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Friday, May 21, 2010

Neil Young Concert Reviews - Worcester, MA, May 21, 2010

Neil Young - Worcester, MA, May 21, 2010
Photo by Steve Lanava

From review in Worcester Telegram & Gazette "Forever Young!" by Craig S. Semon:
Not only will rock 'n' roll never die; if Neil Young's sold-out performance last night at the Hanover Theatre for the Performing Arts is any indication, it gets better with age.

As part of his solo “Twisted Road Tour,” and following opener Bert Jansch, Young gave the lucky Neilophiles and Rusties who packed the place a no-frills, passionate performance that was one part retrospective, one part reinvention and one part relaxed rehearsal. His 18-song, one-hour-and-45-minute set (which included a two-song encore) consisted of seven new songs, eight gems from the '70s, two nuggets from the '60s and one unreleased song that before his current tour hasn't been played for 18 years.

There are few veteran rockers who can capture an audience with the sole grace of their words on intimate issues dealing with relationships, romance, personal redemptions, hopes and regrets, and Young is certainly one of them. This show was for Young's most loyal and dedicated fans who are patient for songs to unfold and reveal their genuine rock 'n' roll heart.

Review continues in Worcester Telegram & Gazette.

Neil Young will be performing tonight at the Hanover Theatre Worcester, MA. Special guest Bert Jansch will open concert.

Got a report? Drop a comment below. No registration required.

Check Sugar Mountain for setlist updates. Also, see Song Grid Chart.

Also, see Neil Young's "Twisted Road" Concert Tour Reviews and the right, middle sidebar for continuous real time RSS feed updates.


At 5/21/2010 11:39:00 PM, Anonymous Jess Ogle said...

He added Borrowed Tune tonight. Blew me away

At 5/22/2010 12:34:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I didn't hear Borrowed Tune, were we at the same show? He dropped Into the Black and added Heart of Gold at the end. Very respectful crowd. I sat outside after the show and heard everyone talking about how good the show was. Neil was in a good mood, joking about a new hat he got, but saying it wasn't the one he was wearing. I loved the show, but I thought it was a little on the short side. The crowd seemed to love the new stuff. Set list seemed to be the same except for the last song. I'll re-read this in the morning, not sure how much sense I'm making right now.

one in eleven thousand

At 5/22/2010 12:39:00 AM, Anonymous Deborah said...

Neil....WOW....never ceases to impress me..I took my 70 year old Mother, who became a fan after listening to me play my albums for many years (she grew up in the 50's with sock hops and drive up burger stands) and tonight at the show she said "I never knew that one guitar could make all that sound". I answered back "How about one man, making all that sound on one guitar". she much I could write, but I just want to say, "thank you Neil Young", my Mother got the chance to see you solo...a very rare treat :) Can't wait for the release of the new album! xxoo

At 5/22/2010 12:48:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Agreed, it was the same set except he closed with Heart Of Gold instead of Hey Hey. Great show, loved his electric work. After he played After The Goldrush on his pipe organ, which is up on a platform, he stood up and was tipping his hat to the crowd. With the dark orange lighting, it was a surreal sight to see.
He continues to be so good and so original.

At 5/22/2010 12:56:00 AM, Anonymous Todd said...

"Hitchhiker" makes it totally worth whatever price. Thunderous, massive, scary, awesome.

At 5/22/2010 01:21:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

During the show Neil told a story about listening to Bert when we was 18 and living in a rooming house in was a proud moment for this Torontonian who came down for the show...enjoyed the "Toronto" references in "Love and War" and "Hitchiker" the way does anyone konw what street Neil lived on when he was 18---I figure it was in the Annex

At 5/22/2010 01:29:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Merci for the updates

At 5/22/2010 01:32:00 AM, Anonymous wsheri70 said...

Really enjoyed tonight. Set list was the same except for Heart of Gold as the finale. Maybe had low expectaitons based on some of the Albany and Buffalo posts - yes Neil has and will again play longer, but after monster length shows from Pearl Jam and especially Wilco this worked well (at age 40, I was in the yougest 10-15 percentile). Neil was definitely in a good mood. The venue (a mere $5 for a Bud) and sound were great - Hitchhiker and Cortez (I've heard this song most of the dozen times I've seen Neil, but truly a unique version) were highlights. I agree the crowd was very respectful (maybe due to age) with the exception of a few continued (but not annoying - Pochohontas fans were big) requests - good to see New Englanders at their best behavior. I maybe was looking for a 3rd song in the encore, but no complaints. I brought a buddy as last minute substitute and he felt that Neil more than lived up to expectations as a first timer.

