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Sunday, December 07, 2008

Detroit/Auburn Hills, Michigan Concert Reviews: 12/7/08

From Oakland Press By GARY GRAFF:
Young came out the gunslinger, with "Love and Only Love" setting both a lyrical and instrumental tone as he crouched low over his black Les Paul, playing guitar solos like spraying so much electric buckshot around the stage. And after making highly critical remarks of the Detroit auto industry, Young -- who was briefly signed to Motown in the mid-'60s with his band the Mynah Birds -- appeared anxious to affirm his ultimate solidarity; in "Hey Hey, My My" (Into the Black)" he changed the lyric to "Detroit City will never die," and he also shouted "Motor City!" repeatedly during "Rockin' in the Free World."

Thanks Pretty Pegi!

Neil Young will be performing tonight at Palace Of Auburn Hills, Auburn Hills/Detroit, Michigan.

Got a report? Drop a comment below. No registration required.

Check Sugar Mountain for setlist updates. Also, see Grid Chart on Rust Radio.

Also, see Neil Young 2008 Fall North American Tour and Concert Reviews and the right, middle sidebar for continuous real time RSS feed updates.


At 12/08/2008 12:25:00 AM, Blogger Unknown said...

Outstanding Show! That guitar never stood a chance!


At 12/08/2008 12:53:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great Show!
Two new songs - 'Light a Candle' and 'Fuel Me Up?!'
Had to toss his harmonica into the crowd midway through 'Unknown Legend'. (Harmonica was in the wrong key). After song ended he was given correct harp and proceeded to play the last half of the song over saying 'we paid a lot for the tickets so we deserved it!'
Show was over 2 hours!!!! 22 songs total!

'doesn't mean that much to me to mean that much to you'


At 12/08/2008 01:11:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Neil was incredible tonight as usual. The new song was introduced by Neil as 'Fuel Line' and then he stated "if we mess it up you won't know, no one's ever heard it". Also of note, in the first verse of "Hey Hey My My" he changed the line to "Hey Hey My My Detroit City will never die" in a show of support for the Big 3. Don't know if the whole tour has been filmed, but tonight's show definetly was. There were camera's all over the place and at the mixing board were three monitors with views of the different camera angles. His "you paid the big bucks" comment after 'Unknown Legend' was priceless. He truly is a legend ! !

Chesterfield Twp., MI

At 12/08/2008 01:28:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

'Fuel Me Up?!'

At 12/08/2008 05:16:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Today is December 8th 2008.
It's a special day to light a candle and remember John Lennon.
For those who don't have a candle there's a nice candle on YouTube.
With special thanks to NY for this great new song.
R.I.P. Dr. Winston O'Boogie. PEACE and LOVE.

and please watch this one too:

At 12/08/2008 08:28:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great show last night. Neil always amazes me with his energy. The best I've ever heard Old Black sound. Like was previously posted, the guitar didn't have a chnace at the end of A Day in the Life...

New song last night "Fuel Me Up" Kind of a call and response song that was fun.

With all the new songs, it seems that Neil is definitely working on a new album that has a change theme to it. Change in energy and change in government.

Time to drive back to Cincy.

Patch of Ground Person

At 12/08/2008 10:24:00 AM, Blogger Mike said...

What time did Neil come on? Were there any acts prior? How long were they on? If my tickets for his show in Philly say the show starts at 7pm what time can I expect Neil will take the stage? Thanks!!

At 12/08/2008 10:35:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Neil was vintage and classic! The sound from his old equipment burned in smooth. His voice showed no sign of months of touring. Neil never disappoints you with his set list. Festival seating worked out great.Istood right in front of him all night. He seemed to be enjoying himself the entire show-----and so did I!!!!!! Oh yea, I won the tickets on WCSX 94.7 Frank, Macomb, MI.

At 12/08/2008 11:06:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

How did the GA work? What's the process? Was there any vip type rope-off or was it a fair process for the reg. GA tix? Thanks.

At 12/08/2008 12:08:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Everest were on from 7:15-7:45. Fun set. Wilco were 8-9 or so. Lots of material and an impressive amount of noise.

