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Monday, November 12, 2007

Concert Reports - Chicago, IL - 11/12 & 13/07

"Sultan" - Performed for the first time last night in Chicago!
Squires 45 single from Arthur Jarvinen

UPDATE - 11/14/07, 2nd night:
"Cowgirl In The Sand" added to acoustic set and "Sultan" added as final encore!

Photo by Bugsy Hansen

UPDATE - 11/13/07: 1st night
From Chicago Tribune by Greg Kot:
"For the electric set, the purest pleasure was watching the interaction between Young and his longtime drummer Ralph Molina. The Crazy Horse veteran flew the Jolly Roger from his kit, and his behind-the-beat feel left huge chasms of space in which Young could move. After the taut dynamics of the acoustic set, Young was ready to roam, stomping across the stage and rolling his shoulders as he conjured wave after wave of feedback on the surging “Spirit Road” and the 15-minute “No Hidden Path.” On “Dirty Old Man,” Young’s guitar sputtered and coughed like a backfiring muffler --- every bit as irascible as the song’s narrator. If the acoustic songs were preoccupied with impermanence, the electric set was about the journey out. “Show me the way, show me the way,” the singer chanted. Then he made his guitar shudder and swoop, and parted the darkness."

Neil Young will be performing tonight at the Chicago Theater, Chicago, Illinois.

Check Sugar Mountain for setlist updates.

Got a report? Drop a comment below.

See, Neil Young 2007 Tour Updates for more concert reviews.


At 11/13/2007 10:56:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...




I knew it ... Neil blew 'em away last night ...

At 11/13/2007 11:10:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I've seen Neil Young at least 15 times over the past many years. The concert last night at the Chicago Theatre was unquestionably the best I have seen ever. I still am on a high about it. Incredibly, I loved all the new stuff almost as much as his old songs.

At 11/13/2007 11:25:00 AM, Blogger jjclark28 said...

just got back from chicago. the show last night was pretty good. neil is still way on top of his game. was the first time ive seen him since the greendale tour. the crowd bashed him with happy birthday greetings last night and at one time was even singing him happy birthday, to which he just twirled his fingers and made like it was no big deal(classic neil). the set list didnt change at all from previous shows. i was hoping for journey througth the past and campaigner or even cortez with the band cause i think hes done that once but everything sounded superb.
ambulance blues was incredible. a man needs a maid was excellent. great show all together.

At 11/13/2007 11:31:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Neil Young was excellent. It was great to see some of his old songs I've never heard in concert before. Ambulance Blues is one of my favorites. He may be 62 but he can still rock....Great concert.

At 11/13/2007 11:45:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Just woke up from the wife and I drove back from Chicago to Madison, Wis. last night. Wow, a great show. As much as I like Neil's acoustic material (I saw his chicago Harvest Moon show at the same venue, and '99 in NYC), I thought he did a better job on the electric stuff. Hurricane was great, No Hidden Path was just fabulous. Lots of energy, feedback, classic Neil Young!

At 11/13/2007 12:09:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

My first Neil Show.

Acoustic stuff was spine tingling - especially whilst at the piano.

Plugged in set was great too. Started hard, took a small dip in pace then rocked to the core for No Hidden Path. It was just amazing.

Ended with hurricane - what more could you ask for?

My only comment would be that his voice broke/crackled on the high notes on a couple of tracks. But he's 62 afterall.

Excellent show all round.

At 11/13/2007 12:29:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

my other comment is -

If hes this good now - it must have be out of this world 25 years ago!!

At 11/13/2007 12:49:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

goin' tonite - can't wait!

At 11/13/2007 01:07:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

As usual, Neil delivered BIG TIME in Chicago. Sound was excellent in the beautiful Chicago Theatre.
Both sets were OUTSTANDING.......

At 11/13/2007 01:20:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Drab production keeps Alicia Keys' promise unfulfilled | Main

Originally posted: November 13, 2007

Neil Young celebrates birthday with fragility and feedback
Neil Young turned 62 Monday, and at a sold-out Chicago Theatre he set the evening’s agenda.

