I’m ashamed to admit that I had never heard of Graham Nash before being invited to see him at Bath Forum.
The venue, having originally opened as an art deco cinema in the early 30’s, sits modestly on St James Parade opposite the train station in the ancient Roman city of bath.
It may only be Thursday evening but as we take our seats in one of the largest auditoriums in the South West, I can’t help but notice how many people have come out tonight to see the Grammy award winning musician and co-founder of The Hollies, Crosby Stills & Nash.
As Graham humbly walks onto a stage decorated with an accumulation of candles and acoustic guitars, the audience greet him with an ovation reserved for only the mast talented and respected of musicians. Their prominent reaction only intensifies my curiosity (and indignity) of not really knowing much about who this man really is.
Originally born in Blackpoool, Graham formed the Hollies with school friend Allan Clarke in the early 60s before becoming an American citizen in later years where we met with David Crosby, Stephen Stills and Neil Young in Los Angeles.
His distinctive vocals and iconic harmonies compliment the songs beautifully. From The Hollies first US top ten hit ‘Bus Stop’, to the more folky Moroccan inspired ‘Marrakesh Express’; the acoustic guitars alone set the scene perfectly, removing the need for a drummer or bassist.
Graham surprises us with a moving rendition of Beatles classic ‘A Day in the Life’ before claiming that “there will never be another band like that one… and from Liverpool, who would have known?”
The interval gives us an opportunity to see some of the musician’s photography; a passion stemming from observing his father’s photography as a child in the 1950s.
Graham tells us about the unfortunate incident that inspired ‘Immigration Man’, when he was mistakenly held up by US Customs for trying to get back into San Francisco in the early 70s. He fondly tells the audience, “You’re giving your age away I see!” as they start singing along to every word.
His continuous affections for Joni Mitchell are shared with the crowd as he fondly recalls the rainy afternoon that inspired one of his most well-known songs ‘Our House’ after the couple purchased a vase from a little antique shop in Los Angeles.
“I’ll light the fire you put the flowers in the vase that you bought today. Staring at the fire for hours and hours while I listen to you Play your love songs all night long for me, only for me”.
Graham effortlessly works his way through a diverse set list enriched with songs spanning from his early days with the Hollies, Crosby, Stills and Nash and his solo career.
With what seems like almost as many guitar changes as songs, Graham keeps the audience entertained throughout the evening with a collection of tales and stories, giving us a glimpse into his extraordinary life in the most intimate of settings.
We leave the venue after a thoroughly enjoyable evening in the most charming of settings and I only wish I had been introduced to the legendary musician sooner.
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Written By: Samantha Swindlehurst
Event Photography By: Neil Swindlehurst