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Friday, June 04, 2010

Concert Reviews of Neil Young at Jones Hall, Houston, TX, June 4, 2010

Photo by Jay Lee

From Neil Young, Fans Will Never Walk Alone - Houston Music - Rocks Off By Craig Hlavaty:
The utterly monolithic tag-team of "Cortez The Killer" and "Cinnamon Girl" signaled the last few songs of the night, with Young wrenching out the tracks with a ferocity he probably hadn't injected since their initial live runs.

It takes balls to close a show (and an encore) with a new song, which Young did after returning with "Old Man." It was the ender "Walk with Me" that pretty much tore our throats out, with a lilting acoustic stagger and lines about being alone with your spouse at the dusk of your life, and just yearning for their hand in yours as you take that long walk home.

We can't describe it better than how Young sang it: "I'll never let you down no matter what we do, if you just walk with me and let me walk with you. I'm on this journey. I don't want to walk alone."

From Neil Young, Old Man, Loudly Looks Back At His Life by Chris Gray:
Surrounded by a variety of guitars and keyboards, his only human company a handful of stage techs, Young cut a curious figure Friday. Lit by a single spotlight in the otherwise pitch-black and mostly sold-out hall, as he wandered from instrument to instrument between songs, he was an old man - not doddering or stumbling, but pensive, and certainly in no great rush.

Once he picked up a guitar or sat down at a keyboard, or blew his harmonica like a hurricane, that image instantly vanished. Young became the wizened tribal elder, imparting his shamanic wisdom through every cutting chord and photographic lyric, whether history lesson, elegy, confession or profession of faith.

"I sing about love and war," he sang on "Love and War," one of the handful of new songs in the set list. What was implied, and became clearer and clearer as the 90-minute set progressed, is how intertwined those two themes are in Young's work, how they always have been and continue to be.

Neil Young will be performing tonight at the Jones Hall Houston, TX. 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.

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At 6/05/2010 01:13:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

just got back from the show. it was outstanding. it had to have been close to a sell out. i was fortunate enough to be in the second row with my wife and parents.

the acoustics were very good. his voice was outstanding. you could hear virtually every word that came out of his mouth. i was happy to hear "old man."

he plays exactly an hour and a half. just like clock work.

the crowd was awesome and respectful except for a couple assholes. one guy yelled, " the old stuff" after "rumblin." neil kinda just looked at him like he was an idiot and some other fan yelled "play what you want." but it was certainly a little ackward.

hitchiker was a rocker. cortez and DBTR were intense. i really enjoyed peaceful valley.

the show was very solid.

"Brandon in Houston"

At 6/05/2010 07:58:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

i was at the show. For me, this was a decent effort by Neil....but i liked the previous tour with the electric band better.

The new songs? eh. nothing great, nothing bad.....somewhere in the middle.

Glad i saw it, but won't cough up the bucks for this tour again.

John in Kentucky

At 6/05/2010 09:46:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great show!!!!! As always Neil has so much talent always has something new, this was not a greatest hits show....Went to the shows in Atlanta and South Carolina and by far the best crowd was in SC Neil played extra songs because of the crowd...Love the new stuff...You never call,Peaceful Valley..excellent. Thanks Neil!!!!

At 6/05/2010 10:42:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ohio sent chills down my spine :)

At 6/05/2010 10:46:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The show exceeded my expectations. Please don't miss Bert Jansch. His guitar playing is exceptional. The sound mix was perfect.

Neil was mesmerizing. He started the show with 'Hey, Hey, My My'. He played his trusy Hank Martin D-28 for two more numbers. Then switched to what appeared to be a mahogany 00 size Guild for a few more new numbers.

Then he strapped on 'old black' and his Gretsch White Falcon, cranked up the distortion along with Moog Taurus pedal for some new songs.

He then played a new song on an upright piano. 'After the Goldrush' on pipe organ was, IMHO, the best song of the night. He then did a new number on old white grand piano.

He strapped on 'Old Black' and Gretsch for 'Ohio', 'Cortez the Killer'.

Encore was 'Old Man' on Hank Martin guitar and 'Walk with Me'.

I sat 5 rows back and the sound/mix was spot on. The show was great except for the c#nt sitting in seat A7 texting throughout the show. I guess the guy bought her for the evening...she looked like a cheap wh@r3.

