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Monday, November 26, 2007

Massey Hall, Toronto: Concert Reviews - 11/26, 27, 29/07

Toronto, 11/26/07 - Photo by Jim Ross

From Frank over on (who attends about 300 shows a year in Toronto):
Electricity was the word for the second half of the show, both in the sense of the electric guitars that were now setting the tone and the energy in the sold out room. The crowd went nuts when he opened with "The Loner", and nuts again when he followed it with "Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere", and nuts yet again when he stopped after a few bars to get some feedback taken care of and started again. And so it went. Personal highlights were hearing "Winterlong" and watching as "No Hidden Path", from Chrome Dreams II, was transformed into a classic of the Neil Young canon in front of my eyes, Neil and company jamming the hell out of it and simply blowing the roof off the Grand Old Lady of Shuter Street. Simply staggering.

And they still weren't done. If "No Hidden Path" took the roof off, then the encore of "Cinnamon Girl" and "Like A Hurricane" shook the walls down to the foundations with intense, face-melting guitar fury. Massey Hall's wonderful acoustics are usually put to use preserving the detail of quieter, more delicate material but when faced with Old Black cranked through that ancient tweed Fender Deluxe, they allowed every squeal, snarl and roar to be heard with amazing clarity. More than a few times over the course of the night I broke into a shit-eating grin as I realized that I was seeing one of my all-time musical heroes in a setting that I'd never in a million years have thought I'd get the chance to and this is a night whose memory I'll cherish a good long time.

On James commented:
I have seen some amazing shows this year (Spiritualized, just over a week ago, in fact), but Neil runs away with it, easily. This is my fifth time seeing him, until tonight's sixth, and he is in the best form I have seen. Neil has lost nothing and seems to be adding texture and depth to his playing and vocal delivery. He seems to be getting younger.

Neil is standing tall, representing his generation unlike anyone else still out there playing (or not). He means every single song. I thank God for Neil's passion, because he is mine. Ambulance Blues was the finest live performance of a song I have ever seen. Hands down. I can't say enough about this show, and I can't wait to see it all over again. Wow. Simply stunning.

A super photo gallery on .: v7.0 / Concerts & Photography / Neil Young, Pegi Young @ Massey Hall, Toronto (November 26, 2007).

Reviews: The Toronto Sun, The Toronto Star, The Globe & Mail and The Canadian Press.

Photo by Frank Yang

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


At 11/27/2007 12:06:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great show...a hometown show, Neil making lots of references- and not just in songs - to Toronto. Sad Movies, he explains, referst to a movie theatre, now defunct, at Avenue and Brookfield. Jive was certainly kept alive, going back to Canada..after Journey Through the Past, Neil told a story of his Granny Jean who entertained the miners in Flim Flam Manitoba, and rambled quite emotionally for some length, in a very Massey Hall setting. Its hard to explain, but not without precedetn.

Some other stil dazed postshow thoughts: I'm sure I'm not the first person to think that Ben Keith, as a guitarist, soundwise - particularly on No Hidden Path - is far more like Danny Whitten than Poncho Sampedro. Also, No Hidden Path could well be one of the most psychedelic things that Neil has done with any band. Hurricane was apeshit strange, with some Trans-style vocals at one point (the pure Synth sections of Maid also brought this to mind).

One of the best Neil Young shows I've seen, perhaps since my first with the Blue Notes 20 years ago.

Setlist isn't online yet?
Here goes (from memory)
Hank, Ambulance, Sad Movies, Maid, No One Seems to Know, Harvest, Journey, Mellow My Mind, Love Art Blues, Cowgirl, Old Man....Standard second set with Hurricane encore

At 11/27/2007 12:29:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Just amazing. Not enough can be said. Ambulance stands up as one of the finest live performances of any song ever. It strikes me that Neil is more on top of his game than ever. His playing was so sure during the first set in particular that you knew he was still reaching the peak of his power. There is nobody representing his generation as he can and does. He feels and means every song, every performance. Absolutely phenomenal.

Journey, Cowgirl, Old Man, Everybody Knows, Spirit Road and No Hidden Path also stood tall, though nothing came close to disappointing.

