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Thursday, July 15, 2010

Neil Young Concert Reviews - Davis, CA , July 15, 2010

Neil Young at Mondavi Center
Photo Gallery by Kyle Grantham |

From Sacramento Bee: Concert review: Neil Young captivates, and barely acknowledges, Davis audience by Carla Meyer:
Neil Young's harmonica on his opening number "My My, Hey Hey" sounded so rich and so perfectly suited to the Mondavi Center's acoustics that it brought tears to one's eyes.

Young matched this transportive moment on two other occasions during a solo show Thursday night: When he played organ and harmonica on "After the Gold Rush" and when he performed "Cortez the Killer," which is basically one long, gorgeous guitar solo.

Three once-in-a-lifetime moments during a 100-minute set helped compensate for Young's lack of acknowledgment of the audience.


Young did not hit every note during his performance of "Cinnamon Girl" Thursday night. But he didn't hit every note when he recorded the song.

What he captured, on both occasions, was an intensity of feeling. Young's ability to impart raw emotion has only improved with the years. The world-weariness of his voice now seems haunting rather than prescient.


Thanks BecauseSoundMatters!

Neil Young will be performing tonight at the Mondavi Center, Davis, California. 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 7/16/2010 02:46:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Vampire Blues
Well, well, well, one keeps on checking the setlist on Sugarmtn. No changes. But they have a note: Included a spoken version of a portion of Vampire Blues just before Rumblin'. BSM

At 7/16/2010 03:50:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

When someone was chiding Neil this evening in Davis about something I couldn't hear--the high ticket prices or the highbrow venue or something--Neil responded that it wasn't like it used to be--because now he was playing a recital.

The comment was apt. The great acoustics of the Mondavi Center seemed as central to the show as any of the songs or the instruments on the stage. You could hear every nuance, and Neil made every nuance count. It makes me wish I could go out and buy some audiophile equipment and trash my MP3s.

At 7/16/2010 04:12:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Gulf Oil Tracker on the right has stopped.
Thank Neil for that.
Because Sound Matters

At 7/16/2010 07:25:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

At 7/16/2010 08:52:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Is it good to play the same songs over and over again?
The answer should be yes. Check it out, a very slow and beautiful version of an old classic that is here to stay:
Super cool.

At 7/16/2010 10:03:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Okay, I'm taking back everything I've said or written about this tour after hearing the above version of MMHH. Man, what a great vocal! How many singers lose it as they get older!? What a fantastic performance!

Old Black

At 7/16/2010 12:21:00 PM, Anonymous Mother Nature on the Run said...

Old Black, Just the other day when I was listening to Steven Stills in Ireland earlier this year, I noticed his voice was showing the typical signs of wear and tear. (With his cancer treatments and aging in general, no one should be surprised that his voice isn't as smooth as what it use to be.)

Neil's voice, on the other hand, isn't showing any sign of wear even though he's come down a few octaves in the past years.

What I've noticed is how he cups his hands more and more and wonder how much pain he's in when he's playing.

Not the kind of pain of losing a friend, but small ligament pain in his hands.

Musicians (and dancers) wear out the ligaments and muscles supporting those small bones in the hands (and feet) and he is approaching that age where he might be feeling the long term impact of overuse.

I mean this guy is a touring monster. When does he ever take a break from playing his guitar?

And on a side note here: the Gulf Oil Tracker has stopped in that location but do you know how many leaking oil rigs are out there?

Hundreds! Each day! Don't think this catastrophe is behind is just because you can't watch the crude plume on television!

At 7/16/2010 12:34:00 PM, Anonymous RDRIII said...

Sat 3rd row center here lastnight. I'm sorry, but this was a disappointment. Neil didn't really seem like he wanted to be up there.

His new songs (aside from Love and War, and You Never Call) continue to be very amateur-hour when it comes to lyrics. Though, these certainly weren't as bad as some of the tunes on Fork In The Road.

While it was interesting to see him using Old Black and the White Falcon without a band, it didn't make up for the generally boring performance.

Highlights of the night were Hitchhiker, You Never Call, Ohio, Helpless, Walk With Me, and My My, Hey Hey. Everything else seemed like he was just going through the motions, and that is a sad thing for a guy renowned for his live performances.