At 5/22/2010 01:43:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"He added Borrowed Tune tonight. Blew me away"

How can someone make a statement like that when it didn't happen? And even add a "Blew me away"!

At 5/22/2010 07:15:00 AM, Blogger JeanneandTonyGoToFrance said...

Agree..Great show! The solo, electric thing was new for us, a first and much enjoyed. Anyone think the new songs remind them of the Freedom album? As far as the crowd goes, I guess we were in the "disrespectful" section. We didn't let it upset us, but we had some talkers in the row behind us. Others in the area asked them to quiet down and that just set them off more. At $150 per ticket, why would spend the whole show talking? But enough on that...I agree with the other comments here about Neil being in a good mood and talkative.

At 5/22/2010 07:30:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

i've listened to some of the recordings of the this tour - all in all, pretty decent.

the solo electric stuff, however, doesn't quite do it for me. I live in NYC, so he's not coming my way, even if he were i'd probably sit this one out.

Personally, i refuse to spend anymore hard-earned dollars on the exorbitant concert experience. I was outside Madison Square Garden the other night, hoping to scalp a Pearl Jam ticket at a reasonable price. $200 for a nose-bleed seat? On top of $9 buds?

Thanks, but no thanks.

I've spent a mini-fortune on Neil-related items over the last 20-plus years. Hopefully a new generation of fans step up and become Neil fanatics, and spend freely.

But here's the rub for Neil - albums no longer sell, the new generation finds a way to download it for free, and will never how does Neil make some cash? Going on over-priced tours, just as he's been doing for 3-plus years, virtually non-stop.

He doesn't sell his songs to commercials, or put them in where else can he make money other than touring? You tell me....i don't know.


Johnny Rocket!

At 5/22/2010 08:36:00 AM, Anonymous J Potter said...

The show last night was amazing. I have seen Neil 20-25 times and this was amazing and unique.

On the "cha-ching", Neil has done plenty of good (and will continue to) with the money he has earned. Also, if he sells the tickets for less the scalpers will just grab them up and resell them. I'd rather see the Money in Neil's hands.

At 5/22/2010 09:28:00 AM, Blogger Unknown said...

Loved the show last night - very unique and Neil was in a great mood. I wonder if the enthusiastic and respectful response to Bert Jansch gave Neil a bit of a spark. He did make a comment on how lucky we were to hear Bert and how lucky he was to share a stage with him.

After listening to the Albany show a few times on RustRadio I thought I knew what to expect. The new songs were really good and I look forward to the new album. Hitchhiker - wow! loved the rendition. And even though everyone knows Heart of Gold it was an excellent way to end the show.

Thank you Bert, thank you Neil, thank you audience (even the guy sitting near us who kept shouting for "Walk On"; I would loved to have heard it too!)

Neil is real - Neil fan for life, no matter what... LeftGold

At 5/22/2010 09:44:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow, wish I could of seen this show. Saw Neil on the Chrome Dreams II tour in Boston and it's the best show I've ever seen.

Wish I had the money to have gone... this one was too expensive for this twenty something. What an amazing set.

At 5/22/2010 09:53:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Worcester... an amazing show! Neil was in fine form. First, since it's been spoken about so much on this site, let me say that those whining about the show length and ticket prices should be ashamed. This guy pours his heart out for a solid 1:40. Sure, I could listen to him for 4 hours. I've seen him perform longer in the past, but that doesn't take anything away from this great evening. The show is what it is... and that's pretty amazing. Just you and Neil (along with some other fans of course... why not share). Like he invited you into his living room. The personal nature of the show... the intimacy of the small theater... just hanging out with a living legend... the one on one... PRICELESS.

Same set list as previous 2 shows, except closed with Heart of Gold, replacing Hey Hey, My My. Was fantastic to watch Neil go from instrument to instrument, tender songs to big electric that filled the auditorium as if there were many musicians (especially on songs like Hitchhiker and Cortez it was as if the sound went right thru you).

The Hanover theater was GREAT... everything about it. Great acoustics, amazing seats (comfortable and lots of room btw the aisles), the ushers are all volunteers and professional... even a concierge in the lobby (didn't see anyone using him, but still was cool). What added GREATLY to the show was that the crowd was UNBELIEVABLY RESPECTFUL... thanks to everyone who attended for that! For a solo show like this it's so nice to be able to give the artist the respect and quiet they need for their talent to be fully appreciated. Even Neil thanked the crowd. Oh yeah, crowd was super for Bert Jansch during the opening as well.

