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Monday, December 15, 2008

New York City Concert Reviews: 12/15 & 16/08

Photo by Jason Decrow

From Music Review - Neil Young - Songs Old and New From a Familiar Face at Madison Square Garden - By NATE CHINEN:
"At 63 Mr. Young is a figure of blunt efficiency himself, and a man comfortable with his own contradictions. Here in the first of two tour-ending New York shows, he presented himself not only as a stubbornly craggy survivor but also as an avid early adapter, a holdout hippie idealist, an evenhanded pragmatist and a sharp-eyed cynic."

"At 63, his raw onstage energy is striking. Strapped into his guitar, Young writhes like a Pentecostal snake handler - head banging, hair flying and his already ugly kisser as distorted as the notes he plays when he gets lost in a musical trance."

Even Old, Young is Grand - NY Press Posted By David Callicott:
"Arena concerts aren’t necessarily my thing. But when Neil Young plays Madison Square Garden, and has Wilco open up for him, I try to buck up. So, for the past two nights, I’ve stood, or sat, in the “world’s most famous arena,” listening to what is arguably some of the best rock n’ roll music being played today."

Neil Young, Wilco / Dec. 15, 2008 / New York (Madison Square Garden) - by Lavinia Jones Wright:
"The floor of the Garden was almost completely cleared of seats to accommodate a standing audience, and the thousand fans who were devoted enough to stand for four hours straight were rewarded with an experience so intimate it seemed unreal. When Young finally took the stage in a paint-splattered blazer and Frank Zappa [ED: Emiliano Zapata] t-shirt, diving immediately into a fuzzed-out, energized of 'Love and Only Love,' it felt like being transported back in time to a crowded club."

New York - Live: Neil Young at Madison Square Garden - Sound of the City - Village Voice by Jesse Jarnow:
"Pity the bros stuck in the assigned seats 'cause down on the Madison Square Garden floor, it was a real rock show. While Neil Young shredded and warbled for two-and-a-half hours, dudes passed out down there (one during the stoner-doom jam of 'Cortez the Killer') and security guards sang along. Also Pity the bros confined comatosely to their chairs because the pace of Young's night--silver shrapnel jams from an eight-foot (!) Magnatone amp, classic strums, and long stretches of plodding songs about fuel-efficient cars--was well-served by being able to wander. That's exactly what Young did musically with his non-Crazy Horse combo."

Neil Young’s Journey Through the Past Takes a Detour: Culture and Celebrity: by Michael Hogan:
"Needless to say, Young didn’t skimp on the classics during his protean three-hour set. (“We went long, but that’s O.K.,” he said toward the end. Tomorrow morning’s coming and there’s nothing we can do about it.”) Sticking mainly with Old Black, his beloved 1953 Les Paul, and playing through an amp the size of a small building, he blasted through “Powderfinger” and “Hey Hey, My My (Into the Black)” in all their crunching glory and summoned hypnotizing sequences of bent and serrated notes on solo-heavy jams like “Cortez the Killer” and “Cowgirl in the Sand.” For anyone who has ever picked up a guitar, it was a seminar in how to combine technical prowess with the loose-muscled spontaneity that keeps rock ‘n’ roll from ever dying."

Photo by Joey "Feelin' Young"

EARVOLUTION: Young At Heart: Neil Young At Madison Square Garden By: David Schultz:
Time has taken nothing from the feisty Canadian. Numerous times during Monday night's show, Young bounded away from the microphone and careened across the stage, his guitar going through wild tremors as if trying to escape his grasp. No one would ever mistake Young’s voice for another but his incisive and defiant guitar style can be heard constantly in the artists that followed him. On “Cinnamon Girl,” “Cortez The Killer” and “Powderfinger,” Young reestablished himself as the Godfather of Grunge and the ancestor that atop the family trees of bands like My Morning Jacket and Dead Confederate.

Young has always been able to find beauty in the noise and he’s never flinched at the prospect of commercial or critical failure. That reckless spirit still lives within Young. To close the night, Young and his band tackled the nearly The Beatles’ nearly uncoverable “A Day In The Life,” finishing the song with a wall of feedback that became a backdrop for a revival of the song’s dreamy harmonies as a psychedelic peyote chant. Even when venturing into sacred and familiar ground, Young continues to find a way to transform it into his own inimitable style.

From » neil young, msg, december ‘08 by caryn:
"I think a lot about the fact that Neil’s one of those people that I will just go see no matter what I think about their particular recorded output of the moment. That he has put out some, well, albums of dubious quality, and I still went (although I deeply regret passing on going to see Trans at MSG with the stoner guys from Bayside that were in my ethics class at Fordham and had an extra ticket. They did not know what the hell to make of the show the next day).

We were talking at dinner before the first show and referred to one album as the “I almost died” album, and it’s not funny to say that, because in this case, it happens to be true. But the thing with Neil Young is that he is still a cantankerous, obnoxious and overwhelmingly powerful force to be reckoned with. We saw Ray Davies two days before Neil and all I could think was how utterly fragile he seemed - yes, he was always a glorified stick figure and he looks great and has tons of energy but the fragility came through stronger than anything else.

But not Neil."

From Let's Avoid Neil Young's Next Record - Music - page 1 - Village Voice By Rob Harvilla:
"Look, you don't need me to gas on about the restorative, stupendously surly power of "Hey Hey, My My" or "Cowgirl in the Sand," grouchy and brutal under the expert care of Neil and his pummeling electric band, his wife Pegi's cooing backing vocals the only point of warming light. His own guitar solos are luridly violent affairs—he staggers crazily about like an enraged fisherman who doesn't realize he's hooked the seat of his own pants, his spastic jerks and lurches somehow not corresponding to any sound anyone is making, including him. The effect is profoundly ugly and equally mesmerizing, and initially, it enthralls even when the set list turns away from The Beloved Neil Young Canon: "Spirit Road," off last year's Chrome Dreams II, indulges in bald-tires open-road cliché ("There's a long highway in your mind"), but plays up the horror rather than the romance: The way an endless, inviting horizon dwarfs and overwhelms all who gaze upon it can make you feel like "A speck of dust in a giant world," as he snarls tonight. Somehow it's a fitting ode to the impending death of the American auto industry. But, ah, Neil's made this connection, too, and tonight, amid luscious dips into The Beloved Neil Young Canon, we are also graced/terrorized with multiple cuts from what would seem to be an impending concept album about eco-friendly cars."

From New York City Concert Reviews:
"In between Wilco and Neil, I took advantage of all the people scrambling and moved from the 200 level down to a third row seat right at stage right. I was about 100 feet from Neil. The magnetic pull was trying to take me right on stage but metal bars blocked the way. Luckily, Neil must of felt the magnetic pull. During Cinnamon Girl, he came over to the side of the stage and rocked out the ending screaching notes of cinnamon girl. The couple of people in front of me didnt even bother to get up as I stood up and just got pulled towards old black. I just gave every ounce of energy I had as I slipped into a surreal mental state. My arms started doing these helicopter spins and my eyes were just popping out of my eyes. It did not take long for Neil to spot me and once he saw I was giving him everything I had he gave everything he had right back. His eyes locked in on me he just kept feeding the high pitched solo to me right in front of me. My arms kept just kept revolving at the speed of light as I signaled to Neil to keep it coming. I can't really compare the experience to anything that I have ever experienced before."

A Day In The Life Neil Young MSG 16DEC08

Neil Young will be performing tonight at Madison Square Garden, New York City, New York.

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 12/16/2008 01:10:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am English and last August (07) thought I would be very lucky to see Neil play live again....The idea that I would see him perform Ambulance Blues would have been laughed out of court.
Just over one year later and I have seen Neil play Ambulance Blues 5 (FIVE) times and Words once. Cowgirl in the sand acoustic and electric and...A day in the life!!!!
Come on chaps I agree that the new songs are not obvious classics but nothing can beat the way I feel about having a life that had Flying on the Ground, Cortez, On the Beach, Will to Love, Hippie Dream, Don't Be Denied, Harvest, etc., etc, and Ambulance Blues as a soundtrack.....
We all recognize what Neil has given to us - give the guy a break - he has realized his own mortality and is over compensating by rushing out material but I don't need it to be the best thing ever....I have that now....I am just happy to be able to pay whatever it costs to see him perform (7 times in one year!). Maybe next year he will play Old Country Waltz....Just for me!

At 12/16/2008 01:21:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

1:06am New York Time....just returned from the show at MSG. 4th show this year 2nd on this tour.

The show was great. Neil was on top of his form and played the first 6 or 7 songs great. He didnt int4ract much with the auidence.... First time seeing Cortez live and it was AWSOME. Cinnamon really sounded good. Other staples of this tour were great to hear....mother earth, needle, Unknown Legend was stupendeous......then he hit a lull with the new songs.....he said the record company CEO was in MSG so cheer whether we liked them or not. They were technically good songs, but basically unknown to most of the auidence.

Cowgirl was amazing.......just played into it and over it...AWSOME.

On the new songs, I think he did Just Singing a Song, Light a Candel, Fuel Line, Cough Up the Bucks and Get Behind the Wheel. Basically he preping a new album on this tour.

All in all it was a great show.

Looking forward to 2009 to see what he brings out......2008 has been great. Amsterdam in Feb, London in March, Bospop in Southern Holland in July and NYC in December. Not a bad year.....THANKS NEIL!

Back to Amsterdam tomorrow night. Sleep Well NYC.

At 12/16/2008 01:59:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

great 1st show in ny. having caught the tour opener in st. paul, it was great to see many more new songs and a good 20 or so minutes added on to the show length. he did a total of eight new songs, all of them that have been premiered on the tour so far except sea change i believe. lots of energy and special shout outs to ny (hey hey my my, new york city will never die). maybe the best cortez i've ever heard. at least 2-3 false endings on rockin in the free world which was a lot of fun/ crowd's energy seemed to decline a bit after starting off really strong, but all in all a really great night.

At 12/16/2008 02:04:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

a great show. my first time seeing him. while the electric was great, i truly loved the acoustic songs especially the new one Light a Candle. It was a Monday night so the crowd wasnt as lively as a weekend crowd, many people leaving early to catch trains or to get home for work the next day. It started at 10:08 and ended at 12:34am.