The joking response to someone (who later very rudely asked for it again) asking for Vampire Blues (which he did by reciting the lyrics) was weird, and very Neil.

It comes down to the energy, I could usually care less about less than perfect new material if it looks like the artist is having a good time with. Considering the number of times I've seen Neil live (and the number of recordings I've heard), this show was unique in its mediocrity.

At 7/16/2010 01:03:00 PM, Anonymous Mother Nature on the Run said...

Mediocrity? My man is not MEDIOCRE you lazyass SOB in the 3rd row! What did you fricking expect him to do? Jump around on the stage like a monkey and take requests and patronize you for showing up? RDR is pretty full of himself three fricking times, oo, with "III" now aint he?

At 7/16/2010 01:36:00 PM, Anonymous Mother Nature on the Run said...

Highlights of the night were * blah blah blah * so if Neil's show was so fricken mediocre why didn't you just get up and walk out?

Man, you would JUST hate John Prine's show because he just stands there and sings and plays his guitar.


My boy is John is just milking his cash cow all the way to the bank in the name of mediocrity.

At 7/16/2010 02:14:00 PM, Anonymous SONY said...

There is merit to the individual responses here from those attending these shows., regardless of accolades or dissapointments stated. Expectations can be a trickey thing. They can lead one into a false response, like every note was perfect or nothing was right, or he's lost it, or it wasn't what I wanted. Or I can't believe he's still so f#@$%g good.

As the second leg unfolds this pattern of separation at times (mood) and minimal audience interaction could be on purpose to compliment the song selection, in augmenting that life and death are taking it's toll on 'ol Neil, which it does on all of us.

He has left us to interpret it. Isn't that art? I can agree that it's a more comfortable deal when he's bantering between songs, smiling, and telling stories, rather than just moving from spot to spot and being 'deep inside' hisself. (Please Neil, get out some how).

C'mon people now, smile on your brother...everybody get together...try to love one another right now.......right now.......right now!

At 7/16/2010 02:27:00 PM, Anonymous Philip said...

Davis last night was my 10th honour. Seen Daevid Allen around 10 times too.
NY particularly in this piece does not need to say a word. The point of his music surely is that he does not have to talk about it prior to delivery or thank the audience for 'being there'. For me, the 'recital' was like a personal window into the continuing frustrations of life for anyone who cares - surrounded by crap, unfairness and horror what do you do? grab hold of what you can.... in this case even the trite Leia.
The 'mediocre' comment is so off I am almost speechless..... What do you want, a HOG with all smiles schtick?
Always for me, from the first note I am in someone elses world = like reading Orwell - the truth is there - sometimes hidden, often literal.
Cortez is taken to pieces and given stark clarity.
DBTR - not a favorite with the Horse was sublime and it is a gift without parallel to have witnessed the version played last night..... That brought tears!

The whole experience sits like a discussion with a newly retired leader over a beer - his insights gaining clarity (again) over time, experience and a realization that it doesn't matter, even though it does.

Bert Jansch was fab also and a perfect act for this show.

At 7/16/2010 02:37:00 PM, Anonymous Philip said...

Oh and I thought we might get Vampire Blues.... Someone will someday.... We got the spoken word version... I will take that - again though it shows that if you are part of the NY team - there is zero distance between NY and supporter / fan. I would always prefer an extra song to "good evening (name of town here) hows it going? Yea... right on..... Here's one off the new album".

Is that why we shouted 'Wally' at concerts in the 70's?

At 7/16/2010 02:47:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wyatt to Billy:"We blew it."

Rancho Relaxo

At 7/16/2010 04:59:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm so jealous man, I wish I could see the Twisted Road Tour, there's a raw and dark spirit, it's haunting. Neil is at his best when he's dark like this. Beautiful areas. And you call it mediocre, dude ? But hey, Neil is doing his American I album, just like Mr Johnny Cash don't you understand ?Thx Trash
TL from France

At 7/16/2010 05:49:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The poster who called it mediocre seemed sincere and didn't seem trollish at all ... on that basis I say live and let live ... the people who complain about ticket prices when there's a $75 gen admin option like '08, or complain that Neil's playing new songs and they wanted a greatest hits show ... that's just ignorant or obnoxious ... the people who had a bad show and choose to post their observations and experiences, its a valid experience that deserves respect.