“The same thing that makes you live/Can kill you in the end,” he sang on the night’s first song. So much for raucous celebrations.

The crowd did serenade the lean rocker with “Happy Birthday,” and Young raised a bottle in appreciation, but this wasn’t a night for party hats and kazoos (he is scheduled to headline a second concert at the venue Tuesday). Instead, it was Young trolling through five decades of heavy-hearted music: 22 songs, divided into acoustic and electric sets.

He dug deep, performing several unreleased songs (“Sad Movies,” “No One Seems to Know,” “Love Art Blues”) and myriad long-buried album tracks (notably a stunning “Ambulance Blues”). The voice was at times as ragged as his graying straw hair and floppy paint-splattered shirt, but the performance was never half-hearted. Young in acoustic mode was a lanky Ichabod Crane, all knees and elbows jutting out in different directions as he strummed his guitar. He strung together songs that surveyed the geography of loneliness: the forlorn “Sad Movies”; a devastating “A Man Needs a Maid,” with the singer on piano and funeral organ; the torn-and-frayed “Love Art Blues,” in which a man struggles to reconcile two opposing impulses.

“Time is better spent searching than in finding,” Young concluded on “No One Seems to Know,” one of those deeply personal songs he wrote decades ago but never got around to releasing. To hear it now was a treat, and yet it also left one pondering the pain that produced it. The only drawback was “Mellow My Mind,” with Young sounding a little creaky on banjo. But the more casual fans got to whoop along with “Love is a Rose,” sigh to a lovely piano-led “After the Gold Rush,” and relive “Harvest” memories with “Old Man.”

For the electric set, the purest pleasure was watching the interaction between Young and his longtime drummer Ralph Molina. The Crazy Horse veteran flew the Jolly Roger from his kit, and his behind-the-beat feel left huge chasms of space in which Young could move. After the taut dynamics of the acoustic set, Young was ready to roam, stomping across the stage and rolling his shoulders as he conjured wave after wave of feedback on the surging “Spirit Road” and the 15-minute “No Hidden Path.” On “Dirty Old Man,” Young’s guitar sputtered and coughed like a backfiring muffler --- every bit as irascible as the song’s narrator. If the acoustic songs were preoccupied with impermanence, the electric set was about the journey out. “Show me the way, show me the way,” the singer chanted. Then he made his guitar shudder and swoop, and parted the darkness.

The set list:

Set 1 (solo):

1. "From Hank to Hendrix": "Here I am with this old guitar/Doing what I do," Young sings, and the crowd roars in appreciation.

2. "Ambulance Blues": The rarely performed epic from "On the Beach" sounds more timely than ever with a refrain that declares, "I never knew a man who could tell so many lies/He had a different story for every set of eyes."

3. "Sad Movies": Delicate finger-picking while Young begs for someone, somewhere to "jab something through me."

4. "A Man Needs a Maid": Young at the grand piano and organ like a haunted phantom of the opera.

5. "No One Seems to Know": An unreleased song from a time when break-ups were inspiring some of Young's most personal lyrics.

6. "Harvest": More fragile finger-picking as new love blooms.

7. "After the Gold Rush": A love song to Mother Earth, with Young at upright piano.

8. "Mellow My Mind": An adult looks back at lost innocence, accompanied by creaky banjo.

9. "Love Art Blues": Originally debuted on a Crosby Stills Nash & Young tour in 1974, now resurrected to pose the eternal question, "Why must I choose between the best things I ever had?"

10. "Love is a Rose": Hand-clapping hoedown.

11. "Old Man": The first chord brings another torrent of applause.

Set 2 (with multi-instrumentalist Ben Keith, bassist Rick Rosas, drummer Ralph Molina)

12. "The Loner": Young's guitar twines around Keith's pedal steel.

13. "Everybody Knows this is Nowhere": Molina supplies the high harmonies.

14. "Dirty Old Man": Nasty song, nastier guitar tone.

15. "Spirit Road": Young, Molina, Keith and Rosas ride the wave.

16. "Bad Fog of Loneliness": A countryish feel on this rarity, with Keith's pedal steel setting the melancholy tone.

