Neil Young's new release ""World Record" w/ Crazy Horse is now available for pre-order. Order here
(Please shop locally & independently. But if you can't, we appreciate your supporting Thrasher's Wheat by clicking this link or YOUR COUNTRY's FLAG. Thank you!!!)
<-Older Posts Blog Home Newer Posts->

Friday, August 01, 2008

Concert Review of the Moment: Hop Farm Country Park, Paddock Wood, Tonbridge, Kent, England Concert Reports: 7/6/08

Photo by Simone Joyner

The Concert Review of the Moment of Neil Young at Hop Farm Country Park, Paddock Wood, Tonbridge, Kent, England: 7/6/08 is by J Phimister:
I just have to post my thoughts and feelings on the Hop Farm Festival, which took place on July 6 in a lovely corner of the Kent countryside. The bill was solid: Primal Scream, Supergrass, My Morning Jacket, Rufus Wainwright, and my own personal god Neil Young. How could I not attend?

Well, the weather would have been one reason not to. I guess it's all part of the Festival fun, but fuck me did it pour down. And personally, I can think of a number of things that I'd rather do than spend nearly four hours getting soaked. I love rock'n'roll, but that's just taking the piss. And it just wouldn't let up! It was like the meteorological equivalent of Jim Davidson: unpleasant and relentless.

I had arrived early, to make sure I caught every act, and must first tilt my hat at the sterling organisation. A bus picked us up at the station, there was no queue to get in (the perks of getting there early, maybe) and every act was pretty much on time. Plus, the bars were nice, the food varied and interesting, and the sound was great for an outdoor venue. Thumbs up to the organisers!

But, by the time the first act, the pretty decent country-rock quintet Everest, came on, it was pissing down. Despite my hood and umbrella, and their excellent set (well, for a first band on, it was tight, smooth and melodic - can't really ask for more at 12.30 in the afternoon!), it was pretty dispiriting, so I went to take refuge under a tree during the second set, by folky 18-year-old singer Laura Marling.


And so onto the big one. The Loner. Shakey. The Godfather of Grunge. Again, I could feel the butterflies. How would my idol hold up to the scrutiny of this youthful (ok, there were some oldies in there, but more than a few scrawny indy kids too) crowd, many of whom I suspected were mainly there for Primal Scream? The massive crush to get to the front suggested at least that he had a loyal following in there, and of course, I needn't have worried.

To put it succinctly: Neil. Young. Fucking. Rocks. I am beginning to think there is no-one quite like him out there. I'm pretty sure they must have been able to hear this set in Calais! He kicked off with a beyond-grungy version of "Love and only love" and never looked back. Old Black, his trusty Gibson Les Paul screamed, roared, squealed, moaned and howled over nearly ten minutes as the old fucker stamped around the stage, his face screwed up in an expression of sheer, what? Anger, hurt, delight? It's hard to tell with old craggly-face, and it doesn't matter. What matters is that no one, not Elton, Macca, Dylan or Prince, plays with such fire and rage in their bellies as Young. And this was just the first song!

The stage set up, identical to the one from his Hammersmith Apollo show of a few months ago, had me wondering if I was going to get the same set. Again, why was I worrying? Have I no faith in the man? After all these years? What a cock! Some songs were the same, but there were enough surprises and jolts to have me grinning like a teenager whose just got laid for the first time and is about to tell his mates. "My My, Hey Hey" came next, and, if possible, things got louder. The feedback roared out of the speakers like a monstrous sonic kraken (a pretentious metaphor, I'm aware, but sod it), and I was half expecting earthquake reports this morning. These were My Bloody Valentine-worthy noise levels. We then got the first surprise in "I've Been Waiting For You", a song that goes back 40-odd years and still sounds like it could have been written by, oh, My Morning Jacket. Or Guillemots. Or fucking Primal Scream! Then came "Spirit Road", which continues to grow on me, especially when watching Neil, all of 62 years old, jumping up and down like Pete Townsend circa 1978. I can't enumerate all the delights. We had pure grunge, of Nirvana or Dinosaur Jr. intensity (only better than both) with "Fuckin' Up", a superb acoustic set (maybe slightly more predictable - "Old Man" and "Heart of Gold" are the only songs I believe he has played in all three gigs of his I've seen), and then a heart-rending finale.

