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Saturday, January 24, 2009

Sydney, Australia Neil Young Concert Reviews - 01/24/09

Judging from comments below, we're having a major problem in the land of Down Under.

Dear god people, we're suffering flashbacks to the night of March 31, 1973 in Oakland, CA during "Southern Man".


Australia, please listen to (You Gotta) Fight for Your Right (To Party!) before attending your next Neil Young concert.

Photo by Ron "Love And Only Love"

Neil Young will be performing tonight at Sydney Entertainment Centre, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia.

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 1/24/2009 06:37:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I wish I was there...

I suppose, twice in a week ain't too bad...

At 1/24/2009 07:15:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

1- Love And Only Love
2- Sea Change
3- Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere
4- Spirit Road
5- Cortez The Killer
6- Cinnamon Girl
7- Mother Earth
8- The Needle And The Damage Done
9- Light A Candle
11- Unknown Legend
13- Get Back To The Country
14- Words
15- Just Singing A Song
16- Rockin' In The Free World
17- A Day In The Life

At 1/24/2009 07:34:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

i prefer the brisbane set list.sea change would of been weird in place of hey hey. gee i hope he plays cowgirl..hey hey my melbourne...but the songs id die to hear and would neil to play love..BIRDS...EXPECTING TO FLY.TELL ME WHY...mellow my mind..i beleive in you...still it must of been great to of heard..WORDS..ONE OF THESE DAYS.AND FOUR STRONG WINDS...

At 1/24/2009 07:43:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I wonder if he went country because of the lack of crowd support in Brisbane? There's always a big pool of people who only know the Harvest stuff.

Anyway it was a great night. Crowd was excellent.

At 1/24/2009 08:19:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Crowd was excellent"...

I have to disagree with you on that. At one point (at the end of "Rockin"), Pegi had to keep soothing/calming Neil down, he was so angry at audience for sitting through the show.

I know it's a tough call for the audience (and has been much discussed on this forum), and no doubt the promoters bear much responsibility for not configuring the venue as "general admission" standing on the floor like the US dates.

Neil sitting down mid-song and stopping guitar playing while making "heart attack" motions said it all... I felt so bad for him tonight, he gave everything and the audience gave back next to nothing. A friend who say the set-list said that at least 3 songs were dropped from the end of the set...

At 1/24/2009 08:39:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

WOW..IS THAT TRUE??NEIL DROPPED THREE SONGS AT THE END??OOOH im so sorry that neil feels that way..we do love him and the shows have been loved..its just a shame everyone sits thru them..but australian audiences always do that..ive seen the same thing happen at dylan and rolling stones shows,everyone sits like stuffed mummies..god help anyone who actually wants to have a great time at a concert in australia..i was at brisbane..and australian audiences are pathetic..sitting with arms folded..sending text messages..and telling those who do stand up to sit buddy was threatened to be beaten up if he stood up and danced ..and the security were almost throwing people out for standing or brisbane i saw the guy with his arms up,trying to dance and the security pounced on him..(he posted here a few days ago).and neil responded to the guy by holding his hands up in salute to the poor dude...but the show was still friggin amazing..

At 1/24/2009 08:44:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

What Might Have Been...

Thank you, (pathetic) Sydney audience for ruining what was shaping up to be the set of the tour. With the amount of time that was left at the start of Free World I'm convinced we were in for No Hidden Path....

Neil actually sang the line 'Keep On Rockin in The Free World' and then said into the microphone "or sit on your arses". It was soft but clearly audible. Rick showed his disgust by waving the crowd away. RITFW was ended so abruptly that the band simply just stopped.

I had people complaing to security when I was standing up get into the music. Honestly, if you want to sit down during Cinnamon Girl, go home and put on the record.

In saying all that, I'm sure there were hundreds of people across the venue in the same situation as me, but were actually too afraid to get up and enjoy themselves in fear of others yelling at them.

Neil, if you or your people read this, you need to let people know that you want them to get up and dance. Tell them in no uncertain terms. Speak the words "get up and dance if you want to". Australian crowds are nortorious 'sitters' and will not get up without encourgement. And unfortunately, sometimes the music itself is not enough, no matter how powerful it may be.

One final thought on what was both an amazing (Words, One of These Days, Four Strong Winds) and such a dissappointing night. I'm lucky enough to be seeing Neil six times this tour, and will get another chance to see Neil again. I'm just very upset for those who may only being seeing this tour once and missed out on the opportunity on seeing the show in its entirity because of 'audience participation'. Neil, I understand why you did what you did, and I know that you feed of the audiences energy, but you should not have disadvantage (some) poelpe through no fault of their own. I was up and dancing, and so were some others...

I pray and hope for a standing audience in Melbourne...

Cheers - (A disappointed but fully understandable)Dave from Australia

At 1/24/2009 08:52:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

yes..if anyone from neils camp reads this,,neil should definetley let security know its okay to get up...and tell the people to get up..i know if we do get up someone behind us will threaten us,..or security will push us around..oh this is an awful situation...

At 1/24/2009 08:57:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great show. Sea Change was a poor choice for second song in, needed one of the big guns after a good opening. It was a real tempo drop. Great Cortez & Cinnamon Girl to finish off the first electric set though. Unpredictable acoustic set - really nice Four Strong Winds & One Of These Days. Get Back To The Country was great, but short. Words - sublime! Neil having to sit down and mock the crowd during RITFW was unfortunate - he seemed to cut it a little short too... (?) Whole show seemed too short though. 29 songs in '85 may have spoiled me :-) All up a great night though. Nice to see the show with you Andrew and to catch up with you too Glenn...

At 1/24/2009 08:58:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Maybe Neil should ask Iggy Pop to share the stage with him in Melbourne. That will help to get rid of the security people.

At 1/24/2009 09:24:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Australian audience are hopeless... they have killed concerts before and they did it again today... i come from NZ where the audience are so much more active and alive and we are supposed to be the sleeping country!... most people around me were more interested in their beers than the music... too sad...

At 1/24/2009 01:01:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Funny thing is my ticket said no cameras/recorders. But it didn't say no dancing.

At 1/24/2009 01:07:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great concert tonight. Rendition of Cortez the Killer was the highlight for me -----

At 1/24/2009 01:25:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Sydney Entertainment Centre has a reputation as the most miserable venue in Sydney for rock music. Neil's gig shouldn't have taken place there - why did the promoter book it? 20 years ago I swore I'd gone to my last gig at that venue and last night I was reminded why. Enforced seating, distance from stage, air-con on recirculate. Nothing wrong with Sydney audiences - catch a gig at The Enmore for example. Promoter at fault.

At 1/24/2009 01:26:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well, you can't complain after getting access to Neil once in a blue (harvest) moon. I was very surprised when I looked at my watch after day in the life and it was only 10:30pm. I was anticipating (at least) a looong Cowgirl.

I've lived in Aus for four years (NH born and bred) and since visits from Neil. So, can't complain about the set list...but I wanted more. I was in the 10th row dead centre; the first three rows were helping the cause. Not sure about what was going on behind me. When I saw the "Fred Sanford" move I wasn't sure if it was warranted. I thought the (upfront) crowd was delivering.

If the crowd was an issue then we are f@cked, because Neil was offering it up last night...he playing was going through the motions. I don't know if the crowd sucked or not...what we got from Neil and the band was too good to spend time rustling up the negative comments.

Words was the highlight for sure; such a thick, winding heavy groove. Cinnamon Girl was in your face, too...those guitar chords felt like he was slicing meat off the bone. great to get to sing-a-long with (Dancin' across the water, now...). Unknown Legend was really thoughtful and cool when Neil called Pegi the "unknown legend". RITFW did feel like it got taken out at the knees. One of these days was a surprise...felt like a good pat on the back from an old pal.

You just can't bitch about a STRONG performance, albeit a short tone. Throw in a Cowgirl or Powderfinger and I'll feel even better. The crowd...WTF, if they (we) were poor...sorry Neil, you deserved better.

My memory is vivid, I remember each riff...but it is all one song and in my head I hear a blend of all those Neilified riffs from a great performance. Thanks, Neil...

(and for all those people who think that because you have chair s you an sit...that is BS. The chairs are there so we can pay premiums. Get off the ass or hit the road)

At 1/24/2009 05:13:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Too many songs were made up of children's bible study lyrics and preachy "mother nature" psycho-babble by an old man doing the jig.

