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Friday, January 16, 2009

Auckland, New Zealand Neil Young Concert Reviews: 1/16/09

Photo by SHANE WENZLICK/Fairfax Media

From Spatula Forum - "Auckland Big Day Out 2009 review: In which we realize Neil Young is God":
I bow before the altar of Neil Young. Yes indeedy, he is the hope, the way and the light. He took last night's Big Day Out 2009 in Auckland to a whole new level of awesomeness, and showed why he's a legend.

But in the end, though, it was all about Neil, who rocked my face off so hard that I was picking my eyebrows off the field afterwards. Neil's easily in my top five musicians of all time list and frankly, he may not make it down to New Zealand again for a long time if ever. Seeing Neil Young thrash through 90 minutes of his biggest hits had me thinking 'rock god' without an ounce of irony. Simply astounding, and hard to believe this guy is nearly my dad's age! If you closed your eye you'd think he was 30, not 60-something -- the freshness of his sound and voice is something even Dylan can't lay claim to these days. He had a cool professionalism (very little bantering) but a genial sense of love for what he does, still thrashing away like a kid in his garage after nearly 50 years of doing this rock stuff."

NZ Herald News - "Forever Young ... yes, Neil's fantastic" by Russell Baillie:
Then came Neil ...

Well, if any young person thought he wasn't the man to finish off the Big Day Out, they can go back to their Limp Bizkit collection.

He was fantastic. He transcended the setting. He gave this BDO a spirit so many others have lacked.

And despite being famously contrary, he delivered a terrific greatest hits set rather than a grand indulgence. And boy, he played guitar.

Young is from the generation that first discovered the joys of electric guitars, amps and volume - and he still plays like a man thrilled with the idea.

That was apparent right from the early graunch of Hey Hey, My My (Out of the Blue) , later on a searing Cortez the Killer, and a celebratory Rockin' In the Free World which ended the main set before Young returned for a encore of the Beatles' A Day in the Life which was the most wonderful ending to a Big Day Out. Ever.


Neil Young will be performing tonight at Big Day Out 2009, Mount Smart Stadium, Auckland, New Zealand.

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 2009 Australia & New Zealand Concert Tour & Reviews and the right, middle sidebar for continuous real time RSS feed updates.


At 1/16/2009 07:31:00 AM, Blogger xanti said...

Neil Young rocked ! The first band to really take over the stadium in years at the BDO Auckland , put every other band on the main stage to shame.Xantiscott

At 1/16/2009 07:32:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Neil Young

Big Day Out
Mt Smart Stadium
Auckland,New Zealand
16th January 2009

01. Love And Only Love
02. Hey Hey, My My
03. Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere
04. Powderfinger
05. Spirit Road
06. Cortez The Killer
07. Cinnamon Girl
08. Oh, Lonesome Me
09. Mother Earth
10. The Needle And The Damage Done
11. Heart Of Gold
12. Old Man
13. Get Back To The Country
14. Cowgirl In The Sand
15. Just Singing A Song Won't Change The World
16. Rockin' In The Free World
17. A Day In The Life

Full concert recorded by Fenderboy

Giant Squid mics/9V battery box/Edirol R09 @ 24/44.1 wav

At 1/16/2009 10:43:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

dropped all the new songs except one. no surprise.

At 1/16/2009 03:28:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Fingers crossed for "Harvest Moon" on the 21st.

At 1/16/2009 04:07:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

whats up with Neil.... he doesnt change set lists any more like he used to always do ??

At 1/16/2009 05:53:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't get it ither? Been a fan for over 25years. Would it kill him to have at least 2 different set lists he can alternate. It makes me hesitant to shell out the 200-250 he charges for tickets.

At 1/16/2009 06:52:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

With such a big list of songs it always going to be hard to please us all
I am seeing Neil in Brisbane on Wednesday and like some others I hope he can find room for Harvest Moon
But either way It will be a great experience

At 1/16/2009 07:33:00 PM, Blogger Unknown said...

What an amazing show this was! Neil is god. Im highly considering forking out and flying over to Brisbane in a couple of days...

At 1/16/2009 07:33:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Watch your language 'archives guy'....we don't need more moronic americans posting stupidity

At 1/16/2009 09:52:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Are these comments the real AG I don't think so he himself said if the top says Anonymous its not him.

At 1/16/2009 10:01:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm FROM New Zealand, but didn't get tickets to the concert and I kind of regret not seeing him in my own country now. I'm heading off to Aus on Wednesday to see him at the Sydney BDO, Sydney sidline concert then a Melbourne one sideline concert. I have spent a bit of Money, but I think it will be worth it! I also hope he plays Harvest Moon.

At 1/16/2009 10:24:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"ok, let me explain it to you retards again..."

If you really are archives guy and close to Neil, then why would you term everyone on thrashers wheat as retards? Considering Neil's charity work with the disabled, I hardly think he would be thrilled. Either you are incredibly stupid, or just ignorant.

At 1/16/2009 11:06:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I wouldn't pin my concert hopes on Harvest Moon...Don't get me wrong...stranger things have happened....after all this is Neil were talking about. I hope you get your wish...nonetheless...Have A Great Show! It's a real treat to see him still going strong.

At 1/17/2009 12:39:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Neil hardly ever changes setlists. Never has. Although he likes to claim that he does in interviews. "I just play what I feel like on the night, whatever takes my fancy etc etc ..." Seems like it's the exact same songs, in the exact same order that always takes his fancy, tour after tour, year after year...