17. "Winterlong": One of Young's best melodies, with Keith again taking an entrancing solo.

18. "Oh, Lonesome Me": The whine of the singer's harmonica underscores the plaintive chorus of this 1957 Don Gibson country hit.

19. "The Believer": A soul vibe with call-and-response vocals.

20. "No Hidden Path": Young takes his guitar on a thrilling voyage through a big mountain of noise, carving out a path with Rosas' bass beside him.


21. "Cinnamon Girl": The song on which the modern-day Neil Young guitar sound was built 37 years ago, and it still thrills, right down to Molina's exultant "Whooh!"

22. "Like a Hurricane": More sheets of sound, with Young furiously strumming the strings to overload the overtones.

At 11/13/2007 01:23:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The above review is from the Chicago Tribune.

At 11/13/2007 01:36:00 PM, Blogger jamesharrold said...

Great show last night!! The sound was incredible and crystal clear. Drove up from Indy. Neil didn't say a lot the whole night. He told a story about being in 2nd grade and going down to the creek by the school and setting traps for crawfish to scare the girls with. Pretty funny stuff. Yes, the crowd did sing Happy Birthday to him and he acknowledged it by standing back up after Hank/Hendrix. But no big deal. No surprise guests. Highlights for me: Ambulance Blues, Harvest, Love is Rose, Winterlong, No Hidden Path, EBKTIS, Cinnamon Girl, and Hurricane. No surprise songs. Lots of idiots yelling stuff out. They only reseat between songs. Waited after the show on the side with the buses. Don't wait around for Neil cause you won't see him. He must duck out right after the encore, or gets picked up on the other side. Did get to see Ben, Ralph, and Peggy's guitar player, and meet Elliot Roberts, his manager, in passing. Parking is $17.00 flat at the interpark just around the corner. Another great show, don't miss it!

At 11/13/2007 03:38:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nice article from the Tribune. Somebody there actually paid attention.

At 11/13/2007 09:55:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree, this article is excellent. The author actually watched the show. Before I came to this site I did a search on the tribune site and nothing came up. Glad I caught it here.

Thank you for your review of our hero.


At 11/13/2007 11:25:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh Lonesome Me was worth the price of admission.

At 11/14/2007 12:45:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

who would have thought you'd ever hear Neil play the theme song to "wild chicago"("apache" popularized by the shadows) - (at least i think thats what it was - played after tonite's the night - complete with gong!)

At 11/14/2007 01:35:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

From Chicago's Tuesday show: Ambulence Blues was brilliant; Neil's voice was a bit more expressive tonight than Monday night overall. He also was very energetic.

Great surprise of the concert was "Cowgirl In the Sand" during the acoustic set.

Very unusual ending with the "gong" song- was that really the "Wild Chicago" theme song by the Shadows? That's a SO extremely obscure a reference to the city, if so.

At 11/14/2007 06:37:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I hope he does a British tour !.There's a great interview with Neil in December's issue of Uncut.Sampedro thinks the archives may never be released ( hope he's wrong )Also included is a tribute CD including Sonic Youth-"Computer age" Jay Farrar-"Like a hurricane" The flaming lips-"After the Goldrush" and The Walkabouts-"On the Beach"
Jim. Scotland

At 11/14/2007 08:36:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think the name of the last surprise song last night was: 'The Sultan'. On Neil's 60th Birthday, Randy Bachman hosted a show on CBC about Neil and played that song on it (as well as other songs Neil played back before the old folkie days). I'll try to see if I can find the source where I found the mp3 of the broadcast.

It did remind me of the Wild Chicago theme song (and perhaps was (is?))

At 11/14/2007 10:51:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Two words Thrasher: The Sultan as encore.

Big guy in genii/sultan drag banging a massive gong on cue from Neil. He was having a good time.

And the most important thing he said all night:
"I'll be back Chicago!"

Soon, Neil, soon! Thank you for the great shows!


At 11/14/2007 11:17:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Acoustic Cowgirl. Fantastic. Now if he would just replace the sympathy act opening for him..