Rick in NYC

At 12/16/2008 02:28:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Show was excellent, which for Neil is about average, since he always delivers. The highlight was Cowgirl into Rockin in the Free World where Neil was completely on Fire!! There were many highlights throughout, the band is really tight, not a bad thing but the show was sort of segmented into an opening group of classics - Love and Only Love through Cortez, then a segment of acoustic tunes, which went into new tunes, a few harvest tunes, electric new tunes, then the Cowgirl which roared ... having seen the other set lists this would seem to be the most songs and probably the longest show of this tour ... seems like Neil understood that eight new tunes was a lot to ask of fans who paid almost $300 for admission and so he made up for it with a long set list ... As opposed to last year's theatre tour where the acoustic set was the highlight here the electric tunes stole the show ... The Cowgirl was one for the ages .... as good it gets!

At 12/16/2008 04:51:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Madison Square Garden, New York City, New York.
1. Love And Only Love
2. Hey Hey, My My
3. Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere
4. Powderfinger
5. Spirit Road
6. Cortez The Killer
7. Cinnamon Girl
8. Oh, Lonesome Me
9. Mother Earth
10. The Needle And The Damage Done
11. Light A Candle
12. "Cough Up The Bucks"
13. Fuel Line
14. "Hit The Road And Go To Town"
15. Unknown Legend
16. Heart Of Gold
17. Old Man
18. Get Back To The Country
19. "Off The Road"
20. Just Singing A Song
21. When Worlds Collide
22. Cowgirl In The Sand
23. Rockin' In The Free World
24. "Get Behind The Wheel"
25. A Day In The Life

At 12/16/2008 08:03:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The new songs are pretty good!

At 12/16/2008 08:41:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great Show! Although I do miss Crazy Horse on the electric songs! Rock on Neil!

At 12/16/2008 08:43:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Again, one new song: "Off the road". He probably writes another one for tonights show.

At 12/16/2008 09:25:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The show started at 10:08??

At 12/16/2008 09:39:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

i thought the show was terrible. forget the new songs (or try to forget the new songs like "cough up the bucks," i should say), the list was boring and the same set he has played all tour. from his extensive catalog of songs, he managed to not include any songs from some of his most seminal works including "On the Beach," "Tonight's the Night," "Sleeps with Angels," "Silver and Gold" (to name a few). The show started off well enough then turned into a weird mix of a greatest hits show and a new songs nobody wants to hear show. I think many people in the audience would have been relieved to hear him play Greendale all the way through (I do love that album, but you get the drift) than listen to the mangled and tired set list he managed to put together. Neil!!! Earth to NEIL!!! You can do so much better!

At 12/16/2008 09:55:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anyone know what time Neil went on stage and how long he played for?

At 12/16/2008 09:57:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

on and on and on.........

So 'idol' Neil plays a world tour, hits the big f'in apple, spills his guts for 40 f'in years, plays like a tempest every night, loves his wife for 30 years+, raises awarenes and money for the farmers and the kids and he can't meet some little f'cks expectations of who he should be and what he should play?

No wonder he doesn't care what people think. Sounds like he couldn't please the sinner if he was Christ himself.

Sooner or later it all gets real, walk on.

At 12/16/2008 09:58:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Show starts at 8:00 what time does Neil Young come out?

At 12/16/2008 10:04:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

New cheki video clip for "Get Behind The Wheel" from MSG!
After all it's a great great LOVE song.

At 12/16/2008 10:30:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

why is it that anybody who didn't like the show, get's trashed? the show was an obvious sell-out to the corporation, neil admitted it himself apolegetically. it's alright to play new stuff but c'mon, half the crowd was gone toward the end. this is one time where the show was actually too long. enough with the theatrics also, end the song already. neil is better than that. that's the problem with "artistes" like him and dylan. they could care less what the audience wants. if this were the knicks they would have been booed off the garden floor. i guess when you pay big bucks ("cough up the bucks?") you delude yourself into thinking it's the greatest show on earth, or maybe that's just the drugs and alchohol talking. maybe the garden was just too big a venue for neil, i'm glad i didn't shell out any bucks for this one.

At 12/16/2008 10:41:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...


At 12/16/2008 10:48:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

stage times were

Evereest: 8pm - 8.30

Wilco: 8.50 - 9.30

Neil: 10.10 pm - 12.30 am

At 12/16/2008 10:54:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

As to the opinion that half the Garden was empty by the end: people left for all sorts of reasons, to catch train, they had to work in the morning, etc. I don't agree that it was anywhere near half.
I liked the show and I like to see new material. I want to see some risk taking, and with any risk sometimes there are failures. But all in all the rewards were there.
Who was on Neil's tee shirt? Stalin? Freddie Mercury? Viva Zapata?

At 12/16/2008 10:55:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

how was everest? wilco, who i dislike on album, showed up neil.

At 12/16/2008 10:56:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

it was frank zappa. maybe he should have played some zappa instead of stale old neil.

At 12/16/2008 11:05:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

it's no wonder CSNY broke up. neil young ought to go back to being neil old. the ego of this guy. i grew up on neil and can't believe what he's become. and why do we need countless spotlights of his "talented" backup singer wife ? care about the fans neil. of the concerts i've seen this year at the garden, petty and clapton/winwood blew you away.

At 12/16/2008 11:06:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow! shocked by all the negativity. If you are really a neil fan then you know he's going to play new songs when he has them and obviously he's in the middle of a writing spree. I was at one of the early Greendale shows and people were booing and now those same people love the album. As for the crowd, i would say maybe 10 or 15% left early. My only complaint would be why 2 opening bands. Wilco was very good but had they opened at 8 and neil went on at 9, no one would have left. I'm going back tonight so the new songs won't be new anymore. Have fun new York.

A Day in the Life was awesome!!

At 12/16/2008 11:07:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

After listening to the new songs from Ed's fine MSG recording all I can say is put out Toast!!!


At 12/16/2008 11:09:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

anyone see everest? just curious how they were. thanks.

matt - a guy who thought the show sucked.

At 12/16/2008 11:16:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

this note's for you neil. if you were starting out today trying to make a name for himself, it wouldn't happen. too many songs about your obsession, cars. too bad you had to sell out, you were once one of the best.

At 12/16/2008 11:17:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Neil took the stage around 10:00pm
I sat in Section 340. I payed $100.00 for my seats after ticketbastard charge. I basically watched the show on the video screen. I thought the music was great, but there's a tremendous disconnect being so far from the stage. I bet people who sat in the first tier on the floor will swear this is one of the best concerts they've ever seen. I wish I would have seen Neil last December in that converted theatre in Harlem. All that being said, the performance was great, I would just never pay $100.00 to sit in section 340 (or an equivalent) again, for anyone.

At 12/16/2008 11:47:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Neil himself joked about the MSG show running late Monday night saying something like "don't hate me for my new songs, and us ending up at 3:00 AM." The show ran until past 12:30. I stayed, but it cost me. I live in New Jersey, caught the last train out, got home at 2:15 AM, and had to pay my babysitter almost as much as my ticket cost. But how could anyone leave early? It's Neil Young, man. But a lot of people did leave early, and they missed seeing him tear the strings off the guitar after the encore, "A Day in the Life." It was amazing. I agree with the early post that two warm-up bands is stupid. If Neil goes on at 9:00, no one complains, and babysitters don't break your wallet.

At 12/16/2008 12:02:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Another example of Neil being Neil. If seeing him rip the strings off his guitar is your idea of a great concert, too bad. Sounds like you got your money's worth.

At 12/16/2008 12:10:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I gotta tell fave part was when he put that Blago wig on. Did anyone beside me get it in NYC? Probably not, didn't seem like it anyway. Old Yawkahs need to get out more...LMAO!

At 12/16/2008 12:25:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have been a Neil fan for many years, and will continue to be, but I gotta say that I was disappointed in the concert last night. First of all, he didn't take the stage until 10:00pm, way too late for many, even if you did not have to worry about the prospect of missing the last train to NJ, and spending the night on the floor of Penn Station. We all learn to put up with the new songs, and applaud as if we were happy to hear them but he didn't even sit down at the piano once. A few old classics were enjoyed immensely, but I was expecting more from Neil. Oh and by the way, did anyone figure out what was on the front of the shirt he was wearing? I couldn't quite figure it out. Just curious. Still love you, Neil.

At 12/16/2008 12:28:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Did anyone notice the array of bands coming up at the Garden? My Morning Jacket on New Years Eve? Gimme a break. Did anyone ever wonder why it took so long for Neil to get a gig at the Garden? Because he didn't warrant it, that's why. The Garden is built for the biggest, hardest rockers, not hybrids who are more suited for acoustic sets. Get it right Dolan or you will keep losing money like you are with the Knicks and everything else you touch. The Beacon is next.

At 12/16/2008 12:51:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

A view from the pit

let's get rid of the negativity and focus on the music

first of all, it's great to be able to watch a show standing close to the stage for less than 100$ and Neil and Bruce (along metallica) are among the few who allow that to happen
I have seen over 30 Neil shows since 1993 and 9 Bridge school shows so I must say that looking at this tour set list, i was slightly apprehensive
Moreover last year's concerts were gorgeous because of the first acoustic part but the electric segment lacked cohesiveness as Ralph Molina didn't gel as well with Rick and ben as Billy would have
The new line up is a perfect mix of precision and power and suits neil's new sonic vision extremely well as they allow him to solo however his muse dictates him to (even though I do miss sometimes Crazy horse groove)
Ben Keith is the bext when he plays pedal steel as he brings layers of subtle beauty but he is nearly inaudible when he plays the telecaster
Anthony Crawford is a welcome addition as not only his backing vocals (along with Peggi) are the best neil had but he also brings an additional guitar touch and very simple but percussive piano


1/ the sound: best at the garden (at least on the floor) and puts to shame the ear ripping sound that AC/Dc had few weeks ago. wall of sound and you could hear every nuance (except Ben's telecaster !)
2/ Cowgirl: Great new hand vibratos/tapping from Neil adding new sonic heights
3/ Oh Lonesome Me: just a one year old song and already a classic
4/ onslaught of new songs - yes most of the lyrics are lame and some are only groove but will definitely better with age - see OLM above
5/ Powderfinger - the harmonies lifted the songs to new heights
6/ RITFW - best version i heard especially the new break in between allowing the bass and drums to kick the groove harder + Neil repeating New York City like a mantra over and over again
7/ A day In The Life - how to improve on the majestic version that Jeff beck has been playing since few years now ? by just embracing the song's inner chaos and adding glockenspiel and soaring harmonies above it all. the lights added a nother layer of drama to the song

so in a nutshell, yes the show ended late and it's tough for non New Yorkers, yes the prices are high but you had 4 hours of show + Neil gives the money back to worthy causes unlike many other greedy acts

Last but not least and as with Bruce, neil seems to get better with age, rocking harder or filling the gaps with carefully crafted sonic silences whenever needed and the best is that the venue was packed with young college kids ensuring that this generation won't be as lame musically as the previous one and therefore able to recognize true talent and greatness


At 12/16/2008 12:52:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The new songs really are just bad. And to the people in sec 208 who wanted us to sit down, screw you! It's a rock show!

