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Monday, July 26, 2010

Neil Young's Setlist Variation

Song Grid Chart - 2nd Leg of Neil Young's Twisted Road Tour
by Sugar Mountain

Much is often made about Neil Young's setlist variation -- as in there is very little variation whatsoever from night to night.

There are some who feel that for the price they paid for a ticket, that the sets should vary more from night to night. Although this seems to matter only to those who attend more than one show. Which makes it odd given that they have a problem with the ticket price but yet attend multiple nights?

Anyways. All of this brings us to the Neil Young Comment of the Moment from the Neil Young concert reviews of Oakland, CA, July 11, 12 & 14, 2010 by -- the oh so delightfully handled -- ShittyHorse, who said...
The world has truly changed thanks to the Internet.

I'm sure Neil never thought his set lists would be compared to each other nightly, but he's certainly aware of this fact now and maybe this is his reaction to that. If you notice, since 1999 hes pretty much stuck to the same set lists (not that he didn't before but there was a little more variation). I think a live performer is kinda screwed by this because people are watching for variation and for rarities to be played. I like looking at set lists as much as the next fan but really, what is to be gained? Its not like you can be at every show. Say Neil decided to play half of tonight's the night at the show after the one you just went to? Wouldn't you feel a bit burned? But we complain that he plays the the same set list every night. Its a case of damned if you do and damned if you don't.

As far as playing new songs?

Come on now... Are we REALLY STILL TALKING ABOUT THIS? Its such a ridiculous statement to say "Neil is playing too many NEW songs! What? Listen, I'm not a fan of music that is popular today. I'm just not. And yes I put on the Beatles, Hendrix, even Devo and the Replacements, from time to time, but that doesn't mean I don't LOVE hearing new songs from an artist I love. Who doesn't like fresh music? Christ, songs played on the radio today are completely forgotten in a month so obviously most people like new music too.

Neil is still ALIVE man. He's still a musician, He's not some pale imitation of his 24 year old self! Neil grows, Neil changes, He challenges. I think Neil refuses to acknowledge that his best days are behind him, and I agree with that sentiment. We should all have that attitude about ourselves and stop trying to relive a mythologized youth.

Neil is a writer, first and foremost! Without his song writing abilities he wouldn't be NEIL YOUNG as we know him. Like AG says this is what Neil has always done, and I am damn glad for it. He's right...go see a retro act if that's your bag.

Neil is still writing great songs, and they will be classics in a few years. I think the day Neil stops writing new songs and performing them is the day he hangs up Old Black and sits back and relaxes with Pegi on the ranch for the rest of his days. As fans, lets hope it never happens.

I love Neil's old songs....the classic albums. I also love his 90's stuff. His 80's stuff, I knew it all well, but its only now that I'm starting to really get what he was doing. I'm into it. Neil's stuff from the 80's is among a very small, select amount of music from that decade that doesn't sound dated now, no matter how much synth he used. The more music Neil makes the better.

I'm sure there will be years to come of more music to love, either right now in the moment, when its fresh or years later, you can re-discover some great tune and finally get it. In my opinion, when all is said and done, it will never be enough. I hope Neil is still rockin' out writing new tunes and confounding fans well into his 90s.

Rock on NEIL!

"Ain't a day goes by I don't burn a little bit of my soul"


Thanks SH!

And -- as we mentioned in our review -- the setlist itself tells a story and revolves around a theme, therefore to tamper with the mix and flow would be to alter the message itself. As Stringman noted, this tour is an "opera".

More reviews from Neil Young's "Twisted Road" Concert Tour.

setlist neil-young-buffalo-5-19-2010.jpgSetlist for Tue May 18 Palace Theatre Albany, NY
Photo by Ed S.

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At 7/26/2010 08:02:00 PM, Blogger Matthew Lintzenich said...

See, I think there's bound to be so much variation in the performances themselves, subtle nuances, vocal wavers, slight differences is speed, or urgency, or any number of performance-related things, different reverbiness at different venues, etc. that it's likely a whole different experience every night whether the set list stays the same or not.

And nobody complained when the Greendale set list was the same every night, right? (Yeah, so what if they had a Crazy Horse set afterward - that was the same every night too!)

Or the never-ending tour with the FITR songs being debuted? You didn't hear about how the set-list was the same every night (because people were too busy bashing FITR, I guess...)

There was a little variation here and there, but I mean, how many times do you care to see Neil close with A Day in the Life and break his guitar strings?

I could probably see 20 different performances of just that and be totally satisfied each time, and not even think I'm seeing the same thing.

At 7/27/2010 10:18:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

My God! The photo of the setlist is absolutely facinating!

Several things. First, it is very interesting that Neil is stepping down many of the saws by 2 steps. Not surprising - but really interesting. Second, the reminders - what harp to use, what guitar to use, reminders on tunings. And what is really facinating to me, anyway, are the reminders to place the lyrics. We always assume he knows he song before he starts singing. But what I find really innaresting is the reminder to put up the lyrics for Cortez. After all these years...

Reminds me of when he forgets some of the lyrics to Hurricane in Trunk Show.

You know, when you are asking people to fork over hard earned bucks, you need this kind of professionalism to ensure they are getting their money's worth. Spontaneity has its place but also comes with a risk and cost. Thanks for posting.

Old Black

At 7/27/2010 12:57:00 PM, Anonymous Jonathan said...

I know what the list says, but I didn't see him using any lyric sheet on Cortez at the show I went to. Or Hitchhiker.

At 7/28/2010 11:32:00 AM, Blogger Matthew Lintzenich said...

It's hard remembering lyrics during performances. At least for me. When my band was playing a lot, there was this one song that I always forgot the second verse to. No matter how many times I got it right in rehearsal, we'd be at the gig, and that verse would come up and I'd be like, "Uh... mumble mumble mumble..."

Certainly coulda used a lyric sheet! heh!

At 7/29/2010 01:08:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Neil didnot like to change the setlists of the recent tour from time to time. May be he is lazy? Ha Ha!


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