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Thursday, November 15, 2007

Concert Review: Washington, DC - 11/15 & 16/07

neil-young-washington-dc-11-15-07.jpg
"Like A Hurricane"
Photo by Vick Griffin - 11/15/07


2nd Night - 11/16:

If the first night in Washington was unbelievable, than the second night was REALLY unbelievable. A few quick highlights before we crash.

Just like last night, it appears we had another song debut. Not sure of the title, (maybe "Kansas"?) but it had lyrics like "Glide through the air" and "Lying next to you and I didn't know your name". It was played on the grand piano.

We also got another rendition of "Try" but this time on the grand piano instead of the upright. Tonight, Neil used a harmonica, as well, which, if not mistaken, he did not use last night on "Try". He seemed to be quite pleased with the delivery tonight as opposed to last night when he missed a line.

Neil was in really good spirits. During "Harvest", the crowd started to do a clap-along and Neil stopped and said something like "Seems incongruous" until the clapping stopped and he resumed.

After playing "Mellow My Mind", Neil launched into a story about playing the Tonight's the Night album to record executive Mo Ostin. After hearing the album, Mo says to Neil "You sure you want to do this?" He goes on a little about playing albums for record executives which was kinda funnny.

Then somebody yells out "Neil Young!" and Neil goes "What? Did I leave my car lights on?" He then proceeds to go into this whole episode about energy and power. "Did you know that 80% of the electricity generated is never used? Power just flows. It's always on. When you switch off the light you're not saving energy, you're only saving money. There's a lot of mis-information out there. America has the best power grid in the world." And on and on about brownouts, grids, power. Really quite remarkable. He digresses.

Another amazing "No hidden Path" that seemed to go on longer than last night. Towards the end, Neil delivered the chorus line "Ocean sky, sea of blue, let the sun wash over you" over and over and over as he took Ol' Black on the full workout. Again, the huddle with Ben and Rick was just terrific, as Neil just shredded it. Joyous. At one point Neil even knocked over the mic stand he was so into it. Just unreal.

For the encore, the flying keys were lowered but then raised again so no "Hurricane". As the flying keys lifted, Neil appeared to grab hold as if he were about to ascend into the skies.

He then wrapped up the evening with an intense "Tonight's the Night". At one point the piano was literally shaking it seemed. Neil was up and swinging the mic and leaning over top of the piano as if he might climb up on it. He was too far gone.

Ok, so if that's not enough, we could see the art sign with "Sultan". Would he? It was already about 11:15. The band did the encore bow, waved and left. But the gong came out. The sultan came out. The crowd is going pretty nutso. Neil comes back and plays "Sultan". Just wow!

So we get "Try", "Sultan", and tour debut of the rarity "Kansas".

I guess we could say more but it's been an intense couple of days of reuniting with old friends, making new friends, and being blown away.

So we'll just wrap up with what we wrote last night: And in this beautiful, screwed up world we live in, whenever we can totally escape, let the music wash over us, we are just happy to be alive and have Neil keep us company.

Thanks Neil and Pegi, who did another nice warmup.

neil-young-washington-dc-11-16-07-nancy-philpott
Photo by Nancy Philpot - 11/16/07




1st Night - 11/15:
Just back from the first Washington, DC show and I guess I'll have to jump right to the headline. This show will go down in the books as the concert debut of a song called "Try" played on the upright piano during the acoustic set. When it started, I had no idea what he was playing and after it finished, I turned to Thrashette and said I don't think that's ever been played live before. But more on that later.

Backing up, we had a great pre-show fest at the Bottom Line with about 20 or so rustie folks. Thanks Nan for putting together. Great meeting and greeting everyone. Appreciate the positive feedback for TW. So onto the show at Daughter's of the American Revolution Constitution Hall near the White House. A great venue, which Neil remarked on by saying "Isn't this a beautiful place? This is my reward to get to play in places like this. Instead of stadiums, basketball arenas, hockey arenas, flatbed trucks and open fields." We had great seats in about row 8 to the left giving us a prime view of Neil's guitar work.

Other than "Try" as mentioned above, it was a pretty standard setlist for the tour. But I must hasten to add, for me, this concert was all about the set list. The PA announcements requested that the audience refrain from shouting requests because the setlist was pre-selected. In addition, there are the title cards for each song in the electric set so things are pretty locked down.

