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Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Chicago/Rosemont, IL Concert Reviews: 12/9/08

Photo by Tom Cruze Sun-Times

From :: CHICAGO SUN-TIMES :: "No one can gripe at this version of Young" by Jim DeRogatis:
"And, thanks to both the passion of the performances (I've never seen Young deliver more fiery guitar outside of his legendary garage band Crazy Horse) and his refusal ever to solely pander to expectations (the more-than-two-hour show also included a hefty chunk of still-unrecorded new material), it never seemed a bit like nostalgia or witnessing anything other than a musician still at the peak of his creative powers."

Neil Young will be performing tonight at Allstate Arena, Rosemont/Chicago, Illinois.

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

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At 12/10/2008 01:50:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Best show I have seen for maybe 40 years, maybe since the WHo first played Tommy aat Woodstock...his playing and his voice...what a show.....anyone know what's up with the letters...that was a puzzle the whole show...

At 12/10/2008 01:57:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Just got back and a few thoughts...the band was a lot tighter than Crazy Horse on the Horse tunes but it really made Rockin' In The Free World much more alive than with the Horse. While they lacked the "it" factor of Crazy Horse and the jams of Love And Only Love and Cowgirl seemed short, Cortez was really inspired. The highlight of the night for me.

After seeing Neil 12 times since 1993 I must say that this one was towards the bottom in terms of my favorites. It was a good show, but I'm used to him being great (like night 2 last year at the Chicago Theatre). The real drag was the 4 pack of new songs that are embarrassingly horrible. Pretty lame music matched with really preachy, corny lyrics and they fell super flat. I hope I never have to hear those songs again. The A Day In The Life ending was fantastic though. This is a good band that can cover all of Neil's genres well, but they don't excel at any of them.

I was on the floor and the acoustics were surprisingly good. The only sound issue was on Neil's acoustic guitar. Way too much amplification and it sounded too sharp & crisp.

At 12/10/2008 04:26:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

That was the best show I have ever seen. He did an awwsome job on rockin in the free world,old man and the day in the life ending was also really good. The whole show was amazing.
Uncle Neil Rocked!

At 12/10/2008 05:26:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

What do you mean with "The real drag was the 4 pack of new songs that are embarrassingly horrible." Can you really think that ?

At 12/10/2008 07:46:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"What do you mean with "The real drag was the 4 pack of new songs that are embarrassingly horrible." Can you really think that ?"

Yeah...I didn't think I'd ever say that about a Neil Young show either. Ever. Other than these 4 songs I think it was a really good show.

At 12/10/2008 08:25:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Neil kicked the shit outta all of the concerts I've seen (Springsteen, Stones, Tom Petty And The Heartbreakers). And those four new songs, pretty good, though not as good as the others on the set list. I'm actually looking forward to an album with those songs on it. An awesome show from the greatest thing outta Canada since......well, I'll think of something Canadian that's better.
Sam from Evanston, IL (E-TOWN!)

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

I agree with just about everything said above. The sound was great. Love and Only Love & Cowgirl were too short, but still good. RITFW was a good as I've heard him play it in awhile. The Cortez "Dancing Across the Water" stretch lead into a guitar frenzy that made my night. The four new songs were clearly inspired by Neil's Lincvolt obsession of late (which I fully the support), but the song were paled in comparison to the hits-filled night. But that is some steep, steep competition, wouldn't you say?

At 12/10/2008 11:37:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

how long do the openers play for? first band, second and how long before neil&co start?

At 12/10/2008 11:59:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

From all of us in LA where Neil cancelled the date in October and thus deprived us of seeing him on this tour, we salute those of you who were lucky enough to see him and we are all green with envy.

At 12/10/2008 12:14:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Can someone please mention around what time the general admission section began filling up... im going to MSG on monday and trying to gauge what time I should head in there!! Thanks...

At 12/10/2008 12:25:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I love everyhing Neil has done. Sometimes I don't care for new songs but in time I get to appreciate them. I believe that the new songs put forth last night will in time become classics also. Neil is so commited in all he does and the new songs I believe will be not exception. After a slow drive form Milwaukee during snow it was great to come home on clear roads. Thanks to the road crews around Chicago.

At 12/10/2008 12:39:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

What a true showman Neil is! This was my first Neil show and I loved it. The first hour just flowed great, had my groove on and then Neil changed pace with the 4 pack and it was ok but changed the mood of the crowd. Those letters were strange! The oncore "A day in the life" was ok, kind of ended the night on a downer would have like to see Heart of gold instead. A bonus, we were the third car behind Neils 3 bus caravan when we got on the express way we pulled up along side
the bus. It had a huge see thru window with a large flat screen playing I beeped the horn and guess who pops his head up and looks out with a smile? Neil!! He gave me and my girl friend a memory that will last. Thank you Neil for the great performance and playing your HEART out for us! How about releasing The Heart Of Gold DVD on CD? Rman

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

We arrived at approx. 6:30, and the General Admission wasnt very full at all, we were probably only 6 people from the stage and probably could have scooted closer if we really wanted to. But, the bad weather and people arriving late probably had something to do with that. So as for the 4 new songs, were they like completley new, as in that was the first time they have been played live?