At 7/16/2010 07:34:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Although I was praying for Hurricane, there were many other epic Young guitar work to satisfy. I love the dialog above and agree with both "sides". Because he did remain in himself in order to deliver a deep emotional show focused on SOUND, that did not deliver an "ACT" of jumping around and "entertaining" us. A fine artist who delivered NEW version of his ability to paint a lonely landscape and reach into our very heart.

At 7/16/2010 07:55:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Mother Nature, it's a wonder you didn't sign off your little rant with "peace,", like most obnoxious trashers do. Thrasher, why do you allow such viciousness in defense of Neil? That is uglier and sicker than anything doc ever posted. Completely uncalled for.

At 7/16/2010 08:37:00 PM, Blogger Brian said...

Sound DOES matter. Neil, as well as Mr. Jansch who humorously noted how quiet the Davis audience was for him as well as thanking them for not throwing anything, was served very well by the amazing acoustics at the Mondavi. Every rattle, buzz, hum, and roar was extraordinarily present. Neil said, in response to some unintelligible (to my ears anyway) complaint, that he was doing a recital. It was certainly the truth and he had the perfect venue for it. That goes for Mr. Jansch's fine acoustic guitar playing as well. You could easily trace Neil's stated influence by him as he sang and played.

Now I can't say I connected right away with his new songs, but I loved how he was seemingly more energized by them. How awful it would have been if the man's tank were empty and he was doing a greatest hits parody of his former self. He is still making relevant music and not a slave to his past, and I for one felt very privileged to witness it all. I guess saying that to whoever reads this blog is stating nothing but the obvious.

One final note...The truncated Vampire Blues spoken rap was both bewildering and sublime. Was that his FU to the Facebook/Thrasher throng who pounced on his first public utterance, a simple wondering out loud if he should play it? Probably not. Maybe it was his reply to the unintelligible complainer, who just sounded drunk. In any case, he has to have plenty else to worry or care about. In the end, it doesn't really matter. He put on a Neil Young show, circa 2010, that DID matter. If you've been a fan for 25 years or just 25 days, you should have walked out of that venue feeling a little bit blessed by it all. If you felt anything less, you just weren't 'brain to brain' with the man and his muse on one smoking hot day in July in Davis, CA

At 7/16/2010 09:53:00 PM, Blogger Brian said...

Although the video of My My, Hey Hey is great, here's another if you're interested in a wider angle from the orchestra seats....

At 7/16/2010 11:21:00 PM, Anonymous Mother Nature on the Run said...

Sorry, sorry, sorry. A thousand times "I'm sorry" for my most grievous rant and attack against the anonymous comment but I don't get it. I really don't get it.

People buy their way to the front of the line, into a good seat, to be upfront at a concert advertised as a "solo" and expect something more than a living legend playing his music?

It just sounds so arrogent, condescending, and so self serving to complain.

He's never been a trained monkey or lion-in-the mouth act.

And he doesn't ask people to plop down all that dough for the third row and he certainly doesn't patronize his audience with that gooey appreciation jive.

He owes you NOTHING. Nada! You pay, he plays. That's the deal!

One day you'll look to see I've gone for tomorrow may rain,
so I'll follow the sun

Some day you'll know I was the one
But tomorrow may rain,
so I'll follow the sun

And now the time has come
and, my love, I must go
And though I lose a friend
In the end you will know, oh

One day you'll find that I have gone
But tomorrow may rain,
so I'll follow the sun
But tomorrow may rain,
so I'll follow the sun

And now the time has come
and, my love, I must go
And though I lose a friend
In the end you will know, oh

One day you'll find that I have gone
But tomorrow may rain,
so I'll follow the sun

At 7/17/2010 02:01:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...


I'll follow thesOn


BABY y\Uu can drive mI car

At 7/17/2010 07:34:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I find it appalling that someone was heckling Neil during such an emotionally intense performance, whatever the complaint was about. If someone has a grievance the middle of a concert is certainly not the time or place to air it. It`s not only rude but totally disrespectful. To Neil and to the rest of the audience.

I haven`t seen one of the current concerts (crossing the ocean to see Neil isn`t an option for me just now), but have heard the recordings on rust radio, have the new songs downloaded, etc, etc, and it strikes me that it would be strange for Neil to engage in chat and banter on this tour because I think he wants the series of songs to be heard right through without interruption in order for the audience to feel the intensity of the emotion and the themes that he`s putting out . And anyway, Neil is Neil, `remember me as one you never figured`.

