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Monday, June 15, 2009

A Request for "Harvest Moon" in Dublin


A recent letter from Gavin in Ireland:
Some time ago I saw your post from 6 January 2009, including a letter from Steve in Brisbane regarding Harvest Moon. Steve’s letter, his request for Harvest Moon and Neil’s generous inclusion of it on the list at Brisbane, combine to make a partly sad but mostly wonderful story. I saw this story as I was surfing the web looking for some way to get a letter or note through to Neil Young to make almost exactly the same request for his concert in Dublin on 21 June 2009.

Since that time, it is clear to me that Harvest Moon holds a special place in so many people’s hearts for all sorts of reasons. It must truly be amazing for an artist like Neil to know that kind of emotion can get tapped into by such a simple, yet beautiful song.

I was in touch with you previously, but way before the European Tour started. With the Irish date coming close on 21 June, I felt now was the time to touch base again, and this is the reason for my request.

In circumstances very similar to Steve’s girlfriend, my father, Joe, was diagnosed with lung cancer in August 2008. Joe had been an accomplished doctor, retiring 6 years ago to enjoy life (still young, at that stage just 59). He was an artist, a singer, a writer and loved to play his guitar for us at family gatherings. Neil’s music was part of a wide variety of stuff that Dad was into, and he particularly liked the Unplugged set of tunes as does the rest of the family.

Following Christmas, sadly Dad’s health deteriorated and he passed away on 2 March 2009. Faced with removal and funeral plans, we endeavoured to get as much of Dad’s life and loves into the services. We chose Harvest Moon as the requiem song at the funeral, which was amazing. After a few really hard days it was totally uplifting to carry my Dad out of the church to the Unplugged set of Harvest Moon. Everyone was so lifted by this, it was unforgettable and one of the most special events we will ever have. Many people said to us afterwards how amazing their experience was also, and how unusual it was to listen to that song under those circumstances. Even two of ‘Papa Joe’s’ grandchildren, Andrew and Rory, have become Neil Young fans as a result of the furore.

In the following days, we made plans to keep my Mum, Avril, busy and well looked after. We noticed the recently announced Neil Young concert in Dublin and knew that it was something we had to do. I got tickets for the whole family and made all the arrangements. Later, I noticed that the date of the concert, 21 June, is Father’s Day in Ireland. We are now planning a major weekend of events, top of the list being the concert at the O2 in Dublin.

Like Steve, I feel there is something fated about these experiences; something that I can’t explain but fills my heart with happiness. I am sure that Neil gets many, many requests for his songs for all sorts of different reasons. However, I am hoping that Neil could fit Harvest Moon into the set somewhere during his Dublin concert in 3 weeks. It is something that would be so special, particularly for my Mum.

I would be eternally grateful if you could try to pass this message to Neil. However, I do appreciate there may be very good reasons why this is not a possibility.

Thank you sincerely in advance for your efforts to make this happen for me and my family. I already feel better having written this, and feel free to circulate this message as necessary to get it through.

Here’s hoping that this wish can also come true.

Best Wishes

Gavin O.

Thank you Gavin for your letter. Here's hoping from all of us that your wish comes true. For you, for your family, for your Dad.


But there's a full moon risin'
Let's go dancin' in the light
We know where the music's playin'
Let's go out and feel the night.

To find out what happened in Dublin, read A Wish for "Harvest Moon" is Granted.


At 6/16/2009 12:10:00 AM, Anonymous dr dip said...

Hello Gavin,
Firstly, my condolesces to you for your Dad's passing.It's always a sad time when you lose a loved one. I too lost my Dad just 2 weeks ago so I can relate to your loss.

At dad's service, my sisters, who are also devotees of Neil's music, put together a eulogy along with a collage of dad's life on a power point presentation in the chapel.. and yes we too used Neil's music as the backdrop to the slide show;
We had Grahame Nash's song "right between the eyes" as everyone was walking in then had "old man" as the slide show was displayed followed by "heart of gold" as everyone was leaving the service.

After the service everyone(especially the young people) came up to me and asked where I found such touching ,beautiful songs that epitomised Dad perfectly.

They were quite amazed to learn that these songs were close on 35 to 40 yrs old! They could not believe it.

Great songs that come from the heart are ageless and always hold a special part in our hearts and memories and can unite the world.