I''ve seen Neil three times. Each time I've cried. And I was at it again as the thundering riff of "Words" rang out across the crowd. Who were enthralled - talk about blowing away the competition! I could actually see several jaded twenty-somethings turn and gaze goggle-eyed at their friends, stunned by the intensity and power of this old fogey and his equally ageing mates. They were like a gang, and his guitar was the gang-leader, exhorting its cohorts with each screaming solo or driving riff. And, y'know, it may not be what it was in 71, but Neil's voice still rings out strong and true, and "Words" was the perfect demonstration. It stretched out for over ten minutes, but even that didn't compare to what came next: his rousing new set-closer, "No Hidden Path", easily the stand-out track of Chrome Dreams II and of his live show. It just goes on forever! Each time you think the latest solo is the last one he suddenly leaps back for more, dragging more and more notes and noises from his protesting axe. At the end, it had become a raging, boiling mass of feedback and squalls as Neil raged, "Ocean skies/Sea of Blue/Let the sand wash over you" over and over as the rain and wind battered at the stage and us poor souls, who couldn't give a care in the world, such was the trance he had us in. And yes, the tears flowed down my cheeks as the joy gripped my heart and I was yet again reminded of why Neil Young is the most important living music artist today.

His encore song, a ragged version of The Beatles' classic "A Day in the Life" that out-did the original in terms of sheer intensity and power, and even managed to be more psychedelic, as Young once again abused poor Old Black, and more and more twisted, elegiac notes sounded out across the Kentish valleys. He ended up ripping the strings off the neck in a possessed rage and pounding the poor axe on the floor to drag out even more feedback (as guitar tech Larry Cragg looked on in obvious horror), before storming off with nary a glance at either his beleaguered (but ecstatic) audience or his bandmates. Punk still lives! It's 62 years old and it's name is Neil fucking Young!

Afterwards, I wandered in a daze for a few minutes, still stunned, still overjoyed. Then it was time to pile into coaches and head back to London and normality. As we cruised past dark fields and empty office buildings, I put my iPod on and tuned into "Down by the River". To keep the dream alive a bit longer. Seeing a true rock legend, an icon, a legend, a hero, will do that for you. You just don't want it to end. Despite the ringing in your ears...

Let's make this one the Concert Review of the Tour! Thanks J. Phimister!

More on Neil Young at Hop Farm Country Park, Paddock Wood, Tonbridge, Kent, England: 7/6/08.


At 8/01/2008 11:12:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

What a great review! J. Phimister rocks too.

Wish I could have been there but this review is the next best thing. Well done that writer!

Davie D.

At 8/01/2008 11:17:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Did it rain at almost all of Neil's European gigs? All these reviews mention pouring rain.

At 8/01/2008 11:20:00 AM, Blogger Greg McGarvey said...

that was great!

At 8/01/2008 11:55:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Neil Young can perform. J. Phimister can write.


At 8/01/2008 03:37:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

He continues to bless us with unbelievably good set lists.

At 8/03/2008 04:27:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

no - it didn't rain on all the shows. i know for a fact that the denmark and spain shows were without any rain.

At 8/03/2008 11:17:00 PM, Blogger said...

Phimister, we owe you a debt.........what a great review. The tears were evident in your words; Neil left his Spirit on you, and you passed it along to us at home......thanks!


Post a Comment

<< Home

<-Older Posts Blog Home Newer Posts->

Willie for a Nobel!

Willie Nelson for Nobel Peace Prize
for Farm Aid and his work on
alternative fuels, and world peace initiatives.

Farm Aid

Go Farmers Markets!

"In the >field< of opportunity
It's plowin' time again."

Silverline Communications

(Home of the FarmAidians)
Tecumseh, Ontario, Canada
(519) 737-7979

This blog supports free speech!

Demand justice for Aaron:
Support "Aaron's Law" and inquiry into his prosecution

(... he didn't kill himself either...) #AaronDidntKillHimself

Induct Neil Young & Crazy Horse
Into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame

Please Help Support Independent Media &
Non-Corporate Advertising
This Blog's For You!

The Hypocrisy of the Mainstream Media

It's Been Called The
"Missing Link" in the Ditch Trilogy


Sign the Release "Time Fades Away" Petition
Join The 10,000+ Who Have Already Signed


Neil Young Appreciation Society

Sugar Mountain

Neil Young Setlists
Rust Radio


Bands Covering Neil Young songs


Official Neil Young News Site

The Bridge School

The Bridge School Concerts
25th Anniversary Edition

**100% of Proceeds to Benefit Bridge School***

The Essential Neil Young

Fans Favorite Neil Albums

Top 50 MP3
Neil Young Song Downloads

Top 10 Best Selling Neil Albums Today
Support Thrasher's Wheat
via Purchases from:
United States - us.gif
Canada - canada.gif
United Kingdom - gb.gif
Germany - de.gif

Neil Young Songbook Project

In the fields of wheat

"Children of Destiny" will NOT be harvested
However, the chaff will be burned by unquenchable fire

Neil Young + Promise of the Real

Europe 2016 Tour Dates

2015 Rebel Content Tour

Neil Young & Crazy Horse
Alchemy Concert Tour Reviews

Fall 2012 N. America Tour
Spring 2013 Australia/New Zealand Tour
Summer 2013 Europe Tour

Europe Summer 2014 Concert Tour
Neil Young & Crazy Horse

Thrasher's Wheat Radio Supporters Go To Europe

Neil Young Films

2010 MusiCares Honors Neil Young

Features Elvis Costello, Crosby Stills & Nash, Sheryl Crow, Josh Groban, Ben Harper, Elton John, Norah Jones, Lady Antebellum, Dave Matthews, James Taylor, Keith Urban, and others.
Proceeds from sales go to MusiCares,
which helps musicians in need of
financial and medical assistance.