Favorite Neil Comment: He wore a white hat during the show... and as he walked over to one of the keyboards, fidgeting around, tells the crowd, "I got a new hat" (the crowd applauds)... then he says, "This isn't it." (crowd laughs). He says something like, "Yeah, I like this old one a lot."

If you can get to any show on this tour, GO. Thanks Neil!


At 5/22/2010 09:55:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think that Jess was smokin' a borrowed doobie.... :-) Or was he "living in a dreamland?"

He didn't even play Ambulance Blues which might literally be consider a "borrowed tune"

At 5/22/2010 12:09:00 PM, Blogger doc said...

After reading these reviews from the third show of the tour..every one of them postive so far,I really do believe Neil bounces off and reacts to crowd behaviour and attitude.

Yeah, respect IS the word that sums it up..respect for the opening act, being appreciative of Bert's playing, respect for Neil's playing and song matter how diverse.

Maybe a Neil audience is finally realising what he expects of them, and reciprocates accordingly.
Just an observation,


At 5/22/2010 12:20:00 PM, Anonymous Woodrow said...

Firstly, thanks to Thrasher for this excellent forum where anyone can voice their opinions, freedom of speach is priceless & invaluable. But please oh please will the winning, sniveling, selfish, ungrateful so called fans stop complaining about the ticket prices/length of shows. You do not have to go see Neil live. Let the rest of us, 99% enjoy ourselves in peace from your negativity & pessimism.

At 5/22/2010 12:22:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

This was my first Neil Young show and it was amazing im a younger fan only 18 years old i went with my dad and im going again on Sunday with my friend. I was very disappointed at how lame the crowd was during My My Hey Hey a song about how rock and roll will never die a man behind me who before the show was talking about how many times hes seen Neil bla bla bla tried to tell me to sit down and stop dancing i was outraged and continued to dance my ass off throughout the entire show, and it was sad to see there was only one other person in the crowd standing up dancing and I saw him get taken out by a cop, what has rock and roll come to Im young and trying to keep rock and roll true I think Neil would respect my right to stand up and dance, ill be there on sunday rocking out if you see two young kids dancing and you try to tell us to sit down than there will be a problem KEEP ON ROCKIN IN THE FREE WORLD!!!!!!!!

At 5/22/2010 12:53:00 PM, Blogger doc said...

Ya know anonymous, I'm rapt that Neil can reach out and grab such a demographic of new, young fans and old, and I can be excited about a song as any of the rest of his fans and I really think that Neil would be aware of your enthusiasm.. but.. some concerts don't always lend themselves to jumpin up and dancing in your own little mosh pit.

If it was Neil with say the horse, full on electric, loud and raucous and goin' off his nut.. yeah by all means, but I think this tour lends itself to sitting back and just savouring this solo acoustic/electric experience, to take in Neil the artist in this mode.
Don't get me wrong, I'm not being a 'wet the bed', but these small venues lend themselves to a more intimate experience with Neil..respect in this case is to be a listener to Neil when he's in this mindset, that's all.

There is nothing wrong with rockin in the free world but in this case maybe the vibe is listenin' in the free world...

Long may it be fun son.. long may it be fun!


At 5/22/2010 01:01:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Keep on dancin'
'Til the power goes out
Your battery's dead
Twist and shout

Neil Rules!

At 5/22/2010 01:08:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Come on Doc.

Neil is and has always been about emotion. And yes, I think I would not appreciate it if a 18 year old kid would dance all night at in front of me. But hey, it's a Neil concert... and listen to the songs... the way he plays Hitchhiker or Cortez... DBTR or any of the fantastic new songs...

Keep on dancin'
'Til the power goes out
Your battery's dead
Twist and shout

Thank you Neil Young!

At 5/22/2010 01:09:00 PM, Blogger doc said...

Nah, my batteries not dead..just full of lithium..and rechargeable! lol

ever ready doc

At 5/22/2010 01:38:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey, Neil!

Don't shave!

That Don Williams look suits ya!

At 5/22/2010 01:49:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great show! Haven't seen this posted yet, review from Worcester paper:

At 5/22/2010 02:12:00 PM, Anonymous Mr Henry said...

