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Friday, November 30, 2007

Buffalo, NY Concert Reviews - 11/30/07

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Photo by Tom Kuenzi


From The Buffalo News - "Neil Young is on fire as ever" by Jeff Miers:
The most intense song of the evening was one from Young’s newest effort, the lambent “Chrome Dreams II.”

“No Hidden Path” is classic Young — a midtempo, folk-based rock tune with anthemic chord changes writ large, an easygoing groove, campfire wisdom-laced lyrics and plenty of room for improvisation.

And what incredible improvisation it was. Young, a Gibson Les Paul Junior strapped across his midsection, tore into the solo sections with fervor, abandonment, and the trademark childlike glee that has laced all of his finest work. The tune was simply astounding, a large-scale emotional powerhouse centered on Young’s keening near-falsetto tenor and his searing, primal guitar soloing.

Young is not a young man. But he played with a fire and intensity players a third of his age could learn a thing or two from. Interestingly, this show — billed as an “acoustic/electric” evening, with an even split between mellower solo fare and full-bore electric band throwdowns — started off with a whisper.


Photo gallery of Buffalo concert.



Neil Young will be performing tonight at Shea's Performing Arts Center, Buffalo, New York.

Check Sugar Mountain for setlist updates.

Got a report? Drop a comment below.

Neil Young Tour Updates and Concert Reviews:
Chrome Dreams II Tour Kicks Off


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14 Comments:

At 12/01/2007 05:03:00 AM, Anonymous Pal Val said...

Shea's notes
Pegi as an opening act was really great, I was not sure what to expect, but she sings cool country songs. At one point she introduced one by saying something to the effect of..., here's another one bout heartache, and so, well ...hope you enjoy. She looks absolutely dynamite, think these guys have discovered some fountain of youth. She noted it was the " No plastic water bottle tour" , as in disposables, her and Neil totin Siggs, those Swiss reusable water bottles.

Ben Keith and Anthony Crawford ( where'd he come from? I liked him a lot, he moves a little like Neil when he plays, the jangly leg thing:-)) and Rick Rosas backing her up, bet those guys would be able to make me sound OK :-)) A woman gently hollered, We love you Pegi, that was sweet.

Both Pegi and Neil made mention several times about how great Shea's is. Heres a little personal history I discovered before the show; Turns out my best friend's Mom was part of a group that chained themselves to the door of Shea's in the sixties or seventies when the building was slated to be demolished.
When I was in high school I remember sitting at their dining room table addressing envelopes for something or other. Well, turns out those envelopes were appeals to people in Buffalo to save Shea's. So, decades later I actually reap a great benefit from her great efforts as well as my very very small part in helping.

Buffalo, which I consider a pretty rowdy town, was on good behavior. Neil opened with Hank to Hendrix, the crowd loved it when his voice trailed off....can we make it last, like a musical ride. Ambulance Blues got chuckles and cheers for the line ...ain't nothin like a friend, who can tell you you're just.... Best holler during a quiet moment between songs " Come to my Labor Day party Neeeeillll "

So hard to have favorite Neil songs but definitely in my top two dozen is Mellow my Mind, this was the highlight of the acoustic set for me, with Neil on banjo and harmonica. First verse he slipped into a lower register for lonesome whistle on the railroad traackk line, second verse he went for it and nailed that high lonesome sound. After the Gold Rush, Old Man and Harvest were sing along crowd pleasers, tho I notice at this ticket price point people sing rather quietly and politely :-)

Neil didn't talk too much, did allude to how great it was that old buildings like Shea's were built, like a testament to what we can achieve. During the acoustic set he often stood up between songs and mimed indecision, like hmmm which guitar should I play ...or maybe the piano ? We had been gently asked to refrain from hollerin requests. Amazingly it worked pretty well. Acoustic set ended with Old Man, and of course Neil was about to blow the concept of him as an old man out of the water, as we moved on to....

the electric set...

My teen scored me one ticket, third row loge, close to center (nice job kid ! ) From here I got a view of Neil's wonderful oval bald spot, and gray long hair bouncing around, reminding us of his true age. Everybody is saying how young he seems, no question about it, he sings as strong as he ever has, he sorta dances with his guitars, he moves like nobody else when he plays, dips, and bends and sways, full body moves, like all his joints and muscles are working like a kid. Plus he's always hoppin round... he's doing somethin right- I read he works out, no doubt he eats right, California style.

Lot of activity swappin Neil's guitars. I noted four electrics and an acoustic in the electric set. Oh Lonesome Me was a real nice surprise, Neil claims he kinda reworked that song, credited it to Don Gibson. Believer made me think of the Monkees song !?!

