Full Video of Neil Young at Olympics Closing Ceremonies
"Long May You Run"
Vancouver Olympics Closing Ceremony: Winter Games 2010
PHOTO by Getty
To say that it is really hard to grasp just how vastly lucky we are to be Neil Young fans, is to try and count grains of sand on the beach.
With all the back and forth over whether Neil Young would actually play at the 2010 Olympics Closing Ceremonies, it was a bit of challenge dealing with the rumors du jour.
In the end, we were not denied.
Neil Young performed "Long May You Run" for the Vancouver Olympics Closing Ceremony: Winter Games 2010. As snow gently drifted down from above, Neil strolled about with his harmonica rack and Hank Williams' Martin D-28 guitar.
Following Young's performance, the cauldrons were extinguished and the torch arms retracted, bringing a symbolic coda to the Olympics finale.
It was a live performance -- in contrast to the earlier and latter lip-synching.
Many, many 1000's of instant mini-reviews that were micro-blogged on Twitter indicated that Young's performance was the highlight of the closing ceremonies. Many felt that what followed Young's performance was a travesty and an embarrassment to music fans and to Canada's rich heritage. (for more Tweets, see neil young @ olympics tweets.)
In fact -- at one point -- Neil even became a Twitter Trending Topic, which is very unusual given the platform's highly chaotic tower of Babel tendencies. And without even a hashtag/# code -- no less.
From Salon.com By Allen Barra:
Accompanied by his own acoustic guitar, Neil Young made the evening complete by singing 'Long May You Run' as the Olympic flame was extinguished. It would have been a great place to end things, but unfortunately, Michael Buble then did an ersatz Broadway-like musical number I couldn't identify backed by oversized Mounties, hockey players and what looked like models wearing giant maple leafs. It was everything the ceremony had not been up to that point -- Canada imagined by Baz Luhrmann.
Oh, Canada: Just one minute of Leonard Cohen would have made it all right.
From The Manitoban Online: Put the Beaver to bed by Saul Magnusson :
Halfway through the closing ceremonies of the Vancouver 2010 Olympics, I became profoundly and intensely embarrassed for our country. Everything was fine until Neil Young finished his performance. The Olympic torch was extinguished and our country, on the world’s stage, up-chucked every imaginable Canadian stereotype onto the floor of BC Place.
Just to recap, we narrowly beat the U.S. in men’s hockey. We won more gold medals at a winter games than any other country in history. We showed the world that our athletes are not only fierce competitors, but are intelligent, funny and well-spoken. In attendance, for many events, were PM Harper and his always pristine salt-and-pepper bowl cut. Even he won something: a case of beer through a bet with President Obama. Over weeks of hard competition, we had earned the respect of spectators from hundreds of countries. But then, in just a few short hours, as the games came to a close, we were made to look foolish, the accomplishment of our athletes was diminished and our national identity was set back by a century.
From Vancouver Sun: Reflections on the Winter Games by Eric Lofgren:
Oh. My. God. That was the reaction my wife and I shared as we witnessed with horror and embarrassment the disaster that was the Olympics' closing ceremony. Don't get me wrong. Neil Young's stirring rendition of Long May You Run was pure understated class. But that only made the freak show that followed all the more offensive.
And then a brutal takedown of the whole corrupt corporate sponsored Olympics extravaganza contrasted with the integrity of Neil Young by the cantankerous but always provocative Bob Lefsetz Letter:
"And then we’ve got one lone man.
Who’s still making music long after David Geffen accused him of recording tripe. A man who has always followed his instincts. Hell, after recording 'Long May You Run' Neil Young bolted from his scheduled tour with Stephen Stills…it just didn’t feel right.
That’s what an artist does, go with his feelings.
Last night Neil Young sang live. He reached my heart like none of the smiling athletes parading by were able to. A day later, he’s just about the only thing I remember.
Because real artists are unforgettable. Whether they’ve got one hit or dozens. They reach down deep and excavate feelings we know but cannot express. ...
Neil Young did it his way. And what’s remarkable is when an artist gets it right, their way is our way.
Long may you run."
More Olympics reviews on neilyoung.org - Neil Young links - reconnecting thoughts and actions. (Thanks Roel!)
Neil Young Extinguishes Olympic Flame
"We've been through some things together
With trunks of memories still to come"
60,000 inside Vancouver stadium. Millions on the TeeVee box.
One harmonica. One guitar.
Full video of Neil Young at Olympics Closing Ceremonies performing "Long May You Run" on NBC.com.
UPDATE: Sorry, but it seems this link only works within the USA. sigh. So much for the Olympics spirit, global cooperation, harmony and the triumph of corporate greed.
Folks have been posting working links for other countries in comments section below. Thank you for sharing with your global brothers & sisters.