At 11/14/2007 02:33:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

feelin' alot of love and generosity from Neil - hearing ambulance blues live was an amazing treat. As were THREE previously unreleased tunes, all of which I thoroughly enjoyed. His voice was great - the first verse of Hank to Hendrix "sent a chill up and down my spine". His solo on No Hidden Path proves he's still as fresh as ever. And Tonite's the Night? Wow! NEIL YOU ROCK!

At 11/14/2007 03:32:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The last song he played was "Sultan". Wasn't that one of the hits he had with his first band, The Squires?

At 11/14/2007 04:33:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

is there video clips anywhere of his two chicago shows?
youtube / google video etc etc?

At 11/14/2007 06:13:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

When's the last time Neil played something like 'Sultan' live?

At 11/14/2007 07:24:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

It looks like he has NEVER played Sultan live (at least since 1969) - check the sugar mountain website for set lists from 1969 to today and you will find it only listed for last night's Chicago show

At 11/14/2007 07:36:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Interesting link on 'Sultan' :

At 11/14/2007 07:53:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Somebody over on the "highway" says 1965 ...

At 11/14/2007 08:18:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Was at Tuesday show. TREMENDOUS!!
Best Neil show out of twelve I have seen. Terrific sampling of his catalog, old, current and never heard before. The sound was great and Neil was back to being Neil!!Lots of energy and minimum of needless chatter.
The only downer? The morons who constantly running bagk and forth for ovwerpriced drinks and constantly yelling out stupid remarks, especially during acoustic set. Why can't people get in on time , sit back ,relax and enjoy the music of a truly remarkable artist!
Long may you run, Neil!!

At 11/14/2007 08:52:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yes! I was right up front against the stage and shouted "Aurora" as Neil left the stage prior to the encore. While I didn't get that, the B-side was worth the price of admission.

My one wish: a set list that includes "Citizen Kane Blues" aka "Falling Down/Pushed It Over the End". Maybe next time.

At 11/15/2007 12:21:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Jarvinen recorded an excerpt of Sultan from the 45 to MP3 format and he provides a link - Very cool ... This is it:

At 11/15/2007 12:56:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anyone at the show have a description of how 'The Sultan' sounded with this band. Classic like the record or with more of a 'wild' influence? What did Neil look like when he was playing it! That's a cool treat for Chicagoans.

At 11/15/2007 01:27:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm loving all theses reviews. Almost as good as being there. Almost. :( I hope he comes to Australia again one of these days.

At 11/15/2007 01:46:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Yes! I was right up front against the stage and shouted "Aurora" as Neil left the stage prior to the encore. While I didn't get that, the B-side was worth the price of admission."

I doubt that very much. It sounds from the reports that it was a planned song, not a spur of the moment decision inspired by you. Why would you even yell something like that out anyway? To look oh so cool? "Hey all, I know an obscure Neil song!!"

At 11/15/2007 01:53:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Any video of 'The Sultan'?

At 11/15/2007 08:56:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey, I'll be at Constitution Hall tonight -- and if Neil plays the same set that he did the second night in Chicago I will feel as if I died and went down that long hippie highway... Cowgirl, Journey, Sultan.. those are sweet. On the other hand, I'll probably get the Chicago first night set, and tomorrow's crowd will hear the expansive Neil -- Stub Hub, here I come !!

At 11/15/2007 09:41:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

24th show seeing Neil one of the best

At 11/15/2007 11:21:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

staygator, where've you been?

At 11/15/2007 12:27:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

orkhdI see on the Setlists page it lists if a tape of the show is available.
How does one go about getting a copy of a show? I am interested in both Chicago shows. Thanks.

At 11/15/2007 03:06:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I was at the Chicago show Tuesday night. Sultan was planned as they had a guy dressed in a sultan suit stage front playing the gong. Kind of funny as Ben and Rick missed the que having left the stage. Neil, Ralph and the "sultan" came out, and the sultan hit the gong and nothing. Neil looked around and yelled, "try it again." He did, no guys. The third hit was the charm and they showed up. I've never heard sultan before this - Neil played one of the les paul Jr's. It seemed like he played the melody line in 2-part harmony. I liked it. Sounded great.

