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Sunday, June 25, 2006

Contest Winner - Memories from 1999 Solo


Earlier this month we announced that Thrasher's Wheat would be giving away a copy of the DVD film "Heart of Gold". Thrasher received a bunch of entries and it was a tough call. But here's our winner from Suz M. in Michigan and her Neil tale. Thanks to all the entrants. A few other entries are posted in the comments below.

Well here is a story of one of my most memorable days of my life! It was back on a beautiful day in May of 99' and I was heading with my dad, brother and friend down to Detroit to The Fox Theatre to see Neil solo acoustic and I had no idea how great of a show and night I was in for.

I had been raised on Neil and it was always "dads music" until I was 13 and my favorite band Pearl Jam was opening for Neil. I went in Pearl Jam crazy and came out with a new perspective and love for Neil that I never knew I had. From the second I heard Neil live opening with "The Loner" for the first time I was taken in by him in a way that I had never been thru live music before.

So back to that sunny day in May 99....entering The Fox Theater was an incredible sight, such a beautiful theatre a perfect setting for Neil solo, no one else but Neil for the night and I wasn't even dreaming. Entering the gates we were upgraded to better seats and that alone was enough to make my day, but I had no idea what was ahead for me that night. The show was amazing the crowd was so respectful to Neil and remained quiet for most of the show and Pegi was just to the left of us which was fun to see.

At the end of the show I go up to my dad and brother only to hear the news that the first 5 rows were part of the "Golden Circle" and were staying to head backstage to meet Neil!!! I was shocked and there was no way I was going to wait in the truck for them to get out so I took my chance and waited around to see what was going on. As we headed up the back stairs I was certain that I wasn't making it past the security, I had no wrist band or "Golden Circle" ticket in hand but as fate would have it they didn't check me and I was in.

It was a surreal moment Neil just walks out and the room remains quiet. Pegi talks to several fans but come on Neil is here I knew this was my only chance so I crossed the room and approached Uncle Neil. I had no idea what to say and looking back on that day, there are a thousand other questions that I would of liked to ask but I just said what came to mind, which was "So Neil are you a Leafs fan?" Neil chuckled and said "not anymore....I take my boy down to the San Jose games, they are great to us there". He jokes across the room to Pegi about how they lost money on The Red Wings (who lost out of the playoffs that week) as I continued to talk and follow Neil thru the crowd. He was soft spoken and kept the conversation going, he listened to me talk about girls hockey and I talked about the first time seeing him play at the Ex in Toronto back in 93' and how I just stood with my mouth dropped for most of that show. I found myself intrigued by the chunks of hair hanging out from underneath his hat, how perfectly unkept he was and his soft voice. I followed him and talked with him until he had made it thru the crowd and finished signing autographs...gave him a pat on the back and said what a great show it was tonight and thanks.

So my tale isn't anything too exciting or crazy but it was for me a day that I'll remember and treasure forever.

"So Neil are you a Leafs fan?" .....priceless.

Suz M.

Also, some more contest entries below in comments. Thanks again to all who entered!


At 6/25/2006 06:43:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I married for the 2nd (and last) time 5 years ago. Very few of my friends or family members could appreciate Neil that way I have for the last 25 years. I would play my vast collection of Neil's LP's then, CD's and DVD's, mostly for my own pleasure. My wife and I attended the CSNY 2002 concert in Minneapolis and she was hooked. Then, my oldest son (20 years old) moved in with us recently and began his own collection of Neil's music, most recently, bringing home to me "Living with War". As a family, we attended "Heart of Gold" which premiered at a theatre in town.

My oldest son invited his best friend to go with us. After the show, my son's buddy remarked how much he liked Neil Young and
recalled the first time he heard his music was waking up in the morning (after a sleep-over at our home) and "After the Gold Rush" was turning on the stereo. He could not get it out of his head. My wife looked at me (after the movie) and said with all sincerity "Do you think Neil would come over for dinner sometime if he was in the vicinity?" After we purchased our tickets for "CSNY - Freedom of Speech Tour" show next month, my son arrived at home to display the tickets he just purchased as well.