Neil came on around 9:20-9:25 and launched into the set. His ferocity on "Love and Only Love" and "Hey Hey My My" tapped into the local zeitgeist and made me think it would be a great show - the shout out to the city did too. From there, though, he kicked into a low key and very tasty "Everybody Knows This is Nowhere." The Restless rhythm approach was weird here, though, and continued to be a sticking point throughout the night. They got a little horsey on a kick-ass "Powderfinger" that the crowd actually got excited for.

As an aside, the crowd was really disappointing. Couldn't keep applause or shouting up for more than fifteen seconds at a time for this beyond-classic stuff. Ech.

"Spirit Road" was next, and got a cold response from the crowd. Masses streamed back to the refreshment stands. I admit, it was a middling performance - it was much better last year.

Cortez came next, with the band playing a new arrangement that weirdly evoked "trip-hop" artists like Portishead. There was no reggae syncopation here, just a steady, light, machine-like, but off-kilter drumbeat. This was the first of the radically new arrangements and the only one that really grabbed me.

Cinnamon Girl was sorta horsey but not loose enough. Fun, though, always fun.

Finally Neil went acoustic with a really ragged "Oh Lonesome Me." I liked it, but again, it was more affecting last year.

I don't hate Mother Earth, but I do hate her natural anthem. It was great to hear Neil play that beautiful organ, but if only it had been a different song, you know?

The new song, "Light a Candle" or whatever, was next. It was a nice little acoustic number, but it's a note-for-note ripoff of the old Al Jardine (Beach Boys) song "Looking for Tomorrow (A Welfare Song)."

The Needle and the Damage Done was only marred by the fact that the crowd sang along. Nobody but Neil deserves to sing it, guys.

From there, Unknown Legend. A crowdpleaser. Was he making fun of us with that "you paid the BIG bucks" crack?

Heart of Gold, then, "You liked that? I'll do another one like that. I only have one more like that." You mean Man Needs a Maid? Oh, no, it's "Old Man." Fun. Then "Get Back to the Country." Last year's eclecticism was nice, this greatest hits approach has other virtues.

Then the new stuff. It's awful, but since I hadn't been following the tour closely I had no idea it existed so it was riotously fun. Song after song from the new LincVolt concept album rolled out: "Just Singin' a Song" had no content beyond the AP news blurb I read six months ago, "Sea Change" was straight from Sesame Street or a children's album (though it was my favorite of them), "Fuel Line" (he announced the title before he played it) was written FROM THE PERSPECTIVE OF THE LINCVOLT, and "When Worlds Collide" was just kind of weird - not sure what I thought of it. I cracked wise to my wife during Sea Change, "this is from the LincVolt concept album." Little did I suspect it was true!

Cowgirl in the Sand was a bizarre choice after this stuff, and a bizarre version to boot: about twice as fast as usual, with jazzy modern rock drumming and extremely fast guitar playing. I appreciate the attempt to change things up, but it didn't work well.

But, hey, all's well that ends well. "Rockin' in the Free World" was a blowout the likes of which I've rarely seen in my concert-going career. How many false endings were there? How many times did we get to chant the formerly ironic now post ironic chorus? How weird was it that he substituted Obama for poor old H.W. as a "man of the people" - does he not like Obama anymore, or did he just decide to make the last verse not make sense? (p.s. on January 20, Rockin' in the Free World will sure lose a lot of kick.)

Then, one and only one encore, but the only one we need. On Lennoneve, a mindblowingly incredible cover of A Day in the Life that single-songedly made it a concert I'll remember fondly forever. Not knowing it was coming made it such a great surprise.

All in all, it was a pretty middling concert with some mountainous highs and lows at Mariana Trench depth. Very little connected emotionally like the acoustic set did last year, most of the experiments were failures, the new songs are embarrassing at best and dreadful at worst, and Detroit still didn't get Hurricane.

But the bizarro new stuff, played to a Detroit crowd (many of whom will be losing their jobs or already have), was incredibly memorable for its awfulness and for the tastelessness of playing it here at the bottom of the rustbucket. People streamed out of the concert hall in numbers unseen since Neil launched into "Let's Impeach the President" back when CSNY was in town two years ago. It might just go into the history books, like that third performance of "Tonight's the Night" in that show back in 1974, or other great moment's in Neil Young's confrontational history.

That's what's great about Neil: even when he's at his worst, there's a greatness to his unpredictability. Give me that over consistent mediocrity any day. My only real complaint is that "Ordinary People" was the one song from his catalog that the occasion required, but, hey. So it goes.