At 12/16/2008 01:42:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow I was really psyched to see a legend in MSG last night! Great seats! 20,000 Fans ready to Rock and Roll. I love and respect Neil Young's Work. OK the bad news. Are you F N kidding me? The mixture of the Old and the New was unbearable. I was Hoping with Harvest and Old Man we would rock on... I was giving this great Artist the benefit of the doubt all night. but to no avail. I actually got up and left. couldn't take it anymore. What a shame. 20,000 paid big $$'s. This was a bar room performance. It was his show but Neil didn't deliver.

At 12/16/2008 01:51:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Last nights show was FANTASTIC to say the least!!! Thank you Neil for having the GA tickets...its the only way a guy like me can see Neil from the front row! It too 15 Neil Young shows but I got there! What an experience! We got to NY around 3pm ate at Grand Central and when to MSG at 4:30pm. We go to the front entrance and ask the dude at the gate where we can line up and he says: "Everyone has a seat so no one is lining up" I said "I don’t have a seat...I'm General admission" and he barked back "General admission is around the corner" THANK GOD I asked... My wife and I got in a line of about SIX people. I couldn't believe my luck! Met some cool Neil fans in line with us who were feeling just as lucky. They helped pass the time...and thankfully it was warm...windy but warm. We all worried we were going to be hosed some we'd get down to the floor and there would already be a shit load of people there. Come 6:30 it started to drizzle but by then we didn’t care.... we were all just high on the fact that we'd be seeing NEIL from the front row. Seven o'clock comes and the guards/ticket guys let us in...that was was a mad rush to get through! Suddenly there we people behind me in line (who'd only been there a half hour) suddenly in front of me...New Yorkers! What else can I say!
I'd heard they take your ticket and they give a bracelet but you don’t get it back! I wasn’t too happy about that as I have a huge ticket sub in the middle of our mad dash to the floor we had to stop at a table to get a bracelet...they drew a line through the ticket and passed it back…(another for the collection) then back to running.... we entered the empty seemed way smaller from the floor. My wife and I landed a spot on the rail! Just slightly left of center which is a great spot cause Neil always jams his way over to play to Ben and Rick. Everest was a nice treat and they seemed like an up coming talent and a perfect opener from Neil. Wilco blew my mind...I was never a big fan...I'd known their albums but never saw them live....UBER-Talented! The guitar player to the left was just unreal! A super prodigy! Check out Wilco if you haven’t!
When Neil hit the stage it was just surreal...for me too see him so close was a total trill. I'd had snuck up close one time (Wallingford CT last year) for the encore...but to see the whole show! To watch Neil play the cords and see his technique and to have him look at you with those crazed- genius mad-scientist eyes of his while he shreds Old Black AND COERCES
SOME MIND BENDING, GROWLING NOTES IS TO REMEMBER WHAT Rock and Roll is...why we love it and why we love Neil. Its not about ticket prices or archives or some new songs or old songs...its about the moment...the flash in the sky...the knowledge of greatness and the sadness that this like Neil and like me and like you and Rock N' Roll is only was pass and burn out but it's the experience that matters and all its energy..that will keep going on forever. You don’t "put up" with New Songs...real fans know that Neil isn't an act that you walk away from...his new songs aren’t meant for bathroom can if you want but you could miss something great. We should all be thankful that the man is still putting out music that’s keeps him fresh...He's not there to play Cinnamon Girl to you casual fans...who would be disappointed if he didn’t. Neil is there from him...(I don’t think Neil really needs the money at this point) because he loves what he keeps him alive. You may call us "zombie fans" and that’s fine its just too bad us Zombie fans have to put up with these casual fans who are there to see Neil play Heart of gold and who don’t really get it.
I wont run down the set list as we all know it but I will say that last night was TRUELY a testament to Raw Passion, FEELING, greatness and love. It was a fantastic show. Thank you Neil.
P.S. That light a Candle Tune (a NEW song) is just awesome…GREAT SONG!

At 12/16/2008 01:54:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

t shirt was Emilio Zapata a mexican revolutionary

At 12/16/2008 02:05:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I never heard more people whining about new songs, old songs, price of tickets etc. Every one should be glad, that Neil is in town !Alot of other artist's play in concert every so often !You should be happy he's back in NYC ! How more times is he going to tour? His voice and his playing were the best I heard in a long time! His new songs were alot better than alot of today's music! I went last night and I am going again tonight. P.s. sect 208 ,there is always Britney to listen too!

At 12/16/2008 02:13:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Again, having seen both the first show on the tour in St. Paul and last night's show, the added new songs definitely gave a different vibe to the show. In St. Paul, it felt like completely like a greatest hits show with three new songs squeezed into the end of the set. It was a wonderful performance but the show really did lack a sense of artistic adventure and challenge from Neil. Last night the new songs became an essential part of the show, and comprised at least a third of the setlist. The four new song run starting with Light A Candle (which is probably the best new song I've heard out of all 8-9) breaks up the acoustic oldies (Needle Damage and Unknown Legend/HOG/OM) really well. I think seeing Neil out on stage challenging himself and his band and giving everything he has into brand new material is a lot more interesting and exciting than hearing him playing Cinnamon Girl to a standing ovation. Would I rather hear him reach back into his ridiculously large catalog and play something like Walk On, or something off of Zuma besides Cortez, or even some more recent material off of Silver and Gold and Prairie Wind? Of course, and it's dissapointing that songs like Cinnamon Girl and Cowgirl In The Sand, which have been played hundreds of times and to me sound very tired, take the place of more potentially interesting and exciting rarities for those who have seen Neil many times. But if Neil's going to go out and play an album's worth of new, unreleased material each night he needs to play certain songs to please the rest of the audience who'd rather not hear a single song written after 1975. And lastly, in regards to the lack of variance on setlists other than the new songs, I agree once again that it would be great to hear so many of the other songs that could work great with this band, but it gets hard to complain when the performances of songs he's played so many times are still so incredibly good-Hey Hey My My, Powdfinger, Cortez, Free World, all killed last night.

At 12/16/2008 02:20:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sh*ttyhorse -
good review and stories of your journey. Last year at Buffalo I/we had some similar fun waiting as we found a deserted restaurant opposite the rear entry where the barkeep allowed us access to the "back room' and all for some festivities out of the cold then on to an all out excellent show. (see also 9:57am for my other thoughts on today's outbursts)

At 12/16/2008 02:52:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm 19, so this was only my 2nd Neil Young concert. I must say that he looked and sounded much better than he did last concert I went to (12/18/07).

The first 7 electric songs were excellent. Cinnamon Girl was better than last year, Cortez was fantastic, Hey hey, my my, all of them were great. He made a "New York City will never die" line up in Hey Hey, if anyone is interested.

Oh, Lonesome Me was a great song. Mother Earth was a real surprise. This new version (non-Ragged Glory) was very moving, and got a pretty significant applause considering it wasn't any of his "greatest hits". Needle was performed very well.

I thought Light a Candle was pretty good. I thought CUtB and Fuel had some good guitar going, but the words were laughable. Me and my Dad were laughing a bit. Still, those two were enjoyable, even if in the "Dirty Old Man / T-Bone" way. Hit the Road was a total dud to me.

Not sure if this is the right part of the concert, but Neil said that his record company was here, so clap really loud for his new songs even if we think the suck. I laughed, was glad he said it, and clapped for the songs I didn't appreciate because I took that as some confirmation that he recognized they weren't anything special.

Unknown Legend was an good performance, nothing too special, but good. Heart of Gold and Old Man were performed beautifully I thought though. I had gotten worried that time constraints and new songs were going to get in the way of one of these two, but thank God it didn't.

I'm unfamiliar with BTttC, and I had some trouble with the words, so I can't say much about that one.
I thought his next three new ones were pretty bad.

It was getting late now, so I was afraid Neil might only do 2/3 final songs his been doing, but I'm so glad I was wrong. Cowgirl's my favorite song of all time, and watching him perform it live was something I'll never forget. He mixed it up a bit, and the crowd that had endured those duds was given a hell of a treat. He immediately went into RitFW afterwards, which set the crowd on fire. The 2-3 false endings of RitFW and extended ending of Cowgirl made it the most memorable back-to-back songs of the night.

Neil made us clap forever for an encore, and when he got back on, he said that he had one "he wrote over the break" for us. I chuckled, expecting A Day in the Life, but then he decided to play Get Behind the Wheel. The song wasn't any good, but it was funny watching people leave thinking this was the end of the concert. Afterwards, he played A Day in the Life, which was simply phenomenal. The cover was great, but then watching him rip the hell of out Old Black and sing the "ahhhhaaaaaaaahhhhhhh" part while swinging the trashed guitar was awesome. Different, and better.

Final thoughts: Songs 1-11, 16-17, 22,23,25, were all incredible. Those alone made it the greatest concert I've seen. Like I said, the 2 new ones (12.13) were still fun live. 14 was bad, 15 was good. Other new ones weren't good. Still, mind-blowing versions of Cortez, Cowgirl, RitFW, ADitL, HoG, Old Man,and excellent versions of most of his other old songs made this one of the best times I've had in the past few years of my life.

~ Steel Madsen

At 12/16/2008 02:56:00 PM, Blogger imdolphin said...

I just have to comment briefly....

1)The opening act was mediocre and Wilco was absolutely dreadful.
I don't know whether Neil was just trying to prove that he was still relevant or what, but those choices were the WORST fit I've ever heard.
I would have rather just seen Neil @ 8PM and Left by 10:30.

2)Neils set albeit a bit juxtaposed was totally solid. I agree with other comments in that if you are a "real" Neil fan, you know that he almost always injects new/unreleased songs in his sets.

I've seen every tour Neil has done for the last twenty-five years and one thing I've learned is that if are a true fan, you accept the artist for arts sake.

3) Lastly....
WTF is everyone in the audience a total F*ckin pinhead??
Why in the world would you go to a Neil concert or any concert for that matter(as a true fan) and sit there and text message?? Have you people no life? I understand that texting fills some sort of void in your life, but you've got to be kidding!!!