Another thing I`ve noticed is that a lot of people seem to be dismissing `Leia` as `trite` or as a little ditty he`s just thrown in, but I think there`s more to it than that. Neil doesn`t just throw things in for no reason. It seems to fit in with the themes of life, death, love and sorrow in that while Neil has just lost a longtime friend and colleague, new life and a new generation is coming along, still innocently `a baby with a drum` while the old folks look on. There`s also another aspect to it - as far as we know Leia could be the baby who`s daddy didn`t made it home from war ( as discussed here a few weeks ago). That would tie in with the lyrics in `Love and War` - `They tried to tell them and they tried to explain why daddy won`t ever come home again`, etc.

Well, that`s just how I see it.....


At 7/17/2010 10:58:00 AM, Anonymous Mother Nature on the Run said...

Jill, I like the way you interpreted that song. Most of your comments are so insightful. (Andrea, too!)

I think most of us who share our thoughts here online with Thrasher "feel more" than most folks which is why we tend to gather here.

Thank you for always being so level headed, too.

Birds of a feather ...

At 7/17/2010 12:58:00 PM, Anonymous Robert Ford said...

I wanted to share a Non Neil Related video. This is some good solo electric blues from a guy called Seasick Steve. Kind of like the "ditch" music. Wish he could open for Neil, but is so obscure he does not play concerts in America.

- Robert Ford

At 7/17/2010 01:05:00 PM, Blogger TomCrac said...

Sorry if I missed the obvious, but.....I am trying to find the lyrics to "Peaceful Valley"...there are a few lines that I can't make out. I can't stop listening to that song. I think it's one of his best....well at least for me it's becomming one of my favorites. I am envious of everyone out there that are in line for one of his next shows...Hold on to your hats...Its gonna be an awesome ride! "People Make The a billboard...."

At 7/17/2010 01:32:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks Mnotr! Much appreciated. Yes, I think you`re right about those of us who `flock together` here on TW! We listen to Neil because we feel. And the more we listen the more we love the man. And Thrasher provides us with a roost to come home to.

I love Andrea`s comments too - the Massey Hall thing was very clever!

Keep on flocking!


ps - TomCrac, I totally agree with you about PV. It`s so beautifully poignant it hurts.

At 7/17/2010 01:53:00 PM, Anonymous Philip said...

Re: Jill's comments - excellent. I called Leia 'trite' but I also thought that the song is there for a reason - as you stated. It is part of the up bit and I think it is purposely trite - deep saccharine as a counterpoint.
After all... it is all one song!

PPS. A lady said to me as she passed to take her seat ..." it is like church". At the end of the show it felt even more like .... Church (as I remember it - though not as boring!)

This blog is just the best, all comments help grow our understanding ... not least of our own relationship to the music, the man and the stimulation (mental).

At 7/17/2010 02:07:00 PM, Blogger Brian said...


At 7/17/2010 02:22:00 PM, Blogger andrea1bianco said...

Thanks Jill and Mother Nature on The Run for the kind appreciation. I really love this blog and The Rust List too.Many comments are intelligent and informative.I was enough lucky to meet some Rusties in my recent US journey and enjoy their company and friendship. So good luck for all.

Andrea."So Tired"

At 7/17/2010 02:24:00 PM, Blogger Thrasher said...

@MNOTR, Jill, & Andrea - Thanks for all the great comments! We're all only here for the Neil deal.

Afterall, it all one comment....

At 7/17/2010 02:40:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

can someone tell me when neil comes out? i'll be running late for the seattle show and i want to make sure i'm there on time. thanks!

At 7/17/2010 03:55:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Neil is getting better everyday! He's really focussing on the songs. And they are getting better and better. What a great setlist.

Here's the transcription of his latest spoken word adventure:

I'm a vampire, babe,
suckin' blood
from the earth

I'm a black bat
bangin' on
your window pane

I need my high octane.

Good times are comin',
I hear it everywhere I go.
Good times are comin',
but they sure comin' slow.

