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Thursday, February 11, 2010

Comment of the Moment: Understanding Neil Young's Music

The Neil Young Comment of the Moment is actually more of a novel. And more like comment of the year.

It was inspired by the oh so heartwarming story of Matthew and Melinda which folks seemed really touched by.

And here's another Neil story of his music being the soundtrack of life by Mr. Henry:
I've been a great fan of Neil for over 40 years, starting with Buffalo Springfield when I was 12 years old. His music provided the soundtrack for many of my early adventures, love and learning. During those younger years, I almost saw him perform a number of times (CSNY, solo, w/ Stephen Stills, w/ the Horse) but seemed to keep missing him.

In late summer 1983, I saw Neil for the first time. He was playing at Tanglewood and my date was a woman I had just started seeing. This was only her second large concert; the first was a Marvin Gaye performance a couple weeks before, which I also took her to. That was one of Marvin's final concerts.

We got to Tanglewood w/out tickets and went to get lawn seats which were $10 each (oh the good old days!). While in line, a guy asked if I needed a couple tickets, saying "You definitely want to buy these". I took his advice and was glad I did: the seats were 4th row center on the left aisle.

Neil played three sets that night, each about 45 minutes long and with a short intermission between. There was a large TV on stage and there were "news reports" between the sets. One of these was a short interview with Neil earlier in the day while he walked the grounds of Tanglewood.

Each set was incredible. The first one was acoustic solo; second one was electronic solo (w/ songs from Trans included); third set was with The Shocking Pinks and everyone was in full costume. What a great show! We stayed in the area and went back the next day to wander the grounds. While walking around, I found a stash bag that some unfortunate fan must have lost the night more sign of good fortune (at least for me).

After this show, I made every effort to see Neil each time he toured. My girlfriend and I married the next year in December, and we continued to see Neil's concerts. These included the great tours w/ the Horse in '85 and '86 when I was telling anyone who'd listen "Neil Young is the King of Rock and Roll". We saw him with The Blue Notes in '88 (and got to experience Ordinary People for the first time live). Right after that show, we went to San Francisco and stayed with my best friend while wandering the coast up and down for almost three weeks...the best vacation of my younger years.

Our first child was conceived right after this and our daughter was born in the summer of '89. When I picked her up with her mom and drove them home from the hospital, the cassette player was all set. The first song this beautiful two day old heard (at least from me) was Cowgirl in the Sand, followed by the rest of EKTIN.

Continue to Mr Henry's Neil story Part #2 and scroll down for additional Parts.

Thanks Mr. Henry. You get it.

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At 2/11/2010 12:22:00 AM, Anonymous Mr Henry said...

Sorry there Chief, let me take that back. I don't really know if that was negative and it's kind of late. So please accept my apologies if I misunderstood your post...I've had a really long day and I'm not quite myself right now. Might have been a little edgy. And even if it was critical, I did get kind of lengthy there. So thanks for even bothering to read my ramblings...and long may you run!

At 2/11/2010 12:41:00 AM, Anonymous Mr Henry said...

Wow, I am truly amazed!!! You guys honestly have made my year.

Big things a comin' and I will keep you updated. Winds are howlin' outside my door but I'm feeling warm inside.

At 2/11/2010 07:41:00 AM, Anonymous Mr Henry said...

He lay watching the boy at the fire. He wanted to be able to see. Look around you, he said. There is no prophet in the earth's long chronicle who's not honored here today. Whatever form you spoke of you were right.
Cormac McCarthy The Road

At 2/11/2010 07:54:00 AM, Blogger doc said...

Wow Mr Henry, congrats on making comment of the moment!
Stories from the heart will win out everytime!
Enjoy your 15 mins of fame! lol

I really do hope Thrash takes up your suggestion about a random topic from the "wheat".
I think it will bring out some good debate.

Just digressing...
Hope you guys survive your "big chill" in the US!
It's 35 degrees C. down under in Sydney...
Whoa! What a contrast!
It's hard to envisage snow at this time of the year from down here.
Thinking of you guys,


At 2/11/2010 08:53:00 AM, Anonymous Mr Henry said...

Thanks doc! Very nice and totally unexpected (aka Out of the Blue) which is always the best. I'll try not to let it go to my head! As the Buddhist saying goes "Don't fall in love with your own enlightenment".

Different topic posts are always good. Future ones could include best concerts you've seen (Neil and others), favorite movies and books, best thing someone said to you, music that changed your life, most memorable road's fairly unlimited.

The "big storm" didn't amount to much up north...maybe three inches of snow with a lot of wind gusting. It's a beautiful, sunny morning right now. Hope you folks further south are okay.

"I need to understand this
It's the only way
that I can live"
Tobin Sprout
Water on the Boater's Back

At 2/11/2010 03:15:00 PM, Blogger doc said...

Mr Henry..a new disciple!

Just a little tip..great reads and comments but..

Just don't go out too hard too early...ease in to the is a long race and if ya wanna be a "stayer" ya got to pace yourself lol

There IS one "horse" I'm hoping will come back into the field...
Am I "crazy"? or thinking wishfully?


At 2/11/2010 09:47:00 PM, Anonymous BigChief said...

Mr. Henry,Your post was an excellant read.It was entertaining and inspirational at the same time.All of us who visit this site have much in common in terms of the role that Neil's music has played in our relationships and our lives in general.I myself am so grateful to Thrasher for this site because for the first time in over 40 yrs. of appreciation of Neil as an artist,I now have forum in where not only can I share my thoughts and feelings to like minded 'Rusties' without fear of being considered a fanatical groupie."Lengthy and rambling"? I considered your post to be a fresh and insightful documentary of a person living life while the music of Neil Young had become an increasingly meaningful and important part of it, not unlike most of us who visit this site. Thrasher, my gratitude is sincere as none of this, including Mr. Henrys post would be possible if not for this site .. where else would we go?

At 2/12/2010 12:33:00 AM, Blogger doc said...

I fully concur with the Big chief!

Your sincerity and recollection is pleasureable to read.

Just remember, it IS a "Neil Young" Blog site and as much as I enjoy hearing of those other great bands that you mention and your experiences, "The BIGGER Chief" might get a bit restless if you digress too far! lol.

All the same, I've really enjoyed your slant on things!


At 2/12/2010 07:57:00 PM, Anonymous BiggestChief said...

You got that right,doc !

At 2/12/2010 08:26:00 PM, Anonymous BigChief said...

.... Now that you mention it, that Cormac McCarthy bit was a little too deep for the Chief ....

At 2/15/2010 03:30:00 PM, Anonymous Mr Henry said...

Thanks everyone for your kind comments and's always nice to be among friends! And thanks to Thrashers Wheat for providing such a great place to keep returning to..."When you dance, I can really love". Most of all: Neil, thanks so very much to you, your family and your friends for creating so much great art and providing inspiration to me and countless others.

From Leonardo DaVinci's letter to the Duke of Milan (1482):

"Again, the bronze horse may be taken in hand, which is to be to the immortal glory and eternal honor of the prince your father of happy memory, and of the illustrious house of Sforza. And if any of the above-named things seem to anyone to be impossible or not feasible, I am most ready to make the experiment in your park, or in whatever place may please your Excellency - to whom I comment myself with the utmost humility, etc."

At 2/17/2010 12:01:00 AM, Anonymous Mr Henry said...

Hey there, Sweetie, so happy you made it this far! Lots of words here but I'd need even more to begin telling you how proud we are of you and everything you do. Like Neil sings "You're My Girl". Mucho Love mas y mas...Dad.


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