At 6/05/2010 11:23:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

If Neil played the same D28 he's been using for the other shows on this tour, it is not Hank's D28. It's another D28 that he has, which you can see pictured on the cover of the Freedom album. The most obvious way you can tell the difference is by the lettering on the headstock. The block lettering on the headstock on the one he's been using for this tour is actually unusual for a D28.

At 6/05/2010 11:46:00 AM, Blogger doc said...

hmmm...not as unaminous as say Spartanburg reviews but nonetheless another satisfying concert...

As I've said on previous posts,those new songs are "creepers"..once they're in ya earworm they'll grow on you I think.

Ya know George, I was thinkin the same thing about that blocklettering on the headstock of the D28 and that is unusual..and I knew straight away that it wasn't Hank's D28...I used to have an F100 and if ya let the tyre pressures down to 22psi on the fronts and 18 psi on the whoa!

Sorry mate,I was just being a "smart arse" but I really do envy anyone that can play guitar well and knows them intimately...I'm afraid I'm just gunna have to stick to playin' the ol' scalpel..nonetheless I can still get quite a cutting sound out of it!!

luv doc

At 6/05/2010 11:57:00 AM, Anonymous Otis said...

I had no expectations of the show last night as I knew Neil would do what he wanted to do. I had seen him almost ten years ago with a 100% acoustic tour and loved how people would yell requests at him and he would just go on playing what he felt like playing. Neil seemed to not have a playlist and would select a song out of the blue that he wanted to play. He had about a dozen guitars onstage and would walk up to one, strum it and either start playing a song or put it down and pick up another one before playing. Awesome. I heard material that never got played on the radio and loved it. Last night he still had the attitude of playing what he wanted to, but he had a playlist of his own and it was a great blending of old songs with new ones. My date and I were also blown away with the electric mix with the acoustic. My only complaint for the concert is I wish it could have been longer, but then I could listen to him for hours. If he does another tour I know I will be there, no matter what the cost of the tickets are because seeing him live is worth the price!

At 6/05/2010 12:16:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Fabuous concert. My third time to see Neil Young, my sons first. Loved every song, only wished for more. Like others I could listen to him all night. We had great seats and would gladly pay again and again. Mucho love!
Karen from Rosenberg

At 6/05/2010 12:33:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

No problem, Doc; Guitar freaks are like this. Though I'm nothing compared to some of my guitar playing brethren on many of the guitar blogs out there. It actually can be mind numbing. Anyhow, I thought I should comment because Neil's guitars are all famous and distinctive, and his "Hank" (previously owned by Hank Williams) guitar is really special and sounds wonderful in Neil's hands. BTW, I'm a doc too, but no scalpels for me; I focus on the psyche . . . which adds a nice dimension to being a Neil fan.
Best, George

At 6/05/2010 01:47:00 PM, Anonymous MMnTO said...

The guitar he uses for the opening numbers is a D-18 as listed in the Buffalo setlist posted here previously. If it is the same one as on the Freedom cover, then it actually belongs (or belonged) to Larry Cragg, and if I am not mistaken it is from 1953.

Please mention if you have evidence otherwise, I'd be interested to hear it.


At 6/05/2010 03:19:00 PM, Anonymous Jon said...

Neil did us right last night in Houston ... as he always does. He talked alot. I don't know if he knows folks here ... or just likes the vibe ... but we always get a stellar effort out of him, in addition to good interaction with the crowd.

This was my eighth Neil show spanning 27 years. It was probably the best. I highly recommend that those of you in Austin and Dallas get tickets, if you don't have them already.

I'm amazed that folks on this site have complained of feeling short changed. The first three songs -- Hey, Hey; Tell me Why; and Helpless -- were worth the price of admission and left tears in my eyes.

I liked all of the new songs, except for one that I thought was a tad weak (the only reason why the show was a 9.8 on a 10 point scale). The guitar and piano play on the new tunes was outstanding, as was the arrangement of these songs. Leia was great for its simplicity on the piano, amongst other things. As far as the lyrics of the new songs are concerned (another point of "controversy" on this site) I felt like they were all very good (except for one, as noted). But, I think it takes some time, sometimes years, to understand Neil's lyrics and decide how much you like certain Neil songs and I would put all of these in that category for now. But the new tunes were great and I am glad he played them.

I thought the highlight of the show was I Believe In You. Wow it was quiet in there during this song (by the way the crowd was great, as it always is in Houston). Just Neil and his piano. That song could not be played or arranged better.

Ohio was outstanding. Ohio has truly passed the test of time, particularly with all of the news footage that we are subjected to of people being "dead on the ground."