Yeh Neil.."just singin' a song CAN change the world".

luv dip

At 6/16/2009 08:40:00 AM, Blogger Tweck9 said...

This is beautiful.

Condolences to both of you and your families.

It must be amazing for Neil to know that his music is used in such a powerful and moving way, and that it touches the spirit of people in such a deep and universal manner.

At 6/16/2009 10:50:00 AM, Anonymous Liza said...

Dear Gavin, my deepest condolences go to you and your family and thank you for the beautiful photo.
I hope that your wish comes true in Dublin...

Dear dr.dip, my condolences go also to you for your Dad's passing. You wrote me in the other thread "our deepest condolonces", but until now I just didn't have the energy to answer. Thank you for your kind words.
The funeral service you arranged for your father sounds just so special....

Today it is three weeks ago since my husband Michael suddenly passed away on that Tuesday morning in his office. Two weeks ago we had his funeral and it was also very special, my church choir sang, our youngest son, 14, played a beautiful Adagio on his clarinet.
At the end of the church service a very dear friend of us, Albert from the NY Coverband "Crazy Young" played "Light a candle" for Michael and for me.
It is such a beautiful song and to hear these words, when you feel like in a tunnel of darkness and sadness, is very moving. I was deeply touched and so thankful.

In the other thread I wrote that I would be happy about Neil playing "Harvest Moon" in Cologne this Friday, but that I wouldn't go there, that friends could tell me about it.
"Harvest Moon" because it reminds me of the first time Michael and I heard the song together on TV. We suddenly zapped in the MTV Unplugged Show and Neil started playing "Harvest Moon". Michael and I both looked at each other and we started dancing in the livingroom together, with me singing the words along with Neil: "I'm still in love with you...."

Now when I look at Michaels picture, he seems to be saying to me: "go, go to Cologne, go to the concert with Neil, there is the ticket laying on your desk and it will do you good..."

Another dear friend from the German Human Highway Mailinglist offered me to pick me up, so I won't have to drive myself..

And to think about Neil playing either Harvest Moon or maybe Light a candle for Michael would be surely unforgettable...

Love, Liza

At 6/16/2009 04:21:00 PM, Anonymous dr dip said...

Liza, thankyou for your thoughts and acknowledgement....after which I realised Dad's passing was now closer to three and half weeks as it was around the same time as your lose.
Liza hang in there and cherish the good times.
"Coz you know how time fades away"
....but the memories will never!

At 6/16/2009 05:39:00 PM, Anonymous set list thief said...

This request and the comments it's inspired are so incredibly moving. If one must request a song from Neil, this is the way to do it-not shouting some random title in the middle of "Maid" or "After the Gold Rush."

And song titles notwithstanding, just singing a song CAN change the world. Just look at how many lives Neil's music has touched, and changed, over all these years. Sorry, Neil, I gotta disagree, just singing a song can and does change the world.

At 6/16/2009 09:19:00 PM, Anonymous Josingan said...

Dr. Dip for President!
Dip, why you get such a bad rep? Such moving words! I'm touched! Like the "I had a Dream" speech.

Really sorry for both your loses...stay stong and keep those good memories alive!

I think its awesome that Neil has done this a few times with the set lists. I don't think the Neil of twenty years ago would have. I think he's turned into a big a teddy bear...Neil "teddybear" Young. ha ha.
Anyway..yeah...people need to stop yelling out tunes like that...its rude and Neil's gong to play what he wants to anyway. But a forum like this to make a request is great...he may never play it but hey, ya never know.

At 6/17/2009 09:19:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Lately, I've been thinking 'bout daddy,
And how he always made things work, when the chips were down,
And I know I've got something inside me
There's always a light there to guide me
To what can't be found.

At 6/18/2009 02:26:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hello, I haven`t written anything on this site before, although often read what people are saying. I was very moved by these comments and would like to share with you my own story. My husband died 2 yrs ago and I was left feeling totally adrift in the world. Luckily I rediscovered Neil`s music after a long absence and listening to his wonderful songs has helped to get me through some very bad times. I`m seeing him for the 1st time at Hyde Park, London on 27th! My condolences to Gavin, Dr Dip and Lisa.
Jill from Littlehampton

At 6/18/2009 02:29:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sorry, Liza, I spelled your name wrong.
Jill from Littlehampton

At 6/18/2009 04:22:00 PM, Anonymous Liza said...