At 12/16/2008 02:58:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Editing posts again, are you, Thrasher? The ones that don't meet your suck-up requirements? You know, you and the likes of you (sycophants) are condemning Neil to perpetual mediocrity. And you think you're doing him a favor. Tragic.

At 12/16/2008 03:14:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

neil young is in the upper coolness stratosphere with bruce, bob,jerry and keith. at 62 to play loud and hard and not give a fk is something to behold. he means it man!! its his way or the highway! sure, if it was a sat night instead of monday more crowd energy would have lasted longer, but the true neil young lovers stuck with him to the end and rocked with him on his terms. you just dont see concerts like this anymore. go , enjoy, life is too short!

At 12/16/2008 03:16:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The zombies will never get it. They're zombies after all (duh). We want new songs AT LEAST as much as zombies do. But we want GOOD new songs.
My favorite concert was the 99 solo show where I heard Distant Camera, Great Divide, Looking Forward, Out of Control, SLOWPOKE, RED SUN for the FIRST TIME! My least favorite concert was Greendale, where I heard, um, NOTHING MEMORABLE for the first time!
Light a Candle is the least bad of the new ones and it is lousy. Wretchedly poor lyrics, tired, borrowed idea. Neil has nothing new worth hearing (esp. paying to hear!).
PS Pity you wouldn't post my comment from last night. Might've broken through.

At 12/16/2008 03:28:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

by the way, PAY ATTENTION! WILCO is a great band and learn...uncle neil is trying to teach you something!

At 12/16/2008 03:37:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

in response to the "zombie" attacker- i understand your point and agree that there's a huge different between going along with whatever neil does and being critical of his new material, but i think there's something to be said for the simple act of playing so much new material in an arena show like that. regardless of whether the songs are great (and believe me, i don't think any of them are close to "great"), i'm still very appreciative of the fact that he went out and did play these new songs and introduce new material into a show that's otherwise filled with songs he's played hundreds of times.

At 12/16/2008 03:39:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

" Get behind the Wheel" sounds like an outtake from
The Shocking Pinks.

At 12/16/2008 03:43:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anyone see anyone famous at MSG?

We saw Donald Trump, Timothy Hutton, have seen blogs that talk of Joe Pesci, Ron Darling being in the pit. Someone in the bathroon said Ethan Hawke was there.

At 12/16/2008 03:52:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hah, you've just completely discredited yourself, Dan. Oh Lonesome Me is an ANCIENT song. And it's not even Neil's! It was a classic before Neil!
Oh, and there's so much negativity BECAUSE we're focused on the new music. You're obviously green. New does not equate with good. Neil's new music is a joke and if you don't recognize it, you might get schooled up on what his good stuff sounds like. For example, Thrasher- most excellent. T-bone, not so good. Without Rings- exquisite. Cough Up the Bucks- not so much.

At 12/16/2008 04:02:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

It doesn't cut it to say Neil deserves credit simply for playing new songs in front of a crowd. He's been doing that all of his career. That's what he does. What he does deserve is an honest response to lousy songs. How else does an artist take his bearings? And he's been getting false readings from the "fans" for several years now. He might as well read the new edition of the phone book to a crowd. So what?
If he were an unknown artist trying to shovel this manure, he'd be booed off. Bad art is bad art. It shouldn't be excused because of some cloak of legendhood.

At 12/16/2008 04:15:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

That seems completely valid- I think as fans we have every right, and perhaps an obligation, to be critical of Neil's new material and speak our minds when we don't like it. Placed however in the context of this current tour, with a far from perfect setlist in terms of structure and content, my only point was that I was pleased with last night's show. I'd rather hear five new songs that are mediocre at best, which was the case last night, than get twenty fewer minutes of Neil and the band as in earlier shows in the tour. Could last night's show have been significantly better? Yes, of course. But to label all fans who don't mind hearing new songs, even if they're not great, as "zombies" seems unfair. No one's excusing bad art because of someone's reputation, but if Neil wants to go out and add on some material that he's been working on to his already static setlist and try something new, I think he has every right to, just as we have every right to remain critical of all new material. "bad art" (which seems a bit harsh to be sure) is better than no art...

At 12/16/2008 04:50:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

If you think no one's excusing bad art because of reputation, you haven't read this website. If you don't think there are "fans" out there applauding his every fart, you're not listening. I don't mind hearing a new song that's "not great". I do mind hearing 7 new songs that SUCK, and paying to hear them. Yes, there are plenty of Neilzombies who applaud everything he does. To his detriment.
I agree he has every right to play new stuff. I WANT him to. I even just said that my favorite show ever was the 99 solo tour with oodles of new stuff.
But I strongly disagree that bad art is better than no art. I think no art is exactly what Neil needs at this point. He should go home and be quiet for a year and then see what he produces instead of this steady stream of garbage.

At 12/16/2008 04:54:00 PM, Blogger imdolphin said...

I never said blanketly that all his new songs were great. I simply stated that that is a staple of what one can expect from most Neil shows. I personally appreciate hearing the new material.

At 12/16/2008 04:59:00 PM, Blogger imdolphin said...

And I guess some of you were the ones crying about the Trans album being a bunch of crap too! Huh?

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

The choice for the tenth track on the unevitable "LincVolt"-Album could be "Ride My Dream Machine". And please stop the whinning about new songs, reading this from across the sea is almost unbearable. In NYC you had a NYConcert with everything that regularly comes with it. Get to know you your Neil Young: there are more innaresting people in the ditch

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

The same whining happened to "Time Fades Away" WHEN IT WAS RELEASED.
I love it when Neil evokes this much Passion.

At 12/16/2008 05:17:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I posted some quick thoughts above last night (At 12/16/2008 02:28:00 AM) and there is no denying there were a number of incredible moments and real highlights ... At times it was as good as it gets.

Still, even though I am one of those who almost always defends Neil on this board, I can't help but express some (rare) criticism and probably it deserves to be aimed mostly at Elliot ... but the buck stops with Neil so he's not innocent. First, ticket prices (I know this topic has been re-hashed over and over) I'm assuming that the promoter cuts a deal with Elliot for the whole tour or for individual shows and its some minimum amount plus a percent of the gate ... then the promoted decides how much to charge for tickets. To their credit, they did sell reasonably priced gen admin tickets but I was in a cast and needed a seat and many fans are older, ect.. and can't have a good night while standing for 5 hours (or even 2.5 hours) ... as a long time fan I paid the $275 for a mediocre seat and watched the screen most of the time .... I guess what irks me somewhat is that indeed I am bound to pay almost anything to see Neil and its a capitalist country but at some point someone in that business chain is selling greed in a huge way ... during last year's theatre shows I wrote a few passionate posts defending the ticket prices since I felt there was a trade-off ... you get an intimate setting with fewer fans so you pay more ... I bought the best seat I could find and it cost $186 at face ... last night's ticket was at MSG with 20k people (not 3K like the theatre shows) and ticket prices were $275 or $100 more ... I think that's unjustifiable other than to say they charge as much as they can get away with ... The fact is that many of us have supported Neil over the years and that loyal fan base has helped make him rich and famous ... there should be a limit to the prices, at some point it becomes obnoxious and just super greedy ... the hard core fans will do what it takes but is it really necessary to extract 10 pounds of flesh? Another issue and I'm assuming its the promoter's fault is two warm up bands and Neil not coming on until 10:10PM ... the crowd mostly was a 40-60 crowd, working people, on a Monday night ... my friend had to leave BEFORE the Cowgirl because he had to catch the last train home ... promoters probably want to get new bands exposure to Neil's fan base but again I felt like we were taken advantage of and the buck stops with Neil, he needs to defend his fans at some point or its uncool ... An analogy is, you might be able to stand up a family member or show up late for a date with them. They'll put up with it because they love you but it isn't cool to take advantage of it ... In the end in my mind the HIGH ticket prices, plus the plethora of new songs, plus the late start leave me feeling slightly disappointed ... if one of those came out of the mix I would feel fine but the combination seems like a lot ... you know, back to the family analogy, you put up with stuff when you're tight with someone ... that's part of being a Neil fan and I think part of what people who are close to Neil have to deal with ... he's amazing but you put up with some stuff ... In the end, you can't not be there and its hard to deny that those moments when he's on its priceless ... I think new songs are never easy and especially so many but I thought most were pretty good ... next time though I hope Neil steps in for the fans and at least brings prices back to reality.

At 12/16/2008 05:37:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Not to beat a dead horse (actually I'm still hopeful he'll resurrect the Horse) ... One more thought to add the post above ... One of the things that makes Neil standout even among his superstar peers is that he's retained a sincerity, a sense of concern for the average person (Farm Aid, "Ordinary People", Bridge School), he care about people and he's never lost that despite living in what is probably a privileged world making it hard to relate to average people ... I just think the cost of tickets and starting at 10:10 PM on a Monday night is asking a lot of fans most of whom are average folks ... Again, I blame the suits, but we need Neil to step in and set the suits straight.

At 12/16/2008 05:44:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey Thrasher, I found this on YouTube. It's Adam Sandler playing a pretty awesome version of "Like A Hurricane" on David Letterman! Check it out!

At 12/16/2008 05:52:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

imdolphin, if everyone in last night's audience was a pinhead, does that include you?

Whether or not you like Wilco (I love them, and am accordingly biased), they are an organic fit as an opener for Mr. Young. Their music incorporates rootsy, floor-stomping twang, bright, contemplative folk and pyrotechnical guitar wizardry. Perhaps you should substantiate your opinions with the occasional detail. It might give more weight to your lambasting instead of making you sound angry and vague. Not that I'd agree with you, but I'd value your perspective a bit more.

Having seen Wilco nearly a dozen times, from a show at a small bar in Illinois to two at Radio City, I was happy with the way their music filled the arena last night. The crowd's response was quite enthusiastic, as were the comments I overheard in the hallways. I heard nothing as negative as the impressions you've posted here. In fact I heard nothing negative at all.

imdolphin, I don't expect you to like Wilco -- no band is for everyone, of course. But perhaps you should temper your criticism with some clear-eyed observations or balanced, thoughtful explorations of their sound. Whether you like them or not, they still make art, art that made many people smile and groove and sing last night. I find that beautiful, which is far more than I can say for your dismissive post.

At 12/16/2008 06:05:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm not gonna lie, I like the new songs. They're like T-Bone, just goofy jamming songs. Except for cough up the bucks. That is awful lol

At 12/16/2008 06:43:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Unlike with most artists who perform at MSG, a goodly chunk of last night's ticket prices went into overtime pay to the unions who run the place. We can debate quantity vs. quality all night but Neil, & the opening acts, laid it all out there for us.

