crosby, Stills & Nash’s self-titled 1969 debut sits at number three. As far as supergroups go, the collaboration of The Byrds’ David Crosby, Buffalo Springfield’s Stephen Stills and The Hollies’ Graham Nash is about as powerhouse as it gets. When you fold in Neil Young, the four artists form a unified, soulful supergroup, the likes of which we have yet to see since in folk/alt-country circles.
Like in their career as a band, Crosby, Stills & Nash started off their Oct. 2, 1973 concert at San Francisco’s now-defunct Winterland as a trio. But, again, mirroring their career trajectory, they were joined by none other than Neil Young halfway through the show, to the crowd’s uproarious delight. The first show of an impromptu two-night stint at Winterland, which hauled double duty as an ice skating rink and music venue in its seven-year lifespan, the Oct. 2 show saw the trio reunited on stage for the first time since 1970. It was an unexpected reunion, as Stills’ side-hustle band Manassas had booked Winterland for Oct. 2 and 7, but, at the run’s commence, Nash and Crosby piled on stage (only later to be joined by Young).
The three friends spend the show cutting up on stage, exchanging pleasantries with the crowd and serving up their solo hits and band numbers alike, as noted in the Bill Graham archives’ liner notes via Wolfgangs:
Informal, joking, and pleasingly loose, the three friends seemed to truly enjoy singing together, despite the occasional onstage bristling and ropy moments. Crosby sarcastically refers to “our usual slick Hollywood show,” explaining away the presentation’s unrehearsed nature as “more fun this way for us.” Stills answered his band mate’s quip drolly with, “Anything you say, David, anything you say.”
They opened the show with a pair of songs from Crosby, Stills & Nash’s 1969 debut, “Helplessly Hoping” and “Wooden Ships,” the video for which you can watch below. Then they play The Beatles’ “Blackbird” and Stills’ “As I Come Of Age” before Young appears as if out of thin air, joining the band for renditions of his own “Roll Another Number (For the Road)” and “New Mama” as well as a few more CSN hits. Young’s cameo would foreshadow a CSN&Y tour the following year, in which the quartet played to some of their biggest crowds ever.
Again, you can watch video of Crosby, Stills & Nash performing “Wooden Ships” below. Listen to the rest of the concert via the Paste vault further down.
While you’re here, glance our roundup of the best songs by Crosby, Stills & Nash.