The show, the fair’s first An Evening of Brews and Brews event, was well attended, but not sold out. The usual rows of chairs in the Chumash Grandstand Arena floor section were replaced with round tables set up to accommodate eight-person tables, some of them decorated by theme.
Numerous craft beer offerings awaited concertgoers inside the venue. The crowd was treated to such local favorites as BarrelHouse Brewing Co., Figueroa Mountain Brewing Co. and Tap It Brewing. The pourers were friendly and enthusiastic, and helped set the tone for the event: upbeat and casual.
After an opening set by bluesman Cray, rock legend Stills took the stage.
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Stills opened with a crowd favorite, “Carry On.”
During his performance, he played a number of his newer songs, which were well received. Stills’ guitar playing is still impressive, and he showcased his versatility by switching guitars several times throughout the show.
At times, Stills’ vocal performance showed the effects of several decades of touring. Occasionally, it seemed as if the audience applause was intended as encouragement rather than praise.
Stills spoke to the audience at times throughout the show, explaining the inspiration for several of his songs.
His stage show was refreshingly simple and down to earth. There were no flashy lighting effects or pyrotechnics, only a lead guitar, bass guitar, drums and keyboard.
As the evening progressed and Stills played old favorites such as “Southern Cross,” “Woodstock” and “Teach Your Children,” the crowd began singing along with many people getting up to dance.
The show brought back feelings of nostalgia for many of the older concertgoers while also exposing the younger attendees to some of the most influential music of the late 1960s and early ’70s.
Seeing Stills in his heyday would have been amazing, but the opportunity to see this music legend perform here on the Central Coast was unforgettable.