Best Neil show of my career.

Can't wait for tomorrow.

At 11/27/2007 12:33:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I forgot to mention the strength of Oh Lonesome Stellar. Not to be overlooked was Show Me The Way. Neil did just that, trotting out an amazing and at times blistering solo. No words can convey.

A fantastic setlist overall.

At 11/27/2007 12:52:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Apparently No Hidden Path was that good. I mentioned it twice, as two different songs. He really let that one play out. Awesome. He put me in an amazing place.

At 11/27/2007 01:30:00 AM, Blogger Jaguar Paul said...

...probably the best concert I've ever been to....

...certainly the one I've travelled furthest to, having come over from Bristol in England especially for tonight... and it was well worth the journey, the acoustic set was beautiful, by the time From Hank to Hendrix and Ambulance Blues were done I felt the $500 on ebay for the ticket was money well spent - I walked along Isabella Street today - and to be here to hear that line in Ambulance Blues and for the past month I've had goosebump everytime I've played Journey through the Past. Love art Blues was the other highlight for me, a song I don't know well at all; it was good to hear Cowgirl - and it was good just not exceptionally brilliant tonight.

The Loner got the electric set off to a flying start - earlier I'd wished I'd had a seat nearer the centre but I was now very pleased to be right at the side so I could stand up and move! ... and everyone else just stayed in their seats - that was me on the left side aisle jumping about!

Dirty Old Man was good and Oh Lonesome Me has been a song that I've loved since I bought my first ever record - After the Gold Rush in 1970.

And the absolute highlight of the evening.... No Hidden Path - it's sounded good on my walkman as I've wandered around Toronto the past couple of days and Neil's guitarwork on it tonight was really totally, absolutely awesome.

I've got a ticket for Thursday as well, if that's as good I'll be flying home a very happy man.

At 11/27/2007 09:25:00 AM, Blogger Unknown said...

Here is a picture of the Glendale Theatre which Neil mentioned last night was the inspiration behind "Sad Movies"

At 11/27/2007 12:39:00 PM, Blogger peter j cohen said...

Can,t wait for the Dec. 7th show at the Chevy. in Wallingford Ct. or Wally world as most call the town. Great place, quite likely the most ordinary stop on this tour. Hey I should know, they don,t get much more ordinary than me. What a spot to break out the song ordinary people. pistolpete

At 11/27/2007 01:42:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

JLC, it's Flin Flon Manitoba:))

At 11/27/2007 02:43:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

did anyone else notice neil had his setlist propped up in a frame? i'm assuming it was his setlist. has he been doing that for this tour or was it framed to commemorate the special occasion?

At 11/27/2007 03:37:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Didn't see the front of the framed items at Neil's feet but the back of one was labelled "Ambulance Blues" so I presume they were lyrics.

At 11/27/2007 04:36:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

WHat time did the show start? and when did neil hit the stage?

At 11/27/2007 06:50:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Shows what I know (Flin Flon).....

I wish the Ben Keith as Danny Whitten meme would take off...

At 11/28/2007 12:24:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I just came back from the Massey Hall show, Tuesday, November 27, 2007. Amazing show. I checked out the setlist history, so I was surprised to hear him play 'Heart of Gold' and 'After the Goldrush' -we were so lucky tonight.
An announcement was made that Neil had a pre-arranged set list, so loud (annoying) requests were futile, but they did not stop. I was just happy the 'yeller' calling out for 'Cowgirl in the Sand' wasn't right behind me.
Personal highlight for me was 'winterlong' awesome. Lowlight was the @sshole security who seemed to forget what rock 'n roll was all about: no dancing aloud during the encore. If you tried to dance to 'Cinnamon Girl' he threatened to take your head off. I'm guessing that control freak likes Justin Timberlake and has a very small penis. I want to go to a rock show just once in my life in Toronto where there are no security Nazis. Maybe I have to go to a concert in Rio or something.
Anyway, Neil rules.

At 11/28/2007 12:28:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Tonight's show was awesome. A few spastic retards in the crowd, but regardless...