Force Equals Mass Times Acceleration: Neil Young Charges On

Just as long as the guitar plays
Let it steal your heart away.
Jagger/Richards Torn and Frayed

Part One

Where to begin? One of the truly great shows that I have seen, definitely one of the best from Neil and maybe, just possibly the best one yet. I'll need to let the glow fade a bit and then get back to you on that one.

Hanover Theater is a wonderful place for music and performances. The size is just right, the sound is incredible and the people who work there and run the place could not be nicer if they tried. My seat was twenty three rows back, dead center with the sound board behind me. Would have been nice to be a few rows closer, but totally worth it for the sound quality (and that's what opera glasses are for). I consider myself very fortunate indeed to have attended this show.

Burt Jansch played a gorgeous set. His guitar playing is breathtaking at times and very moving, the epitome of "quietly majestic". Neil would later give the crowd a friendly reminder of just how lucky we all were to be seeing Burt, echoing a thought which I was already having. I honestly was torn in my desires, knowing that Neil was coming up next but not wanting this great experience to end, hoping that it won't be the only time I see Burt Jansch perform. He's like a separated-at-birth twin of the late, great John Fahey, one who decided to use more traditional tunings to explore the same new and uncharted territories. Thank you so much Burt for giving us the chance to appreciate you live and up close.

In the lobby before Neil's set, I struck up a conversation with a couple who told me it was their first Neil Young concert. After chatting a bit, we were both surprised to find we live in the same town...and then that we live only a couple blocks from each other! They had only recently moved and I've been here for a couple decades. We talked a bit more and then said we'd see each other around town. Amazing things can happen, especially at a Neil Young show.

At 5/22/2010 02:14:00 PM, Anonymous Mr Henry said...

Part Two

Scampered back to my seat just in time as the lights were going down. Neil came out and everyone was happy as kids on Christmas morning. If you are reading this, then most likely you're already familiar with the set list on this I won't go through the concert song-by-song. What I especially loved was how he would group the songs into meaningful segments and allow the songs enough breathing room for the music and poetry to build an intensity that would ebb and flow in just the right way. The first three got everyone's attention...and the crowd to me seemed very well behaved and respectful -- great job Neil fans! Next segment had two songs and both were new.

You Never Call is touching, poignant, funny, moving and beautiful, all in about equal measures. LA must be really loving this one from his dear friend. Peaceful Valley continues in this emotional vein, grabbing you without really trying. Then comes the masterpieces.

It's way too soon to say for sure, but right now I think that Love and War might be the best song that Neil has ever written. Somehow he can write music that is very simple and also incredibly complex beneath the surface. It's a verse chorus song but not really; it's an old modal drone number, but not really either. The guy sitting next to me put it best when he said "it's really an ancient song". I replied yes, it certainly is. Makes me think of Robbie Robertson's comments about The Basement Tapes when he wondered if Dylan had written the songs or just found them under a rock somewhere. I know that Neil wrote this one, and I'm sure thankful that he did.

Down By The River was next and the perfect song to follow with. Hearing Neil playing this alone but with the electric guitar harmonics adding to his performance, I heard the song in a new and different way. I've seen solo acoustic versions and a thirty minute epic version but never one quite like this. Talk about your ancient's hard to imagine that this hasn't always been there.

Then came Hitchhiker. Everything that's been said so far is's that good. How does Neil keep coming up with these? And how does he do this solo and make it even more powerful? Once again, I'm just thankful that he can and he does.

This four song segment ended with Ohio and it was a moving and towering version. I'm sure Neil was thinking of the 40th anniversary which recently passed, but made no mention of this -- if you have to ask, then he can't tell you.

At 5/22/2010 02:15:00 PM, Anonymous Mr Henry said...

Part Three

A couple new love songs were next. Sign of Love and Leia both very pleasant and songs that will grow on you more and more. Then a couple old favorites, with After The Gold Rush and I Believe In You coming back-to-back. The woman sitting next to me was moved to tears during these and it added to my appreciation of these great songs.

The last segment of the regular set was three songs. Rumblin' is another good new one and then Cortez. After hearing many versions of this, it never gets old. This version gives it room to breathe, and that seems to be a large part of what Neil is doing with this tour, discovering the space between the notes. Wonderful version and then another great version of Cinnamon Girl, performed in just the right way for where Neil is at right now.

Walk With Me was a great first encore. Neil has really tightened this one up since the Albany version (way, way back 72 hours before!?) and it's a real keeper. Then Heart of Gold to end the show. I was happy for all the people who would have been disappointed without hearing this and it was a great version. Hoping for a third song and would have been great to hear an electric Out of the Blue to finish off with, but Neil was thinking something different and that was just fine.