At 12/08/2008 12:18:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

does anybody know what his tshirt was?

All in all it was a great concert, one of the top I've seen him in.

At 12/08/2008 12:33:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Of the Oakland Press

AUBURN HILLS -- During one of several brand new songs he played Sunday night at the Palace, Neil Young declared that "just singing the song won't change the world."

It can, however, make the part where Young is singing at any give moment,a better place.

That was certainly the case at the Palace, where Young and his exceptional Electric Band churned out a generous and energized two-hour and 15-minute show that made it well worth any overtime the boomer-heavy crowd had to pay babysitters. It was his second area performance in 13 months -- following a November 2007 concert at Detroit's Fox Theatre -- and commemorated the 40th anniversary of the Canadian-born singer-songwriter's solo career with a broad swipe through his repertoire and a more than passing nod to the future.

Young came out the gunslinger, with "Love and Only Love" setting both a lyrical and instrumental tone as he crouched low over his black Les Paul, playing guitar solos like spraying so much electric buckshot around the stage. And after making highly critical remarks of the Detroit auto industry, Young -- who was briefly signed to Motown in the mid-'60s with his band the Mynah Birds -- appeared anxious to affirm his ultimate solidarity; in "Hey Hey, My My" (Into the Black)" he changed the lyric to "Detroit City will never die," and he also shouted "Motor City!" repeatedly during "Rockin' in the Free World."

Throughout the rest of the show Young pulled out favorites from both his stockpiles of electric hard rock ("Everybody Knows This is Nowhere," "Powderfinger," "Cortez the Killer," "Cinnamon Girl," "Cowgirl in the Sand") and mellower country/folk ("Oh Lonesome Me," "The Needle and the Damage Done," "Heart of Gold," Old Man"). He performed the environmental paean "Mother Earth" on pump organ, and after he accidentally grabbed the wrong harmonica for "Unknown Legend" Young decided to reprise the song -- " 'Cause you guys paid the big bucks!" -- from the solo through to its end.

The six-song batch of new material, meanwhile, lent a fresh edge to the show, even if playing four of them consecutively during the late part of the show cost him some of the crowd's focus. The tunes -- "Spirit Road," "Light a Candle," "Just Singing a Song," "Sea Change, "Fuel Line" and "When Worlds Collide" -- found Young in a mostly hopeful, post-Obama election mood, singing about a "transformation of civilization" but also cautioning against complacency and encouraging a continued level of engagement.

That was a heady message for a big arena rock show, but entirely in character for someone who's long reveled in the opportunity to both challenge and entertain his audience. Young certainly closed the show on that note, too, encoring with a version of the Beatles' studio opus "A Day in the Life" that had the kind of winking, "for the heck of it" feel that went out on the kind of limb few "classic" rockers care to tread late in their careers.

Ironically, special guest Wilco, which has staked its reputation on chance-taking both on stage and in the studio, played it surprisingly straight during its 50-minute portion of Sunday's. Following a politely received opening set by Everest, the Chicago-based sextet eschewed expansive and occasionally dissonant arrangements in favor of versions of songs such as "You Are My Face," "I Am Trying to Break Your Heart," "Handshake Drugs," the soulful "Jesus, Etc,," "Impossible Germany" and "I'm the Man Who Loves You" that hewed closely to their recorded takes.

That doesn't mean Wilco lacked anything, however. The general strength of the performances and of the songs themselves aptly conveyed the group's tuneful but idiosyncratic approach -- which Wilco shares with Neil Young -- and also likely won over any of Young's fans who weren't already familiar with it.

At 12/08/2008 01:01:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

To RPI; It was Jesse Jackson who used the phrase "Keep hope alive", FYI.