"Try" made another appearance. I really didn't think I'd get to hear it, outside of a possible boot, so I'm really happy that he played it. It's a lovely song. The whole evening was killer.

I was hoping for the Sultan to cap off the night, but I guess that's asking too much. Maybe he'll drop it for the third show. Atleast we got a rocking Cortez...

Neil Rocks!

At 11/28/2007 11:14:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

We just got back from the show on the 27th - What a night. I have seen Neil every time he has been in Ontario since 1987 and words cannot discribe the magic in the air at the show last night.

We had floor seats and you could feel his energy when Neil was on stage. I don't think that there is a bad seat in Massey Hall. I have never seen Neil talk so much with the audience and I am sorry to say - but it doesn't sound like Neil will ever preform "Thrasher" again. "I don't have it in me," he said after an audience member yelled it out. "But I have recorded 600 other songs that I have recorded."

I couldn't believe that when someone yelled out Woodstock, he was taken back - went back to the piano and performed the same song again.

"All my songs are the same, I'll play this song, it is the same as the other song." Then the familiar notes of Harvest.

The acoustic set was very personal; it was like he was performing in your living room.

Dirty Old Man rocked the house - everyone went nuts. Definitely a new Neil classic.

I have always loved his version on "Oh, Lonesome me"; he has always made that song the sad song it is (versus the happy orginial). He introduced the song by telling us that he played the song for an audition in Toronto, and never got the gig.

"I was never that good at tuning my guitar" as he breaks into the secong encore - You just have to love Cortez - what an excellent song to end the night on.

The 3 hour drive from Kingston is always worth it, I just wish I could have gotten tickets for the other 2 shows at Massey Hall. The perfect venue for the perfect artist.

Thanks you Neil Young for all the music and for all the years.

At 11/28/2007 05:27:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Incredible experience....what a night!

I went wanting to hear 3 specific songs...

After the Goldrush
Cowgirl in the Sand
Cortez the Killer

Neil played all 3!

All the other songs were great, and seeing Neil rock out on the stage after all he has been through in this past year or so was incredible.

I am so glad I went to the Tuesday show, I have never been so excited as when I heard those first few notes of Cortez, when they stopped(to retune Neil's guitar) it seemed like a sick joke. Then they started up again after Neil retuned his guitar, lol.

Perfect night, I wish I could go again on Thursday!

P.S. I tried to like Pegi's stuff but it just isn't for me. She seems nice though :)

At 11/28/2007 07:01:00 PM, Blogger Adam said...

I was there Tuesday night too. Ended up getting my seats moved (by the ushers) from the upper balcony to the first row of the lower balcony, right against the brass rail, dead centre. The seats were amazing and Massey is an incredible venue. I never, ever, thought I would see Neil playing those songs in such an intimate setting. What a night! He's still on top of his game.

At 11/28/2007 07:56:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I attended the Tuesday night was my very first time seeing Neil Young and it was more than i ever expected it to be! By far the best concert I have ever attended, a dream come true to see him live. I'm wondering if anyone has any good pictures they could send me? I was on the 3rd level and didn't have a good enough view to get pictures, plus MH staff are total nazis, so any are appreciated..I'd love to have some to commemorate the night.

At 11/28/2007 10:31:00 PM, Blogger Unknown said...

Amazing shows. First show was the best show I have ever seen. I was super dissapointed that there was only a three to four song variance between the first and second shows. Definately the first show was better. There was much better energy with the crowd. The crowd was louder and the interaction was better in the first show. I am looking forward to the third. This time I will only request songs he has done on this tour like Love Is A Rose, Campaigner, and Tonights'The Night.

At 11/28/2007 10:46:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Spirit Road plays as I write,
I'm here in Toronto for these concerts - let your spirit grow - these are more than concerts, this man is an inspiration - be inspired - we are priviliged to have been open to this man's music - if you have seen and heard this man listen hard to the words and be uplifted by the sound and go out into the world and make it a better place.

At 11/29/2007 12:24:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

hey Kevin, how about NOT being one of those dudes that yells out for certain songs at a gig that already has a predetermined setlist? It's not likely Neil is going to change it up!