So for anyone who is going to the upcoming shows, you're in for a real special performance. I'd like to see another one but this will be it for me, at least this part of the would be great if he continues on with this or returns to the solo acoustic/electric format again in the future. The record should be great when it comes out, and I bet that it will be his biggest seller in years. And if you haven't seen this version of Neil 2010, you really don't know what you're missing.

Thanks to Thrasher and the crew for making the show even more fun in all phases. Enjoyed speaking with you all and hope to see you again. Thanks for Andrew, a fellow fan of Sonic Youth, for the stories about Barcelona and the 1:30 a.m. show...I can just imagine. And thanks to Burt and Neil for doing what you do.

At 5/22/2010 02:20:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

FYI, Thursday article on Bert Jansch:

At 5/22/2010 02:34:00 PM, Anonymous Mr Henry said...

Apologies to Bert for misspelling his name...oops! Long night, short sleep.......but a great performance!!!

At 5/22/2010 03:07:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Re ticket$$,
As Thomas Paine said:
What we obtain too cheap, we esteem too lightly - tis dearness only that gives everything its value.

At 5/22/2010 04:12:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Heart of Gold for an encore ????

Aside from the new songs , he's mailin it in on this tour. Too bad.

Obviously he wants to play his new songs,and has no interest in playing his past catalogue,so he should just charge $40-$ 75 and play 7 new songs and go home.

Overall , a poor concert by Neil Young standards.

At 5/22/2010 05:11:00 PM, Blogger doc said...

Whoa, Mr Henry, if that don't make "Thrasher's positive Neil comments for the moment" nothin' will.

What a great review!... even if your starstruck, mesmorised eyes saw nothing but a flawless performance from's how a true wheatie should perceive a Neil negatives,full of positives.

Judging by all the other positive comments, any bugs that Neil had in the earlier models have been "re called" and ironed out..always seems to be..that you buy the series 2 after a "New model" comes out hey?

Once again great review... your trilogies have become a classic part of visiting the wheat..thankyou!


At 5/22/2010 05:56:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Then came Hitchhiker. Everything that's been said so far is's that good. How does Neil keep coming up with these? And how does he do this solo and make it even more powerful?"

He didn't just come up with it - it's more than 30 years old. And he's only ever done it solo...

At 5/22/2010 06:16:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yes, I think a common misconception- Hitchhiker is not new- its an oldie and a goodie! Love it....always have.

You know what is missing from the Solo Electric experience? What song needs to be done this way because it would just suit it and be SO poignant? Two words:

MR. SOUL!!!!

Rock it NEILER!

At 5/22/2010 09:10:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have to say if two young chaps are dancin' in front of me, no disrespect, but security is being brought over. If you have to dance, go in the back. Not for the price any of us paid for a ticket for a solo show. Worcester had respect for Neil and his art, so please respect the rest of us.

And...Heart of Gold as the last encore was not as poignant as Albany's encore hands-down. My My, Hey Hey as an electric ending not only makes sense, but makes it *essential* to cap off the evening of new material and new sounds to old songs. As it stands now, the Worcester show was left open-ended and incomplete. Albany's performance, despite it's feedback and guitar flaws, was a rawer, more dark performance due to the My My, Hey Hey closer. Let's hope he brings it back for the rest of the tour.

At 5/22/2010 09:45:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

As someone who has seen over 100 Neil Young shows spanning almost 40 years,this was hands down the worst.Definately mailing it in,as mentioned before. I saw Trans tour and Pinks tour and they were superior.

At 5/22/2010 10:56:00 PM, Blogger Tweck9 said...


One thing I've always noticed playing in bands has been that my own performance, and that of the band, is always elevated by a great crowd. There's some kind of energy feedback-loop that goes on that can be really good for a show, and actually make you play a lot better, more inspired.


At 5/23/2010 02:38:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear 9:45 p.m.: I certainly appreciate the opinion of someone who's seen Neil more than 100 times (even if they don't know how to spell "definitely"), and I can certainly understand that folks might not like the song selection for these shows, might not like the new songs, might not care for the solo electric format, might think the shows are too short and/or too expensive, might not like his hat, etc. Fair enough. But to say that he's "mailing it in" is a direct attack on his character. I haven't been at these shows myself, but I've listened to the recordings and watched the YouTube videos and don't get any indication that he's not sincerely engaged in the songs he's playing, songs about his dead best friend and his disabled son and his wife and his presumed granddaughter (though no one apparently can explain just whose kid this is) and murdered students and love and war and the planet we live on. I'm honestly curious what evidence you have to the contrary.