At 12/08/2008 01:09:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Set List:
Love And Only Love
Hey Hey, My My
Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere
Spirit Road
Cortez The Killer
Cinnamon Girl
Oh, Lonesome Me
Mother Earth
The Needle And The Damage Done
Light A Candle
Unknown Legend *
Heart Of Gold
Old Man
Get Back To The Country
Just Singing A Song
Sea Change
Fuel Line
When Worlds Collide
Cowgirl In The Sand
Rockin' In The Free World
A Day In The Life
Well to start: Parking was $15, and that sucked, the weather at show time was a balmy 13 degrees according to the thermometer on my car, and it was freaky cold with no one there!! I couldn't even give my expenisve extra away last night. No one wanted to go, and when I got there, no one was there!!! So no one to miracle it to either. Cold will do that!
No drinks allowed on the floor. I was allowed water with my diabetic braclet. It was a Filmore style concert and you had to sign a release waiver before they'd give you a braclet, name, rank, serial number, two sets of phone numbers, ID, etc. Stating if something happened down there the Palace was not liable. No bracelet no floor access. Good Lord Bill Davison, strap on a set, and let your city rock!
First off there were 2 opening bands Wilco/Everest
I walked in as Everst was playing, they just stated and I realized that without effort I was 4 rows of people back from the stage. No one at home. But by the time Wilco came on the place was a little more filled, but still so many empty seats and the floor was maybe 1/3 filled up.
No security but no one smoked, you'd get the occaisional wiff of something skunky but by in large it was a sober show for all.
The first band Everest was acceptable but nothing to write home about.
Wilco was a hoot, I remember now why they frustrate the hell out of me.
They are so tight, turn on a dime, get you in the groove, get your mojo working and boom, right turn Clyde! Still tight, tight, tight, and the guitarist Nels Cline is something else, not certain what, but his style speed and maiacal approach to the instrument, is something else. A not to be missed player for sure. Lacks some tonal body to his playing but technically he's at the top of the pack of the best there are. Nice!!!

Into the first round of songs, leader Jeff Tweedy just set his guitar down and sprinted off the stage. No one seemed alarmed or to notice much??
Well a bit later, Tweedy confided that he wasn't feeling well, a touch of the stomach flu!!! And he was playing!!!! Still putting on a blazing performance for certain.
Folks go see Wilco!!!!! Tell em Jeff sent ya!


So after a very strange start here comes Neil! By now there were about 1/3 of the Palace filled and still miles of room between the floor crowd and the mix board. OUCH!!! I guess unemployment, super rediculous ticket prices and the parking cost kept people away in droves!!!
Came out at 9:30 and proceeded to project the wall of distorted guitar noise that is more or less a Young trademark.
This is clearly a "Harvest" the cash tour:
Evidence: Wife Pegi on backing vocals (she does a nice job)
His nephew (I was told) on backing vocals, and his guitar tech coming out to play banjo and other specialty instruments. Everybody working two jobs in a single job, just like you! Conserve the cash tour!
Neil made a crack to us in the front rows about: This is for you, you paid the big bucks!!! Uhm, ok Neil if you say so!!! Butt muncher!!!
His set as evidenced by the set list was a little un-even and strangely eclectic. Kind of all over the place.
Now then: Neil and his band Dead Rust, ooops, have been at this forever, and they can play this stuff flawlessly in their sleep! So even on an off night they're pretty damn good.
Still it was one of those; is it me, or is it them nights, so I checked the crowd, dead and lifeless until well into the final set.
No errors, just no inspiration. They played well but it was a mechanical performance.
Neil opened with Love And Only Love / Hey Hey, My My / Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere, they were done well but you could just feel the lack of energy and the crowd was not very enthusiastic. I think I was the only one moving at all. And I wasn't feeling it!!!! And to quoe the Divine Ms M, Yes I too can dance to a transistor radio!
Cinnamon Girl was a passable plus, Cortez failed to rock like it should have, the Needle and the Damage Done was where things finally started to pick up. Neil then he went into: Heart of Gold and afterwards asked the handfull of rowdy drunks to our left who kept yelling "She rides a Harley Davidson"
"Did you like that, and do you want another one?" which they did, and he launched into "Old Man". Thene a down turn with Get Back To The Country / Just Singing A Song / Sea Change / Fuel Line and When Worlds Collide. Worlds Collide I thought he did well. You can tell he's not played this one to death and still enjoys doing it!
Cowgirl in the Sand, Still Rock in the Free World (I think he meant it on this tune) and finally ended with a day in the life.
So overall not a bad performance, nice set list, just a little flat and off the mark for Neil and his newly renamed by me "Dead Rust" band!
A long long long time ago, most of you were likely not born, an accoustic Neil sat on a stool in a very small venue, and told us, the crowd; that a long time ago some one told him the music business was business, and not art. Neil said at the time he told them they were nutz, but now, he understands what they mean, it's a business and he's doing his job.
And so it was last night, a very competent performer working his family business, just not as lively and inspired as i would have liked.
It still beat a night home watching football, and that is saying something.
You can still rock in the Free World, Somewhere after the braclet fiasco and the no beverages on the floor rule, I had to wonder! Can we?