A few 40 year old songs and a great encore guitar finish let me know how great he used to be, and sometimes still is. His newer stuff let me know how God Killed Neil.


I sat down because I was bored.

At 1/24/2009 05:40:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Have read the various comments posted and for what's it's worth, here's my take on last evening's events.

Firstly a great performance by someone who has provided me with my musical inspiration for well over 30 years. Highlights - an unbelievable Cortez; beautiful One of These Days; and explosive finale with Words, RITFW and A Day in the Life which I was really looking forward to and it didn't disappoint.

The only disappointment for me was Neil himself in terms of the petulance he showed because many (most) of the audience preferred to sit and enjoy the show rather than jump around.

There is no doubt that Neil puts 110% into every performance. For a 63 year old, his energy is simply amazing. But you can still enjoy a concert and be very much into it without having to stand and "dance". As someone nearing 50(like many in the audience) my days of jumping around are well behind me.

Mature Australian audiences are by nature fairly passive and polite and our indoor concert venues are set up this way. It is our way of showing an artist respect by allowing them to do their thing and admiring them for that. If Neil has got to a stage where he needs younger, more energetic audiences he should limit himself to only performing at large outdoor events like the BDO when he comes Down Under. But what about his true fans who have been along for the ride since the late 1960s ?

Seems that while Neil advocates "Freedom of Speech" he is not so supportive of "Freedom of Behaviour" when it comes to his concerts ?

Last Dance

At 1/24/2009 06:44:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Loved the show and would go again
tomorrow. Have enjoyed Neil's music for a long time and have never felt the urge to get up and dance. I like to watch and listen. I had the binoculars on him most of the night. To me he is an artist that deserves respect and as a long term fan I deserve the same respect from him. If I choose to sit and admire he should be able to acknowledge my right to do so and just get on with it.
I think he was much the same with us on the Greendale tour, which I also enjoyed. Don't know what more he expects from the fans when he has our respect and our dollars.

At 1/24/2009 07:12:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I was slightly disappointed with the setlist and that the concert was a bit short. But he was amazing, no question. Cortez, Cinnamon Girl and Words were the highlight for me.

As for the audience participation, people were getting into it down the front and me and a lot of people around me were dancing in our seats. It's a bit difficult when you have people behind you that you don't want to piss off. If everyone was up, I'd be up too. I don't know. Human beings are social animals. We want everyone to be happy!

I think any artist should remain professional regardless, and do what they came to do, so it's a bit disappointing if it's true that Neil cut the concert short because of that. On the other hand, I couldn't believe the number of people getting up and leaving for the bar throughout the concert. To me that is so disrespectful to an artist, good or bad. I wonder if it was that that pissed Neil off more than the crowd reaction?

Anyway, it was a great show regardless. Some spine-tingling moments there. Good one Neil!

At 1/24/2009 07:13:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

It would have been so close to a perfect song list if we had got Hey Hey, Powderfinger & Cowgirl but I have to wonder how Neil was affected so early on by the crowd to put Seachange as the second song in the electric set. It seemed like he had taken the juice out of it already...but I must agree that the Entertainment Ctre is a suck of a venue.

At 1/24/2009 07:20:00 PM, Blogger egg said...

I agree that the audience was pretty lame - but this is greatly due to the layout of the venue and we the audience and fans should not be disadvantaged due to that - the promotors need to be told and those who buy tickets for the floor section should expect to stand, regardless of seats. There was a group at the front of the stage really getting into it despite the security and people were hooting all around me and getting into it. Was a shame neil and the band did not get this feedback during the show.

I was also at the BDO in Sydney and the crowd (mostly significantly younger)there was really getting into all the songs - singing along with needle, heart of gold and old man, was really interesting to hear them all get into it and you could see neil really feeding of it. The BDO show was more electrified with hey hey, cowgirl etc. Was a real shame and letdown that this sydney show was cut short - thought we were in for something really special with winds, words etc, and the previous set lists seeming to been thrown out, but it was not to be and we were cut short. Cortez was awesome...and the crowd rocked to this! Got to say after the show neil gave much time signing shirts, albums atc and he was much relaxed and seemed at peace. Make sure you get on your feet in melbourne and elsewhere for your own and the bands needs!

At 1/24/2009 07:22:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...


At 1/24/2009 07:35:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I hope Neil returns to Australia again! I am very dissapointed that fans are not getting up and getting off!

I will be in Perth and will go beresrk and I will be noticed cause I love the music

At 1/24/2009 08:49:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Working up to be a hell of a show, that fell flat during Just Singing a Song. It was like Neil looked into in the Crowd, didn't feel it, and pulled back, cutting straight to RITFW. He begrudgingly wandered out for A Day in the Life, after which he quickly exited, not before throwing a manic grin while playing one note on the xylophone. Drummond and Keith were left on the stage, bemused, wondering which way to go.

The crowd never had a chance at the Entertainment Centre. To overcome the sections, the seats and security was beyond most. Cut the profit for a general access venue next time. This is venue much better suited for another great Canadian, Leonard Cohen, who plays here later in the week.

At 1/24/2009 09:10:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

That was Rosas, not Drummond. Apologies.

At 1/24/2009 09:47:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I've been to all 4 shows so far in Oz... incredible ALL!! The Sydney show last night was by far the best..
The 2 side shows Brisbane and Sydney that everyone (including Neil) seems to have a problem with because everyones not Standing up and rocking out is because they are NOT General Admission Venues. people are not actually allowed to stand up!.. It's bloody annoying, and Neil and band seem perplexed about it. but i understand there was some confusion with management over this. Trust me, the love is in the room! Thanks Neil absolutely incredible, hey and thanks to My Morning Jacket! awesome
The Mayor of Byron

At 1/24/2009 10:23:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great show - loved it. Rocked in our seats. But we don't see Neil so often out here that we want to get thrown out of the only concert of his we are likely to see for a while - which is what happens at the entertainment centre if we stand in our seats. Security is harsh. We came for the music and were not disappointed. I find it hard to believe he cut it short because of a perceived lack of audience participation. If you want more participation, hold it in a paddock - I have a very nice one I'll offer!
Roseclipt in Currency Creek

At 1/24/2009 10:26:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

hahahaa...did you read wot those awful old retro farts..the prodigy said about neil?? my goodness what a load of wank..neil is far more relevant than those bandwagon jumping dated90,s retro techno idiots..the prodigy,s show at BDO was dull garbage.i mean they are funny for a few minutes and then its fuckin boring 1992 retro crap..hahahah.U know that silly song FIRESTARTER...they still excist apparently.

At 1/24/2009 10:45:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

more people were up on their feet than brisbane, but it must be so dishearting...

I spoke to security, and asked if i could leave my seats and dance by the sound mix desk down the back, and the security guy apprecaited we asked, and had no problem with it...

would have loved it if the floor had no seats... and the sit down people would have had to stay in the stands....

still a good show, and hope it doesnt put neil off from coming back down under

At 1/24/2009 11:23:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great comments.
Having a laugh reading. Did not read any comment by Prodigy. All I can say is 'who the hell is Prodigy and how have they earned the right to comment on NY?
I think the paddock idea is a good one. I'd be there.
Never thought i'd see Cortez and Cinnamon Girl live
so i'll die happy even happier if he finds the time to come back but when he does I will still reserve my right to sit.

At 1/24/2009 11:26:00 PM, Blogger Unknown said...

3 Things......Neil has been around long enough to play what he wants, when he wants and in what order he likes (mixed verses included). True Neil fans would love it 'any which way'. I Agree with what that guy said about the R.Stones......Keef would get too confused if the set list was changed too much and he couldn't find his rider.
Some fans like to rock with their bodies, some rock inside....those sitting down are no less Neil fans than those up dancing.
Lastly, the best place for Neil to play, I agree is at a Musical Festival...not BDO but Byron Bay Bluesfest. What a festival to see and appreciate Neil. And the crowd and other artists would certainly appreciate Neil. BRING NEIL TO BYRON......Pass It On !!!!

At 1/24/2009 11:29:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree with another post. How could Neil be annoyed with the audience so early to drop Hey,Hey for Seachange. I think the guy was either tired or in a bad mood. Unfortunately for us paying audience members, we missed out on what could have been. Disappointing set list, short playing time. Remember what Johnny Rotten said at the last original Pistols gig "ever get the feeling you've been cheated?"
I did last night.