Neil takes us on a journey with the song sequencing. The opener "From Hank to Hendrix" sets the stage for the range of the evening. We're going from the roots of Neil's early career "Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere" all the way to today's feedback on "No Hidden Path". And we made many stops along the way.

The acoustic set was just so sublime to be beyond words. Much has been said of "Ambulance Blues" being worth the price of admission alone. This can not be understated. AB ties together the evening's themes while at the same time laying down the challenge to his critics that "You're no better than me for what you've shown."

As for other acoustic set highlights, who would ever think we'd get to hear songs like "Sad Movies", "No One Seems To Know", or "Love Art Blues"? All were real treats as Neil strolled about the stage selecting instruments ranging from banjo, guitar and piano. The treatment of "A Man Needs A Maid" with the organ was certainly a different effect and it was fascinating to watch Neil go between the instruments.

One could go on and on about the acoustic set. I mean "Cowgirl In The Sand" was another demonstration that Neil hasn't really lost anything over the years despite what some might claim.

Back to the debut of "Try". I'm trying to recall the lyrics right now and maybe they'll come in a moment. But Neil had some trouble too. After finishing, he said "That went better when I rehearsed it in the dressing room. I left out a line. But you don't know that because I've never played that song before." After the show, Tim from Sacramento said he called out to Neil whether the song was called "Try"? to which he said "The song's called Try". Tim tells me that Neil wrote Try, Sad Movies Separate Ways and Vacancy in 1974 after the CSNY tour.

Much has been made about folks walking in and out, shouting out requests, and other distracting behavior. From where we sat, it seemed folks were pretty well behaved. In fact a little too well behaved when Neil rocked out during the electric set.

The band of Ralph, Ben, and Rick covers virtually the entire span of Neil's career and is another example of the careful crafting of this tour. And Neil seemed in good spirits to be with his longtime associates. During the epic 15 minute "No Hidden Path" Neil came over to Ben and Rick and nearly did the huddle formation that we've seen so often with Crazy Horse. While this wasn't Crazy Horse, the jam on "No Hidden Path" with Neil trading licks, bobbing and weaving was simply a beautiful thing to witness. We really don't understand the relatively lukewarm press reviews of Chrome Dreams II, but "No Hidden Path" is destined to become a classic and it baffles us that most reviews fail to recognize this.

During the encore the flying keyboard descended from the ceiling on two swinging cables. On the front was a white wooden dove's face with one black eye and a black scarf or bandage tied around its head. Neil rubbed it and said something like this was "peace" and his political statement for the evening. Then he picked up the red "hotline" phone and listened and hung up. He said maybe they went too far with a "political statement".

Neil then proceeded to demolish the evening with "Hurricane". The song started with blazing white lights which gradually diminished as the song smoldered to it's feedback drenched conclusion.

Over the past 30+ years we've seen quite a few Neil shows and each has been very special so it's hard to say how this compares and it's really an effort in futility. Every performance has been a revelatory experience. And in this beautiful, screwed up world we live in, whenever we can totally escape, let the music wash over us, we are just happy to be alive and have Neil keep us company.

We'll see you tomorrow at the pre-show at the Bottom Line, 1716 I St., NW and night #2!

ps - a special shout to my dear friend Locator. Great seeing you and love you , bro!


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41 Comments:

At 11/16/2007 01:06:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great review Thrsher!!! I just moved away from DC and wish I could have been there to see such a show and thank you for this site!

 
At 11/16/2007 01:14:00 AM, Blogger RDR said...

Very very interesting to see an old, unreleased, never-before-played song make into the setlist. Honestly, that's weirder than playing Sultan.

And I'm sure it was amazing to listen to truly unheard material, by even the most dedicated of Neil fans.

But I don't like the theme of the solo-acoustic set of this tour, at all.

I can tell Elliot Roberts had some sway in designing these set lists, because they are exceedingly focused on material that will be covered in Archives Vol. 1, including some of Neil's better unreleased tunes (No One Seems To Know, Sad Movies, Love Art Blues, Love In Mind, Journey Through The Past).

Now, I'm not calling "BS" here on Neil, he's not trying to sell us a product, he's been listening to and working with these songs a lot as he compiles the Archives Vol. 1. But I'm not saying Elliot Roberts has stopped trying to get Neil to sell himself a little, either, even if it is kind of subtle.