At 12/16/2008 07:35:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

What you people are not getting is that Neil doesn’t give a shit what YOU want..You have got to be a complete moron to think Neil gages his new songs on YOUR opinion...that is SUCH a DUMB comment and just goes to show you don’t know squat about Neil Young. Neil Young Doesn't care what you think and he never has and he NEVER WILL that why he's SURVIVED. No scratch that...FLOURISHED in this business. Typical Dumb New Yorkers who think they know EVERYTHING...and the only opinion that counts is theirs! Get a life. Neil does what he wants and that’s it...take it or leave how he feels.
Also your an idiot to think that Thrasher is censoring you...Christ...just give it a minute and hit REFRESH...and DA-DAAAAA you comment is there. God.. People go to work or play with your kids or something..Stop commenting on things you know NOTHING about...PLEASE!!!

At 12/16/2008 07:38:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I've given my thoughts extensively on the entire concert, but I figured, since some have mentioned it, I'll throw in my opinion of Everest and Wilco.

Everest seemed boring to me, but I only caught around 10 minutes of them and everyone was still settling down, so I wasn't the most attentive listener.

Wilco was better. I enjoyed their guitar work, but I had trouble understanding lyrics. I'm not sure if it was because I have never heard any of their songs, but I think that's the reason. I'll listen to them on youtube or something sometime, see what I think of them.

~ Steel Madsen

At 12/16/2008 08:26:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

If we're Zombies then your whiney Bitches...and its obvious from your comments you don't know shit...
And by the way did anyone write Neil Loves the people who love all his work? No...but I think Neil would feel sorry about the fact that a GREAT MANY of his fans are completely stupid. My guess is he'd hate you guys more.
Not to mention the fact you people who are neil young "fans" are bitching about people who claim to be neil young fans. Do you get just how much that is a dumb waste of time?

At 12/16/2008 08:38:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ghostdog- you hit a bullseye with the comment about the NYC labour unions.

The simple minded finger pointers always seem to equate high ticket prices with artists lining their pockets, which just isn't true. Madison Square Garden is an incredibly expense venue to mount a concert in. A show that runs late into the night mostly benefits the local crews and house staff....ordinary people.

At 12/16/2008 09:29:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I hate to tell you but these days the union folks are not ordinary people, they are the people who have managed to secure employment terms that are 'above market' and eventually our tax money will go to bailing out their employers who will become bankrupt from having higher costs than their competitors ... that's a big reason why Detroit is on its last legs ... I might be naive but its hard to imagine that one needs to charge $275/ticket because people have to work overtime ... also, that's another reason for the promoter to be less greedy and cut the opening act to one and let them start at 7:30 so the show can be over by 11:00 .. most working people don't want to get home at 2am ... because some greedy promoter was hoping to get fans interested in some talented up and coming acts...

At 12/16/2008 09:49:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey Anonymous Guy who is whining about having his comments deleted:
I don't think that many of us really care about your rant. We're more focused on the topic and discussion.

If you read Thrasher's Comment Policy and follow threads here on a regular basis, you would would recognize that free speech pretty much rules and that censure is rare.

There may be a logical explanation for your comments not showing up...most likely technical and perhaps operator error/ toasted technician based.

In the meantime, you are just annoying and a distraction from a lively conversation.

At 12/16/2008 10:05:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Um, since when did david Geffen start posting on Thrasher's blog?

This whiner sounds just like Geffen for suing Neil for not being Neil.

Geffen was an idiot for trying to box Neil in. Just like whiner boy. Oh, Neil's not being like I want him to be so I think I'll trash him and then accuse Thrasher of deleting his comments. Boo fuckin ho.

Hopefully Thrasher will see more NYC reviews from tonight and folks won't be discouraged by a bitter fan who probably wasn't even there.

I was theree last nigth and it simply wasn't true that people were leaving much less half the crowd.

When the lights came up the garden looked packed with folks cheering for more from where I was in 2nd level.

At 12/16/2008 10:51:00 PM, Blogger Greg McGarvey said...

"It might give more weight to your lambasting instead of making you sound angry and vague. "

Exactly. I don't mind reading forty comments about the new songs sucking, but, since I wasn't there, I would like SOME amount of detail. Some of the posts were so vague that I honestly didn't believe I was hearing from someone who was at the show.

Also, kudos to those who are able to judge a song on the first listen. I have a policy against that, but more power to those who think they can.

At 12/17/2008 12:03:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Screenshots tell the story, Thrasher. For a later date.

At 12/17/2008 12:44:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank Gawd Thrash trashed some posts! Lordy, I've never seen more stupid negative blather in a thread on this site in my life. Please - delete away! sheesh.

and to think these were New Yorkers writing some of this. Scares me -- what's happened to my town.

and that nobody gets or mentions that the shows were supposed to (and everywhere else) started at 7PM -- that's what the 3 acts were about -- it may make sense to complainers if they realize it shoulda been 9:10 start and 11:30 end, as it was at every other show.

a little bitching by hardcores over new songs is one thing, but some of the nonsense in this thread is embarrassing to Neil, to New Yorkers, and to us Rusties.

But it's pretty funny -- thinking about how some whined about Dylan when he went electric, or The Beatles when they grew up beyond the pop hits, or The Sex Pistols for kicking it up a notch, or The Dixie Chicks for mentioning Bush, or . . .

The Rock n Roll Highway is littered with tombstones of whiners and complainers. And so it should always be, and shall always be. Hey Hey, My My . . .

A pranksters twinkle to all you old hardcores who get it, got it, and love it.

I'd sure see this tour/show again if I could.

Keep on RITFW, Neiler!

Brian, from Toronto and New York

At 12/17/2008 01:08:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Although I arrive too late to listen to Everest I thought that Wilco was fantastic. Their guitarist played beautifully and their songs are well crafted. If you would like to check out their albums you can get a free listen on their web site:
I look forward to seeing Wilco on tour in 2009.

At 12/17/2008 01:43:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Far be it for me to cast asparagus, but what bunch of self-important crap has been written on this thread recently.

Leading the pack is Mr. Anonymous, with posts timed at 03:16:00 PM and 04:50:00 PM.

"My favorite concert was the 99 solo show where I heard Distant Camera, Great Divide, Looking Forward, Out of Control, SLOWPOKE, RED SUN for the FIRST TIME!"

OH MY GOD!! You saw THOSE SONGS? FOR THE FIRST TIME? LIVE? IN 1999? Are you kidding me!!!! Can I touch your ticket!!

Any objective Neil Young fan would tell you that those songs are very, very far from Neil's best. They're average, mediocre, middle of the road, pedestrian, etc. The fact that you perceived them as something more than that only goes to show that beauty is in the eye (or ear) of the beholder. (Oh my God, where's my IPod? I've just got to hear that live solo version of "Slowpoke" from 1999! Now!!)

I saw the Reno show and I admit that the new tunes are pretty weak, but let's get a little perspective. The old stuff KICKED ASS. Neil is a treasure and we'll definitely miss him when he's done.

Thanks to everyone who contributes such thoughtful commentary to this blog.

At 12/17/2008 02:36:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

To the guy that mentioned My Morning Jacket in an earlier post.. MMJ are one of the best bands on the planet, definitely one of, if not THE best live bands. To see them at MSG would be amazing.

At 12/17/2008 06:26:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

You Don't Need a Map To Get Around?

At 12/17/2008 07:03:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sh*ttyhorse: You expressed my thoughts exactly. Saw Neil in Philly last Friday. Waited 30 years to see him, my first show. Was thrilled with the old warhorses and standards. New stuff was "innersting" and appreciated.

At 12/17/2008 08:18:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Any one have last night's set list?

At 12/17/2008 09:40:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

WOW!!!!...I loved the show. I went on the 15th...was totally bumming that I didn't get there last night, the 16th, It's not easy being "responsible" let me tell you. I got there early and got to get a prime spot up on the rail, just 1 tick left of center. Got to meet some real nice people. 2 warm up bands was a bit much but I did enjoy both of them even though I am not familiar with either...time to do a little CD shopping. What more could you ask for??? Old Neil, New Neil, somewhere inbetween Neil...Good sound, good vibes, beer guy that comes to you, less than $100.00 for the absolute front row, a set list of 25 songs...that breaks down to less than $4 bucks per performed live, in my face, full throttle Neil! Keeping in line with a lot of these post's I fell obliged to complain somewhat. I thought the color schemes in the bathrooms could have been "up dated"...Also...please try to refrain from feeding the trolls. Other than that....I can't wait to get my ears on some bootlegs! There are a few video clips out there on the interwebs that I found. Just Awesome!...I'll be developing some film today...If there is anything that comes out good I'll try to share.


At 12/17/2008 10:25:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Went last night (Wednesday the 16th) and it was as good a show as I've ever seen him perform. Have to add that I was on the floor, which offered the option of roaming during slow spots and checking out people, etc. Saw Jim Jarmusch in the crowd early on and several other celebs.

A word about the new songs - yes, they were soft in spots and not terribly engaging. But the New York Times review of the first night makes note of Neil's habit of putting together these "timely pieces" that come and go and seem useful at times only to repeat a relevant catch phrase or chorus ("Let's Roll" ..). In this case it was "cough up the cash" and if Neil's feeling it, you ain't gonna stop him.

But he was so on fire that these occasional sags in the tempo seemed almost necessary. A real pleasure to be close enough to see what Neil does with his fingers on the strings. Such a physical presence and hands-on performer that watching him from the rafters on the big screen falls a bit short. The floor was definitely the place to be.

His guitar playing was inspired (particularly Cortez and Cowgirl) and he seemed in a better mood than any time in recent memory. Included New York City specific references several times, not just in Hey Hey, My My. I've seen Neil about fifteen times over an equal number of years and the energy he brings is still phenomenal. This said, some nights are more electric than others, and Wednesday was one of them. 63 or any age, the man brings it and always stays true to his muse. This may be the drag in the show for some, but it seems to keep him going and refuels him down the home stretch.

Two and a half hours, didn't wind up until quarter til one. As the man himself put it "we've gone a little late, but tomorrow morning's comin' anyway, and there's nothing we can do about that." Maybe it was a test of endurance for the uninitiated, but he flat out delivered. Saw last year's show at the United Palace in Harlem, and while good, I'd take Wednesday's performance in a heartbeat.

At 12/17/2008 10:58:00 AM, Blogger designschicago said...