At 12/08/2008 02:41:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm 22, been a Neil Young fan since Junior year of high school, this was the second time I saw him, and it totally blew me away - If I could have fallen down backwards during every song, I would have done it, and that's all I have to say.
OK and that I got to hear "Hey Hey My My" and "Rockin' In The Free World" made my life.

-Matt S

At 12/08/2008 04:36:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...


I've been trying to keep up to speed on the concert reviews, but this was the first I've noticed of comments about "updated arrangements" on songs like Cortez and Cowgirl. Is it just those two songs or more of them?

I want to know what to expect here in Chicago tomorrow night...


At 12/08/2008 05:34:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Huh. Jesse Jackson? Guess getting into NY in 2001 gave me a different spin on it than otherwise :) I remember GWB after 9/11 saying in nearly so many words, "Keep hope alive! Got fuel to burn, got roads to drive. Keep yer wallets open!" (You see how that worked out.) Thanks for the history lesson!

As far as different arrangements, I'd say "Everybody knows..." had an unusual rhythm part though the guitar was standard. Notably different sound than last year. The heavy stuff (L&OL (kinda), Hey Hey My My, Rockin', Cowgirl) was heavier in a more modern metal-ish way, primarily in the drumming. Faster than normal, too - Rockin' was faster than the studio version, which is itself one of Neil's fastest songs. "Oh Lonesome Me" was a bit different, but it's hard to say exactly how.


At 12/08/2008 07:52:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't agree with some of these blog's Ive read. In my opinion Neil Young and his Electric Band never sounded better.He had Old Black screaming away and put everything he had into a show that wasn't half sold, most likely because of the sad estate of our economy in Michigan. Personally I feel Neil realized this and went the extra mile to make sure this would be one of his most memorable shows. Frank ,Macomb

At 12/08/2008 08:07:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I must admit I won these tickets not really knowing what to expect from a Neil Young show but he blew me away. He sounded great and the band jammed. I'm wish I would have listened to more of his stuff years ago. His voice was great and the energy he put into it made for a good night.

At 12/08/2008 08:50:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Followed Neil since 1970 when I was 11. Here's the thing . . . he went the extra mile last night . . . he gets the economy in Detroit. This was basically a greatest hits with a few lesser known. But then we got a new one, "Filler up." My daughter and i watched from the third row on the floor and we both were totally blown away with his electric sets. I don't think anyone compares "keep on rockin in the free world"

At 12/08/2008 10:27:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Gregor - I may have been stood right next to you - I had on a long-sleeve yellow t-shirt and my wife and I were just to Neil's left. Next to my wife stood a guy and his daughter. If that was you you'll recall the girls I mention in my little mid-review rant...

I posted this on Rust so I may as well post it here:

I've seen Neil 8 times now and never any more determined, animated, or emphatic than he was last night in Detroit. He made it pretty clear early on that he was there to make a connection with one of his favorite towns....

Love And Only Love was spot on, nothing particularly noteworthy other than Neil seemed like he was ready to rock with fresh batteries from the day off

Hey Hey, My My - The "Detroit city will never die" line came right at the start of the song and got the crowd going, and Neil delivered the best version these ears have ever heard. He went ballistic on this one and a few college kids I know who were stood behind me (and there mainly to see Wilco as only casual Neil fans) were left in pieces.

After a few solid renditions of Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere, Powderfinger, and Spirit Road (which was prefaced by a comment about the guitar he used looking almost exactly like his first ever guitar),
he delivered the most note-perfect Cortez I've ever heard, returning to the "Dancing across the water" refrain several times before gently returning this masterpiece to earth. Neil was clearly feeling it, and so were the rest of us - but he was just getting started.

He rocked out Cinnamon Girl and dragged it out with three versions of the closing guitar coda - once to stage left (really playing it up to the side of the bowl), then to stage right (hand over his heart and
then back up in the air numerous times), and then finally in the center. Being roughly third row just to Neil's left, you could see from his facial expressions and emphasis on the words that there was additional meaning behind the lines "Ma, send me money now, I'm gonna make it somehow, I need
ANOTHER CHANCE." It was absolutely epic.