Still neat to see these unreleased tunes on the set list, even if it does seem a little fishy at this particular time. But I suppose these songs are less traumatizing and strange to think about than material from further on in his career. I'd still like to see some acoustic covers of some 80's material (Transformer Man, Lost In Space, Hippie Dream, Violent Side, Are There Any More Real Cowboys, etc), much more than these early 70's songs which are a little more played out...

But Neil does what he wants and that's why we love him. Maybe next year he'll get a little more quirky with his set lists. I just watched a video of the 2001 Bridge Benefit when Neil and Crazy Horse did an acoustic Mideast Vacation with the gong and all, hilarious and great all at the same time.

And I'd be lying if I didn't say these set lists didn't make me a little more eager to get Archives Vol. 1.

 
At 11/16/2007 02:06:00 AM, Anonymous Lionel Louie said...

Thrasher - nice to meet you and the Rust group at The Bottom Line before tonight's show. And your concert review is spot-on. BTW, did you notice the miniature "Neil's New and Used Guitars" building to the right of Ralph's drum kit?

 
At 11/16/2007 02:53:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh to live in, Washington DC ...

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

Not being available on CD doesn't make Love In Mind & JTTP unreleased...

 
At 11/16/2007 04:38:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well, as noted above, Love in Mind and Journey Throught the Past are not unreleased (available both on Time Fades Away and Massey Hall) and NOSTK, Sad movies and Love Art Blues are all Archives Vol 2 material (atleast I think so correct me if I'm wrong).

 
At 11/16/2007 10:00:00 AM, Anonymous elrayo_x said...

Neil played a great set last night. Despite the shouted out suggestions from the crowd, most of the audience was a little too reverential. They clapped merely for his standing up and walking from one instrument to another during the acoustic half.

I would have loved to heard "Rockin in the Free World" during the electric half. It's dead on for the global situation today, and being two blocks from the White House would have had some nice irony.

Has anyone delved into the stage set? Given the Chrome Dreams tour, I took the random letters to represent old Detroit dealership sign(s). I could assemble Oldsmobile, Galaxy, and Plymouth out of the letters. Not quite sure what to do with the V, 3, and 9....

 
At 11/16/2007 11:34:00 AM, Blogger GirlyGirl45 said...

Excellent review, Thrasher! I had a "life is short" moment and scrounged up a ticket at the last minute--wish I'd thought to seek out the group that met at Bottomline beforehand, but I was sitting with a good crowd. I like that it was a respectful crowd; Constitution Hall often has that effect. I'm glad Neil appreciated the atmosphere.

ElRayo, yes, Rockin' in the Free World would have been a good choice, but we had a treat last night through and through. It's hilarious you were playing Scrabble with the set letters--you may have something there re the homage to American cars/Detroit

 
At 11/16/2007 12:35:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thrasher,

I was at the DAR concert last night about 3 rows in front of you. What a magical show!! Iloved it when in responding to all the shouts of Happy Birthday Neil, he retorted that he'd forgotten how old he was. Well he played like he was 30 years younger. He was very engaged with the audience, much more so than in my prior NY shows.

While i thought the song cue cards (large paintings on an easel) was unique, i wanted to be surprised by the 1st few notes of the song rather than looking at the board.

From my seats I was one of the few "locals", hailing from Baltimore. Next to me were folks from California, apparently friends of the road crew. Behind us were folks from Charlotte and Atlanta. And Neil's music is truly timeless, with attendee ages ranging from 8 to ~70 from what i saw.

Lastly, I totally agree w/you about Chrome Dreams. No Hidden Path seems to have been cut from the same cloth as the tunes on Ragged Glory. The only (small) bummer was no tunes from Rust Never Sleeps, but an incredibly tight and career encompassing set.

 
At 11/16/2007 12:35:00 PM, Blogger Stitt said...

Fantastic show! Neil all but ignored the various song requests, except for one in particular, Old Man, to which Neil replied "who you callin' old?" Classic, especially since he'd just celebrated his 62nd birthday. I did resist the urge to shout "Aurora" after Hurricane. It was all about the setlist for me too, much like the Hershey Park 2000 show, but I do have to admit that No Hidden Path probably thumped the hardest of all.