At 12/10/2008 12:48:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

This was my first time seeing Neil, and I hope it's not the last. All I can say is "Wow."

For a musician who's so unpredictable, I thought he delivered a generous number of crowd-pleaser classics (Cinnamon Girl, Cortez the Killer), so it's pretty hard to begrudge him a few new songs too. I thought the unrecorded stuff was not bad, and would probably grow on me if I heard them multiple times. And like I say, if he's willing to serve up Powderfinger to me live after all these years, he can follow it with Row Row Row Your Boat for all I care.

For the posters who asked, the openers were different for the Chicago show (Everest and Dr. John) than the rest of the tour from what I hear. In any case, Everest was first at 7:00 for about 40 minutes, then Dr. John for maybe another 40. Then a fairly long break before Neil & co. went on a little after 9:00. Both were kind of "eh." I'd rather have seen Wilco.

At 12/10/2008 12:56:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

thanks for the opener info. how long was neils set?

At 12/10/2008 01:18:00 PM, Blogger designschicago said...

Neil played for ~ 2 1/2 hrs. 5 new, unreleased songs, 'Light A Candle', a lovely acoustic number being far and away the best song of the bunch. Of course the crowd didn't 'get into the new songs', neither did the audience that heard 'Harvest' the first time!

I, too was surrounded by first-timers. The amazing thing about Neil is he delivers the show for all. Nothing 'phoned in'. Though nothing can compare to the specular, intimate 2 nights at the Chicago Theater last year, Allstate show was a solid performance.

Wilco didn't play Chicago because Wilco opens for NO ONE in Chicago. Period. As the Chicago Sun Times review stated, it totally robbed hometown fans of an extraordinary night and a certain sell out. Wilco fans probably pooled the money and went to Detroit.,CST-FTR-dero10.article


At 12/10/2008 01:34:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

2.5 hours. holy shiite!!!

At 12/10/2008 01:37:00 PM, Blogger Five Hairs High said...

The letters in the background was from the 2007 concerts. Each song would have a different letter lit (Just like the Painter painting a new picture or adding to an old canvas for each song). During Pegi's set it would have the "P" lit up. At the end of the show, the letters that were lit could spell out "Neil" and "Pegi" -I think I just became a "total fan" of Neil's with that observation.

At 12/10/2008 03:22:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Day two listening to Sugar Mountain/Live At Canterbury Hall 1968.....It's just unbelievable. Can't believe such a recording existed. The entire thing is smooth as honey to listen to and the conversation that Neil is having with the audience is killer. I would give anything to be transported back to that night and been in that audience. Can't even imagine. Neil you are musically the only one who could continually blow the whole world away....Live at Canterbury is UNREAL. xox

At 12/10/2008 04:43:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Holy sheist, what a show. I was expecting it to be a little bland because of the venue, and because his next stop was carnegie in NY, so I figured he might save all the good stuff for that show. But wow. I love Neil so much. All the songs he played, he played them with style, he was jammin hard the whole night. Seeing this concert makes me want so much more Neil in my life. I have to see him again in concert. All the songs he played were good, I probably wouldve enjoyed the 4pack if I knew the songs, but they are all a blur now.

But the ending, my god. When I went to this, I was expecting a softer neil, but when he ripped the strings off his guitar, and was playing it with a broken string, I had complete faith in Neil being an incredibly legitamate rockstar that will be rockin in the freeworld for life. This concert solidified my view of Neil as being one of the greatest performers, musicians, and people on this earth. He very easily couldve played a promotion concert, like when I saw bob dylan at the chicago theatre, but he mixed it up for everyone, old songs and new songs. He really seemed to be there to please everyone in the audience, and not to just to make money and keep himself popular.

At 12/10/2008 06:26:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I gotta tell you, that part where he put on the gov. of illinois hairpiece was the best! LMAO!!!

ritchie in chgo.

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

The show was AMAZING! The band came out and ripped through seven monstrous songs with barely a pause. Neil's guitarwork was incredible, and Cromwell added an amazing dimension to the traditional CH songs. They then dialed it down for an amazing string of subtler tunes, the highlight being "Oh,Lonesome Me". It is great to see Ben Keith go to work on the pedal steel. Of the 5 new songs he played, I truly only cared for "Light a Candle". That being said the show was great. Not quite as enjoyable as the two shows at the Chicago Theatre during the Chrome Dreams tour...but still great. After all of the rumors about openers, I was very disappointed o see Dr. John. His set felt like forever, probably due partially to he intense excitement of seeing Neiler.