[Begin General Admission Rant]
It was unfortunate that right as Neil was rocking out the end of Cinnamon Girl, two of the most ignorant concert morons I've had the displeasure of being introduced to shoved and elbowed their way right in front of us - a couple of Cinnamon Girl wanna-be's. Up until that point, our section of the Gen Admission crowd (the first four or five rows of us just to Neil's left) had been extremely cool - covering each other for trips to the restroom, chatting between sets, and rotating spots every once in awhile so most of the people got a shot at leaning up against the barricade. We had ALL been there at the venue since about 5:00 - some before - and had put the time in driving the circulation out of our legs standing in our spots from 6:00 to

These two literally shoved and elbowed their way in, the brunette promptly lit up a joint and was blowing smoke in our faces, and when she went a few rows back to get another light, I blocked her entry back to the front. "I've gotta get back where I was," she demanded, and I said "I don't think you were." She cussed us out, threw me an elbow to the ribs and then pushed her way between my wife and I, shoving a few of the probable Rusties in front of us (was it one of you with the yellow Jimi Hendrix Experience T-shirt and Cubs hat?), nearly knocking a few of them over.

I wished she and her moron pal could be escorted to the absolute highest up nose-bleed seat in the
rafters and handcuffed to it for the remainder of the show. She soon tried to instigate an ill-conceived clap-along to "The Needle and the
Damage Done" (not exactly a clap-along song) and act like Neil's number one cheerleader. It was too bad she and her moron friend had to put such a negative tone on what was and would continue to be an unbelievably brilliant performance from Neil. It was far and away the ONLY time I wished there'd been some security, because these two absolutely deserved it. But I digress...
[End General Admission Rant]

Determined to put Moron 1 and Moron 2 out of my mind for the rest of the show (which was tough), I was not going to let them ruin it, and Neil was going to help. The acoustic set started and Neil was still
in top form. Larry brought out a lyric sheet for Neil to use during "Light a Candle," which I thought was easily the best of the new songs. As I understand a version of this is now available in the
torrent world, I won't repeat any of the lyrics, but Neil's consciousness of where the world stands and our responsibilities in and to it are certainly his primary motivation these days - whether it's specifically through all the car-referencing songs, or more generally such as in this tune.

Neil's great attitude came through in Unknown Legend, as the harmonica solo never got a chance to take off, and he instantly tossed it out to the first row of the crowd (I think it ended up in no-man's land between the barricade and the stage, though - did anyone ever get that?). He strummed through the portion where the harmonica solo would be, looking around for Larry to deliver another, and cracking smiles with us and the rest of the band. Afterwards he said something like "I guess those numbers and letters are there for a reason," and
"Since we're in Detroit and you paid the big bucks, let's do this." Instantly with the new harmonica in place he went right back to the beginning of the solo, and the band playfully made their way through
to the end of Take 2.

After Heart of Gold, Neil smiled and said "Well do you want another one like that?" Upon the roaring approval of the crowd he went into Old Man, which of course brought Larry out for his banjo spotlight.

After Just Singing a Song and Sea Change, Neil turned to Ben on the steel guitar and said "Fuel line, Ben....since we're in the Motor City we'll give you another one..."

Fuel Line had a lot of Linc-Volt inspired lyrics (Anthony Crawford had a Linc-Volt tee shirt on, which Neil pointed to a few times), not surprisingly, and some harsh words for the companies who claim to be "green and clean" in their advertising but in reality are nowhere near. Not the greatest new song but interesting and a nice treat to get a debut. Detroit was obviously a fitting choice.

Cowgirl In The Sand was another epic, and as the first time I'd ever seen it live in person it was a huge treat for me. Neil went back into his trance for the long and meandering solo and it was pure bliss.

Rocking In The Free World brought all the thunder and power it ever has, and Neil returned to deliver the refrain a seemingly endless number of times, dragging out "Mo-tor Ci-tyyyy" after each one. I
can't wait to hear a recording of this show as it was the most on fire and passioned I'd ever seen Neil. After RITFW he toured around the stage thumping his heart with his fist and pointing at the crowd. He wanted us to know how much Detroit had meant to him and he gave more than I'd ever expected.