At 11/29/2007 12:53:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I hope Neil will play 'Helpless' and 'Four strong Winds' at the third (last) concert of Massey Hall tonight. Even though I can't get the ticket of this shows.

At 11/29/2007 02:27:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

On the one hand, I'm loving reading all of these amazing reviews. On the other, it's pure agony! Neil, please come to Australia. Pleeeease!!!!

At 11/29/2007 03:03:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

What the hell is the problem with people yelling out songs ? As long as its in between songs and doesnt disturb the performance, I thought it was soomewhat NORMAL for people excited at a concert to yell out names of song they'd love to hear....especialy after paying $ 100-200 a ticket !
And now we are to the point where anouncements are made prior to the show asking people not to yell out songs.Holy shit, thats beyond belief and a real turns off.As someone who has gone to concerts for 40 years, it just gets more and more depressing the state of music and concerts.Sorry Neil,that's fucked up. Why not just have police near every aisle so they can just remove and arrest anyone who ,for a $ 200 concert ticket dare gets excited and yells out the name of a song they want to hear. Kinda like going to a baseball or football game and being told you cant chant or boo !
And what happened to being able to smoke pot at concerts ? Most of these places will throw you out in a second, where back in the day, they wouldnt dare !!!!
Obviously the whole concert attitude has changed, and many people no longer feel "free" at a cocncert..... something we went to concerts to feel before.
Some younger people won't get it , but it was much more fun, happy and comfortable going to concerts years ago where you could "let loose" and show your spirit !
Maybe they should just put concerts on pay-per-view, so friends could get together and watch it the way it should be !

At 11/29/2007 03:55:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sorry dude, that's what you get at a high priced show composed of mostly older wealthy people. I'm from the younger generation who was lucky enough to find neil. Most younger people do get it, they just go to shows they can afford and in the right atmospheres are still very often able to dance, yell, and smoke whatever you want.

Expensive tickets don't buy you the right to do whatever you want, it assures you a sterile, highly controlled environment. Unfortunately, the freedom you aren't feeling at concerts anymore is a reflection of what's happening in society.

At 11/29/2007 06:28:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Come on guys, you pay your money and you make your choice.

You go and see Neil and Crazy Horse at a festival & you can smoke as much as you like and shout out 'Southern Man' till you're hoarse(accidental pun)but Massey Hall is a bit different.

If I'm in a field next to a jerk I can move but I paid $500 for Mondays ticket and $400 for tonights and whilst I was next to the side aisle Monday and could get up and dance about tonight I'm gonna be up in the front row of the gallery with god knows who sat next to me. If they start shouting - synchronicity or what Southern Man has just come on the radio - anyway I hope I get to be sitting next to someone nice tonight - I'm seat 117 - Lillybelle (my little girl is Abi Lillybelle) Right it's six thirty, an hour to showtime - and yes I will go in and listen to Pegi again!

... and the radio station predict an unknown song to close tonights show !!!

At 11/29/2007 07:56:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Tonight's show was awesome. A few spastic retards in the crowd, but regardless...

Nice turn of phrase there Fletch. I think the term 'spastic' actually refers to conditions similar to cerebral palsey doesn't it? And people with that condition (like Neil's son) aren't retarded. That kind of a comment wouldn't go over too well at a Bridge School Benefit I wouldn't think. Pull your head in...

At 11/30/2007 12:13:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I was at tonight's show and Monday...

Hank, Ambulance, Sad Movies, Maid, No One Seems to Know, Harvest, Journey, Try, Mellow My Mind, Love Art Blues, Heart of Gold, Old Man.

SetII - standard
Encore - Cinamon, CRAZY Tonight's the Night, The Sultan

Not much to say now but there were distinct differences between the two nights, owing partially to crowd dynamics and partially, I'm assuming to Neil's mood...he was much more excitable, maybe a little tipsy, nto as exact but far more intense. Ambulance Blues on Monday was amazing and intricate, Ambulance Blues tonight was revelatory and dark, like Tonight's the Night. Harvest as well was unusually phrased with its suicidal imagery. More haunting than usual. And Spirit Road, which was a dozer on Monday, has potential.

