Last weekend in Mountain View, California, the remaining 3 surviving original members of Rock N Roll Hall of Fame members, the Buffalo Springfield, reunited for a live concert for the first time in, get this, 42 years!
Singer/songwriter/guitarists Richie Furay, Stephen Stills, and Neil Young hit the stage for a pair of gigs as part of the 25th annual Bridge School benefit concerts, an initiative to raise money for a charitable cause that has been organized and steered by Neil Young.
Members of the Buffalo Springfield initially met in New York city, circa 1964, as they were all young aspiring folk singers. As it happened, the music scene quickly switched to southern California and a wave of eastern musicians started trecking out west. Richie and Stephen had essentially given up on their work with the Au Go-Go Singers in New York and had made the treck out to Los Angeles. One day, they were stuck in traffic, when Neil Young happened to drive by the other side of the street in his infamous herse! Neil recognized the two guys and pulled over for a chat. Well, the conversation that took place in that car ride lead to the creation of a Rock/Folk band that would go on to change music history!
The Springfield took their name from a construction company that was doing road work across the street where one of the band members lived at the time. They would go on to create 3 studio albums as well as countless unreleased demos (that would later be released). Their greatest hit was a protest song entitled For What It's Worth, which is best known for the lyrics: "Stop, hey, what's that sound? Everybody look what's going down!"
Unfortunately, egos got the better of them all and this lead to the demise of the group, just 25 months later. Recently-recruited bass player Jim Messina and Richie broke away to create Poco with Rusty Young and George Grantham, while Neil and Stephen created an alliance with former Byrd David Crosby. A 'trade' between record label contract allowed Richie to literally be swapped for Graham Nash, and this allowed for the formation of Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young, who would go onto rock stardom with 6 top ten rock albums.
Poco, although not initially successful in terms of charting hits, became the pioneers of the newly-formed country-rock genre, leading to the creation of many other groups that would go onto super stardom, including the Eagles. Messina would eventually leave Poco to form a very successful due with Kenny Loggins, while Richie eventually departed Poco to work with another former Byrd, Chris Hillman, and Eagles songwriting partner John David Souther. All of these artists also released as series of solo albums.
Despite all being in their mid 60s, the band was in fine form, playing through an hour-long set of tunes from their three albums. Richie's voice was as strong as ever. a recently slimmed-down Stills looked and sounded great with his raspy voice. Neil wore one of his vintage 60s jackets and was content to focus on guitar for most of the night, allowing Richie and Stephen to handle the vocals for most. The night concluded with an all-star jam that also included opening acts Eddie Vedder, Elvis Costello, and Kris Kristoffersen, on a rendition of Neil's solo hit Rockin' in the Free World.
Although i was not personally in attendence, the magic of the Internet has allowed for the entire first concert to be made available for listening pleasure on youtube and other places.
Photo credits to Rolling Stone magazine!
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