I am proud to be responsible for introducing Neil to the next generation of "Tune Heads". Neil's music is timeless and will always connect people together.

At 6/25/2006 06:46:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I've seen Neil many times, starting in the late 70's. A funny thing happened at a show at the Cleveland Agora in 1988. The Agora is (was?) a fairly rough place. My brother once left a show at the Agora with a friend and got robbed and, in the process, the robber accidentally shot his friend through the arm! He was fine but that should give you a
sense of what the place was like.

Anyway, at this show - which featured Neil and the Blue Notes - my friend and I were on the floor up near the stage having a great time. We had had a few party favors but were in good shape. My buddy accidentally slipped and fell onto the floor, banging his head pretty hard. He was briefly stunned and sat there for a second gathering his wits. Suddenly, a giant bouncer ran up, grabbed him off the floor and practically lifting him up into the air and screamed "Do that again and you're outa here!!!" There was no "are you ok?" or "can I help you?" Neil was jamming about 10 feet away and I swear that he saw what happened and gave me a little wink and a grin when he saw the surprised look on my face.

My buddy recovered nicely and we jammed the night away.

Mason F

At 6/25/2006 06:48:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

My name's Mike G. from Lincoln, RI. I have an awesome concert memory from seeing Neil Young and Crazy Horse (@ 96 - 97) when they headlined the H.O.R.D.E.
festival. My friends and I got decent seats, but halfway through the set I bumped into some of my partents friends, one of which is a senior salesman for Tweeter (this show was at the Tweeter center). They had 3rd row from the stage seats.

They decided to leave halfway through, and they gave me and my friends their ticket stubs to take their seats. Sweet!!

So we go right down....we were literaly about 10-15 feet from the stage. The floor was on a slant, and I just happen to be pretty tall. On one occasion, during "Fuckin' Up", I chucked the bird at Poncho, and he immediatey jumped right to the section of the stage where I was and chucked the bird right back with a big grin on his face. (I also had my hair spiked up about 8 inches at the time....very noticeable). Then towards the end of the set during "Rockin in the Free World" during Neil's solo....he came stomping towards the front of the stage
and as soon as he looked up I saluted him (a real sulute...not the bird), and he saluted me right back. I then raised my arms and immitated someone shooting a machine gun. Neil smiled and pointed the head stock of ol' black right at me and
held it like a machine gun and made some feedback growls as his hands went up and down the neck to give it a machine gun sound, and saluted right back again. I never had goose-bumps like that before!!

It was awesome, as I was about 18yrs old at the time.

So - thats my entry for the DVD contest...

Feel free to also check out my Neil Young tribute band's site at

Mike G
Lincoln RI

At 6/27/2006 05:59:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Too late for the contest, but a good story. Back in 1988 or so, I managed a cellular phone store in San Jose, CA. I was a Neil Young fan and was aware that he had his cell service through our company. I got a call one day from a guy claiming to work for Neil and that the phone on the tour bus was broken and we had to fix it. He asked if he could bring the bus over - an hour or so later the bus pulls in. It was older with surf boards on the back with "Buffalo Springfield" painted on. The door opens and a longer haired dude comes out, the Greatful Dead is playing on the stereo. We go on board to find the wall mounted phone torn off, hanging by a wire. The guy told us the bus had been leased by Bob Dylan for use on the Dylan/Dead tour. The bus was just returned. I stepped back and asked, "you mean to tell me I'm standing on Neil Young's bus trying to fix a phone that Bob Dylan had torn off the wall?" "Yes" We fixed it. The guy then set us up with tix to a "secret" show in a small club a couple of days later - it was the Blue Notes getting ready.

About 1 year later the guy called again. This time it was a black BMW740 with a broken phone......


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