Blaming the unions as the sole excuse for the ticket prices is ridiculous.
The tickets were high EVERYWHERE, with curfews variable for different cities. NYC may have a different system than Philly or Chicago, pay for play rules of the road, insurance, etc.

That ship has passed; it's old/no news.


At 12/17/2008 11:13:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I want to thank the hyper critical knuckleheads on here for pushing my expectations way down low. While two or three of the new songs were a definite "hit the next song on the iPod" songs, overall this show was outfreakin' standing. I have seen Neil a dozen times or so and this was definitely top 5. Better than last year's United Palace show, which was excellent in its own right. I just prefer more shredding than acoustic overall.

The acoustic selections last night were incredible. Cowgirl in the Sand and Cortez blew my mind.

At 12/17/2008 11:48:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

All I can say is I absolutely agree with you, great post !
I live in France and I would give so much to see the tonight's show at the msg... I last saw him in august and I just can't wait seeing him again, and again, and again.
All critics coming from all these "fans" about Neil just drive me crazy,you don't even know how lucky you are to see Neil playing for you, in fact, you don't even deserve it
And yes, "GREENDALE IS AN AWESOME PIECE OF WORK AS WERE THE SHOWS!" Even one of the best Neil's shows I've ever seen
PS:Sorry for my approximate english

At 12/17/2008 11:59:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

what an awesome concert last night. because he was in a good mood he rocked harder and longer(too long? are you f'in joking?) than philly. the man, the band outshines, outplays just about every other artiste in his cohort(sorry keith&woody) and bands half and a third his age. the floor was the place to be a rockin dance party showed the youngin's how its done, and gave new york a huge christmas present that i will remember for the rest of my life and if i never saw a concet again well i could be happy for the rest of my life...thanks NEIL!!!


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

I loved hearing the new stuff - following the tour vicariously through Europe and then the continental leg, I was looking forward to the introduction of new material. If just to keep things fresh for the band, as much as for us. The 'new' songs could easily have been broken out from his vast catalog, or stuff just written from the back of the bus; it's a rare change to view the creative process. Thanks to the many tapers here and in Europe, we can listen to the songs evolve from show to show... the old standards haven't changed much. There aren't many musicians willing to take the chance with raw tunes (any Ryan Adams fans out there?) Some of these new songs will stick around, and some won't. From the floor (huge thanks for the GA opportunity!!!) I didn't hear anything but encouragement for the new stuff, and the crowd stuck around 'til the end. IMO, this tour was great! Maybe not as good as the pairing with Sonic Youth, but close. And I'm amazed at the differing opinions on Greendale are out there; I guess some folks just don't get it. (I thought it was brilliant and inspired, and among my top 5 concerts ever). I wasn't familiar with Wilco before this, but I did some homework, and listened to a bunch of albums (and shows) before I got the chance to see them live. And I was blown away - Nels Cline (guitarist on left) was awesome! He did some very kewl stuff with his monitor, with what I think was string manipulation on a chord - there were several times he hammered a chord, and moved to his (computer?) board and played with the notes. The dynamic range of the band was very impressive, going from mellow to full-bore sonic noise and back again with ease. Very tight! Listen to some of Ed's fabulous recordings available on Dime if you get the chance.

At 12/17/2008 01:46:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I've been listening to the recordings maby fifteen times by now and I have to say some of the new songs are getting better after a while. Some of them still need some work. But how can anyone judge the new songs if you hear the older songs around them in such a suberb form. Neil has never, never, never been so dynamic and the Electric Band really rocks. This tour made them a real electrifying power group that even makes the Horse sound bleak. Ooops. I am completely blown away by the energy from the first MSG show.
Keep on Rocking in the Free World New York City. B.S.M.

At 12/17/2008 02:29:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Can somebody please confirm that Neil has stopped rocking the Madison Square Garden? It's wednesday evening by now and I am a bit worried. Still no setlist available and also no word from Thrasher. Maybe Neil is still playing the MSG because new songs keep coming to him. You never know with Neil young. B.S.M.

At 12/17/2008 02:33:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I just found this quote on Nels Cline's web site..
"The more one studies the harmony of music, and then studies human nature,how people agree and how they disagree,
how there is attraction and repulsion, the more one will see that it is all music."
- Hazrat Inayat Khan

Or as Neil might say, it's all one song. And we don't have to all like the same stuff.

At 12/17/2008 02:56:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"When faceless and anonymous
Come to beat down you're door
And say you're all wash up and done
You can say they have nothing in store
To touch this soul
They just don't know the way"

At 12/17/2008 02:58:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

as a neil fanatic who has seen over 20 shows over the years, tuesdays night show started off good with love and only love, everybody..., powderfinger and cortez...oh lonesone me, best song of night cause nver heard it before live. unknown legend also nice surprise. Old man, heart of gold and needle sounded great but been there and done that. new songs ok and part of the drill. rockin and hey hey been there....lets here something different like beacon last year "dont cry no tears"....1st encore song was major bum and he lst crowd and A Day in the life...???? why a beatles song.....nothing ever from time fades away

At 12/17/2008 03:38:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anyone know where to find a recording of these shows online? Thanks much.

At 12/17/2008 03:43:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yesterday was very interesting...
If you asked me at 4Pm as I went into my physics final I would have said there is no way I'm going to the Neil show at MSG. But I cruised through my final and by 545PM I had pretty much rapped up everything with an hour and a half left in the test. Then it just hit me like a bullet.. there is no way I am missing Neil. My heart started thumping and sweat started pouring down. I had to get to Neil's show!

I left the final and luckily my friend was leaving too. She gave me a lift to the train station and took my bookbag back to my apartment. I had nothing with me but a wallet and cellphone a desire to get to MSG ASAP!

I caught an express train and got to MSG at 20 of 8PM. I was shaking and twitching as the magnetic pull of Neil took over. I spent twenty minutes talking to scalpers. No one was offering any tickets for under 125. After all, the cheapest tickets for the show were 90 bucks. Add bullshit fees and basically all the tickets were over 100. With most of the concert goers already inside the arena, scalpers started getting desperate. I talked a guy down to 65 bucks. As a matter of fact I only had 70 bucks anyways.

My ticket was in the 200s level. I got into the venue a little ways into Everst's Set. It took me a while to get in sync with them but when they pulled out "You Aint Going Nowhere" by Dylan I really got into it. Wilco played next as I was a little more familiar with them. They put on a great show with dueling trippy guitar solos and tight harmonies.

In between Wilco and Neil, I took advantage of all the people scrambling and moved from the 200 level down to a third row seat right at stage right. I was about 100 feet from Neil. The magnetic pull was trying to take me right on stage but metal bars blocked the way. Luckily, Neil must of felt the magnetic pull. During Cinnamon Girl, he came over to the side of the stage and rocked out the ending screaching notes of cinnamon girl. The couple of people in front of me didnt even bother to get up as I stood up and just got pulled towards old black. I just gave every ounce of energy I had as I slipped into a surreal mental state. My arms started doing these helicopter spins and my eyes were just popping out of my eyes. It did not take long for Neil to spot me and once he saw I was giving him everything I had he gave everything he had right back. His eyes locked in on me he just kept feeding the high pitched solo to me right in front of me. My arms kept just kept revolving at the speed of light as I signaled to Neil to keep it coming. I can't really compare the experience to anything that I have ever experienced before.

The show was absolutely amazing. I saw Neil a couple of years ago at farmaid and he just didn't quite have the energy that he had the first or second time I saw him. But last night took the cake. Last nights show was a life or death situation for him. He gave everything he had. The last chord of the last song of the night (A Day in the Life) ended with Neil shredding apart all of the strings on his guitar. He broke every damn string. He gave everything he had and everyone that was at the show has a little peice of the gift he gave us.

At 12/17/2008 03:43:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Funny, I also thought Oh Lonesome Me was the highlight. Never heard it live before either and it sounded great. I thought Powderfinger, which I've heard live 40000000 times, sounded especially great as well--I think the backup vocals were the difference and the overall sound was great. I went Monday FYI.
Funny about the posts: I've never gone to a concert in my life with the expectation to hear 100% the songs I wanted to hear. They guy played 20+ songs--he's bound to play a few you don't care for. Just use it as a bathroom break and chill out. !

At 12/17/2008 04:04:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I take exception to Mr. Dan Aquilante's (New York Post) quote referencing Neil's "already ugly kisser." I've been looking at Neil's face since I was a 13-year-old teenybopper in 1967 (when that face was plastered on the wall next to my bed; the last thing I saw every night). Now a 54-year-old definitely non-teenybopper, I still see nothing but exquisite beauty in Neil's face. Carol in Michigan.

At 12/17/2008 05:16:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear Neil Young fans??????

I’ve been reading all of your posts lately and some of you haven’t been very nice to Ole Neil. All of the Newspaper critics have been a lot nicer than you guys and gals. You don’t know how lucky you are to be able to see and hear him at his best and on top of that be privileged to hear brand new songs(whether they are good or bad is not part of the equation at all). It’s not only about him being an oldies guy he’s also a moving onward artist (that’s why most of us still care about him after all these years).

Southern Man

At 12/17/2008 05:48:00 PM, Blogger Shadow said...

Marle your english was fine . Carol good to see not the only one around in 1967 listening to Neil . Maybe just shows we Michigan people have good taste in music at a young age . I was 15 in 1967 when i got that first Buffalo Springfield album .

At 12/17/2008 06:20:00 PM, Blogger thrasher said...


At 12/17/2008 06:27:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I went to Monday's show, 20 feet back dead center from Neil and it was one of the best concerts I've been to- liked it a lot more than last year-'s tour.

Some girl passed out during Cortez b/c Neil was shredding so hard. I almost cried during it.

Cowgirl = extraordinary.
EKTIN = great to hear live
Heart of gold
Hey Hey My My
Cinnamon Girl
Cough Up (once you get passed the chorus)

new songs = better than I expected given all the backlash on 'em. Only 1 or 2 could've gone without listening

It's unfathomable to think that a man at that age can put on that much energy for so long, after so many years, and better virtually anyone no matter what age. There is absolutely nobody like Neil.

- Mike from MD.

At 12/17/2008 07:49:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Regarding an online source for the shows... if you're reasonably computer savvy you could try one of the peer-to-peer torrent sites, such as - it might take a while to get a logon, but keep trying; there's a ton of material out there. Otherwise get on one of the rust lists at, and hook up with other traders. Good luck!

At 12/17/2008 08:42:00 PM, Blogger Greg McGarvey said...

His Thrasherness, thanks for compiling all those media/fan reviews.