At 1/24/2009 11:30:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Lots of good comments above. I was in the stands 3 row back and during / after Cortez a lot of people went forward. But true the seated layout does not suit a rockin dance night. Should have been GA on the floor and seated in the stands.

As Neil only comes downunder every 6 years or so this brings out 10,000's of Harvest fans.

I was waiting in line to buy the tour programm and four ladies behind me noticed my Rust badge and we got talking.

They said 'He better not play any new shit, we are Harvest girls and we want that'.

After the show he was in a great mood and accepted a t-shirt from me and signed another one.

Great show, Words was so good. Venue sucked, sound was better and louder in Italy in June at a basketball stadium.

and I fell into a dream

At 1/25/2009 12:33:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think the show should not have been cut short. Some people can't dance for a very good reason. When Neil plays in Melbourne on Wednesday I'll be dancing, but my dad won't be able to because he has a hurt back from the time he went over a land mine in Vietnam. Don't know what other reasons people have for sitting down, but I'm sure they don't think the music sucks.

At 1/25/2009 01:05:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I live in Canada and travelled down to see Neil in Sydney. I was disapointed in the audience and the short set list. Too bad a lot of people ruined it for us . way to go Neil on setting them strait . Come back to Toronto where we love you.

At 1/25/2009 01:36:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't understand why Neil would want or expect people to stand up and jump aroumd. A lot of Neil Young fans, I suspect, are similar to myself, in that they are essentially introverted people, who simply don't do the 'dance' thing. I enjoyed the show immensely, yet i did not move so much as a muscle ... except to occasionally have a scratch. Neil shouldn't equate lack of movement with lack of appreciation. That's just silly. It's not a dance show, it's a Neil Young show.

-- Glenn

At 1/25/2009 01:44:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The big difference in the two Sydney gigs is the average age of the crowd. The average age of the crowd at the Big Day Out is around the early 20's, with the crowd at the Ent Cent gig around late 40's to early 50's. The difference is that the younger crowd have more energy and are willing to stand and enjoy a show that may only last for an hour and a half, even after standing in the blazing sun all day. The older crowd tend to want their comfort and be entertained without having to exert themselves. I went to both gigs and it was apparent that although the Ent Cent gig went longer it was lacking the overall energy of the BDO show, Neil really playing off the crowd at the BDO. It's a shame people don't realise that as an artist ages the demographic of his audience also changes, his fans age and maybe they feel comfortable sitting to enjoy the show with the odd beer or two.

At 1/25/2009 02:42:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I attended the show and thought it was great. But I am very disappointed that I have been berated by both Neil Young and Thrasher's Wheat for not jumping up and down. Absolutely ridiculous.

At 1/25/2009 03:08:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have now been to the last 5 gigs that Neil has played at the SEC. From my seat the crowd were right into although they were seated.

I have a couple of theories as to why the crowd did not boogie. The first is, as someone else noted above, that the insertion of Sea Change as the second song stopped any momentum. While I liked the song I would have left Hey Hey My My there or put in Powderfinger or Hurricane. Secondly, I suspect that the allocation of tickets by Ticket master may have resulted in those on the floor going to an older crowd. In the past my friends and I have queued up and got great seats (10 rows from the front). This time we used the internet but were not able to get on until 15 minutes after the start. While we got okay seats they were not as good as last time. Not so easy to boogie on a balcony.

While I loved the surprises in the set list I was hoping for more of the new songs eg Fork in the Road. New trumps old except for the set list?

It also seemed to be that the volume was less than on the Greendale tour. I missed the Horse on Cinnamon Girl. While the Electric Band is fine it lacks that animal ferocity of the Horse. The greatest hits segment of the Greendale gig was vicious.

One of Neil's early comments before "Spirit Road" was "let's hear it for the alcholic's tonight". I had previously assumed that this was meant to be a gospel/spiritual number but now I wonder if it may not be another number about Rassy. (The Believer was about her). I alos preferred Ralph's drumming on this song.

My friends commented that their concert was ruined by a couple of bozos who sat behind us. Not sure why these clowns did not take their $300 to the local pub. I must admit that I was in the zone.
The highlight for me was Words - a tune I never appreciated until Road Rock.

See ya on down the road

At 1/25/2009 03:30:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Regarding the post above comparing the average age of the crowd at the Neil show to the crowd at the BDO show, can I just point out that Neil Young was 63 years old at both shows, and it didnt stop him from giving you his absolute all to try and gain a reaction, any reaction from the crowd. People dont need to 'dance' when they are standing up, but if the artist on stage motions that he would like the crowd to get more involved then you know what, show some respect and get involved. I swear there was more reaction and movement in the cinema when I saw Heart of Gold than there was at the SEC last night.

In saying all that, it was still a special 95 minutes and I'm eternally thankful that I was able to see Neil Young live in front of my eyes again. It doesnt happen to often down these ways and you've gotta take what you can!

Cheers again - Dave from Australia

At 1/25/2009 07:00:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Dave from Australia" - that's a perfect summation...

... the audience didn't have to "dance" as some of the above posts seem to obsess on, they just needed to give SOME level of energy back to Neil, and from where I was sitting, there was this incredible energy coming off the stage, and the vast majority of the audience gave nothing back. As Dave says, show some respect, paying $150 for a ticket doesn't mean you own the artist nor that they are performing clowns for you.

Simple fact is the Australian promoter took the greedy option of $150 seats on the floor rather than the cheaper general admission standing seen on the last US tour. If you want to sit and look bored, you can do it from a seat very close at the side of the stage.

A performer like Neil is always going to give a more passionate performance if the audience at the front are involved, making eye contact, singing along, clapping, cheering and yes, even dancing.

At 1/25/2009 07:20:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I love Neil's accoustic guitar songs and was disappointed that he didn't play more of his Harvest stuff. Not everyone likes to dance. Some of us just want to sit back and enjoy his work and listen to the words. I loved his Heart of Gold concert. Was hoping last night would be more like that. I felt he didn't engage his audience. It would have been nice if he had had some dialogue with us.

Disappointed fan

At 1/25/2009 07:51:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

BDO was great because you had room to move around and dance. I also went to the Entertainment Centre and it would have been great to dance but its not the right environment, not atleast the tickets I managed to get up in the balconys.

And maybe its my fault aswell for being considerate of those behind me. But I wasn't going to block the view of the elderly people sitting behind (im only 19) me who couldn't stand up for two hours, let alone dance and ruin their evening. So I sat down and enjoyed the music just as much as everybody else in the centre and showed my appreciation by clapping cheering and whistling but no dancing.

And I am so happy and grateful that I saw Neil Young live and in person at BDO and the SEC but its a shame that he cut the concert short and was disappointed with the crowds response but he can do what ever the fuck he wants, he's Neil Young ffs, I just hope it hasnt put him off comming back.


At 1/25/2009 07:57:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

It was great when Ben Keith accidently started playing Cinnamon before the rest of them, and Rick Rosas shouted out "Telegram", Ben Keith is old enough to be sending telegrams.

At 1/25/2009 08:17:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

My partner and I sat to the right of the stage, looking down.

I boogeed in my seat because it was not at all clear if the people behind me would also stand. Or if they would grumble.

I've been a Neil fan for years and years. Tonight is the first time I have read this site and last night was the first time I'd seen him perform. I'm surprised at the strength of feeling dredged up by reading these comments from those of you who have been lucky enough to see the guy multiple times.

There is certainly a sense of elitism here. "We can tell you Sydneysiders how to really appreciate Neil..."... "... if I'd been there, he would have played Hey Hey and Cowgirl...". Ridiculous.

The highlights were obvious. Words, Cortez and Rockin. The acoustic section was pedestrian (I thought). Not intimate enough.

As for Neil cutting the night short... if that is true, I am disgusted. $300 for 2 tickets is not cheap (and this is not about getting my money's worth). It's about the artist's respect for the audience.

It crossed my mind that the gig was shorter than I expected. It did cross my mind that those in the 8 rows in front of the stage were luckiest as they seemed to be up and dancing for most of the night (even though I could see security shepherding people back to their seats).

The SEC is a sober venue. Neil plays intense music. Sitting, absorbing, appreciating a legend in front of your eyes should not never be penalised in any way.

