Graham Nash Stuns us with Magic at Old Town School

When I walked in to Old Town School of Folk Music to see Graham Nash last Sunday, I was easily the youngest audience member by a landslide—and that’s one heck of a shame. The legend, however, was catering to fans who have listened to him, and known him through these stories, for decades, and I was just along for the ride. My first concert ever was Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young. I was two—so bear with me if I don’t remember the details. But I do maintain that this particular show was the formation for my musical education at a young age, and it continued long after. Cut to 25 years later (that was sobering to write), and here I am, sitting back and waiting for Nash to take the stage once more. Rugs adorned the stage, ambient lighting illuminated the crowd. Nash wove through an iconic set with ease, with guitarist Shane Fontayne at his side in perfect harmony. We heard songs like “Immigration Man,” songs from the Hollies days, and classic CSNY ballads like “Our House,” which got everyone in the crowd singing along for a sweet moment of musical synchronicity. Nash played for over two hours, with songs that caused hollering from audience members all the while. Colorful storytelling only served to illuminate the songs—for example, like how “Cathedral” was actually about a real-life experience where his mind was, ahem, enhanced, and he sat down in the middle of Stonehenge. The humor, wit, and vulnerability that Nash spoke to when crafting his songs only made me respect him more as an artist, as each song was intertwined with his life and true storytelling. “Just a Song Before I Go” was written in response to a challenge by a friend, while “While You Were Asleep” was sung in homage to Nash’s ex-wife who had recently passed away (cue complete utter silence in the crowd in sheer reverence). By the end of the show, I wished that every person I know could have basked in the legendary music of Graham Nash. Because today, these musical storytellers are meant to be known, and cherished. I’m glad that I got to attend and take part in a legendary experience, one I won’t soon forget.
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Sarah Brooks

Sarah Brooks is a native Chicagoan with a penchant for words, music, art and this magnificent city of Chicago. Raised on The Beatles and learning the violin at age 9, Sarah’s passion for music began early in life. Her musical obsessions include Wilco, Otis Redding, Neko Case and Real Estate, but they truly change daily. She can be found at a concert, trying a new restaurant, or running along the lakefront path.