The show was very good. Like many here, I've seen Neil 25+ times throughout the years starting in 1974. Actually, the acoustic set reminded me of a show in 1976 with crazy horse. "Man needs a maid", and other tunes from Harvest. I really enjoyed "mellow my mind" on banjo - nice groove. My heavy metal teenage son liked the acoustic set best (suprising). Said he expected to see a 60 yr old guy going through the motions. Instead, he saw a really intense performance that was "hardcore." Guess the tourch has been passed...

At 11/15/2007 04:55:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Saw both shows. Took my 9 and 10 year old daughters to their first concert on Tuesday. What a show! My 9 year old plays piano, and when Neil hit the first few chords of "After the Gold Rush" she whacked me in the arm and we smiled at each other. But we quickly discovered (to her dismay, not mine) that it was prankster Neil teasing us. He slipped into the plaintive gem "Journey Through the Past". It was a surreal moment.

The show was awesome both nights, the second night being twice as good as the first. "Cowgirl" was great on acoustic. Neil's voice sounded much better the second night, maybe he was tired on Monday.

I've seen him about twenty times over the years. Never saw him do "The Sultan" though. I hope my kids get the chance to see him again. They loved it almost as much as I did.

At 11/15/2007 08:00:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

DCers: enjoy your shows. I wish I could turn the clock back to Monday.

Maybe neil meant he would come back to Chicago at the end of this tour. After all, we only got two shows.

On a more mundane note (mundane compared to the rare 'Sultan' appearance): I thought The Loner was awesome. Ralph and Rick set a great pace. Neil's guitar sounded like a foghorn (reminded me of Ritchie Blackmore's sound), and Ben's steel added a nice twangy accent to the chords.

At 11/15/2007 08:22:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

overall great show tuesday night! i liked how he had the devil from greendale bring out the paintings. anyone else notice the indian from the tonight's the night tour on the right of the stage. thought that was great. acoustic cowgirl was great and the closing with sultan was pretty entertaining

At 11/16/2007 03:34:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

i would just like to add that i also felt that THE LONER WAS AWESOME - the slighter slower than usual tempo to me really added to my great anticipation of every note. I more often hear musicians live versions of songs with faster than usual tempos, but of course Neil is not yer typical musician. (whatever that is) The song was therefore even more delectable and delicious.

At 11/17/2007 06:31:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Caught the Tuesday show. Amazing.

My 19 year-old daughter (a budding music journalist and serious rock 'n roll anthropologist) was weeping half-way through Neil's acoustic set. I asked her why, and she said "I don't know. It's everything he does with his voice and guitar."

During the raging amplified set, she turned to me during "Dirty Old Man" and said -- "Dad, I think I'm watching a bunch of teen-aged rock 'n roll punks impersonating
60 year-old men!"

Yes, you were dear.

At 11/19/2007 03:11:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Last night's show in St. Louis was fantastic. Was expecting "Like a Hurricane" since he seemed to have been alternating between that and "Tonight's The Night", but after a brief huddle at the end of "Cinnamon Girl", Neil broke out into "Cortez The Killer". WOW!

At 11/19/2007 07:24:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

were are all the chicago pics

At 11/20/2007 12:49:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I took the picture from above of the theater, but, all my pictures of the actual show came out horrible and blurry. I had probably 70 of them and everyone was bad. Didnt want to use the flash and be that annoying guy.

However, if someone has any anywhere, that would be fantastic

At 11/20/2007 06:14:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I saw the 11/13 show. It was awesome. I enjoyed "Heart of Gold" and "No Hidden Path" the most. "Heart of Gold" has so much more meaning, depth, soul, coming from his voice now, live than the original recording. I had not heard "No Hidden Path" before the show despite having the CD ahead of time. It sure has a path of it's own through the guitar solo. I just can't get it out of my head. It's been two weeks.

At 11/26/2007 06:39:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

This was his opening song

1. "From Hank to Hendrix": "Here I am with this old guitar/Doing what I do," Young sings, and the crowd roars in appreciation.

Sorry Neil, I wasn't "roaring", you made me cry.. what a beautiful song!!! :-)

Loved your show... thanks!


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