Nobody rockin' today has mastered the stage prowl like Neil. Even Rick had to assume a semi-crouched, defensive posture when Neil came at him. Who could blame him - there's no telling what havoc the uncaged beast is capable of wreaking!

 
At 11/16/2007 12:37:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't know what happenened to my post. It was there and then it wasn't. It's been an hour, so here goes again. I trust Thrasher didn't delete it because it was critical of Pegi. No, I'm not BD.
I agree that No Hidden Path is one of Neil's great songs. By far the best song on the new album and one of the best songs on the tour. It's really inspiring him. I'd love to know the lyrics to Try.
Agree as well that the acoustic set is just stunning on this tour. No way is Elliott seriously influencing the song selection. No way.
I completely disagree about Pegi. She's a total hype job. Kind of changes my opinion of her. She's been perfectly happy to perpetuate the myth that she's been a musician all along.What a freaking joke. It's glaringly obvious she doesn't know her way around a guitar. Her songs suck lyrically and musically. Her voice sucks. And the talk about her being a strong independent woman carries no water. She's riding Neil's name and influence the whole way and would be exactly NOWHERE as a musician without him. She's lucky to have worldclass musicians covering her ass but even they can't hide her ineptness. It's an insult to watch and to pay for.
A couple good things. Neil chose the small venues for Pegi and we get the benefit of seeing him in these settings. And he's trying much harder because he's got to make up for the lousy opener.

 
At 11/16/2007 12:47:00 PM, Anonymous kf said...

thanks for this review. we're going to the concert tonight. how long does neil play? and whats the opening act? when does he go on?

 
At 11/16/2007 01:46:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm really glad to hear that they are making a request of the audience not to shout out "requests". Like Neil's gonna listen to the yahoos anyway! It wasn't too bad in Minneapolis.

Neil's set list is like the painting that his set creates through the course of the show. It's his. Let him do his thing and sit back and watch. I think we are all witnessing something really amazing evolving on this tour.

 
At 11/16/2007 02:02:00 PM, Blogger jjclark28 said...

i too would love to hear a live acoustic "lost in space". i love that song, think im gonna go pull my hawks and doves record out right now.

 
At 11/16/2007 02:11:00 PM, Blogger GirlyGirl45 said...

kf, as you may have gathered from Anonymous 12:37's post, Neil's wife, Pegi, opens the show. Anthony Crawford and 1 or 2 others accompany her. The show must end around 11, as I got home to Arlington by 11:20 and parked a few blocks away.

I don't know Pegi's history, never heard her play, but I thought she was fine as a warmup. Don't think she's quite deserving of the venom of Anonymous 12:37. So what if she's not the serious musician that Neil is? Many songwriters and singers "don't know their way around a guitar." So what? Why portray her as "using" her husband? they're a couple and enjoying this tour together. I imagine that Neil is tickled that she's out there doing her thing. Am I going to buy her music? no. So what? If she weren't the warmup, would Neil have given us an additional 45 minutes of music? No. He would've had somebody else warm up, no one most folks would've been terribly interested in listening to, because they always want the headliner. I found her music listenable and clearly influenced by her life with Neil. If it's that annoying to you, take bathroom break or have a drink in the bar--no biggie.

I don't understand why people are bent that Neil didn't take song requests. Tours simply don't go that way any more these days. He's not playing in some bar. This is a concert, and set lists are designed to showcase what the artists want to showcase--whether it's a retrospective or to promote new material. We got an excellent balance of both last night.

 
At 11/16/2007 02:21:00 PM, Blogger Andy said...

Pegi opened, but we rolled in as she was ending so we were not subjected long to her mediocrity. The crowd clapped when she stated that 'this will be my last song'.
The acoustic set was by far my favourite.
Ambulance Blues and A Man Needs a Maid both standout. Hair standing on back of neck and pins and needles time.
He had an organ and a piano going on Maid to simulate the London Symphony parts in the original.
Mellow My Mind was done on a banjo. Interesting and daring, but I am not a banjo fan and I missed the treatment that the song deserved.
Ordinary People was not played; the full 15 minutes of No Hidden Path was in its place.
Cinnamon Girl was wonderful and served as the first song in the encore followed by Like a Hurricane (which he played instead of Tonight's the Night!).
The stage set was great and pure Neiler, replete with a painter painting in the background and bringing out new tableaus of which electric songs he was playing during the set.
Solo Neil evoked that lonely troubadour of the '70s that we all fell in love with. From where we were, it was almost as though Rust Never Sleeps Neil was back with us.