Neil certainly seemed to soak up the ovation at the end of the encore.

If he had a problem, it was on his side. Not ours.

At 1/25/2009 09:18:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The post above "It's about the artist's respect for the audience"...

Again, you do not own Neil (or any other artist) because you paid $150 for a ticket, the best response I can think of to that absurd view is from Neil himself...

"those people don't have any respect
so they won't get any of mine"

There's clearly going to be two disparate arguments here, and neither side will ever understand the other. From my perspective, the artist NEVER owes the audience anything, most fans of Neil value his integrity, independence and choices are are more than happy to follow his lead. Sure, I may not like hearing his new songs on this tour as much as his old songs, but damn I support his right to play them if he feels like it. I would have it no other way. Those that can't understand this, may be better suited as fans of another artist with less integrity and more of an eye to their own commercial future.

At 1/25/2009 09:49:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Again, you do not own Neil (or any other artist) because you paid $150 for a ticket, the best response I can think of to that absurd view is from Neil himself...

"those people don't have any respect
so they won't get any of mine""

I'm sorry. But this is a load of codswaddle.

As I mentioned in my post, it's not about the money. It's about the show, what the artist offers the audience.

Neil puts a show together with thought and integrity. He plans (to a certain extent) where he wants to go on any given evening. Cutting the night short because of his misperception that the audience was not involved or appreciative is something that needs to be called out. It explains why I left the auditorium thinking "That didn't finish the way it was supposed to... something was missing". It's like putting on Romeo and Juliet and leaving the audience to figure out what happened after they took the poison...

Your point suggesting I should consider switching allegiance to Beyonce or Kylie or U2 or some other commercial venture is designed to be insulting but all it does is allow me to question your intelligence. How far would you indulge an artist that you have paid to see? If Neil had walked off after 5 songs, I would have appreciated and treasured what I had seen (whilst questioning what might have been and feeling some deep disappointment). You seem to suggest that you would uphold the artist's right to do whatever they want. Congratulations to you.

To me, it was a great night. But it did not, in some way, fulfil its potential. To reminisce, question, analyse the night is the right of everyone in attendance.

At 1/25/2009 09:55:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Despite your need to question my intelligence, I can only agree with your comments...

"To me, it was a great night. But it did not, in some way, fulfil its potential. To reminisce, question, analyse the night is the right of everyone in attendance."

You are simply not going to see my point, which is a deeply held view of the relationship between artist and audience. I can see your point but do not agree nor ever will, lets leave it at that.

At 1/25/2009 09:59:00 AM, Blogger Greg McGarvey said...

"His Electric Band" = early warning that you're buying a ticket for a rock & roll show :)

At 1/25/2009 10:27:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"His Electric Band" = early warning that LincVolt rules!
...and that he might play some LincVolt related songs.
Nice discussion over here on TW. bsm

At 1/25/2009 11:17:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

hey everybody, how the fuck do you know if neil was pissed or if he cut the show short? do you know him?

-not archives guy

At 1/25/2009 11:43:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am sure Neil understands culture, demogrphic and venue variables quite well; he's been playing gigs for over 40 years. It's a damn shame that everyone was sitting. You'd assume that enough people would feel the vibe and get up and boogey and others would follow. But if that is standard protocol for the venue than I don't know why anyone is surprised nobody did. Neil reacting to it is classic Neil. You never know what Neil is going to do next. That is why he's still relevant. It's one reason why I dig the guy so much - he isn't concerned with what others think.

At 1/25/2009 04:17:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

For me, Neil Young's music has always been a deeply internal thing; my heart - yes; my head - yes. My body - no. I was mesmerised watching the show. It's certainly no time to be standing up and moving around.

Funny comment in one of the papers today: "Maybe Neil should learn to dance before he expects other people to do the same."

Loved the show. HATE being told how i should react at the show. That's very un-Neil Young if you ask me. Neil doesn't like being told what to do, yet seemingly has no problem telling others what to do. It's true that we don't own him because we bought a ticket -- it's equally true that doesn't own us.

-- GC

At 1/25/2009 04:36:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I always assumed that the Aussies were quite a chilled out bunch who like nothing better then having a nice cold beer and relaxing with friends round a barbi.

I suspect when they go to concerts they're not suddenly going to change in to hyper active headbanging rock fans.

As for Neil - he shouldn't penalise a bunch of people because they're laid back, they're not being rude, just appreciating you in a different way.

Maybe next time he should bring an anthrapologist on tour...

Anyway that's my perspective from the chilly UK!

At 1/25/2009 05:40:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sad to say that I was one of those people that only saw the one show, and I agree with all those people who say that it was disappointing and blame the crowd.

I flew across from NZ because I wanted to see a full Neil show, rather than a festival set. Having seen Cohen a few days earlier I can assure you its possible to both remain seated and be appreciative, and this crowd didn't do it.

It was plain that both Neil and the band were annoyed, but in their defence they still put on a very professional show, just not all that it could have been with a supportive crowd. I commented afterwards that I wouldn't have been surprised if a few songs had been dropped, so its interesting to see that confirmed.

From the sounds of it NZ and Australian crowds are similar in terms of being reluctant to stand and dance (partly I suspect because security tends to be quite tough), but its still possible to be a good audience and this one failed. Wellington (where I'm from) and Melbourne are both known as very musical cities, so hopefully (regardless of whether they stand for the show) Melbourne will be an appreciative crowd and get the show they deserve.

BeShakey in NZ

At 1/25/2009 05:58:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

aaahhh geee these post are funny loving the realisation that neil is still getting everyone worked up ..imagine if everyone got this worked up and had just the same strength and energy when it came to politics,we then would never never never had the worst ever australian government(howard-who is gone now THANK GOD) runninng around after americas worst ever truly evil george bush and his henchmen and we wouldnt have the world going down the toilet like it i starting another raging blog now?/i doubt it cause i doubt anyone with the good taste to love neil could ever be a john howard fan>>>..hahaha seriously..isnt it awesome that neil is still got everyone reating??he will never play it safe and be the rolling stones...

At 1/25/2009 06:42:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is the 3rd time I have seen Neil perform at the Entertainment Centre in Sydney. I was 21 when I saw him in 1985 and the average age of the audience would have been between 10 and 15 years older than me—the same could be said on Friday night. SO, we have the same venue—it is certainly a poor venue but the dynamics of the venue are the same as they were some 24 years ago). What has changed is the age profile—much older audience with greater variance (ie. teens—70s). Perhaps the audience had mellowed (presumably with age) but given there was only one concert (rather than 3 or more on previous visits) you would think that the more “hard core” fans got a seat. Moreover, I would have imagined the age profile in Sydney would be similar to most places around the world—so Neil would not be surprised by that and certainly not surprised by the venue—he has played there at least 10 times! The “laid back” crowd has NEVER worried him before in Sydney. Not much has changed here.

A challenge Neil has increasingly faced has been the diversity of his fans—but this diversity runs in parallel to his own musical changes. One the one hand you do get all those one-album Harvest folk wanting to re-live a snapshot of time with others (as the age profile of the audience changes) wanting different snapshots of time—from On the Beach, to Weld to Harvest Moon. Everyone wants a piece of Neil and the pieces are not all the same. But not much has changed here…perhaps only the extent of the challenge. After all he wrote the songs not us!

So what happened? He seemed to play with more passion than I can remember in 85 or when he was touring just with Crazy Horse. Or is that what I want to think as I get older? Neil plays much better when no one is competing with him—which Crazy Horse sometimes do? He certainly put in—and obviously felt he wasn’t getting enough in return! It is pretty confounding when you think that he sublimely played Words and within 3 minutes was hypocritically singing Just Singing the Words—BUT that is why we love Neil and why he isn’t pedestrian! What he has never done before is pull the plug and walk off early! That is what changed? His performance at the BDO was phenomenal—my two children can testify to that (as many on this site have maintained).

Perhaps he couldn’t back up 2 nights in a row?
Perhaps he wanted all the under 20s screaming back at him again?
Perhaps he was in a very bad mood from the start—and it wasn’t about us?

Who knows—but what is certain is that if he had played just four more songs (let’s say Hey Hey, Powderfinger, another new one, and any other song from the 100s he has!) we would have all gone home thinking the concert was totally amazing and most of the blogs would have been about the music and not the audience.