At 11/30/2007 12:35:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...


...a passionate Tonights the Night with Neil playing on grand piano and Ben Keith on guitar...

...and we got to see, & hear, The Sultan...

...more comments on the hall and what a good place it is to play in - "I did so good here 39,000(sic) years ago I wasn't sure about coming back" - "If anyone trys to pull the place down I'll be back with my cousins"...

...and he referred to those cousins being in the audience together with brother Bob and sister Astrid... something about the whole family being together...

...and the audience were included in one reference to his family... and if you're reading this you're probably part of that family too...

...and he did a song that I've not heard before but I guess it was Try...

...and tomorrow I fly back to England with a couple of T-shirts (I particularly like the tie dye one - and they're made of organic cotton) & some diamond memories of having seen 2 very special concerts. Thank you Neil, thank you Toronto (T O ! - I only just learnt that "keeping jive alive up in T O" is a reference to Toronto)and thank you Canada for being a cool place to visit.

At 11/30/2007 01:16:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Thursday show at Massey Hall was an awesome tour de force of almost two and a half hours. He gives it his all folks. Spotted Gordon Lightfoot in the audience.

Hopefully there'll be a soundboard boot out soon of No Hidden Path ... this one clocked in at 19 minutes and is up there with the Bonaroo Love to Burn and Year of the Horse Dangerbird. You have to hear it to believe it.

If you've got a chance to go and see him during the remainder of the tour .... don't hesitate.

At 11/30/2007 01:02:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

retarded: slow or limited in intellectual or emotional development or academic progress
Merriam Webster

At 11/30/2007 04:42:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thrasher, just found out that Neil Young's "CSNY: Deja Vu" documentary film of the 2006 Freedom of Speech tour will be the last film of the 2008 Sundance Film Festival.

If anyone wants to know more, just search around for it, it's easy to find. There's not much more than I already said. The film just compares the Vietnam-era to the Iraq-era and how CSNY's music has affected people. Should have plenty of concert footage too!

At 11/30/2007 05:54:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I was at Monday and Thursday's shows. Monday was so special and I give the solo set the upper hand but last night's electric set was awesome. Neil was loose and the No Hidden Path went on and on with solos and grungy feedback. Tonight's The Night was a highlight with the piano rocking back and forth and Neil draped over the top hitting all the notes. Just fantastic.
As for the screamers in the middle of songs... It's all about respect. Does anyone honestly think that Neil enjoys some yahoo yelling for songs during Ambulance Blues or any song for that matter? Let the man sing and sit back and relax. Yell all you want between songs, but respect that people paid big bucks to hear Neil in a venue like Massey Hall. Some drunk guy who wants a reation from Neil ruins the moment. It's not an arena show and the times when it was completely silent in the crowd was pure magic.
Have fun, get drunk, but respect Neil.

At 12/06/2007 09:29:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

A week later -- I am still dreaming about that show. Lucky enough to get tickets to the Nov. 29 Massey Hall Show, my husband and I drove up from the states because we wanted to see Neil, and we wanted to see him at Massey Hall. We knew it would be special - like a homecoming - but it was beyond that. The last show in Toronto was created just for those of us who were lucky enough to be there. When Neil walked onto the stage, I was in awe of his presence and in awe of the love and adoration shown by his fans. We love Neil, don't we? Neil played what he wanted and he played the way he wanted. We've been reviewing the set lists -- notice that the Nov. 29 show was a little different from all the others. I was hoping for a Cortez encore. My husband for Like a Hurricane -- and we got The Sultan. wow! Even our least favorite Neil tunes like Tonight's the Night and Oh Lonesome Me were so well done and so powerful that they will remain in our memories forever. We cried at hearing Journey Through the Past. The energy was intense. The quiet was intense. We were blessed with the Neil show of our lives.

At 12/05/2008 02:38:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

At last nights Neil concert at the ACC, the new song he performed was titled "Sea Change" I believe. Quite a rockin show, but then again, since his show at Massey Hall last year, nothing can quite compare.

At 4/13/2022 08:49:00 AM, Blogger Instruments For Africa said...

Here are my reviews/memories from these concerts:


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