A Day In The Life was brilliant and although obviously a few of us knew it was coming, it was quite an electric feeling once everyone else got the idea and went nuts. The long rock fest at the end
culminated in Neil tearing all the strings out, using them to drag out some more feedback, and then tossing one that had come completely free out into the first row (quite the souvenir). With a touch of the Xylophone, Greensleeves came on along with the house lights, and it was back to reality. Neil played from 9:15 until about 11:40, making this easily one of if not the longest show of the tour thus far.

Random notes:

Everest was great - I saw their acoustic set at the bar (with an "Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere" soundcheck and a cover of Dylan's "You Ain't Going Nowhere") and they rocked out a nice mesh between
earthy folk rock and almost Coldplay-like atmospheric rock. Very cool.

Wilco was also a nice treat. Jeff Tweedy said he was excited to be there, "even if I might not look like it - I've got a stomach bug." It didn't take anything away from his performance though, and they
delivered a hits-laden set of a little over an hour.

The merch was decent - there were three hooded sweatshirts for $55 and a wide range of t-shirts for $35 in addition to all the usualaccessories and supporting act paraphernalia.

The timeline: we got there at 4:45, waited in the lobby until about 5:30 (could hear the soundcheck), at which time they asked everyone to sign a General Admission mosh pit waiver and get a wristband. Shortly thereafter we were let in to the atrium where we again lined up, and were let in to the floor at about 6:00. After the immediate rush from
all the Gen Admission crowd, we were only about six or seven deep, and it would stay that way for the next half hour or so. If you want to save yourself some waiting time and pedal discomfort, and still get a nice spot for General Admission, you don't have to be lined up nearly as early if the rest of the shows are anything like the Palace.

Got back home at about 4:15 after a whiteout and white knuckle drive from Detroit to Traverse City.


At 12/09/2008 08:01:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Now I'm starting to read the truth about Neil at the Palace thanks for helping me get my point across , that this is another NEIL show that I'll be talking about for a long time. After listening to AFTER THE GOLD RUSH in 71, I've been buying his work and seeing his tours since, hope he keeps touring maybe I'll be able to keep rocking and rolling in my fifties & sixties with a little help from Neil and his friends, Frank ,Macomb

At 12/09/2008 09:03:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is the 7th time I've seen Neil and other than last year in Chicago (which was pure bliss in a small venue), I thought this was Neil at his best. My only complaint was the crowd in the seats. I was in the $176 seats about 4 rows back and I wish I would have purchased the general admission seating, because at least then I would have been able to stand. The crowd around me were duds and I had 2 guys from Canada behind us talking the whole time. Even when Rockin in the Free World came on the crowd sat down after the first 30 seconds of the song so I finally sat down, too.

Brian, I think I saw the 2 morons you described the next morning at the Hyatt Place breakfast in their pajamas and no shoes. One was barely dressed and they still had their bracelets on.

Anyway, back to Neil. I am in absolute awe of the man. It has hard to believe he is in his 60s and can still put on a show the way he did in Detroit. His voice is awesome and he plays as if he is in his 20s and it still looks like he is enjoying himself. Whoever wrote they thought Neil was just going trough the motions was not at the same show I was. I did not care for the Fuel Line song, but I thought it was a nice touch for neil to play the extra song for Detroit.

I hope he continues to tour, but it would be nice if he would come back to Ohio sometime! Having to travel, hotel, and concert tickets is quite a chunk of change for a Neil Young concert, but so far he hasn't disappointed me!

At 12/09/2008 11:58:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Cinnamon Girl:

Rockin' In The Free World:

Hey Hey, My My:

A Day In The Life:


The Needle And The Damage Done:

Love And Only Love:

At 12/09/2008 05:21:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I unfortunately was a drunken fool and don't remember a lot of the show. I had a blue backwards hat on and ended up near the front towards the end. Ten next day I had a wad of red tape in my pocket. Anyone know why?

At 12/09/2008 05:55:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Everest played 30 minutes
Wilco about 50 minutes (Jeff had real bad stomach Flu and had to leave for the band to finish the song at a normal guitar switch. He apologized and told the crowd though he didn't look like it he really was glad to be there.
Neil played 2 hours 16 minutes (22 songs)AWESOME!! Longest show on the tour to date!

At 12/09/2008 06:33:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...