Don’t blame Sydneysiders—they haven’t really changed (apart from their age) and Neil knows them well
Don’t blame the crap venue—he has played here many times before and his dominate personality would have stepped in if he thought it was as bad a place as most of us think
Don’t blame us not dancing—the silent disco at the BDO was the day before!

NEIL just had to guts-it-out for 4 more songs! He didn’t, that’s Neil and that’s WHY WE LOVE HIM

Wagga Wagga

At 1/25/2009 07:11:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great to see all the comments on the show. Being a dedicated fan since I saw him 26 years ago when I was 11 years old it couldn't have been anything other than a great show.
The majority of the set was fantastic and it wasn't until RITFW that he noticeably reacted to the audience and cut that song short. It did seem strange at the time that he would go from Just Singing A Song into RITFW to finish the main set.
Up until that point it was a magical set - older unexpected songs, new songs (all sounded great) and the 'hits'. Cortez, Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere, Words and One Of These Days were all incredible. We were in the back of the seated floor area and people were up dancing there.
The blame for any lack of standing audience enthusiasm lies jointly between the venue (for not allowing GA), Neil's management (for not ensuring the venue met their needs) and the audience for not dancing if they really wanted to.
I agree with the comments on the demographic of the audience, the older punters do tend to want to sit and be entertained (I saw many just passively clapping between songs). They should be taking Neil's energy and enthusiasm as inspiration to get some excitement in their lives!
Disregarding what was a slightly flat end to the show, it still exceeded my expectations due to the sound quality, exceptional playing and song choices. Objectively, how can anyone walk away from a gig like that disappointed!

At 1/25/2009 08:32:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi everyone

My wife and I saw our first NY concert on Sat. We have only recently come to know the breadth and depth of his career, so did not know what to expect. We were right up the back so did not pick up on some of the things that people have mentioned above.

What we can say is that WE LOVED IT, lost track of all time and were lost in the music. We would go again in an instant.

We really hope that we get the chance to see him again, and we will be expanding our Neil collection.


At 1/25/2009 09:00:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

It has been 26 years since I first saw Neil Young perform at the Mt Smart Supertop in Auckland, New Zealand. I was 11 years old at the time and it was a moment that changed my life. It was the first concert I had been to where the act played two contrasting sets, one acoustic, the other electric. Neil was hit by a coin during the show and stormed off stage, only to return (much to the relief of the crowd) to admonish the thrower and proceed to work out his anger and pain through a stampeding second set. My obsession had begun and the Y section of my record collection began to grow, starting with Live Rust and then working back.

Fast forward to 2009, my third NY experience (after the Greendale tour a few years back) and the anticipation was high. Recent shows have been receiving rave reviews and he seems to have settled on a band that can play with both finesse and power to support set lists that are delivering a balance between the old and the new, the ‘hits’ and lesser known gems.

In support My Morning Jacket played a solid set that was tailored to their more Americana songs and included the soaring ‘Gideon’ alongside ‘I’m Amazed’ from last years Evil Urges. As is often the norm for a support band at a large venue they were mainly playing to the crowds filing in, finding their seats and checking their text messages. This lack of attention didn’t deter them and one was reminded of what a great band MMJ are, especially the voice and guitar of Jim James.

The house lights dimmed, the crowd roared and a familiar figure strode on stage. Launching straight into the slashing chords of ‘Love And Only Love’ it was immediately clear that this was going to be a special night. The sound was loud and crystal clear from the outset and Neil’s vocals seemed to ride on top of the music with a clarity that is often missing from concerts this size. The song (from the brilliant Ragged Glory) was a wake up call to the masses that this wasn’t going to be a nice run through the classics of their youth, it was a clarion call that Neil was still full of hope, love and anger and he was here to play to you rather than for you.

‘Sea Change’ followed and it was the first of three new songs (‘Just Singing A Song’ and ‘Light A Candle’) that will presumably appear on the forthcoming Fork In The Road. They all worked in the live setting and followed the social commentary lyrical style that he used to great effect on Living With War. Strong backing vocals from Peggy and the band gave the songs a communal feel and one has more confidence in the new album than the impression gained from online comments recently.

Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere is possibly my favourite NY album so when the first guitar notes of the title track rang out my heart leaped. Its rollicking and freewheelin’ sound reflects an innocence of a time long gone but it still sums up Neil’s sound with the country, folk and rock n roll elements all sitting together perfectly. Another of those songs that has come to symbolise what Neil stands for is ‘Cortez The Killer’ which tonight was magical. The air in the soulless venue seemed to change as the lazy drums and rolling bassline set the mood for one of the greatest emotive guitar melodies to glide and soar, high above the heads of the audience, “dancing across the water”. The magic in the song is the way it operates in its own time, the vocals appearing as another instrument rather than being the focus of the song. The moment when the guitar took off again was true beauty.

After a strong ‘Cinnamon Girl’ Neil stepped back from the electricity and delivered a mid set batch of mainly acoustic based songs that worked perfectly. Featuring two tracks off the classic Harvest Moon, ‘Unknown Legend and ‘One Of These Days’ were tributes to both his wife Peggy and friends of times past. The heartfelt simplicity of the songs and the amazingly rich acoustic guitar sound made you feel like you were in a small club rather a cavernous concrete bunker.

Words (Between The Lines of Age) was another of the highlights. Infinitely better than any recorded version I have heard it was a heavy and lush rendition. The changes from verse to chorus were weighted with drama and emotion, guitars chopping and notes pealing over Chad Cromwell’s tumbling drums. The freefall and swirling end of the song staggered on and on before collapsing under its own weight. Like ‘Cortez’ it was one of those moments that you imagine would be like being in the eye of a storm with destruction dancing just beyond your fingertips.

If anything the only slight disappointment was the end of the show where Neil showed an obvious disappointment at the lack of crowd interaction and dancing. Neil and Rick Rosa’s gestures for everyone to get up and a mock (mocking?) heart attack made it clear that he was giving his all but didn’t feel the love coming back at him. ‘Rockin’ In the Free Word’ ended the main set and there was a noticeably abrupt end to the song which would have normally provided a crescendo of soloing and sonic decay. Returning to the stage he finished with the customary run through ‘A Day In The Life’ that was a great version but definitely a conclusion that was missing something. The encore needed a ‘Like A Hurricane’ or ‘Cowgirl In The Sand’ to really bring the crowd to their feet and end the show on a high.

Two and a half decades after first experiencing a Neil Young show I walked away with my expectations exceeded and a feeling that I had again seen Neil at his best. After all the tours, albums, mis-steps and controversies he can still stand on a stage with Old Black and simply let the music flow through him and into the hearts and minds of others.

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.


Love And Only Love
Sea Change
Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere
Spirit Road
Cortez The Killer
Cinnamon Girl
Mother Earth
The Needle And The Damage Done
Light A Candle
Four Strong Winds
Unknown Legend
One Of These Days
Get Back To The Country
Just Singing A Song
Rockin' In The Free World
A Day In The Life

At 1/25/2009 09:04:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Long time fan, first time concert

Well, I had a ball on Sat night. Love and Only Love is a personal fav so was off to a great start. Lots of tracks I wanted to here but I let it flow over me and thouroughly enjoyed myself. We had seats up on the left in section 13 so not on the floor. If I didn't have my 8 yo daughter and tired pregnent wife with me I wuold have tried to get downt he front (soory Neil, I guess you'd understand)

I stood up at the end of Cinnamon Girl as I couldn't containt myself any longer but I was quite intimidated by the arse sitters around me. Arse sitters? Some of them were barely breathing.

By A Day in the Life, my daughter was on my shoulders and we danced to the whole track.

Guess I could have tried harder but Aust audiences are crap sometimes (must have been quite a contrast to the Big Day Out). Same thing happened to Springsteen in 2003 in Melbourne.

Sorry Neil, I thought you were great


At 1/25/2009 09:28:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

the day's heat blown off

by a raging squall awestruck

transfixed in my seat

haiku for neil young sydney jan 24 2009

At 1/25/2009 10:31:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Someone who has seen some of the other Australian shows - do the crew normally remove the setlists from the stage before the encore? It seemed a strange thing to do, and given the discussion about the possibility of some songs being dropped I wondered whether Neil was reluctant for them to be taken as souveneirs.