At 5/23/2010 04:17:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Whoa Anonymous, "As someone who has seen over 100 Neil Young shows spanning almost 40 years,this was hands down the worst".

That is a big call, don't you think?

I've never heard the expression "Mailing it in" in the context that you use it, but if the audience were a post box and Neil's songs were his letters..they would all be love letters from the heart, certified and delivered by hand!

They would all have the stamp of approval in the corner and guitar licked by Neil, "the postman" himself lol

I don't know how you could draw comparisons with the trans tour or the pinks tour with Neil's current tour..but hey what would I know?...

I've only seen Neil 99 times, spanning almost 39 yrs lol...

and I thought the 'postman' always delivered!(tongue in cheek) for you non aussies

Sorry Anon , I was just being a smart arse..I haven't had any "fun' lately..been on my best Neil's audience! lol

luv doc

At 5/23/2010 09:34:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Read the whole quote - I said ASIDE FROM THE NEW SONGS, he's mailin it in.And after seeing Neil live over 39 years, I think I am qualified enough of a fan to have that opinion.
Very disapointing.Neil just didnt bother rehearsing any old material..... but he can play HOG, DBTR, HHMM,CORTEZ in his sleep.So he picks a handful of songs that he never forgets the easy changes and lyrics to.Thats pretty obvious on this tour.And personaly, I think the solo electric is aweful.Doesnt sound good.Each time I'm waiting for the drums and bass to kick in.If he's gonna play electric, bring a band !
This is not his typical solo acoustic tour because thats alot of work to rehearse/practice 15-20 mixed group of songs from the past and play 2-2 1/2 hours.
This tour is about playing his new songs and making a quick easy buck.Other than the new songs, there is no intensity.NONE EXCEPT THE NEW SONGS.

At 5/23/2010 10:22:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is just a site for people who think Neil is God and cant do any wrong.

At 5/23/2010 10:29:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

On the comment about mailing it in.

2 things...

- consider the source
- consider the effort made to make the point

i.e. ignore

At 5/23/2010 10:50:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

For the 18 year old fan who was standing up dancing and told to sit down, “Never sit down!” That’s not what rock music shows are about. Any fan that thinks they have the
right to tell another fan to sit down should just stay home.

What people don’t understand is that Neil Young is a rock and roller at heart. He’s Little
Richard, Chuck Berry, Jerry Lee Lewis …. He wants the crowd to react. He wants you to stand up. He was “born to rock, and I’ll never be an opera star.” I don’t know where this whole notion about being quietly reverential and politely clapping between songs started. Maybe a byproduct of the excessively self-indulgent singer-songwriter 1970s. Maybe the people who told you to sit down were looking for the Celine Dion show, or the Phillip Glass Ensemble Orchestra.

The problem with “those people” is that they think they are at some kind of recital. This isn’t chamber music: it’s a rock and roll show. And please, if I hear one more comment about an “intimate” setting. Three thousand people! Intimate! Give me a break with that. I would consider intimate maybe a couple of hundred people. Where the performer can see the reaction on the faces of his audience. It’s like when U2 welcomed people to their “living room” when playing 80,000 seat football stadiums. A 3000 person theater is not an intimate venue no matter how the promoters are selling it.

And “respectful.” The audience was “respectful.” The audience was dead. I went to the show. I put it somewhere in my top five Neil shows, and I’ve been going to see Neil since the Trans tour. It was amazing. The Hanover Theatre was great. The only negative I had on the whole night is that the crowd was dead. They didn’t stand up to acknowledge Neil until he finished his set. To me, that’s disrespectful. Lame would be a better word to describe the crowd.

I’m not sure why. Maybe the high ticket prices kept some of the more vocal fans away. Maybe Neil’s fan base is just getting older. I’ve seen Neil play solo acoustic in arenas where the audience stood and cheered almost throughout the entire show. He played loud electric guitar on about half the songs and the crowd just sat there. The people in front usually set the tone for the rest of the hall, and they (almost) always pay the most money for their tickets. You can sit on your hands all night, if you want. You certainly paid enough money for the right to do that. But don’t assume that also gives you the right to tell others how they must respond in showing their appreciation for the music.

At 5/23/2010 10:52:00 AM, Blogger doc said...

Anonymous 10:22:
"this is just a site for people who think Neil is God and can't do any thing wrong".....


