We went to what was advertised as An Evening with Stephen Stills at the Pantages Theater downtown Minneapolis on Saturday evening. The show was divided into two halves, the first with Stills alone accompanying himself on acoustic guitar, the second with a small backing band.
I had hoped that Stills might omit his current political reflections at this stage of his career. Stills did in fact keep the politics to a minimum, though it was still too much. His endorsement of Al Franken for Senate was over the top. Does he think that no one paying the $37.50 ticket price might be there for the music rather than for his deep thoughts, or that not all his fans are entitled to his consideration? Nevertheless, Stills didn’t annoy me as much as Bonnie Raitt did at the Minnesota State Fair in 2002 when she endorseed Paul Wellstone in his reelection campaign against Norm Coleman. As I recalled in “My opening farewell,” I walked out on Raitt.
I stuck around for Stills. I was less annoyed than bored by his show. The highlight of the acoustic set was “Suite: Judy Blue Eyes.” Without the vocal harmonies, it lacked heart. Stills switched to electric guitar for the second half of the show and got some help on backing vocals from the the band, but the band was mediocre, as was the song selection. Stills made funny, self-deprecating references to his age and his need for teleprompter help with the lyrics.
Perhaps most interesting was the crowd. Jon Bream begins his notes on the show at his Star Tribune Pop Life blog with a salute to the “hippie-fest Saturday night at the Pantages Theatre. Right on!” Bream omits any reference to the geriatric nature of the hippie-fest. The median age of the crowd had to be 55, and the hippie look was not flattering.
As we left the show and walked out onto the street in front of the theater, we found lesbians on parade celebrating GLBT Pride. The signs largely proclaimed “I Love Dykes.” We met the parade as it doubled back onto the Nicollet Mall toward where we had parked. This time around, we saw a few stray signs demanding to “Eliminate gender binaries.” I’m not sure what that means, but I’m pretty sure I love gender binaries, and I wonder if there isn’t at least a potential conflict between loving dykes and hating gender binaries.
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“Arise and take our stand for freedom as in the olden time.” Winston Churchill
“Proclaim Liberty throughout All the land unto All the Inhabitants Thereof.” Inscription on the Liberty Bell