At 1/17/2009 03:50:00 AM, Blogger Fenderboy said...

heres a sample of the Auckland recording.Neil had poblems with his harmonica holder at the start so had to stop and adjust it.

At 1/17/2009 02:21:00 PM, Blogger Nik said...

I put a review of Neil and several other BDO acts on my blog:

Neil was AWESOME.

At 1/17/2009 09:21:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

He might be the oldest person at Mt Smart Stadium, but the dude knows how to play guitar. Dude knows how to play a mean guitar.

Neil Young performed like the true legend he is. If you told me he was born with a guitar in his hand, plucking away at the chords for Rockin' in the Free World, I'd probably believe you.

I am pretty gullible though.

Despite his age, Young is still an entertaining character. I like the way he stomps his feet when he's deep in one of his lengthy guitar solos, like a kitten who hasn't quite learnt how to control all four of its paws.

He performed in front of one of the mellowest main stage crowds I've seen in years. Parents were rocking out with their kids, and there was no pushing or shoving like there was for Rage Against the Machine last year.

Best of all, there were no queues for the D barricade, so I got right up close to hear him sing those immortal lines, "Rock and roll will never die".

After all these years, you still believe Young when he sings them. Perhaps all these oldies can teach us young 'uns a few tricks after all.

At 1/18/2009 12:00:00 AM, Blogger robynrai said...

Saw him in Auckland, going to see him at the Sydney BDO, the Brisbane & the Sydney sideshows.
Any Rusty meetings before the gigs planned? Drop me a line at

He was simply amazing, enough said. The sound in the D was amazing too, you could almost reach out and touch those amazing scorching guitar solos. We went into the D 2.5 hours early, we could have strolled in 1 hour early and still got 10 metres away from the stage.

Regarding the setlist, this is the BDO remember. It's already a "risk" having him play at the event as it is, so the greatest hits package was expected. I'll br stoked if he changes around 2-3 songs for the next BDO (Maybe add Like A Hurricane, they did have the keyboard hanging on the lights) It seems rather premature to have a go at him for not changing up the setlist after 1 BDO and before his solo gigs! Settle down guys, just wait a few days and see what happens.

At 1/18/2009 12:19:00 AM, Blogger robynrai said...

I used amazing 3 times in 2 sentences!

At 1/18/2009 05:28:00 AM, Blogger Fenderboy said...

Keep checking
over the next day or 2 as I will be uploading the Auckland show here


At 1/23/2009 10:31:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Eight days after seeing Neil in Auckland I'm still buzzing. I wish I had a time machine! Until then, watching clips on You Tube has had to suffice. I've uploaded the live clips I took - these can be seen at

Though I don't think my words can do justice to what I witnessed, I felt too moved to say nothing, so here's my modest account...

[b]Neil Young
Big Day Out, Mt. Smart Stadium, Auckland, 16 January 2009[/b]

WOW!!! Three days later I’m still buzzing! I feel this is the best live show I’ve ever been to, even over the highly impressive Police, Split Enz and Stevie Wonder gigs I attended last year. All the senses were overloaded with an awesome display of musical power, passion and seemingly effortless skill.

Dressed in blue jeans and a black blazer spattered with bright paint, Neil casually walked on stage at 9:10 to wild cheering and applause and didn’t let up for a single moment during the 90 minute main set. The band kicked straight in and blew us all away with sheer power you would normally associate with a much younger ensemble. It’s obvious that Neil’s chosen his band very carefully and that they’re well honed.

We had much fun picking out songs as they began, some being a little unrecognisable due to Neil’s much appreciated tendency to jam away. After a minute or so a few familiar notes would ring out and the crowd would cheer. From time to time Neil would let his dry sense of humour creep in, which was a delight. Watching this elder statesman stomping around the stage you wouldn’t think he was such a rocker until he let fly with the solos…and did he what!

Halfway through the electrics were rested and a well received acoustic set was played, complete with harmonica and sweet backing vocals to the fore. Out came the perennial favourite ‘Heart Of Gold’ – as expected it was to a rapturous reception. His solo organ performance on ‘Mother Earth’ during this segment was particularly moving.

I’ve found it hard to pick a favourite song, but the numbers from his 1979 album Rust Never Sleeps are right up there – ‘Powderfinger’ and ‘Hey Hey, My My’ were given stirring renditions as expected, though not a single song disappointed. The crowd, a happy mix of younger folks and loyal older fans sung along to virtually every song, or at the very least showed much appreciation for the lesser known ones. The setlist was a very satisfying mix of the classic, the recent and the rarely heard.

After finishing the main set, Neil and the band came back on for the unexpected yet well arranged rock version of the Beatles’ classic ‘A Day In The Life’, complete with the familiar climatic moments and ended with Neil doing a appropriately rock ‘n’ roll de-stringing of his trusty electric guitar Old Black to an equally frenzied response from the crowd. Then, just like that, he tapped a note or two on the vibraphone and strolled off stage, leaving us gasping for more in the perfect culmination to Auckland’s Big Day Out for 2009.

I’m going to be on a high over this for some time yet. I’m so glad I got the opportunity to see one of my (and popular music’s) unchallenged heroes.

At 3/12/2009 09:42:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Here's my comment on the whole day at Auckland, including Neil -

As it came about, I was in Adelaide the day before Neil's appearance at the BDO there. We were in a bar in Glenelg, and a familiar-looking old gentleman dropped in to check on the Federer/Roddick score on the big screen. It was Neil, and I recovered from my surprise quickly enough to thank him for the Auckland gig, before he ambled off, with minder, into the night!


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