"There's more to the picture
Than meets the eye"



Neil Young FAQ:
Everything Left to Know About the Iconic and Mercurial Rocker
"an indispensable reference"

Paul McCartney and Neil Young


"You can make a difference
If you really a try"

John Lennon and Neil Young

"hailed by fans as a wonderful read"

Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young:
The Supergroup of the 20th Century

Director Jonathan Demme's Exquisite film "Heart of Gold"

eddie & neil
Eddie Vedder and Neil Young

Revisiting The Significance of
The Buffalo Springfield

"The revolution will not be televised"
... it will be blogged, streamed,
tweeted, shared and liked
The Embarrassment of Mainstream Media

Turn Off Your TV & Have A Life

"Everything Is Bullshit" +
"Turn Off The News"
Turn Off the News (Build a Garden)

Neil Young 2016 Year in Review:
The Year of The Wheat

Kurt Cobain
Kurt Cobain and Neil Young

Neil Young's Feedback:
An Acquired Taste?

Young Neil: The Sugar Mountain Years
by Rustie Sharry "Keepin' Jive Alive in T.O." Wilson

"the definitive source of Neil Young's formative childhood years in Canada"

neil & joni
Joni Mitchell & Neil Young

europe 1987.jpg

Bob and Neil

So Who Really Was "The Godfather of Grunge"?

Four Dead in Ohio
kent state
So What Really Happened at Kent State?

The Four Dead in Ohio

May The FOUR Be With You #MayThe4thBeWithYou


dissent is not treason
Dissent is the highest form of patriotism

Rockin' In The Free World

Sing Truth to Power!
When Neil Young Speaks Truth To Power,
The World Listens

Emmylou Harris and Neil Young

Wilco and Neil Young


Bruce Springsteen and Neil Young


Elton John and Neil Young

Lynyrd Skynyrd and Neil Young


The Meaning of "Sweet Home Alabama" Lyrics

Neil Young Nation -
"The definitive Neil Young fan book"

What does the song mean?

Random Neil Young Link of the Moment

Bonnie Raitt and Neil Young

I'm Proud to Be A Union Man


When Neil Young is Playing,
You Shut the Fuck Up

Class War:
They Started It and We'll Finish It...

A battle raged on the open page...
No Fear, No Surrender. Courage

"What if Al Qaeda blew up the levees?"
Full Disclousre Now

"I've Got The Revolution Blues"

Willie Nelson & Neil Young
Willie Nelson for Nobel Peace Prize

John Mellencamp:
Why Willie Deserves a Nobel



Love and Only Love

"Thinking about what a friend had said,
I was hoping it was a lie"

We're All On
A Journey Through the Past

Neil Young's Moon Songs
Tell Us The F'n TRUTH
(we can handle it... try us)

Does Anything Else Really Matter?

"Nobody's free until everybody's free."
~~ Fannie Lou Hamer

Here Comes "The Big Shift"

Maybe everything you think you know is wrong? NOTHING IS AS IT SEEMS
"It's all illusion anyway."

Propaganda = Mind Control
Guess what?
"Symbols Rule the World, not Words or Laws."
... and symbolism will be their downfall...

Brighter Planet's 350 Challenge
Be The Rain, Be The Change

the truth will set you free
This Machine Kills Fascists

"Children of Destiny" - THE Part of THE Solution

(Frame from Official Music Video)

war is not the answer
yet we are
Still Living With War

"greed is NOT good"
Hey Big Brother!
Stop Spying On Us!
Civic Duty Is Not Terrorism

The Achilles Heel
Orwell (and Grandpa) Was Right
“Emancipate yourself from mental slavery.”
~~ Bob Marley

The Essence of "The Doubters"

Yes, There's Definitely A Hole in The Sky

Even Though The Music Died 50+ Years Ago
Open Up the "Tired Eyes" & Wake up!
"consciousness is near"
What's So Funny About
Peace, Love, & Understanding & Music?


Show Me A Sign

"Who is John Galt?"
To ask the question is to know the answer

"Whosoever shall give up his liberty for a temporary security
deserves neither liberty nor safety."

~~ Benjamin Franklin


(Between the lines of age)

And in the end, the love you take
Is equal to the love you make

~~ John & Paul

the zen of neil
the power of rust
the karma of the wheat