I love the poster who decided at the last minute that he HAD to go. Fuckin' cool. Glad you all had fun.

At 12/17/2008 11:50:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I was not planning to go last night but I got tempted yesterday afternoon. So I looked around on Craigslist & made a deal to buy 260 dollar seats for 100. An hour or so later I was offered free tickets in the 300's. I took those and headed out to MSG. I guess ticket sales were rather light so they closed the entire blue seat section and directed those ticket holders to other lower level seat locations. (My feeling is that Neil and other classic legendary artists need to lower prices. Not everyone is able to afford to pay 2 or 300 to see Neil, Clapton or Van Halen. I paid 350 bucks to take my 8 year old son to see Van Halen last spring. It was awesome but I can only afford to see 1 or 2 shows a year at these prices).

Wilco was pleasant. The guitarist on the left is a talent. Neil and his band came on after Wilco. I was a bit shocked at how Neil has aged since the last time I saw him at Bonnaroo in 2003. Despite him getting on in years he absolutely rocked the house. His guitar playing and vocals were on all night. The newer songs were a bit of a drag at times but I appreciate his desire to constantly move forward. In fact 20 years ago I remember him introducing "this notes for you" at the garden state arts center a good year before it was released on album. You never know which one is going to be a classic. To my surprise he played "Oh Lonesome Me" the Don Gibson tune that I had never heard him play live in the 26 years that I have been attending his shows. It was amazing. I also got to hear "Get back To The Country" from Old Ways. Last time I heard that was at the Pier in the summer of 1985. I might have been the only person familiar with that one and singing along. The crowd was basically seated throughout and quite unhappy with the unfamiliar tunes. Many left before the end and missed out on an incredible cover of "A Day in The Life". In fact some Bozo that was leaving yelled at me as I was walking back to my seat from the bathroom. "Hey you're going back in for more of that crap". Some just don't get it and never will. By 1 am I was heading for the Subway with a wide grin and an awesome Neil poster that was basically being destroyed by the falling rain and snow. The late concert shot my work day to hell, but it was well worth it. Thanks Neil!!!

At 12/18/2008 08:35:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

if I'm not mistake, "Get back to the
Country" on Old Ways was a live cut from his Austin City Limits appearance in 1985 with the Harvestors

At 12/18/2008 09:35:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I wrote an above review on Wednesday's show, and after reading some of these other comments felt compelled to elaborate. I'm a big fan, but wouldn't consider myself a "fanatic". I'm in my 40s and I typically weigh the pros and cons of dragging my ass out to a large arena to battle with crowds, traffic, etc. Even though I love Neil, I was ambivalent up to a few days before the show, when I bought a ticket.

Somebody above commented on being shocked by how much Neil has aged since 2003. This is a legitimate observation to make. I went and looked back at what he's done since 2003. The tours, the new material, the personal projects, the Bridge Shows, the interviews, surgery for a brain aneurysm .. all carried out with the expectations of ten million rock fans expecting him to live up to being Neil Young. Combine this with what he's done since 1967 or a little earlier. And then consider how these years are experienced and worn by a sensitive, driven, testy, and supremely creative guy.

As I stood there on the floor, a few songs in to his set, and as he tore through the opening of "Hey Hey, My My" I kind of chuckled to myself with a rare sense of appreciation and awe. When he did the song at San Francisco's Cow Palace in '79 it already had the fury and desperation of an elder statesmen making a plea for the heart of something that obviously went well beyond rock and roll. And then to see him the other night, wearing every one of his 63 years and not compromising an ounce of passion, tearing through that same number .. it was the farthest thing from nostalgia or a greatest hits act. It was desperation and passion, and that it didn't suck and his guitar playing has only improved with this constant touring and re-evaluation .. well, I pity those who don't get it.

Combine this with another eight or ten legitimate highlight moments, both electric and acoustic (I didn't mention "Lonesome Me" above but sure should have) and you've got something beyond unusual. But all you really had to do was take the lyrics from Hey Hey, My My, and hold the man himself up to them. Some day he won't be around, and I for one am glad I got off my ass and went the other night. He's the definition of not "mailing it in".

At 12/18/2008 10:23:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

At least you don't have to lament the lyrics below because you followed the muse to the show!

Everybody's going out and having fun
I'm a fool for staying home and having none....

You get to blast out.....

I can't get over how HE sets me free,
NO lonesome me

At 12/18/2008 11:03:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I just got back from an absolutely fantastic trip to NYC for both shows at MSG. Yes, I've been the one counting the days and then counting the hours.
These were some of the greatest days of my life.

I just read all 105 comments. I shouldn't be, but I'm amazed at the nastiness of people.

I think of the show as good, better, best.

Everest was good. They've got great potential, and I look forward to seeing them develop. I especally admired their drummer.

Wilco was better. I wasn't a fan before, but I sure am now. I LOVE "Impossible Germany"!!!!

Neil was the BEST! He shows how it's to be done.
Rock n' Roll can never die!!!

To get to watch him play is such a privilege.
I can't describe what it's like to wait 35 years to see him play Cortez and then experience it.

I couldn't have asked for a better concert. He gave us 25 songs.

Why don't people like his new songs? I think they're great, but then again, one of my most favorite songs is T-Bone. I believe he writes songs to have fun with. You need to have a sense of humor to appreciate some of Neil's stuff. Thank God, I do.

How can anyone complain about "Light A Candle"? I believe in time to come it will be considered one of his best ever.

Thank you, Neil, for your heart and your music. How it always warms my heart. I sure love you!

Marian M.

This year I got to be at both shows at MSG.

For me, this was the ultimate

At 12/18/2008 11:21:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I went to the MSG Dec 16th performance..
First off thank you Neil for giving a young kid like me a chance to see you up close..I had the $90 gen admission tickets and I got in line early so I ended up being up against the front rail literally 8 ft from Neil. Last year I "coughed up the bucks" to see neil at the united palace but I wasn't even that close.

one big thing that happened that I don't see mentioned was that it was Jeff Tweedy's (Wilco's lead singer) sons 13th birthday...Jeff brought his son out and the stadium sang happy birthday too him...then his son got on the drums and played the next song with them..Real cool moment.

Some standouts in Neils set were Hey Hey My My...Cinnamon Girl...and Rockin in the Free World....Hey Hey My My was just the most intense performance I've ever seen by anyone ever. Especially Neil screaming the line. "New York City will never Die!"
Rocking in the Free World was incredible too. Possibly my favorite moment in concert history...Actually if I could go back to one moment in my life it would be this performance of this song. I don't know if it happened at the other shows but everest and wilco both came out on stage to sing the choruses of Free World. Very exciting so much energy and just plain good vibes coming from the stage and the whole crowd.
Also a side note after this performance the guitarist/backup singer Anthony Crawford looked at me so I waved and he pointed at me then pick up one of Neils picks and threw it to me...too bad though the pick cought the wind and turned and some girl picked up not seeing he threw it to me...Still a real exciting thing to happen to me though.

All in All this was the best performance I've seen by Neil..I've only seen him 5 times but they somehow keep getting better..I thought nothing could beat the Pittsburgh CSNY show in 2006...then I saw him last year in NYC at the United Palace theater...I thought that would not be topped either.... Then I saw him the other night at MSG. I can't wait for his next tour and for him to out-do this concert too. Thanks Neil for giving me the chance to see you from the front row for only $90. It was the time of my life.

At 12/18/2008 11:59:00 AM, Blogger vvvv said...

pictures of 12/16 show

- click

At 12/18/2008 12:35:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

From Sugar Mountain, 26 songs:

Love And Only Love
Hey Hey, My My
Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere
Powderfinger / Spirit Road
Cortez The Killer
Cinnamon Girl
Oh, Lonesome Me
Mother Earth
The Needle And The Damage Done
Light A Candle
Cough Up The Bucks
Fuel Line
Hit The Road
Get Around
Unknown Legend
Heart Of Gold
Old Man
Get Back To The Country
Off The Road
When Worlds Collide
Just Singing A Song
Cowgirl In The Sand
Rockin' In The Free World
Get Behind The Wheel
A Day In The Life

At 12/18/2008 12:50:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"As I stood there on the floor, a few songs in to his set, and as he tore through the opening of "Hey Hey, My My" I kind of chuckled to myself with a rare sense of appreciation and awe. When he did the song at San Francisco's Cow Palace in '79 it already had the fury and desperation of an elder statesmen making a plea for the heart of something that obviously went well beyond rock and roll. And then to see him the other night, wearing every one of his 63 years and not compromising an ounce of passion, tearing through that same number .. it was the farthest thing from nostalgia or a greatest hits act. It was desperation and passion, and that it didn't suck and his guitar playing has only improved with this constant touring and re-evaluation .. well, I pity those who don't get it."

Thanks for those words, sums up my feelings too.

The other day I was listening to a 1991performance of that song and the power of which you speak was there as well. I think back to all the times Neil could have lost me as a fan...the "Transformer" period, "Everybody's Rockin'", even the Bluenotes I didn't get. But other than John Lennon, I can't think of any other musician who approaches her/his craft with the intensity and integrity that Neil does. That singlemindedness and dedication to one's art is why why I'm proud to buy Neil's albums no matter how crappy they can be.

And finally, I want to acknowledge Thrasher for providing this forum and the opportunity for us to voice our thoughts about Neil's music. It can't be easy running a blog with so many passionate readers. So, thanks, man!

At 12/18/2008 12:50:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Last December, I saw NY play in Harlem with my friend of 34 years. Monday, 12/16, I saw the show at MSG with my 24 year-old son. Both shows were amazing in their own way. Since 1969, when I bought the first Neil Young album, his music has been the soundtrack for my life. I was punched by my friends for continually singing “last trip to Tulsa” and had my “first time” listening to the same song. I saw Rust Never Sleeps, and the INt. Harvesters, Blue notes, Shocking Pinks, and Greendale, and CSNY, and the War tour and on and on. I bought every record he ever made as soon as they came out and I still listen to everyone, “life” and Landing on water” included.

Here are my thoughts, for what their worth. Last year’s show acoustic portion was the highlight, especially Ambulance Blues and the song about movies. The electric part was exciting, but I thought it missed a second lead guitar. Monday’s show was spectacular. We got there at 7:45 and were amazed when the first act started right at 8. They were OK, considering no one was listening. Wilco, a band I know from CDs but have never seen live, also did some amazing things. Just when you were ready for them to finish, they did.

