Neil Young wanted to tour the country that re-elected George W. Bush, dole out some demerits, light some fires, and maybe even sell a few copies of his 2006 album, Living With War. So he convinced his former bandmates, David Crosby, Stephen Stills, and Graham Nash, to join him, and brought journalist Mike Cerre along to canvas the crowds, along with Iraq and Vietnam vets, about the ongoing war. Directed by Young (credited as Bernard Shakey), CSNY: Déjà Vu presents the foursomes summer of dove (though the hatchets buried between them seem to have shallow graves) as part tour documentary, part polemic for-and-by-the-people. Initially erring a little too far on the side of the former, the films mishmash of news footage and concert reviews threatens to devolve into a CSNY wank-fest, but when the tour hits Georgiaand Georgia hits backthe power of a brazen anthem puts the focus squarely on the audience. The crowd stampeding for the doors in a hail of red-faced bird-flipping (apparently Lets Impeach the President is not a local favorite) is not the kind of march Young had in mind. But the house band for countless Vietnam protests sees an equal problem in preaching to the choir: Exchanging righteous vibes makes for a nice evening out, but, as Nash points out, aint no thing until the choir gets off its ass.
July 25-31, 2008