I'm a vampire, babe,
suckin' blood
from the earth


At 7/17/2010 06:02:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Just to clarify things, people yell out songs at every Neil concert I go to and that's a lot. So what if someone wanted VB. In a way he got it. You never know maybe Neil will play it for real next time or never play it again in his life. That's life. But for someone to complain about someone yelling for a song who doesn't even attend a Neil concert and wasn't even there to justify the complaint. I'm very quiet at a concert but appreciate the fact that Neil did respond in some way to the request.

At 7/17/2010 06:04:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

@ Andrea - Glad you had a great time! It must have been fantastic!

@Phillip - Thanks, I do see where you`re coming from and we both agree that Neil has included `Leia` for a reason! I enjoyed your comments and also liked the Orwell comparison. The meanings of Neil`s songs aren`t always obvious at first sight and it is good to read other people`s opinions to help you think about and formulate your own ideas. Where Neil`s concerned there`s often more to the picture than meets the eye!


At 7/17/2010 07:27:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

In Davis, the opening act started at about 8 and Neil started after 9 or 9:15.

At 7/18/2010 04:59:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

@ Philip - apologies for spelling your name wrong!

@ Robert Ford - I love Seasick Steve! He`s pretty well known over here in the UK and has been popular on the summer music festival circuit for the last 3 yrs or so. Famous for playing his 3 string guitar and also his home-made 1 string `diddley bo`! He`s a great song writer and story teller and makes some wonderful noise on his own or accompanied by his crazy Danish (?) drummer. I can recommend listening to the 2 albums of his that I have - `Dog House Music` and `I Started off with Nothing and Still got Most of it Left`. What a wonderful title! Most of his stories and songs are based on the hard times he went through in the early years of his life when he was penniless and on the road, but they aren`t at all self-pitying. Quite the opposite.

Nice link, thanks. Here`s another yt vid of his I love, live at the Reading Festival in `08, where he gets a girl from the audience up on stage and `serenades her on his porch` with `Walking Man` from the 2nd of those albums. Lovely!

I`ll shut up now!


At 7/18/2010 05:09:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I believe in you:

peter dees

At 7/18/2010 05:49:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

In response to TomCrac asking for the lyrics to Peaceful Valley, someone posted them on the Rust list a while ago, but there are slight differences from night to night. Based on the June 5 show (the best of the three I've heard), the lyrics are:

One day shots rang out on the peaceful valley
God was crying tears that fell like rain
Before the railroad came from Kansas City
And the bullets hit the bison from the train
First shots rang across the peaceful valley
White man laid his foot upon the plain

A wagon-train rolled through the dusty canyon
Settlers full of wonder as they crossed
The gentle creek where two old oaks were standing
Before the west was won there was a cost
A rain of fire came down upon the wagons
A mother screamed and every soul was lost

Change hit the country like a thunderstorm
Ancient rivers soon began to boil
People rushed like water to California
The first they came for gold and then for oil
Fortunes were won and lost in lifetimes
Mother earth took poisons in her soil

An electro cruiser coasted towards the exit
It turned on peaceful valley boulevard
"People make the difference" read a billboard
Above the long line of idling cars
Who'll be the one to lead this world?
Who'll be the beacon in the night?
Who'll be the one to lead this world?
Who'll be the beacon in the night?
Who'll be the one to lead the nations?
And protect God's creations?

A polar bear was drifting on an ice floe
The sun beating down in the sky
Politicians gathered for a summit
And came away with nothing to decide
Storms thundered on, His tears of pounding rain
A child was born and wondered why

I mean no offence, but despite the nice melody I find the lyrics to this song to be perhaps the most clichéd he's ever penned. They almost read like someone parodying a Neil Young song.

We get it Neil, you think America is the greatest thing in the world and even though it sometimes derails it will inevitably pull itself together and continue to "lead" (some might say dominate) the rest of the world. Can you at least say it in a fresh way? Am I the only one who cringes when I hear this song?

Sometimes I wish Neil would show a little restraint and just let the music speak for itself but I know that will never happen.

(Just my 2 cents, if you disagree that's cool)


At 7/19/2010 09:32:00 PM, Blogger TomCrac said...

Thank you.

At 7/20/2010 11:34:00 PM, Anonymous Mike J. said...

I wish people wouldn't complain about things like the money it cost or things like that. Usually names like Neil Young know how to use a bigger better venue, and it is worth the price.


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