At 1/25/2009 10:40:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hola...I have been going to gigs in New York and all over the USA until 1984...when I left and moved to Australia...and here I am, an American/Australian who loves to dance at concerts.
Why? Rock n Roll was made to dance to. People should look back at old concert footage and check it out.

Ticket prices are high, promoters and venues suck, and due to the high dollar the provelged folks get to go. Neil has a older demographic and someone tried to explain to me that is why people are sitting. I don't buy it as I am 52 and dance like a frog in a blender and love to feel the muisc flow thru my veins.

Sydney audiences do not dance. I am normally considerate in smaller venues and move to the side (State Theatre) or at The Metro dance upstairs where there is room. But if you are seeing a legend, who comes out on stage rocking and singing about LOVE and it is a Saturday night (normally the night when the BEST gigs take place) you have to put something of yourself into the show.
It is not a is a rock conert as I explained to the dude in the 4th row who I thought was going to use violence on me.
Peace and Love people....

I explained I was in the second row and if had stayed in my seat I would have the same problem he had...of not being able to see.

Music is going to effect everyone differently and some people just don't dance. But some artists need and desire, well damn, most artists want and desire that instant feedback. You can listen to the records at home.

Elvis Costello played the State Theatre a few years ago and after 45 minutes he walked off and brought the lights up like the gig was over. Crowd went crazy, he came back after 10 minutes or so, and everyone rushed the stage or stood up.
He said, That's better.

And of course it was as he played for another 2 hours.

The gig in Sydney started off like he was on fire and ready to go. The crowd failed to live up to their side of the bargain. Rock and roll is not a complete spectator sport....unless you are in Sydney.

Long Live Rock...I need it everyday.

Enjoy Australia Day All

At 1/25/2009 11:23:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'd have to agree with Paul Busche. My dad's pushing 50 and still jumps around and sweats it out with teenagers at such shows as Queens of the Stone Age, Eagles of Death metal etc.

I'm 22 and remember a fight break out in front of me at the Rolling Stones concert at Acer Arena a few years ago (40 Licks Tour) because someone wanted to dance - the guy behind him didn't appreciate it and decided to punch him. Before it got violent you could hear the guy literally begging, "pleassee don't make me sit down to the Stones mate". It becomes so tense when your not allowed to let loose to a band you love, i remember even my company asking me to sit because the guys behind me were getting the shits as i was dancing to 'Bitch'and they did not want further incident.

This is not the Opera! and this isn't the movies! Its a rock concert!

Its sad, because like Paul stated, some people go to a concert thinking they're watching a movie when they're actually part of the whole experience.(Just save yourself the travel and buy the DVD when it comes out if you don't want to get into it!)

Now as for Neil. Given, Neil tried to put in a good show, but i regretfully say that the concert was definately below average. The band dynamics just didn't work...and what was with those 3 minute endings? no, not outros, endings! I was like, "Neil the song ended 3 minutes ago mate and now i'm listening to a droning guitar and cymbals for 3 minutes! play another song!

I found the set list dissapointing. I would have liked to have heard more acoustic stuff. I honestly think it would have been better if he had just done a night or two at the Enmore or capital theatre with just an acoustic set. It just didn't work.
Its a real shame. It seemed many of the musicians with him, not doubting their ability, just didn't mash well with Neil. Band dynamics are so important for an album or live. It was watching Neil Young with the American Idol band?

At 1/25/2009 11:54:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

sitting or dancing should not matter! Neil young does not normally concern himself with the audience reaction if so he would only play the songs the crowd want to hear.

At 1/26/2009 01:09:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

It has never occurred to me that Neil plays "dance music".

At 1/26/2009 01:12:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

To the last anonymous remark...Neil DOES concern himself with audoience reaction.
If you were there you saw it as clear as day from where I was dancing in the second row.
He had the shits. I think at least that was Neil Young up there!

And long endings...oh Neil loves those long drawn out guitar noises to end be a trademark!

Love and Only Love Baby!


At 1/26/2009 01:15:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

If you don't think Neil Young plays dance music...well, you just don't understand rock and roll.
Not being mean....but if your body does not move to Hurricane Or Down By The River...check your pulse.


At 1/26/2009 02:10:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Seated concerts *never* energise the audience the way standing or mixed general admission standing/reserved seating do, and I try to avoid them.
The SEC is usually configured for rock concerts with general admission standing room in the front of stage area, but the promoter decided to fill that area with premium reserved seating instead. Go ask the promoter why they did this (though the answer's obvious).
I'd have much preferred a ticket to stand and dance on the floor over my $150 seat back in the tiers. I was dismayed when I discovered that there was no GA standing area.
The idea that people in their 40s and 50s with tickets to a seated concert should "fight for their right to party" by disregarding the patrons behind them, facing certain abuse and ejection, possibly with a pasting along the way, is ludicrous beyond words.
If there had been fighting at the concert with people injured, would you have been more pleased?

At 1/26/2009 03:51:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree with the fans. I am from Canada and have seen Neil four times up their. Twice at Massey Hall once with CSN and once with pearl Jam. The crowd was pathetic and I am mad that he cut it short cowgirl and Powderfinger and Hey Hey My My. Rocking in the Free World how do you not stand up and sing!!!!
Also their were people around me who talked thru whole concert and kept looking at their cell phone. It is Neil Young up their give him some respect and get into it!!!
Was weakest setlist and wish I coould have seen electric Cowgirl in the Sand!

At 1/26/2009 04:22:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Because if you stand up, the people behind you can't see. It's just plain rude and inconsiderate to stand up.

Sit down and listen to the music.

At 1/26/2009 04:38:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Don't want to hear about the audience at fault. I've seen Neil every chance I could since 1978 (my first show). He plays his heart on his sleeve, to be sure, but if he or anyone in his crew blame the audience for anything, he's in the wrong. My girlfriend and I were told as we were led to our seats (before MMJ, even) in no uncertain terms that we were not to stand, not to move to the aisles, not to come down front, and so on. I had planned to be raving the whole night, but we got up during Spirit Road and were IMMEDIATELY told to sit down by security staff. It completely sucks! If Neil wants to see a good crowd he should play the Enmore, as someone else has said. That place rocks, and so do the fans. So get this through your stupid heads: it wasn't us. It was Neil and his choice of big venue, big profits, and big disappointment.

At 1/26/2009 08:23:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

just saw neil in was awesome..everyone around me cheering..dancing ..singing..raised hands in the air..the mood and the vibe of the audience was simply awesome..and neil loved is a zillion times better when everyone is into it..singing dancing..cheering..jumpin people generally prefer to send text messages etc..and sit like stuffed fish waiting to be entertained...i waas at the sydney show,,and looking down all i could see was idiots texting..and people all around me talking..a bunch of glad i went to melbourne..maybe i should pack it in and drive my pick up down there kids in melbourne rock...serge p.

At 1/26/2009 10:52:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Too funny, sit or stand? Do what the music tells you to do... as long as you don't get thrown out!

Point of clarification regarding The Harvest Moon banner photo: I took it while I was at my 1st Bridge School Benefit concert in 2006. I did not make the banner... you see my baby loves to dance, yeah! ;)

Peace and love,
Love And Only Love

At 1/26/2009 04:39:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I've been a NY fan for years but due to living in the concert wilderness (New Zealand), i've never had the chance to see him live until this tour. I saw him at the Big Day Out in Auckland and he was amazing. It was by far the best BDO act i've ever seen (and i've been to 9) and the sound was perfect, which is a rarity when playing on the main stage in Auckland. The crowd were hyped up, dancing around and singing along as loud as they could, and you could tell Neil was really feeding off it. The setlist was another great surprise, with hit after hit, we were truly spoiled.

I flew to Sydney for Saturday's show, knowing this might be my only other chance to see him live again in this part of the world, and in comparison to the BDO show, it was disappointing.

I personally blame the promoters or whoevers decision it was to have the main floor area completely seated. The seating arrangement dictated that the audience would not be able to participate to it's full ability (ie: stand, dance, move around and otherwise NOT sit there with folded arms), and the lack of audience participation feeds back to the stage, where NY is pouring his heart out and rocking like a man half his age should be. When you can't feed off the audience, or in turn take it's lack of response as a downer, then ofcourse you can't put your ALL into the set, and it's no wonder he was pissed off at this and cut the set short.