"I unfortunately was a drunken fool and don't remember a lot of the show. I had a blue backwards hat on and ended up near the front towards the end. Ten next day I had a wad of red tape in my pocket. Anyone know why?"

Are you kidding me? That was YOU? You almost got pummeled near the end of the show by a guy you insisted on shoving your way by. I was only a few feet away and you were pushing like crazy until you ran into someone who was not going to let it happen. Fortunately for you you backed off after a couple tries.

At 12/09/2008 06:48:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ooops. Not usually that guy, I don't know why I was so messed up. Anymore info would be appreciated... especially about the red tape.

At 12/09/2008 08:23:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Detroit show was great. BOB, His Tshirt had a picture of Frank Zappa on it. Zog

At 12/09/2008 08:59:00 PM, Blogger cookkenusa said...

Neil Youngs performance at the Palace in Auburn Hills, Michigan was "EXPLOSIVE." From the opening song until the encore of A Day In the Life the Man and his band pounded out hit after hit for two and one-half hours..and if the crowd may have not been..Neil Young was totally "wired" and the age of sixty-three he was jammin and strokin' and movin' "to beat the band."
From where I was sittin' in section 102 in the lower level the Palace looked about three fourths full of capacity which ain't a sellout but in these times and on a cold night in Michigan..the Man still can fill an arena sized venue, which I find more than amazing..but Neil Young did indeed perform an act of greatness!!
Look, I enjoyed the complete set of songs but two that I was glad to hear performed live where "Powderfinger" and "Cortez the Killer." Neils virtuosso freestyle guitar work was mesmerizing like I knew it would be..I've seen him on seveeral DVD's but this was the first time at a live performance...I'm not into drugs nor smoke but the scent off some errant fatty during these solo's would have added to the oversized smile on my face. Ah, blissful youth. Over too fast.
You know, Wilco is a decent band but I think they over synthesized too much of their songs and when Neil and his band hit their first note..well.. the difference in polish and panache was clearly audible...real G.D. rock and roll straight out of the seventies by a Master...they don't make em like this guy anymore..and I thank the Lord.
Great show Neil..thanks.

At 12/10/2008 10:15:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

~ Cheers to all the Cinnamon Girls and Cortez's trying to get just a bit closer ~

At 12/10/2008 01:51:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

so if i have general admission seats and definitely want to be no further than 10 rows deep, what time does anyone recommend I get in there to save my real estate? Thinking if neil comes on at 9:15-9:30, 7-7:30 should be good enough?

thanks all..

At 12/10/2008 03:37:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Trying to get a bit closer is one thing - throwing elbows and acting like a total jerk is another.

At 12/10/2008 04:44:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

That's basically the time frame of Everest's set - if you show up at the end of it, you'll be close to about the 10th row. The closer to 7:00 the more guaranteed you are.

At 12/10/2008 07:12:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I met the fortunate young man who caught Neil's harmonica, boy was he pumped! We had waited till most of the crowd cleared from the floor before we got up from our 3rd row seats and noticed him exit the floor and show the harmonica to security, we made our way over and sure enough there it was, plus he had also caught one of Neil's pics, I asked if we would see it on E-bay, He said there was no way he would sell it, it was destined for his collection, :(


At 12/10/2008 07:37:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Did anyone catch Neil's guitar string from Old Black that he ripped off and threw out to the crowd at the end of "A Day In The Life?" I'm not even sure it made it across the barricade (the harmonica didn't either after it bounced off some hands), but that would've been a nice souvenir as well...


At 12/11/2008 08:18:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...



At 12/11/2008 06:53:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey Uncle Frank in Macomb!

Sounds like you dug the show as much as your nephew here in SoCal at the Cox Arena show in San Diego. After 20 plus times of seeing Neil, he just keeps getting better and better. I swear he jams harder at 63 than he ever has and his guitar work on songs like "Cowgirl", "Cortez", "Powderfinger" and the opener, "Love and Only love" was pure rapture - better than a Hippie Dream.

Dang, I forgot what cynics some of you Detroiters could be. How could anyone walk aout of that show with anything but an ear to ear smile of satisfaction. My wife Michelle and I had the time of our lives. By the way, the new songs sounded great, too.

Thanks Neil for never slowing down! Hope to see you sometime soon, Uncle Frank.
Billy in the O.C.


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