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Saturday, July 11, 2009

Concert Review of the Moment: Neil Young @ Nottingham, England:6/23/09

Neil Young - Hyde Park, London, England Hard Rock Calling 2009 Festival: 6/27/06
Photo by Matt Crossick on Absolute Radio

The Neil Young Concert Review of the Moment is from Nottingham, England: 6/23/09 by Folking About:
From the moment Neil shambled onto the stage and hooked on Big Black, to the last dying cries of pain from the tortured remains of the same instrument, propped theatrically against his amps several hours later, we witnessed a “real treat” of a performance from a man on top of his form.

A deep groan emerged from the sound system as Neil led off with “Hey Hey, My My” everything cranked up to make sure the audience was fully alert to what was coming – he had apparently been on great form a few days earlier and now it was our turn to get a full dose of medicine from Mr Young. You will have read elsewhere about Neil shaking the guitar to death and stomping around the stage, and there was plenty of that, but tonight it seemed more agitated and more urgent than usual. Things may not have been as angry as first impressions may have suggested though as the many close ups of Young's now jowly face caught several knowing smiles between the trademark scowls and grimaces, this will be one they'll remember he may have been thinking.

If he was then he would be right- the set list reading like the track listing from the “Archives” with nothing from the recent few albums at all was certainly going to please and a near neighbour in the crowd raised his palms out and up in praise when Neil played “Words” on his great white Gretsch – who could have predicted that – many other old favourites were given an airing - “Are you ready for the country?”, “Burned” - a romp though this marvelous Buffalo Springfield classic which is having it's first live airing since 1966!

A few of the “regulars” were dished out on acoustic guitar, but there was none of that sitting in a circle of instruments and wandering around picking one up and lilting a song, this was all full on stuff. “Pocahontas” was much more electric and forceful than previously and “Rocking in the Free World” was even more of a stadium pleaser than ever with some 4 or 5 false endings and a great deal of playing to the crowd - “Cinnamon Girl” too featured a deliberate bout of showboating – Neil repeating the last chords sequences couple of times, waving triumphantly to each section of the crowd who naturally responded with vigour. I felt at the time that these were uncharacteristic actions for Young, not usually given to such gestures – and with such a powerful performance I wonder if we have witnessed something of milestone in touring terms? Was Neil bidding us farewell? Let's hope not.

A thumping version of “Down by The River” made it into something of a “Everybody Knows This is Nowhere” tour – nearly all my favourite album getting an airing. Impressed? I most certainly was – even the sound was good enough, better than expected perhaps for a concrete stadium. Highlights? So many musical ones, but Pegi Young sipping on a mug of tea while Neil launched into one of his grunge-laden thrashes in “Hey Hey” was a treasure. Banjo toting Larry Cragg on “Old Man” was another.

We're not going to Hyde Park or Glastonbury so that's it for us this tour, but as Gilly rightly put it – we saw Neil Young – Unleashed in Nottingham.

Thanks Folking About! Very chuffed indeed!

More Neil Young concert reviews from Nottingham, England: 6/23/09 and all Summer 2009 Europe Concert Tour reviews.


At 7/11/2009 03:20:00 PM, Anonymous Andrew Byrom said...

Great review, I had seen Neil live 15 times prior to this gig, got to say this was in the top three, with only Birmingham 2001 and Paris 2008 topping this gig.

Fantastic performance.

At 7/11/2009 07:43:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

This isn't a post about this, but this needs to be addressed: the remastered versions of Neils first 4 albums arrive on CD Tuesday, but we still have no word on Blu Ray edtions. Will the Blu Ray versions be similar to Archives, with bonus material?!? I want the remasters but I refuse to by the Cds until I know my options. Personally I think it's a bit wack to not pet us know what's going on in regards to this.


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