Concert Review of the Moment: Lyon, France Concert - 6/25/05
A Concert Review of the Moment of Neil Young in Lyon, France, 6/25/05 by Benji:
Was a the gig last night too, and also in Paris last February.
The vibe was different last night. Neil started really strong with old black seemingly melting in his hands and trying to jump of away from his grasp. He was really holding his own, riding the wave pretty close to the source. I did get a sense that something was not right right with the old Fender Deluxe though.
Then came the acoustic part, opened by some pleasant banter about how we'd improved the hall since he'd last played it. The music, for me, was not improved by the heavy orchestration (my God that drummer was way too polished for Neil's ragged approach and really damped things down throughout, bring us back Ralph Molina who is too busy trying to stay on beat to overindulge in "drummer drumming" dross). The sound system was also a little bit high heavy and ringing, though still very good for this kind of big hall. Sure i've been spoiled by the pristine acoustics of Grand Rex on Valentine's were it was absolutely crystal clear, best ever!
Then just before Unknown Legend, Larry Cragg failed to bring Neil's mouth organ on time and he seemingly got a bit pissed off. "You should ask for your money back" he advised us "I don't understand, I gave all these guys a piece of paper!" Did he also say "Highly paid technicians" or words to that effect? Anger was palpable. From then on the vibe turned a bit raw, with Neil plowing through his stuff, but still on high form.
The crowd loved it!
Then on No Hidden Path came that amazing fall when he tripped right stage over a floor monitor and Old Black's lead got stuck on the top of the old harmonium, with Neil on his back. It really looked as though that hurt and Neil held the guitar aloft, horizontal, banging away still, well and truly entangled. He finally managed to rise up, everything still connected, and him to the music. He then seized the guilty monitor and threw it a few inches back and addressed a unfriendly hand gestures to the techs right stage. He then majestically treated us to another 10 minutes of his epic track, clocking in at 28 min (i think). It seemed as though he might have hurt right-hand finger(s) as he looked at them a few times. But Neil can't be stopped, not by age, techtrouble or pain.
The encore was truly mind blowing. That was A Day in the Life takes a walk on the wild dark psychedelic side and it floored everyone in the hall. Neil clearly looked hurt - Larry had to help him saddle up Old Black. When he finally broke its' strings, it was a titan breaking free from the chains of fate! moving stuff, almost painful to watch!
On the whole, great gig, even if, this time, I felt as though Neil was hanging on to the Bronco rather than levitating above it in amazing grace as he had done on Valentine's in Paris. Fighting the muse rather than cavorting in the Elysean Fields with her. So that is epic solos where melody out of chaos where they had been elegant crystal sculpture magically emerging from some galactic elemental soup.
Ok, so I did wax lyrical. This man is a force of nature, long may he run! Dear Neil, may you be safe, be happy, be healthy, live with ease and may we all all have half your energy when we catch up with you agewise!
benji (from Lyon)
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