10:10 or so, out comes Neil and Bam! Right into Love and only Love. To me, this was their warm up exercise. It was steady and even and had no excitement at all. From that point on, my son and I just were dazzled and amazed at the quality of the performance, the energy, the songs, Neil.
Midway through I leaned over to him and said, “I have never heard this song” as he began the set of new material with no introduction. Each song came and went. None grabbed me, but so what. As the concert reached its crescendo, as has been reported by others, he got wilder and wilder and gave all he had and more. I was thrilled, satisfied, and complete.

Call me a zombie, but for nearly 40 years I have listened to everything the man has put out and I love it all. Neil is Neil because he does what he wants when he wants to. If he wants to become a classical bassoon player, thane that is what we will hear the next time he goes out on tour – before the album is released. To me that is what makes him the greatest.

We got home at 2:15 am and had to get up for work at 5:30. We did it because that is what you do. Keep on rockin in the free world.

True Believer

At 12/18/2008 03:06:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Amen True Believer!

doug (12/15)

At 12/18/2008 03:56:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Donald Trump on Neil @ MSG

At 12/18/2008 04:22:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Everest was very good, Wilco was great and NEIL was ON FIRE. From the opening note to the last sound coming from his shreded guitar after "A Day In The Life" He had total command of MSG. A great mix of tunes from a smokin' "Cortez The Killer" to the beautiful "Oh, Lonesome Me" and plenty of harmonica sprinkled throughout for GOOD measure. A TRUE treat. The thousands of smiling faces exiting The Garden is the best testimony that Christmas Magic took place last night in NYC. "Thank-you for a real good time"

Garcia later!

At 12/18/2008 04:50:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I appreciated True Believer's sharing. Thank you.

I feel the same way...I've been on a journey with Neil for going on 43 years, and I always delight to see "what's going to happen next"!

I think the people that are being referred to as "zombies" are actually people that so love music and Neil and Neil's music. We're talking true love here, folks! And that sometimes is hard for others to accept.

I was shocked to read the posts that referred to "bad art". There's no such thing. Art is an expression from one's soul. Who gets to decide what is good art and bad art?

Well anyway, I'm still radiating the warm from Monday and Tuesday night, and with the snowstorm coming, that's a good thing.

Marian M.

At 12/18/2008 05:08:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think the people that are being referred to as "zombies" are actually people that so love music and Neil and Neil's music. We're talking true love here, folks! And that sometimes is hard for others to accept

We got home at 2:15 am and had to get up for work at 5:30. We did it because that is what you do. Keep on rockin in the free world

right on!!!


At 12/18/2008 07:16:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

shut the $*@#* up you stupid zombie. That's what I do. Did yall hear when Neil said his shirt was "Black.........not".
- Jessie James

At 12/18/2008 07:58:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I posted this on the Wilco forum Via Chicago......Thought I would share it here as well....

I think I had my ultimate rock show experience last night.......This is long but I think some will enjoy it.....Arrived at Grand Central Station from Conn. about 6:30 and walked to MSG in a light snow.....Pretty cool looking with the Christmas lights and stuff......My son's friend came through with three comp passes from his cousin who works for Neil Young......We were a little nervous at first because the guy at will-call couldn't find them at first, but they were there......Went in to check our seats at about 7:15.....Section 73 just to the right of the stage about 15 rows from the floor.....We watched the show over John's left shoulder so to speak......Saw Mike of Wilco walking around the General Admission area a few times......Friends and relatives of Everest were scattered around us waving and taking pictures of each other and a few band members who came out to great them.....Bill Murray popped his head out for a few minutes from the side aisle near the stage (more on that later).......Everest came out and did a fine job......John and Pat of Wilco as well as Peggy Young joined them on stage for Dylan's "You Ain't Going Nowhere"......The Arena was about one third full by the time Everest finished.......Wilco came out a little before 8 and rocked the place......All were in fine form.....I had moved to another seat to get a more straight on view of the band when unknown to me our connection to the tickets came out to where my son was still sitting and gave them VIP backstage passes.....Meanwhile, I watched Wilco unaware that my son had the keys to the kingdom.......The Wilco highlight for me was "Shot in the Arm" and "IATTBYH".......Jeff brought out Spencer to play drums for a super 13th birthday present for "The Late Greats"......Jeff commented that everything is now all down hill for him which was pretty funny......He also commented on how nervous he was......When Wilco was done I returned to my seat a few sections from where I had watched Wilco perform and couldn't find my son and his buddy......About 10 minutes later they appeared with these shitty grins on their faces.....They had been back stage and stood with Spencer as he was waiting to go onstage......They also said hi to Bill Murray......Since the passes could be peeled off I was able to get my chance at rock and roll nirvana......We walked past the security guards through the tunnel and right in front of us was Wilco's dressing room.....Pat and John were hanging outside talking to friends......When John was done talking I went up to him to congratulate him on the great show and shook his hand.....He was very gracious and easy going.....Pat was pretty much involved with his group so I didn't approach him......One of the bands tour people was standing at the door when my contact asked if we could say hello to Jeff......He told us if we were quick and didn't cause a scene......Into the inner sanctum we went......To the left of us was Nels who looked exhausted but happy.....He was talking to some friends so I didn't have the chance to say anything to him.....We also saw Fred Armisen and Will Arnett...... Next was Glen and Mike who were also very pleasant after I shook their hands and commented on the great show..... They were probably wondering who this guy was.......Sitting down with his son Spencer was Jeff......When he was no longer talking to anyone I went up to him and mentioned how we had seen them at the Shubert in New Haven and how great the show was and how great they were tonight......We shook hands and then I asked him for the once in a lifetime rock and roll memory, a picture.......Yes, I now have a photo with Jeff that I can put under my pillow and I didn't feel like a stalker......I wished Spencer a happy Birthday and headed out, my night complete or so I thought......On the way out we actually grabbed a beer from their cooler(ballsy, I know) and I spoke to John again.....I asked him when the album was coming out and if the Wilco Song was going to be on it.....He said in the spring and that yes the Wilco Song would be on it and that they enjoyed playing it.....Back out in the hallway we finished our beer and said hello to John McEnroe and headed back to our seats when who did we spy walking past? Noel Gallagher and Gem Archer of Oasis.....We actually followed them to the section we were sitting in......Noel was sitting on the aisle seat in the section to our left three rows down.......I had the aisle seat next to him......I introduced myself to him and shook his hand and he reluctantly went along........Sitting behind me was Timothy Hutton and a group of his friends.....My son had the honor of being told to sit down by Tim while Neil was playing "Hey, Hey, My, My".......He was blocking his view......Meanwhile my son and his friend went back stage two more times during Neil's set and they spoke to Jeff as he watched a TV monitor of Neil Young's performance......They spoke about the Wilco Song and the new album......During Neil's encore(A Day in the Life) I was standing right next to Noel Gallagher as everyone was on their feet going crazy.....My son looked over to Noel and said you have a lot of work to do tomorrow to top this.....Oasis plays MSG tonight.....Noel smiled and said yeah I know......Like I said, rock and roll nirvana.....A great show and a great night......Sorry for being so wordy but I tried to get everything in to share the experience......

At 12/19/2008 10:20:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wilco Fan. Great Post. Thoroughly enjoyed reading and turning green with envy. Saw the Monday show. Was great!


At 12/19/2008 10:54:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I just need to thank EarthBrown for pointing me in the right direction. Got my bit torrent and it rocks and so do you!....Any rumors as to when Neil will be back in New York? :)

At 12/19/2008 11:05:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

hi tomcrac,

neil will be back in nyc soon...very soon. all i can say right now, but it will be before he is in new zealand

-archives guy

At 12/19/2008 01:24:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

shut the $*@#* up you stupid zombie. That's what I do. Did yall hear when Neil said his shirt was "Black.........not".
- Jessie James

Love and only love will endure
Hate is everything you think it is
Love and only love will break it down
Love and only love

At 12/20/2008 03:55:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

FUEL LINE ROCKS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

At 12/21/2008 12:24:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The new songs are really rocking - I have never heard Neil so funky before. And the band is perfect for these songs. I hope we will get the new songs on a record soon!
By the way - I played LWW 100 times without getting tired of the songs. One of my favourite Neil records.

At 12/24/2008 02:31:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey tomcrac, glad you were able to get on to dime - it took me a month of trying during the Greendale tour to get on; there's a riduclous amount of great stuff out there. Check out the 2003 Neil tour compilation recently (re-)posted. And it's a pleasure to be able to steer someone in the right direction, and to make an impact. Long may you run!

At 12/25/2008 10:44:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Funny thing is...I went to join and it said NO....I surfed around lookin for other avenues (about 10 minutes or so)and said to myself...Oh just 1 more try before I go to bed...and bingo! let me join...Well 1.5 to 2 hours later I finally am figuring out all about this thing called bit torrent. Then another day to figure out how to play back .FLAC..well worth it!...I have copies of the Greendale shows that I had experienced. I did not even realize that I had seen it 4 times until I looked back and counted. I was blown away from the first time I heard it (Live in Ireland I think)..Then when he hit the US with it I thought it was absolutely brilliant. I grabbed up any show in the area. I ended up seeing it 2 nights in a row at Radio City music hall, New York City. First night about 20 rows out...The second night second row almost center. I got one of his picks that night...I was in hog heaven. I groveled like nobody's business to do "blanks and postge" trades...It's good to know that there are some real good people out there. I actually got a "VCD" of Greendale when I was at the Taj Mahal show in NJ...Very cool. The camera was tight on Neil and the band but I wish they captured the "play" taking place...Not to mention Sun Green was pretty hot, especially close up:) I'd be happy to share.


At 12/28/2008 12:42:00 PM, Blogger RSS said...

can someone tell me how to raise my download ratio on dime? I have lots of music but can not figure out how to upload and my ratio is too low to allow me to do anything any more
thanks in advance

At 12/28/2008 03:36:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well from my very limited experience with this stuff...I leave my computer on so that people are able to "feed" from my "seed". I just opened my bit torrent program...I have my neil show "seeding" ratio is at .771 right now....hope that helps.

At 4/15/2010 02:06:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I came in a Neil Young fan, barely caring about Wilco, and I left a Wilco fan, barely caring about Neil Young.

I'm sorry, but these new songs aren't worth the studio time put into recording them. And Neil's Hybrid band, as much as I love Ben Keith, was pointless...they did mediocre renditions of both the acoustic, Stray Gators stuff and the Crazy Horse material.

Wilco, on the other hand, were fantastic, engaging, and each song was DIFFERENT for a change. I think they upstaged Neil that night.


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