Likewise, in light of what is going on in the Gulf it was very poignant to hear "Look at Mother Nature On The Run In the 21st Century."

I went to the show with my ten year old son (a far cry from my previous companions to Neil shows). So, Old Man was a highlight for both of us. And we both cried.

Bert Jansch was outstanding. And, if you are one of the lucky ones with tickets to future shows I recommend that you get there early and check him out. I thought he had four songs that were really good.

I hope we don't have to wait seven years for Neil to come around again.


At 6/05/2010 06:54:00 PM, Blogger tim said...

This was probably my last NY show[life issues] and it was fanastic. Even though I have a boot of the new songs they were still awesome(some of the best he's done in years-reminds me of the SWA songs deep and rich). Thanks Neil!

At 6/05/2010 07:36:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey MMnTO, I actually took a copy of the setlist that was posted here with me to the DC show. I was waiting to see the D18 as well and hoping he would play an extra tune during the encore and use the famous D45 as mentioned at the bottom of the setlist. I had first row seats and walked over to take a look at the Martin on the stand before Neil came on, expecting to see the D18, and was really surprised to see the D28 from the Freedom cover. He used this guitar for the first three songs and did not play any extra songs at the end. So, the evidence I have is seeing the guitar in person. I hope that helps. BTW, his D18 is a great guitar too--he played it when he did Long May You Run at the Olympics closing ceremony. I'm not sure of the year or whether or not it is or was owned by Larry Cragg.

At 6/06/2010 01:20:00 AM, Blogger Chuck Naughton said...

I was at the 1st 3 shows. D-18 in Albany was replaced in Buffalo and Worcester with a D-28 (not Hank). I assume because of feed back problems in the opening in Albany. It appears that the D-18 has been displaced. Other guitars Neil plays include the Gretsch White Falcon, Gibson Les Paul (Old Black) MArtin D-45 and Guild M-20 on extended loan from Daniel Lanois used for its unique tone on the new songs.

At 6/06/2010 09:37:00 AM, Blogger doc said...

Whoa Chuck,George!.... What an arsenal of axes Neil has.. you guys must salivate every time you get close to them....Homer 's got nothing on you! lol

watching in awe


At 6/06/2010 11:20:00 AM, Anonymous MMnTO said...

Hello George and Chuck,

Good evidence indeed. I was thinking of this quote from the Cragg interview in Tone Quest: "I have a ’52 – the D18 that Neil played on Freedom – that one is my favorite. I have another one that’s the same year that is louder, but it is also less complex and sounds less like a Martin."
Right now I don't know why I thought that he mentioned the guitar on the cover of Freedom in connection with this.

If I come up with additional information I'll let you know.

At 6/06/2010 05:06:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I remember being confused by that Larry Cragg quote in TQ as well. Maybe Neil played the D18 on part of Freedom or maybe the D28 on the cover is a picture from somewhere else?

All I know is that they all sound great; and, yes, doc, I do salivate when I see them in pictures and in person--but mostly I love to hear Neil play them. Actually, one that I really love to hear is "Hank," which you can see featured a lot on the Heart of Gold DVD and the acoustic Greendale DVD.

Chuck, do you know if Neil has taken out the D45 for any tunes on this tour? I saw it during the Chrome Dreams II tour (what a show!), but was seated farther away that time and didn't get a very good view of it live. Anyhow, thanks for the info on the Guild M-20. I knew it was a Guild, but had never known Neil to use one and certainly did not know it was Lanois's. I wonder if this guitar was used when Lanois worked with Dylan on Oh Mercy! and Time Out of Mind?

At 6/06/2010 07:00:00 PM, OpenID rfschwartz said...

This was one poor effort by Neil. As a huge fan, I was not expecting the old man to say much, but I was still disappointed. Neil may have said 10 words all night - no more than two together at any moment in time. Jones hall is a very old facility and the accoustics showed it - very poor. Neil seemed to want to re-live his "electric" years and possible missing out on the "heavy-metal" genre. Other than "Old Man", he did not play a single song from the Harvest Trilogy - Harvest/Harvest Moon/Prarie Wind. What a disappointment. The lack of any type of personality along with a terrible choice of songs made this performance a major disappointment. Save your money and buy the albums!

At 6/06/2010 11:13:00 PM, Blogger Chuck Naughton said...

D-45, "Heart of Gold," Worcester, Ma.


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