Dear Jill,

I feel so sorry, that you have also lost your husband already 2 years ago..You say, that you were left feeling totally adrift to the world...
that describes exactly my own feelings.....
How wonderful, that you rediscovered Neil's musik and that it has helped you to get through these difficult times.
I will think of you, when you see Neil at the Hyde Park Concert in London on the 27th.
Thank you very much for your condolences, Jill.

This evening I've decided, that I will go to the concert in Cologne tomorrow and I'm firmly convinced that my late husband Michael is glad about my decision.

Love, Liza

At 6/18/2009 05:30:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi folks,

Thanks for the kind words and thoughts. I am also very sorry for your losses, and I hope that in some way sharing the experience has helped to ease your grief, as it has for me.

Thanks to Thrashers Wheat for providing such an accessible means to interact and connect.

Liza, have a really great time at the concert.

Take Care & keep on rockin

At 6/18/2009 05:49:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you Liza for your kind words - yes I`m sure Michael would want you to go to the concert to see Neil. I really feel for you. Gavin is right - a big thanks to Thrasher and to Neil of course, who`s singing has definitely changed my world! He has a way of touching your heart like no other singer can.

Jill from L`ton

At 6/19/2009 07:12:00 AM, Anonymous Vittorio said...

Hello Gavin, hello everybody and
condolences to all of you for your losses from Italy, too.
I liked your posts so much Gavin. I lost my father when I was just 20 and he was 55, back in 1981!
I originally planned to come to Dublin to attend the concert but, due to some problems I have at job, I cannot be there.
I have tried to sell them through e-bay, but then I read your letter, Gavin, and I changed my mind. Likely the auction is closed and I did not sell them.
I would like to give them to you, so you can offer some friend of yours, or relatives or whoever you know there in Dublin who want to attend a Neil concert but does not have tickets to listen at this unique example of musician and person.
Thanks to Thrasher for let us Neil fans gather around a song and, each other, be closer despite the distance between us.
Gavin, let me know at v.disalvo(at)

At 6/20/2009 12:53:00 AM, Anonymous vittorio said...

It 6.50 a.m. and I have just check Sugarmountain.
He did it again!
I am so happy for Liza. You got the right thing to do. To go.

At 6/20/2009 06:19:00 AM, Anonymous Liza said...

Vittorio, thank you for your condolences and that you are happy with me.
Please read what I wrote in the other thread about the Cologne Concert.
Gavin, I hope your wish comes true, too.

Love, Liza

I remember how touched I was when Neil played Harvest Moon for Steve and his family in Brisbane..
and here I am now, in a similiar situation, fate is sometimes very hard.....

At 6/20/2009 11:57:00 AM, Anonymous dr dip said...

Liza, I hope you don't mind but I've stolen one of Neil's songs and changed the lyrics just a wee bit in some places and dedicated it from you to Michael:

When the Dream came
I held my breath with my eyes closed

I went insane
Like a smoke ring day
When the wind blows

Now you won't be back
till later on
when we'll all be one and all

But you know me
and I'll miss you now

though the "other side"
could be just the same
where we can still dance
to our "Harvest moon"

Because I love you
and I'll miss you now

Can you here Neil Now?
Can you here Neil now?
Can you?

Luv Dip

At 6/20/2009 03:55:00 PM, Anonymous Liza said...

dip, thank you so much for the beautiful words......
Love, Liza

At 6/21/2009 12:04:00 PM, Blogger john said...

This is all so moving - I lost my mother one month ago.She was aged 88 years,and had led a full and happy life.I had the privilege to be her Carer for the past three years.

She too loved Neil's music,and we were planning to have her favourite, 'Only Love Can Break Your Heart',played at her funeral.However,my brother could not bear the thought of hearing such an emotional song played at such an emotional occasion,so we had to change the music for his sake.

Liza, Gavin,and Dr Dip, I am certain time is a great healer,and that all the great memories you have of your loved ones will overcome the pain you might feel at this time.Take care,and be strong.

At 6/21/2009 12:11:00 PM, Anonymous Christine Lucignano said...