The lesson I have taken from this is simply: I'll no longer go to concerts where it is all seated, unless the artist i'm seeing is appropriate for this arrangement.

For all those who said they wanted to sit down and watch the show, and shouldn't have to dance - thats fine - thats what those seats in the mezzanine are for. The area at the front of the stage is for people who want to get close, and dance and move. Although how people can sit down and just nod their heads to 'Rocking in the Free World' is something I won't ever understand :-)

At 1/26/2009 05:28:00 PM, Blogger powderfinger said...

I thought the sound mix was terrible for the first song, maybe why he went straight into Sea Change. Took them about another two songs to sort it out. When they did it was just o.k and I didn't think it was loud enough.
Maybe something to do with the venue and the particular gear they brought.
If neil is after a bit of feedback from the audience isn't the fact that 10,000 people have come to see you perform enough ?
If he is getting paid to do a job I think he has to do it regardless.
There is no way I was going to stand up and spoil it for the people be-hind me, even though i wanted to.
I was disapointed that he did't play powderfiger and my my, but one of theses days was great.
Anyway, it was great just to see him.

At 1/26/2009 06:13:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Firstly how did he know after the first song everyone would be sitting down. Perhaps if he had thrown in Hey Hey My My at song #2 as he has down at every other show he may have had a great audiance participation. I don't know, but I do believe it was a wrong choice at song #2. For me, most of the concert was excelent, sounded great and most of the songs were great, except as an earlier person said some of the preachy type new ones, could have been left out and some classics played, like Powderfinger, another one missed out for some reason. In a way I think Neil did himself a diservice by not playing those tracks if he had wanted the audience to be more into the show. Just my opinion.

At 1/26/2009 06:55:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I was at the Syd show. Have to admit not a HUGE fan but appreciate that Neil is a rock icon and it was a great concert.
But you have to see why we were all sitting down. As soon as I walked in the door I was already disheartened when a lady in a purple shirt looked at me and said "Mr Young has asked that no photography is taken tonight" I thought to myself, you mean he ACTUALLY said that? Geees I would hate to see what would happen if I stand up and dance!?...
I think sometimes people can take all this stuff a little too seriously and they forget that he is a entertainer, yes he has a message in his music but really, without us the fans and people buying the tickets there would be no show, so have some respect for the person sitting behind you who can’t see the stage at all.
I felt sorry for the diehard fans sitting beside us who were left shocked that Neil didn’t at least play heart of gold. I have friends who went to BDO who said Neil played all the hits? So I don’t know what was up with that?
Ps.. Have to say when Neil walked on stage that has to be one of the loudest greetings I have ever heard at a concert. I thought the SEC was a good venue, the sounds was ok it was organised and it wasn’t 40 degrees. – Coasty

At 1/26/2009 07:19:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Powderfinger is right - it WAS a dreadful mix - but hey, it's NEIL, so you live with it. I will always prefer the Horse, anyway. Darker and dirtier.
Dark of the moon = no energy - bad time for a Neil Young show. Also 4 x days of 40+C temps. - not everyone lives in air conditioned comfort just down the road, with staff. Saying this, though, I'd go again tomorrow! How about trying us Sydneysiders on a full moon in autumn?
Roseclipt in Currency Creek.

At 1/27/2009 01:43:00 AM, Blogger Kye said...

I enjoyed the concert... thought the set list was good... different than other shows but thoroughly enjoyed... enjoyed the newer and all the old classics... just blow the mind away!! The venue is hardly a place to get up and dance, especially in the tiny seats allocated!! the floor should of been general access.. would of been much better... but hey!! none of us organised the venue or anything!! so its hardly the people at fault!! so lets just say... the man is a legend... just being in the same room was a privledge that i may never see again!! i made some noise!! hopefully thats enough appreciation for the man!!

At 1/27/2009 02:35:00 AM, Blogger scottisscott said...

i went to both big day out and the sydney entertainment show,and gee you could notice the difference,the big day out show was amazing the energy, atmosphere and enthusiasm from the crowd was beyond what i had hoped for,everyone was singing along (well except during mother earth when it was just moving) and when he finished with "a day in the life" it was like a big communal orgasm,i was blown away,so i had high hopes for saturday night,but as soon as i entered the venue i just knew it wasnt going to be the same,firstly the entertainment centre sucks,its just like some big souless black hole,but i thought neil could overcome it,but when they started playing it was like the stage was a distant line on the horizon,and the crowd must have thought they were at the theatre instead of a rock show,sure they applauded but they seemed to prefer to sit back and aggresively bark out songs to play (haven't these people heard of a thing called a "setlist"?!)and neil didnt seem to impressed with the crowd either (i heard some guy yell out "play something i know" do these people know he's released more albums then just harvest?!), as im sure he cut his setlist short (he played 5 more songs at his bdo set in auckland!) im sick of lame amateur sydney crowds ruining gigs,thanks to them,bands may not bother coming back here,as its so far out of the way to begin with,they are doing us a favour coming here.anyway the combination of entertainment centre and boring sit down crowd,was to much for even the mighty neil to overcome...still it was neil,so it was great,but thank god i went to big day out as it was absolutley amazing! anyway to all the TRUE neil young fans out there "keep on rocking in the free world!"and to all the people who only own harvest fuck off and stay at home next time!

At 1/27/2009 04:22:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey Paul Busch: I'll tell you what rock n roll is all about. It's about doing your own thing, not being told what to do.

Check your brain.

-- Glenn

At 1/27/2009 04:42:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Keep on rockin in the free world" long as ya don't get out of your seats!
Ah the "ent cent"..sorta like being at the opening ceromony at the Bejing olympics isn't it! So regimented, suppressed, curfewed and anal!
Been into Neil since I was about 16 and still love him.
The perfect shakey concert albeit 4 songs too short....WHY? Every other review I've read from the other venues, his set was about 21 to 22 songs long... he definitely had the shits about somethin' that night for sure! I've read and enjoyed all the comments on both sides of the coin about everyone's point of view and can see merit in both arguments.Trouble is, when you are an artist with such a depth and diversity of music such as Neil, you are never going to appease everyone's taste in his music.
I was unfortunate enough to only obtain tickets to the side of the stage up in the bleachers, but I had a birdseye view of audience reaction down in the bear pit.When he played RITFW and the spots were swung all over the audience,He would of observed from the stage as I did, the piss poor reaction except for the first 3 rows of the audience in the pit to such an anthemic classic neil. EVERYONE, EVERYONE in the Bear pit should of been up and rockin even if you only put you hands in the air for christ's sake!Anyways, Neil You are still a legend even though I've still got the shits with you after I invited you to come and play at my 21st back in 75! I'll forgive you.. as long as you come Back!
Dr Dip Cronulla

At 1/27/2009 03:39:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think there are a lot of introverted Neil fans who simply don't want to make a spectacle of themselves. Afterall, it was the introspection of the lyrics that attracted a lot of us in the first place, yes?

-- Glenn

At 1/27/2009 05:04:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Full fledged legends come to town infrequently. This has to do with economics and the fact that there are not (arguably) many of them in existence. Neil Young is now 63 and he has been in the ditch and he has been in the middle of the road along with many places in between. On Saturday the 24th of January at the Sydney Ent. Cent, Neil and his Electric Band burst out of the gate with the Crazy Horse number, Love and Only Love. The searing electricity of his guitar work and the passionate vocals of his and the rest of the band, kicking off with this song made a simple statement about the endurance of love and the misguided nature of hate. It was a beautiful way to enliven the audience with positive energy at what we all hoped would be a classic Neil gig.

Sea Change sort of changed the tempo and the obscurity of this song for most changed the mood slightly, but Neil continued to fire out the notes on his guitar. On a stage that had a spooky looking American Indian statue, some mangled letters of the alphabet adrift above the band and an artist painting the show, my eyes were pretty well focused on Mr. Shakey himself throughout the gig. Having a vantage point in the second row made it very special and after about 20 minutes it appeared we were in for one hell of a set

The first 3 rows at least seemed ready to rock as we got to our feet, made our way to the front and rocked out to a stunning Cortez and Cinnamon Girl. Alas, I turned around expecting to see a writhing, bopping mass of old hippies and rockers, but to my dismay I found a group of zombies sitting and watching.