 
At 11/16/2007 02:28:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

what time does neil come on? what time does peggy come on?

thanks!

 
At 11/16/2007 02:32:00 PM, Anonymous set list thief said...

Thanks for the review, Thrasher. Yes, indeed, "sublime" just about covered the whole show for me.

Not having seen Neil perform for several years, I was struck by the difference between acoustic and electric Neil. Acoustic Neil, his presence-dignified and solemn-practically commands you to listen to what he's playing and singing. And, like a fine red wine, his singing and playing has deepened and matured beautifully.

The electric Neil is the polar opposite. Watching the "Neildance" is well, electrifying. Although he's 62, he plays the electric guitar like a kid still discovering the magic of feedback. Man, that electric set was fun!

For me the funniest part of last night's show was when he said he had to google himself for this tour. Although the cynical point out that this is a promotional tour for the Archives, my own viewpoint is that this tour could be called the "Autobiography" tour. Although he leaves out the middle of his life (except for "Hank/Hendrix"), the songs he's chosen to play illustrate where he started his career and bring you right up to today-and somehow they mesh quite well. "No Hidden Path" is the finest electric guitar song he's released since "MyMy, HeyHey." The strength of the riff and the depth of the lyrics will keep it alive for a long, long time. I also thought the tribute to Carrie (AMNAM) was particularly moving. When Neil sang "When will I see you again?" the line takes on a whole new meaning.

The other thing I noticed about last night's show? Neil's bald spot has grown! But then again, so has mine.

 
At 11/16/2007 03:32:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Strage, my post disappeared. First it was there, then it wasn't. Second one today.Is this happening to anyone else? I hope Thrasher's not trying to shut down honest discussion, but I'm starting to think it's because it's critical of Pegi. Well, here it is again.
Pegi has supposedly been playing guitar, singing and writing songs for 35 years, It's getting hyped quite alot in her press coverage. All evidence screams otherwise. The Neil machine is trying to hype her into success and it's insulting to me as an intelligent discerning listener and expensive ticket buyer.
Speak for yourself, but I go for the whole show, not just the headliner. For my hardearned money, I expect a damn good opener, not some charity case that drives me to the bar or the bathroom.

 
At 11/16/2007 05:46:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

A little off topic, but I dont know of a better place to ask.....
Since I am waiting on pre sale tickets, just wonderin how far in advance some of you received yours ?

thanks

 
At 11/16/2007 06:31:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks for telling about the show.The first D.C show in many tours that I've failed to see.I love Neil.

 
At 11/16/2007 06:42:00 PM, Anonymous HE Pennypacker said...

"Tim tells me that Neil wrote Try, Sad Movies and Vacancy in 1974 after the CSNY tour."

Well, Tim is right that Neil wrote Try & Vacancy in 1974, but I think he's mistaken about Sad Movies. Neil was writing and playing most of the songs destined for the Homegrown album during his extended stay in Europe following the CSNY tour, but I've never seen a mention of Sad Movies being one of the numerous songs Neil was writing at this time, most of which were about his iminent break-up with Carrie...

 
At 11/16/2007 07:04:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

In response to RDR's post -

"Very very interesting to see an old, unreleased, never-before-played song make into the setlist. Honestly, that's weirder than playing Sultan."

It's not that weird. Neil does it regularly... Hitchhiker in '92, Kansas in '99, Seperate Ways in '93, Don't Spook The Horse (technically released, but rare) in '97, Depression Blues in '92, Everybody's Alone in '97 - just for starters...

"I can tell Elliot Roberts had some sway in designing these set lists, because they are exceedingly focused on material that will be covered in Archives Vol. 1, including some of Neil's better unreleased tunes (No One Seems To Know, Sad Movies, Love Art Blues, Love In Mind, Journey Through The Past).

Elliot designing the set lists? Please... And as has been pointed out, NOSTK, SM & LAB will all be on the second installment of the Archives, not Volume 1. And LIM & JTTP are not unreleased songs...

 
At 11/17/2007 02:23:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey, Neil Young is playing in WA DC and doesn't say one word about the "war"? WTF

 
At 11/17/2007 09:12:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Excellent review! We were blown away last night at the Friday concert, the review captures the evening well.