Neil is a healer with his words. I hope that Liza and Gavin can take some peace in knowing that Neil really cares about your loss and proved it by singing Harvest Moon for you Liza. I will be in the O2 tonight, listening to Neil. Gavin, I hope you and your family enjoy every second of the magic web that Neil weaves. His music is the best medicine for the heart.


Christine Lucignano

At 6/21/2009 03:55:00 PM, Anonymous Liza said...

John and Christine, thank you so much!
I'm thinking about Gavin and his family and I hope Neil will play Harvest Moon again tonight.....

Love, Liza

At 6/21/2009 06:48:00 PM, Anonymous christine Lucignano said...

Liza & Gavin,

Well to no shock to me, Neil played Harvest Moon for Gavin tonight. He wished him a happy fathers day and then lunged into it. It was hair raising and beautiful. Dublin rocked like there was a quake at the O2!!!

Much love to you both and my prayers go out to you on your loss's. May you continue to find peace and understanding in Neil's words. I have a dose of Neil every single day of my life....he's never failed me after 35 years. Hope you enjoyed tonight Gavin!!! Myself and my husband were thinking of you!!!


Christine Lucignano

At 6/21/2009 07:22:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi folks

Yes, it was incredible night for all of us at the concert. Neil was absolutely amazing in Dublin you say Christine, the O2 was rocked to its core. Pure Magic.

Like you, Liza, we had tears of sadness and joy mixed together.

I still can't believe that the three requests for Harvest Moon that came through Thrashers Wheat were all successful.

Neil just said.....

"This ones for a friend of ours out there, Happy Fathers Day!"

...and then started into Harvest Moon.

The father's day reference really hit the spot, we were turned to jelly.

Even apart from the request, Neil played one of his best concerts ever tonight. The Irish crowd gave him so much back, and he looked to really enjoy it.

Neil, the gestures that you have made have a huge impact on people. Simple things like this really do make a difference. We are all eternally grateful for your generosity.

The healing is happening, that is for sure. Of course we will always miss Papa Joe, but memories like tonight will keep him alive in our hearts.

God Bless You All!

Take care and keep on rockin'

p.s. Vittorio, thanks for your kind words and generous offer, apologies but I didn't get to see it in time.

At 6/21/2009 08:45:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Very pleased for you Gavin, before it started I was praying he would play it for you and he didn't let you down. And what an emotional rollercoaster gig it was. I hope Neil and Co enjoyed as we did.

As for Fathers day it will always be bitter sweet for me, I love being a father and miss my own badly.

Take care of yourself.


At 6/22/2009 11:01:00 AM, Anonymous V. said...

Hi Gavin, I am happy for you!
and you got "Burned", too. It should have been a very special night for you. Keep it in mind.

Thanks Neil, I know you read us and ... please come back to Rome!

At 6/22/2009 11:34:00 AM, Blogger john said...

Wow !! - this is all so moving,and puts everything else in context.I am so pleased for Liza,Gavin and his family,that you got to hear the very wonderful 'Harvest Moon' ,that meant so much to you and your families.

Yes,Christine,you are right,Neil is a healer,and his music offers such comfort and,healing.I am sure that his gesture,in each case, will really give so much strength to Liza,Gavin,and their respective families.

Dr Dip,I loved your post,and what a great message at the end.

At 6/22/2009 01:12:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

what was the guy painting behind the band last night ? im dying to know lol

At 6/22/2009 04:52:00 PM, Blogger ladytron42 said...

Well I went to see Neil Young last night and wondered what he meant by @ here is a song fo a friend of ours, Happy Fathers Day@ and now I know. This must have been a beautiful experience for you and your family Gavin, Neil touched so many souls last night!! Awesome performance from an absolute LEGEND!! And yes what was happening on the easel backstage?? And what was the significance of the random numbers and letters on the lighting behind the band??

At 6/23/2009 06:46:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Gavin,
I went to the gig with my own father & am really moved by your story & Neils' great gesture on the night

At 6/25/2009 12:21:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...


Followed your request on Thrasher with interest and noticed that he had played Harvest Moon two nights previous and reckoned he would include it on Sunday. Very nice touch, I'm sure you and your family were very moved. Neil engaged more than usual and genuinely seemed to more at ease than when i've seen him previously. Happens a lot with Irish gigs whether it's the O2 or Whelans. He did play the Point some years back ( 10 or so) but I still loved his comment 'Never been here before, been everywhere else though!'




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