Rock concerts have come a long way from the days of rebellion and nudity and public marijuana smoking and over the past decade this has now come to an almost unwritten ban on dancing and standing. Of course promoters and artists picking certain venues are to blame, along with the heavy handed security at these arena shows. I also believe the artist has some responsibility to ensure the audience and security understands that grooving and dancing at a concert is an alright thing to do. Neil ignored my plea to tell the audience to get up and dance but I guess he had other things on his mind.

So we headed into a more country and quiet set of numbers for 6 songs where we had Needle And The Damage Done, Four Strong Winds (very special and one of 2 covers), One Of These Days and Unknown Legend which were well received but definitely not rockers. Of course, Neil has to please a selection of fans, but with him not hitting some of his big favourites from Harvest or After The Goldrush, the less Neil Young obsessive fans may have been disappointed.

Neil got back to the electric machine with Get Back To The Country and then a stunning rendition of Words (Between The Lines Of Age) from Harvest. This is a rarely played selection and Neil and Keith duelled between pedal steel and guitar. This was a moment where Neil took us back in time once more and displayed how great a song well over 30 years old can sound today. You just had to stand their in awe and sing-along to his fairly cryptic lyrics.

But there was consternation and a blue condition on Neil’s face throughout the gig and Rick Rosas and Ben Keith also seemed concerned at the audience participation based on their facial expressions I was kind of amazed people were still sitting behind me and at one point I had a confrontation with a dude who wanted me to sit down. Neil jumped into Keep On Rockin’ In The Free World and the people near me went even crazier. Neil seemed to be playing with fervor to the people up front who were giving him positive feedback. His response to the people sitting behind us was to feign a heart attack and also rest his head on his hands and asking them if they were asleep in pantomime.

I’ve seen it before when Patti Smith asked the crowd if they were in a coma; Elvis Costello cut his set short and departed the stage for 10 minutes until people went crazy and were standing (he then returned for over 90 minutes); and at John Fogerty recently where the security let no one get up at all. We have so few places and moments where we can take a journey through the past. Rock concerts are those moments to discover your youth if you are young or to re-call what it was like to be if you have been around the block. People may argue this point of standing or not standing at a gig and on whether it has an impact (or should) on a musician. especially someone as well traveled as Neil Young. All I can say is that I have never seen Neil play a non-festival show that lasted less then 2 hours until this night.

Let’s hope he comes back.

At 1/27/2009 05:22:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well said Paul, you've summed it up nicely...

At 1/27/2009 05:23:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

All I can say is that I have never seen Neil play a non-festival show that lasted less then 2 hours until this night.

I think this is the reason I was annoyed. I am not too phased about what songs were played- yeh i would have loved to hear Powderfinger like everyone else but I think it is extremely unprofessional of Neil Young to not play a decent amount of time compared to other non-festival shows. $150 is a lot of money for some people.

At 1/27/2009 10:24:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

From our homework on NY's other city's concert sets, our family (M,D, 16yr,13yr) were disappointed to not get either "Cowgirl" or "Hey,Hey"... and yes the concert did seem short.

SEC is just not a great killed the atmosphere before the first chord...still its much better then Acer (ripoff arena).

I agree that Tickmaster ripped us off with the seat alloc. The floor should be GA, not seats.

16yr old thought RITFW was his best, 13yr liked the "rock organ song". M&D would have loved to have heard Cowgirl, Southern Man, or Hey Hey, but Words and RITFW were fantastic. Also, its hard to believe that his singing was that good, unless you close your eyes and open them again and yes it is!

A quick review of our family's outings to heritage rock concerts, (in order of value for money):

1. Alice Cooper. Enmore, intimate, fabulous sound, 3 amazing guitars. Same age at NY, so age doesn't limit energy.

2. Rolling Stones. Acer. crap sound, terrible concert venue...but to hear the intro of 'and on guitar we have Keith...'

3. Neil Young - 2009....but it could have been so much better if he gave a set consistent to his Canadian and BDO sets.

4. Eric Clapton - SEC. Amazing guitar from Derek Trucker. EC can also play a bit...

5. Bob Dylan- SEC - unanimously voted by the family as totally uninterested.. (yeh he probably blamed the venue as well).

Doing so many shows close together must have zapped NY's energy level...thats outside our control.

As for doing smaller venues, we would all love that...and yet we keep pulling out the credit card and buying tickets x4....

At 1/27/2009 10:25:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

There's a lot of agreement on several points here. (1) The show got off to a great start. (2) "Sea Change" was a sea change. (3) Cortez and Words were excellent, if tastefully executed. (4) Something went wrong for Neil somewhere in the middle. (5) Big day out spoiled the band with adoration. (6) The SEC sucks as a concert venue, especially with no general admission area. (7) The concert was cut short. What can I add to this? --Maybe just this message to Neil: I don't know what you saw from the stage and I'm sorry if it was something that dismayed you. All I know is that a lot of true blue fans were there. You might not have noticed because the security didn't allow us to get up, but our hearts were open and we were with you heart mind and soul, mister soul. Man, I had to use every bit of spirit energy--like when you're on a rough trip and you find yourself spread-eagled on the map--to create a place inside where I could rock out. But believe me, I was standin on the sound. And you were too, Neil. We LOVE you, man. Forgive us; We forgive you. We're all just human after all. PEACE AND LOVE!

At 1/28/2009 05:00:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I was there - and yes in a sit down seat. If I stood up people gave you funny looks - so very, very different from the concerts of old... in the bad old days it was standing, etc, at the front GA only - if you wanted to site you went down the back, fair enuff...!
My review of the Neil Young comcert in Sydney (and a comparision to a concert I went to decades ago) is on my BLOGS at MySpace - hope you find it interesting.
CA Poulter
Author & Artist

At 1/28/2009 05:22:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

By the way - forgot to say, I've been going to concerts since the 1970s and seen a lot of performers in my times. Neil Young is amougst one of the TOP performers around and STILL has what it takes (see my review on MySpace).
The Police conert in Sydney last year was way worse - Telstra stadium is the most hideous venue around, bad sound and impersonal, terrible for seated concerts and the audience just stood around like stuffed dummies (to quote another reviewer) - no GA, no audience reaction despite a great performance by the band.
The best concerts I've ever been to have always had GA sections - U2's Zoo TV, Eagles and of course Neil Young and Crazy Horse back in the 70s and 80s.
For those of you old enough to remember - Neil Young actually played Australia and NZ back in 1985 at open air concert venues where people could seriously rock out - and yes, I was right at the front of the stage (along with thousands of stoned hippies) dancing and grooving back then...
I would have loved to have done grooved the same last Saturday.
Lets get back to the old fashioned venues and ways - that way we can all "Keep on Rocking in the FREE World".
Neil Young YOU ROCK...!
I rated the concert ....... out of 10 (see my BLOGS for the answer).

CA Poulter
Author & Artist
A an epic tale of forbidden love, music, mayhem, and Sex, Drugs & Rock n Roll, set in the 1970s...

At 1/31/2009 07:01:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I just happenned along to this site..and well..there you takes all kinds to make a world!!!..
I have been a long time fan of Neil...I am sure he is the reason I picked up a guitar.....Reading some of these posts....some people still...just don't get it!!....Neil Young you are a great Rocker ...a legend... a are one of the was a great friend and I were greatly enchanted...your view my not have seen as much dancing...but I saw it in your true fans eyes....who had a those who saw the concert but did not get have seen a great master at play...and you will come to know those who think they may have been bored...may you plead for God to help ou be a less miserable knew this was coming....Keep on Rockin in the Free World..and remember...Love and Only Love..will break it down...Neil..You and your band ROCK!!!..All the best Oz..NeilYoungFan..2009 Sydney

At 2/02/2009 11:34:00 PM, Blogger David Lowe said...

Great Concert- but too short!

This is Sea Change

At 2/07/2009 05:01:00 AM, Blogger Ditch said...

Yes what was going on with the audience? So subdued. I think we are just too inhibited to show our emotions. We all sit there like a bunch of boring old farts thinking only kids get up and rock and show they enjoy the show. Because there was a lot to enjoy. Neil was working hard and getting no results. WTF?. No wonder he started showing his frustration.

It was similar at the Crosby, Stills and Nash concert last year. "We are such a polite audience" as Graham Nash said. We're just to inhibited and lacking in confidence. It's nuts!


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