But, the epic 15+ minute songs, where Neil often goes off into chant mode with lyrics and does that *something else with a guitar like no one I've ever heard/ seen*, are my favorite parts of shows, and so, the highlight for me was No Hidden Path. Encores Cin Girl and Hurricane were just too short, (the jaded old timer says); it was close to eleven when he came back to encore, leaving no time to jam those out. Then again, maybe other people prefer short versions of songs, I dunno.

So, the question is.... if I knew it was gonna be this show, would I do it again? Pay that ticket price, drive an hour + to Buffalo and go all by onesey ?
Well, ten years or so ago, I made it it one of my silly life goals to not miss Neil when he comes around, (though I refuse on principal to pay scalper/ broker prices for tickets, and so far been lucky enough to score tix). Every show just reinforces my conviction to stick with him; he and his family are a treasure.

Heres my Shea's Neil setllist, think I got em all..
Acoustic; Hank to Hendrix, Ambulance Blues, Sad Movies, Man Needs a Maid, No One Seems to Know, Harvest, After the Gold rush, Mellow My Mind, Love Art Blues, Cowgirl, Old Man

Electric; Loner, Everybody Knows this is Nowhere, Dirty Old Man, Spirit Road, Bad Fog of Loneliness, Oh Lonesome Me, Believer, No Hidden Path
Encores; Cinnamon Girl, Hurricane

 
At 12/01/2007 12:13:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great review!

 
At 12/01/2007 03:02:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thrasher,
Why did you delete my post about Ben Young and mental retardation? Does the truth make you that uncomfortable? Why allow the grand deception around this issue to continue unaddressed? I've lost respect for you big time. I wonder how many other posts you're deleting. How deceptive of you. I would like to repost it. I thought this site was about honest conversation. Obviously I was wrong.

 
At 12/01/2007 04:21:00 PM, Blogger Thrasher said...

To Anon at 03:02:00 PM:

Your comment had nothing whatsoever to do with a Toronto concert review. See Comments Policy at Thrasher's Wheat.

Have a nice day!

 
At 12/01/2007 05:31:00 PM, Anonymous speck o' dust said...

thank you Thrasher for sortin' through the crap!

 
At 12/01/2007 06:39:00 PM, Anonymous Coby said...

I was pretty excited when it was announced that Neil was going to stop in Buffalo this year. I live in Pittsburgh, so the closest available show for me was Philly, which was already sold out by the time this was announced. I feel fortunate, as many southern Neil fans were left out.

Pal Val's review was basically spot on. She notes that Buffalo was on pretty good behavior, which I both agree and disagree with. For the most part people were respectful, it just gets old when people cheer at every line they like or everytime he blows the harp. I expect the cheers during "felt like getting high" during ATGR and "pissing in the wind" in AB, but it got excessive. Nobody wants to hear some guy yell midsong, "You still got it Neil!"

The fan was right, however. It's really nice to see an artist really get into his material on a night to night basis. At no point did you feel he was just going through the motions. Neil was rather quiet (as pal val noted), although he did mention he was sponsored by water. He did walk in front on the crowd and clap numerous times during the solo set (to standing ovations) which was nice to see as he really seemed appreciative of the overwhelming support.

The highlight of the acoustic set for me was definitely "Cowgirl in the Sand". Neil's picking was top notch and the crowd really impressed here, adding the Crazy Horse background vocals (...hell ruby in the dust) as they were totally immersed too. Neil noted that if we liked singing that one so much, we'll like the next one too (or something like that), and launched into "Old Man".

The electric set really kicked off in awesome fashion. "The Loner" never gets enough credit in my opinion, and it just rocked. It's the perfect opener. "Everybody Knows" was rock solid and "Dirty Old Man" surprised me. On the album it's a nice little rocker, but live it becomes demented and hits you in the gut. It was a lean, little warhorse (if you can have such a thing).

The middle part of the set was probably the lull for most, although all the tunes (check the set list) are enjoyable and nice to hear. I really liked Ben's singing on "Bad Fog". Things really came back to back to life with "No Hidden Path" as nearly everyone has noted during this tour. My friend, who's a mild Neil Young fan, said to me after the show, "The thing I really like about Neil is he just really rocks out." This statement couldn't be more true.

The encores, "Cinnamon Girl" and "Like A Hurricane" were both phenomal. As long as you still have a pulse you can't stay still during "Cinnamon Girl", and despite it's brevity, I was stoked to hear "Hurricane". (Neil bumped into the organ, seemingly surprised it was down so early. It took Ben a minute to take his guitar off, making me wonder if they thought about "Cortez"?)