Jeez I don't think Neil is God..just maybe his son!
I know this, coz Neil did a song on the "heart of gold" DVD.....what was it called again?...awh, I remember......

When Dad Made me! lol lighten up!

son of doc

p.s. He has made a few F*^k ups in his time! lol

At 5/23/2010 11:24:00 AM, Blogger doc said...

innaresting 10:50am Anonymouse

So what your saying is, if you were unfortunate enough only to acquire seats a bit back at this SOLO acoustic gig (as there is only one front row at any venue) you would expect that anyone behind anyone in front that are now standing up and moshin, to be forced to stand for the entire concert?...hmmmm
As I said in an earlier comment not every concert Neil does is full on rocknroll and as much as i would like to "get down and boogie" to Cortez or heart of gold or what ever SOLO acoustic/electric "Rockn roll song he throws out to the now gyrating masses in front of him.
look I love gettin into Rockin in the free world or F*^kin up coz they'd lend themselves to do it.
Ok, "intimate" might not be appropriate word coz it's not 20 people in a basement coffee shop..but its not 20,000 people in an open air stadium with Neil with a 10 piece backin' band is it.

Neil's fans are made up of many diverse cross sections of personalities who obviously get their own little buzz out of what Neil puts out..Alls people are saying here is give other people the opportunity to
1. SEE NEIL in a ticketed seat
2. HEAR Neil in an atmoshpere or venue that is conducive to listening
3.Enjoy Neil to there full potential from a position where they are at...
Its not reall too much to ask is it?

considerate doc

At 5/23/2010 11:36:00 AM, Blogger doc said...

For all you "zombies" who sat direspectfully quiet through this Neil solo concert!....ITS TIME TA ROCKNROLL!!!!!get offya pensioned arses and start moshin!!

rockin doc kin

At 5/23/2010 01:23:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

My first show was I think 1983 at Tanglewood in Western Mass with the Shocking Pinks - great version of "Don't Be Denied" at that show.

I've seen them all throughout the years. At least 50 shows. One of the hardest decisions I remember making was should I spend $75.00 to get front row seats for the Ragged Glory show in Portland, Me from a ticket broker - lot of money at the time but staring at Poncho and Neil for two hours of rock and roll bliss became a priceless memory!

Anyway I agree with some of these posts that this tour is smelling like greed. For $250 I want to be blown away musically and I want to see Neil pull out the songs for his most loyal fans.

My, My, Hey, Hey? cool opener but do you want to hear it twice? DBTR and Cortez sound OK in the boots but the beauty of those songs is Neil can take you to a special place with Old Black and great band - not happening at a solo show. AFTGR, Heart of Gold,Cinnamon Girl - are you kidding me? How many times have we all heard those tunes? These are songs for the true fans?

I am psyched he is playing new tunes and this should always be part of a Neil show but how about some true classics like "Campaigner", "For The Turnstiles", Old Laughing Lady, War of Man - stuff that you want to hear and if you do - it keeps you coming back for more. Kind of like last year when he was playing the riveting "Ambulance Blues" on the Chrome Dreams tour.

I skipped the Worcester show which bummed me out but I thought the ticket prices were ridiculous (and I can afford them) and after seeing the set list and hearing the show - I'm glad I did. Also, these are rock shows, not a concert recital - go ahead and have fun - stand up even - you paid for it.

Go ahead and flame on me everyone but this is my opinion. I came to the fork in the road and for the first time, me and Neil went different directions.

Bill up on the hill

At 5/23/2010 04:03:00 PM, Anonymous Jonathan said...

I won't hate on you Bill. But you sound a wee bit regretful about skipping this tour...I personally am excited and thankful for the rare chance to see him tomorrow in DC - can't wait...

At 5/23/2010 04:13:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I, too, would like to hear some more obscure oldies, but you have to remember that not everyone going to these shows has seen Neil 100 times and they would be disappointed not to hear some of the "hits," especially after sitting through seven new songs (plus "Hitchhiker"). I caught one of the early shows in '92, which was a similar situation (and they were even shorter than the current ones), but that became a pretty special tour before long as the setlist expanded and diversified; hopefully we'll see that again here.