Poster W/O a Handle

At 12/10/2008 07:45:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Alright first off the show was good and all, liked the new songs but still left pretty disappointed. My friend had won some meet and greet passes and we were looking forward to MEETING Neil. I have to say I didn't expect much maybe a hi and bye which is what happened but what left me salty was the fact that the security guard told us the band was in such a hurry to catch their plane, which I suspected a lie since they usually drive the bus, anyway there was only about 8 to 10 of us and these people only wanted a minute of his time to sign something or ask a question. The only place the band flew was out the door and some of those fans were crushed! These FANS devote so much time and money listening to Neil and finally get to possibly one of the greatest moments in their lives, yet he can't give a couple minutes back!? COME ON NEIL!! You better keep on searching for that heart of gold. Peace

At 12/10/2008 09:44:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The two new songs "Fuel Line" and "Light A Candle," were very good, in my opinion, and I can't wait to hear them on record. I agree with much of what's been said about the show here, What I'll remember most was Neil's passion and intensity, especially on "Spirit Road," and his heartfelt singing on "The Needle and the Damage Done." What other performer delivers that kind of honesty and blood and guts like that night after night?

Also: "Cortez" was earth-shattering. I've seen Neil 5 times now, and that song was unreal. When he turned it up and exploded into that final solo- wow. . .

-Al in Chicago

At 12/10/2008 10:09:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I too saw Neil last night at the Allstate, and also had Meet & greet pass'es. Ive been a fan of Neils for more than 30 years. I seen him 4 times and have always dug his shows, but last night was over the top, Cortez and Cowgirl along with other tunes set a new high for me. After the show Neil was thru the few of us in under 20 seconds. At least I got a hand shake from him, but no autograph's and no photos. The show was one of the best Ive seen.

At 12/10/2008 10:53:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"thanks for the opener info. how long was neils set?"

2:03. He played from 9:13-11:16pm.

At 12/10/2008 10:56:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I was at ALlstate Dec. 9th. Neil looks great. Full of energy, grey hair flying. Thankfully he has lost the baseball cap covering him at Red Rocks on the GReendale tour. LincVolt is powering him up too? He seems so real even playing those old hits again, not afraid to shake it up ever so slightly. Does he fly or take the bus?

At 12/11/2008 05:08:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

... The letters

The first four from the left are my initials, I kinda liked that, and they've all been in exactly the same positions right through last autumn in Canada, the Europe spring concerts and the summer festivals in Europe.


Interesting reading these comments about Wilco - a band I've never heard of, I thought it must be Wilco Johnson when I read the name but I guess it's not. I'll check them out.

At 12/11/2008 10:18:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

At no point did Neil put on a Blago wig. Don't you think the reviewers for the major newspapers would have pointed that out?


At 12/11/2008 10:35:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

A crazy thing happened…we knew that “A Day In The Life” would be the last song and that the Allstate Arena’s parking lot has a history of being a total f’n mess after shows so we scooted along the floor and took off right as Neil was walking off stage. We made it to our car in a minute or two and as we headed towards the exit of the parking lot we found ourselves 2 cars behind Neil’s 3 bus motorcade and getting a police escort to the interstate (Ben Keith was sitting in bus #2 and we could clearly see him along with the huge flatscreen TVs in each one). We basically followed them on to I-90 towards the city but they veered off on I-294 heading south (maybe to a private airport somewhere??).

Neil & the band didn’t waste any time leaving after the show.

At 12/11/2008 10:38:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

everest played for maybe 40 minutes (during which time, i was mostly up in the balcony enjoying a drink before heading down to the general admission floor (no drinks were allowed on the floor of the arena).

dr. john was awesome. As usual. he played for roughly an hour.

He played some very old, voodoo, ‘night-tripper’ shit.

(guess from some of the previous reviews, he maybe wasn't the most appropriate choice for the crowd, but am a big fan. wilco wasn't chosen because they are planning for their annual chicago residency in chicago in february, and figured that this concert would be overkill. willie nelson, originally announced, backed out for various reasons...)

Neil was great! Highlights for me were…cortez the killer, mother earth, the needle and the damage done, light a candle, get back to the country, and cowgirl in the sand.

was center stage on the general admission floor. maybe halfway between the front of the stage, and the soundboard behind me. noticed a couple of times, the sound bouncing off the back of the arena if i turned my head towards the side. other than that, everything sounded great all night long.

during the encore, the only letters illuminated behind the stage spelled out 'N-E-I-L'.

At 12/11/2008 06:27:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Neil Young ALWAYS delivers and he did @ Allstate Arena on Tuesday night. Decided to go last minute and bought a ticket outside for $20!!! Best $20 I
have ever spent. Cotrez was over the top, hilite of the night for me. Neil plays with such passion!
I enjoyed the whole show and the sound was surprisingly good. Thanks to the fan who sold me my ticket....he sat right next to me. Long may you
run Neil.

At 12/12/2008 11:24:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Does anyone happen to have or know about any recording of this show?

At 12/12/2008 08:17:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have a tradition of taking my kids to their first Neil show when they turn 12 or 13. I could not have been happier with this particular show for my third sons first Neil concert. I have been to more Neil shows than i can count over the last 30 years,this one was perfect for a newbie...

At 12/15/2008 12:26:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Does anyone know if there is a recording of this show floating around?


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