His trademark blond hair may be thinning, his cowboy demeanor giving way to that of a beach bum, and the rasp in his voice has trouble reaching the higher registers. But one thing is for certain: When Stephen Stills takes the stage, the audience is in the presence of a legend.
From the opening chords of "Helplessly Hoping," Stills' live performance is one that takes the audience on a journey. You relive the golden, bygone days of Crosby, Stills and Nash (and sometimes Young), and fast-forward to today, where Stills is seeking to find out if the lessons he was trying to teach a generation all those years ago still hold their water.
Throughout his set on this North Carolina night, Stills leans upon the audience, not only for the energy to keep the performance going, but to provide the harmonies. This is especially apparent during the solo interlude of the evening, as Stills plays some of his most popular work and relies upon the audience to hit the high notes.
But by the time the full band kicks in for the rousing crescendo of "Suite: Judy Blue Eyes," Stills is in full-on guitar-hero mode. Rounding out the set with selections from his solo albums, as well as rocking versions of "Southern Cross" and Buffalo Springfield's "For What It's Worth," there are very few holes in Stills' two-hour set.
And while his voice may have a few creaks and cracks, Stephen Stills is still proving, some 40 years later, that he's the voice for a generation. Now, though, he manages to hide which generation he's lending it to.
Gold Rush Palladium, 209 E. Bennett Ave., Cripple Creek
Saturday, June 30, 6 p.m.
Tickets: $18-$42; visit ticketweb.com.