Concert Review of the Moment: New York City 12/18/07
The Concert Review of the Moment is from New York City Concert Reviews: 12/12, 13, 15, 16, 18, & 19/07 by Anonymous:
After last night's (Tues) concert my first reaction is how fortunate we are to have Neil Young. He is truly in a class by himself. Like all the shows I've seen going back to the 80s he was exceptional and I walked out completely blown away. For starters, the acoustics were superb and the hall magnificently ornate and it seemed like there was scarcely a bad seat in the house. Credit goes to Neil for handpicking this hall and his enthusiasm for it was apparent when he commented on its beauty on a few occasions. The intimacy of the show enhanced the experience ten fold. I'd pay $200 any day to see him in a small setting and hopefully he'll consider doing another tour in small theatres in the near future.
I was struck by how authentic his old songs sounded in every aspect from the sounds made by the instrument(s), to his guitar riffs to his voice - it all seemed so reminiscent of its time. If you closed your eyes during Ambulance Blues it could have been 1974 as easily as it was 2007 ... there are many musicians for example Dylan (and this is not a knock on Dylan because I love Dylan) who have classic studio versions of songs but the live version falls short and is not similar at all to the classic.
Neil seemed to capture the sound of each tune so precisely and yet he simultaneously brought them to life in ways that were mind blowing. Maintaining the integrity of the song completely but taking it to incredible heights. I have to admit "Everyone Knows This is Nowhere' wasn't in my top ten songs I was hoping to hear (even after seeing the tour's set lists) but his rendition last night was totally smokin'.. It was one of many reminders that its ALWAYS better to let Neil pick the set list.
In the first set there were many highlights besides Ambulance Blues which, had he come on stage and played just that and left, it all would have been worth it... He played 'Love Art Blues' masterfully and 'Mellow My Mind' was so well done. The organ on 'A Man Needs a Maid' was another example of his attention to detail in re-creating the sound from 1973. The 'Cowgirl' was classic, with the guitar licks just unreal. His voice strained slightly on a few high notes but in context it was completely inconsequential. He closed the set with a version of "Out on The Weekend' that seemed to me to be one of the great highlights of the show and might well be the best 'Weekend' he's ever played. (Would love to hear thoughts on this from anyone who was there or hears the bootleg).
The surprise in the second set for me was how rippin' his new tunes were. I didn't have big expectations but the band was really tight and the new songs were as smokin' as any electric Neil I've heard over the years. That's a bold statement but he played those songs with a freshness and crispness that you had to see to believe. Mr. Soul was epic, Winterlong, which he dedicated to Danny Whitten, sounded so authentic you could close your eyes and feel like you were at a show in the 70s only with a better Neil because he's now got 25 years more experience under his belt... I think the show peaked somewhere in the middle to end of the 2nd set but no matter there were so many memorable moments ...
In summary there's nobody like Neil, nobody with such a mastery over some many great songs written over decades ... for those willing to focus on him and his music and not the annoyances of clueless hecklers yelling requests and the like its hard not to walk away from this tour marveling once again about what a treasure Neil is and how fortunate we are to be along for the ride...
Long May You Run!!
For more, see New York City Concert Reviews: 12/12, 13, 15, 16, 18, & 19/07.