At 5/23/2010 07:35:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

yeah, on the 92 tour , Neil "woke up" on one of the later legs of that tour.Durring the first leg of the tour, he screwed people with super short shows- 90 minutes or less- and he heard the boos and complaints and maybe Elliot had a talk with him because he suddenly changed dramaticaly with regard to show length....but then tix were $ 30 for front rows, not $ 250. As much as I love Neils music and many of his performances, that doesant make him a good guy.He's a smart cat and knows what he's doing.And anytime he short changes his fans on time and song material, he is clearly aware.But he knows you already bought your tickets,so his attitude is basicaly "Fuck you". This guy isnt good to his fans sometimes.
Also, Neil always played new songs, but didnt fill it in with a bunch of greatest hits..neil never did that, but now he is.BECASUE HE DOESNT HAVE TO DO ANYTHING IN PREPARATION TO PLAY THOSE SONGS !!! LAZY, EASY WAY OUT,OR AS WAS SAID ..... MAILIN IT IN FOLKS ! IT'S ABOUT HIS "ME" MENTALITY AND THE $$$$$$.But alot of hard core fans are in a stupor when it comes to Neil.He can't do wrong.Whatever he does is great.How dumb ass is that ? NEil reads this shit and it helps him know what he can get away with. And do listen to his harmonica playing ? Tell me he has been rehearsing !!!!!????? Poor quality for Neil.

At 5/23/2010 07:37:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

And solo electric is bullshit. You folks know, everyone assumed it was solo acoustic.That solo electric stuff is missing a band big time.Sounds like everythign missing.Who tours and plays electric guitar solo ? Even Hendrix had a band.Another way to save $ on paying a band and putting more $ in his pocket.Solo electric.what bullshit.

At 5/23/2010 08:23:00 PM, Blogger Niagara Prognosticator said...

Ok. I've now attended 78 NY shows over 36 years, including the first three of this tour. What some commentators here are missing is the genius of Neil's setlist. Did you critics really listen to the new tunes? Very different but captivating. Well written and Daniel Lanois' influence complements Neil very well.

For the super fans, what is more obscure than a totally new song? For crying out loud, Neil is introducing and promoting his new album on this tour. In exchange for the indulgence of the new tunes, Neil is giving the more casual fan familiar standards to cheer and take home. A genius marketing and entertainment concept. Something for the super freaks, something for the Toe Tappers, including the venerable Heart of Gold!

As for mailing it in, I've never seen Neil just go through the motions. On each tune, new and old, his musicianship shines in both his instrumentation and his vocals. He obviously is taking the presentation of his art very seriously. I for one appreciate the thoughtfulness and effort that has been put in to every aspect. Staging, setlist, performance and venues. Top notch all.

After the last several tours, with plenty of new tunes that he has to learn and present. I am hard pressed to believe that Neil is "mailing it in" by playing easy to remember songs. Each is a crowd pleaser, but of course their are sour pusses in every crowd.

Those that measure the show by minutes and seconds or numbers of songs are by definition only giving the show a superficial gloss. Maybe next time, you'll save your cash and give the rest of us a chance at better seats.

At 5/23/2010 08:56:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think if someone posts that "Neil is mailing it in" 3 times on the subject, they must be awfully cynical. Or bitter? What's the point of coming back with the same negative vibe, dude

Whatev, cuz i'm loving these reviews.

Keep 'em comin'!


At 5/24/2010 09:49:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

it's taken a few days to absorb this experience.

this show wasn't just an amazing show, it was one of the most stunning events i've ever been blessed to observe. it's been quite some time since i've seen neil and i felt this performance was timeless, from an ageless man. the tears welled up in my eyes as soon as he walked on the stage and never left. i've never been so overwhelmed by emotion during a show. seeing him on the stage made me realize that his music has penetrated me since birth and i will die with his voice echoing from behind. as a result each note and word conveyed a greater depth and scope than ever before for me.

while each song was stunning, i believe in you was absolutely transcendent.

thank you worcester for being such a great crowd, respectful to the point of reverent.

thank you bert jansch, neil's performance was so remarkable it's unfortunately easy to forget how stellar the opening set was. very thankful for the education mr jansch, i'll be diving into your albums asap

and thank you neil

nate from pine hill

At 5/24/2010 10:21:00 AM, Anonymous Wine Travel said...

Agreed... was a great show. Rare opportunity to spend time with a living legend... up close and personal.

Loved the whole show... most memorable was the tremendous POWER of Hitchhiker... and still can't get that guitar riff that's repeated thoughout one of his new songs out of my head... love that new one.

At 5/29/2010 10:04:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

A link to an absolutely fabulous recording of the Worcester show was posted on the Knoxville review link by jm... see 5/28 2:24pm. I'm so thankful now to be able to revisit this incredible show any time I want. Thanks so much!


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