Initially I thought the artist painting in the background was a little bizarre, but then came to like the use of the portraits to introduce the songs. I recall someone yelling out "What's next Neil?", then Neil turning left (as if he didn't know) and peering over at the new portrait going up to see that the next song on the itinerary was "The Believer".

I didn't get descending wooden pirate-dove. Liked "The Sultan" with the gong as a way to let the crowd know that "its over".

Did anyone sitting near the stage catch what Neil was drinking Friday night? I saw a big bottle with a fancy label, but couldn't make it out.

 
At 11/17/2007 10:43:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Good site, good review, thanks!

I thought No Hidden Path was one of the highlights of Friday night. A lot has been written about Neil's Fender-tweed-amp-about-to-meltdown tone, but it was never better than last night. The octave pedal and delay made it even more monstrous.

Neil seemed youthful and energetic to me. I thought he was going to climb onto the grand piano during Tonight's The Night.

OMG merch was expensive. DARCH is beautiful, but might have the worst amenities of any venue in DC.

It looked like Neil was drinking an Amstel Light. But I was about 15 rows back.

I thought Harvest was one of the finest moments of the night. The desperate situation that inspired the line, "did she wake you up to tell you that it was just a change of plans..." is so bitterly sad to me. I was in total agreement with Neil's "incongrouous" comment.

About Neil's electricity speech: Amusing, yes, but the idea that electricity just gets wasted whether or not we use it seems, um, totally wrong. But then again I am no scientist...

It seemed like Neil was trying to get Ben to take a little solo at the end of one of the tunes (can't remember which) but he didn't.

Love Art Blues is incredible. I'd never heard it before.

Don't need to hear Mellow My Mind on banjo again but I'm glad he tried it.

Van Halen had a gong this past week as well, thats 2 gongs in one week. The gong is making a comeback! Long live the sultan and the GONG!!!!

 
At 11/17/2007 10:50:00 AM, Anonymous Bob Young said...

re anonymous rude comments:

Why be anonymous? What are you afraid of? Think whatever you want and say what you wish but at least have the courage to announce who you are.Would identifying yourself cause you problems? Maybe you are afraid of your own name.

This person you are criticizing and, the organization backing her up,is close to me.In your view, they don't know what they are doing so Why go to any shows on this tour if it is such a downer.

My name is Bob Young.I won't list my email address here because I don't want the kind of email traffic it would create but I can read. Maybe you will respond.

 
At 11/17/2007 12:34:00 PM, Anonymous Locator said...

Did any of you ever have the following experience in your youth.....?

For whatever reason, you felt such joy that you smiled (yeah...smiled ) for, well....hours. You smiled so much that the next day, the muscles in your cheeks were actually sore.

It's been a long time since I experienced that.

I was privileged to attend the Thursday night show in DC and on Friday, on the long drive home with my bro, Vick Griffin, my cheekbones and attendant muscles positively ached.

Having read Thrasher's review of the Friday night DAR Constitution Hall show, I'm...well ("jealous" isn't in the spirit of the events so I'll settle for the more benign) "envious". OMG!!!!

All I can comment on (in the first person) is Thursday night's show. It's fair to say that I've been to see quite a few Neil shows in my time and they were all special but through the years there have been those certain shows that had that weird light around them...the stuff of myth. I'll cite one: Hartford Meadows in 1996 when Neil did (among others) the version of "When You Dance" that wound up on "Year of the Horse". The friends I went with (we were all Rusties back then) Thrasher, Shakey, Powderfinger, Randy Schechter.....I know I'm forgetting a few (mea culpa)...but those friends still benignly joke about how transported I was when Neil & The Horse launched into that song. It was a Golden Moment and somehow I was fortunate enough to recognize it for what it was as it happened. I was enlightened, transported and about as blissed-out as one could be.

This is all kind of the long way around to stating that Thursday Night at DAR was just such a show for me. It scratched (almost) every itch. What a wonderful experience! I haven't been that straight-on happy in years.