A few closing thoughts from the show:
-Ralph.
As much as I like Chad Cromwell, it's awesome to have Mr Molina back there again. His playing was tight all night long. The man deserves more credit.
-To dance or not to dance?
This seems to be a problem at all recent Neil concerts. Once the electric set kicked off, a VERY small contigent of fans decided to dance. This aggravated the people sitting behind them, who yelled profanities, threw garbage... all in a vain effort to get them to sit down. I'm on the fence here because I don't want to sound like a concert snob because I understand both sides of the argument. People payed good money to see this show and they want to SEE it, not just hear. However, part of the experience for other people is to dance and really enjoy themselves. I have to admit being a little saddened that people didn't dance during "The Loner" because the song just begs for it. I usually gage the crowd however and act accordingly. I could see, tap my foot, bob my head, mouth the words, all during the electric set.. and had a hell of a time. Although, the encore allowed me to stand and move a little, which was even more fun. I guess I'd just like a more understanding crowd. There's no point in swearing at people. It's a concert, coexist and share the experience, you never know if you'll get the oppurtunity again.

Peace!
-Coby

 
At 12/01/2007 10:09:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

We're from Pittsburgh, so we had to travel to see Neil as well. It was awesome, probably the best show we've ever seen.

 
At 12/01/2007 10:57:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

i would like to know who is the artist on the tour ? and how can i buy some of those paintings?

 
At 12/02/2007 07:27:00 PM, Blogger frothingbadger said...

Its been 11 years since I last saw Neil.....wow does he still rock it! I noticed what I think is a new(old) amp in Neil's arsenal...a VERY rare Gibson GA79rv. Anyone ever notice it before? It was on the floor leaning against the front of the drum riser at a slight angle. I ask as I had one that I traded in to a guitar pro shop in Toronto a year and a bit ago. I checked Neil's amp out thru binoculars and it was missing part of the logo in the same place mine was....just wondering if this is a new acquisition and that it might be my old beastie!

 
At 12/03/2007 10:20:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't believe the Gibson GA79rv was being used by Neil - I think maybe it was being used by Ben Keith. I was up very close at the Minneapolis concert and I am a major afficinado of Neil's gear. He was running the rebiased 5e3 through the Magnatone 280 (as normal) and then through the Tremolux (5Gx circuit). The Baldwin Exterminator was not there. Both the 5e3 and the Tremolux were outfitted with nearly identical Whizzers. So, his rig appears to be pretty much as usual. I think he brings the Tremolux along instead of the solid state Exterminator because he probably runs his 6137 White Falcon through the 5e3 and the Tremolux in stereo (with the 5e3 shunting to the Maggie).

 
At 12/03/2007 12:22:00 PM, Blogger frothingbadger said...

That makes lots of sense! That amps voicing would be FAR more appropriate for someone playing steel...and the absence of a whizzer....well that just seals it.

 
At 12/05/2007 10:37:00 PM, Anonymous Race City Rocker said...

When I found out about this tour, I started looking for tickets and figured Buffalo might be the best bet. But it was a very tight ticket. Got two on the third row center stage in the loge. Awesome seats in a beautiful venue. I took my 16 year old son up from NC and we enjoyed the whole Buffalo experience--hot dogs at Ted's, wings at Gabriel's Gate, the Martin House by Frank Lloyd Wright and Niagra Falls at 1:30 a.m. and 20 degrees after the searing Neil Young show. Numerous songs set my hair on end--like A Man Needs a Maid and Harvest. I gave my son a close hug as Neil played Old Man. My son flipped out when the same guy who played the mellow acoustic set returned with the blazing electric set. No Hidden Path joins the ranks of the many Neil epic jams and I think he did about every cool sound that you could get out of a guitar on that one.
Spirit Road brought it home also. Great venue, super city full of great folks--this Southern Man had a blast. Thanks to Neil and the City of Buffalo.

 
At 12/07/2007 12:04:00 PM, Anonymous db said...

I will always remember this show. Neil played some classic songs in a classic setting in a classic theater. The acoustic set was beautiful and the electric was blazing. Neil and the rest of the band sounded great, he is still in great voice. The last and only other time I've seen him was in '88 @ Darien Lake Amphitheater (where he played Ordinary People in full) and I have been waiting to see him again ever since then. It's hard to believe that at that time I considered him to be somewhat of an old timer and I am now almost the age he was then. He's given us all so much since then an is still going strong. I have a question regarding walkout music that maybe someone can answer or maybe it'll get stone silence, but the walkout music in Buffalo was a chamber version of What Child is This and maybe someone knows it and tell me who plays it. Thanks and everyone continue to enjoy.

 
At 12/07/2007 07:21:00 PM, Anonymous zejt said...

Attention Race City Rocker red your review and I got goose bumps. This is your T.O. buddy.Long Live Southern Man

 

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