I've read some of the comments here...somebody actually painted this tour as an "Archives Tour", like that was a bad thing. For me anyway, I can only say that this is the kind of tour I've been hoping Neil would do for ages. I've checked out the setlists from other shows and frankly, I'm grateful that Neil is gearing this tour to the more dareIsay Die-Hard Fans that have been his core support for 30+ years. Somebody referred to the inclusion of the unreleased gems "Try" and "Kansas" as "fishy". I gotta respectfully disagree. Jeez, I thought I was cynical. Hey everyone's entitled to their opinion, right? Acknowledged. I just feel we've been privy to a very special tour full of "Golden Moments" and I for one am endlessly grateful to have had a chance to have been there.

I'll wrap this up by stating that I've never heard "Ambulance Blues" done better than Thursday night and that is no doubt because I didn't want to spoil the Thursday night show by listening to any of the previous shows...I'm sure it's probably been consistent throughout the tour but I never heard Neil's voice so strong and at the same time so delicate....beautiful!!!

The songs from Chrome Dreams II positively come alive when performed. "No Hidden Path" was an absolute standout. He was doing stuff with 'Ol Black which I haven't heard him do in years.

All my L & A to Thrasher & Thrashette, I'm privileged to have friends like you. Also had a chance to meet and talk with Nan Philpot. What a sweetheart! You GO, Girl! Met some other great folks, Rusties, I'm assuming. One of them asked if I had a list handle and I started to relate some ancient (Dan Farmer-era) Rust history and my small part in it...then kind of realized that none of it mattered anyway because we were all united as one in our appreciation and celebration of one of the only souls we've been able to consistently rely upon for 35 plus years...Neil.

My only regret is that I never got to see Cheryl Beddard or Randy Schechter and since I'm no longer affiliated with any lists these days, I gotta make a shout-out of love to the both of you here in my comments on Thrasher's Wheat. (Cheryl and I sat in the corner, high up at DAR for the 1995 Voters For Choice show-and that was another transcendent performance where he worked out in glorious feedback Song X/Act of Love). I'm sorry I didn't get to see you guys. Lotta miles, lotta shows.

One last word about the audience. What an enthusiastic and at the same time properly reverent group of people! I think we did Neil as good as he did us. Made me proud as hell just to be part of it.

This show was one for the Angels.

Roger & Out, Good Buddies....

Locator

 
At 11/17/2007 12:44:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have no problem with people posting anonymously. This list wouldn't exist in all its freshness and honesty if people were't allowed to do so. Kudos to Thrasher for allowing it.

 
At 11/17/2007 03:09:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Noble of you to defend the family honor. That doesn't change the fact that Pegi sucks, as does nepotism.

 
At 11/17/2007 04:46:00 PM, Blogger Andy said...

It's cool neil is dipping so deep into his catalog, but i'm glad i was at the second night of chicago and not this night. while i'm sure it was great, i wouldn't want to trade kansas and try for journey through the past and heart of gold.

still cool though!

 
At 11/18/2007 11:39:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I read in a couple places that Jonathan Demme was filming. did anyone see him both nights? Maybe that's why there are so many different songs; for a DVD that will come out around the Archives release! That would be awesome, Sultan on DVD, Journey Through the Past, No One Seems To Know, Sad Movies, No Hidden Path, Hurricane and TTN...all of it, these concerts NEED to come out on DVD!

 
At 11/18/2007 12:30:00 PM, Anonymous Nan said...

We did get Heart of Gold Thursday night and I wouldn't have traded Kansas for ANYTHING.

In regards to Locator's comment about smiling, that was me the entire first half of the show on Thursday. I had avoided all setlists this tour and thought my row G ticket was 7th row. Finding out I was actually 2nd row Neil's side was one thing, but the acoustic set blew me away. My face was KILLING me from smiling so much (OK, no wise comments about my face killing others please. :o)
Then being 20-25 feet from Neil as he did No Hidden Path... whew. I was spent at the end of the show. 62 hangs very well on that man!

I also totally disagree about the Elliot set-list theory. I don't think Elliot has ever influenced Neil artistically. He's not Briggs. He doesn't have "that" input. Neil may say that the fans don't influence him, but I think this tour's material is his way of saying "This Note's for You".

So great to meet you, Thrasher, and your lovely wife at the fests and thanks for posting the picture. I only wish they hadn't been so aggressive about cameras down front. I was getting Rolling Stone photo ops and I had to pass them all by. Even with the flash turned off they wouldn't so much as let me take pictures of the stage set during intermission. Bummer!

 
At 11/18/2007 12:33:00 PM, Anonymous Nan said...

PS - Yes, I did see someone filming from stage left on Thursday.

 
At 11/19/2007 12:16:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Take a peek at http://www.buffalonews.com/185/story/209194.html?imw=Y

Story from Buffalo News is titled "Where Have All the Tickets Gone?" - Neil's tour used as an example of bad ticketing practices. Interesting read

 
At 11/19/2007 11:34:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

hello to all -

im sitting at work and just wanted to leave a couple of thoughts here.

my name is Jeff, im 22 years old, and i was at both shows this past week.

I just wanted to underscore how lucky I feel to be able to have experienced all of this.

I only recently have really gotten the Neil obsession bug. I got Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere about a year ago. Now I have aroudn 20 of his albums and he has become my favorite artist.

Seeing him perform "Ambulance Blues," "Mellow My Mind," "Cowgirl In The Sand," "Tonight's The Night" etc just blew my mind. The "No Hidden Path" from Friday was just phenomenal. What great energy and passion he still has.

also, what a great sounding venue. it kind of sucks that the off-beat clapping sounded just as clear as the music, but nothing could have ruined these shows - even if someone's cell phone did ring right behind me during the "He has a different story for every set of eyes" line during AB on Thursday ( i was fcking pissed).

My previous favorite artist was Springsteen, and while I still love his early records and the live shows I have collected over the years, I believe Neil has a certain rawness and irreverance to him that Bruce just lacks. You gotta figure Neil is goign to be playing dirty guitar solos until his final moments.

Also, I met some nice folks in the crowd. I have waited to get in "the pit" a couple times at Bruce shows and have found that, apart from those with me in the frnot, it is often just a 'wine and cheese' type crowd at his shows. they go to 1 show a year, take like a ridiculous Hummer limo and sit in a luxury box while yelling for 'dancing in the dark.' I hate those people. They are the ones killing mainstream concerts.

But this all goes to further emphasize how cool it was to meet some of the folks around me this past weekend. These people knew music and loved music and I just had a great time seeing the shows and being in the total atmosphere.

What a great time. Long live Neil Young.

 
At 11/19/2007 10:47:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Been listening to Neil for 30 years and absolutely loved his show at Constitution Hall Friday night! The only problem is you pay $100 dollars per ticket you have the right to talk to your wife standing next to you without some idiot behind you telling you to shut up.I probably forgot more Neil lyrics than that bozo ever knew.Long May You Run Neil

 
At 11/20/2007 10:10:00 PM, Anonymous Potomac said...

This is a great site that I just stumbled upon! Excellent reviews of Neil's shows. Glad I didn't read them before going, so I was surprised at the set list and encores. I went to the Thursday 11/15 show at D.A.R. in DC and sat about 10 rows back center. While I agree with all the comments here about it being better without people shouting out song suggestions and the like, in my opinion it was too reserved. To see Neil in that setting was phenomenal. I've seen him in arenas (Spectrum), outdoor venues (Merriweather Post) and now in a theatre. All entirely different shows at different stages of his brilliant career. To walk out of the place with Like A Hurricane, my favorite Neil song, closing it out - it just doesn't get any better. Keep on rockin', Neil.

 
At 11/22/2007 01:50:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I loved the show and everything about the music on the 16th but want to throw in my 2 cents of input in case Neil is reading.

Lose the red phone. The music is so excellent, the red hotline or whatever it was supposed to be seemed like an unnecessary gimmick. Who was calling you? Why? There was no discernible context or association with other aspects of the performance.

The phone and the descending pirate bird seemed incongruous with the music we were enjoying. Honestly, when that bird came down I thought we were experiencing a Spinal Tap moment.

 
At 11/24/2007 07:58:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

That bird is a part of history...right from the Rust Never Sleeps tour! I was so glad to see it come down. Yeah, it's kind of a hippy spinal tap moment but in the best way possible.

 
At 11/26/2007 08:55:00 PM, Anonymous Allen said...

Been a fan of Neil since 1971 so I traveled from Texas to see the D.A.R. Thursday show with my 28-year old son who lives in DC. What a treat to see Neil still rocking and loved the electric set that he put on. Good to see him backing his wife too...maybe if more of us did that then our lives would be sweeter...ya think !!

 

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John Lennon and Neil Young


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