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Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Concert Review of the Moment: Neil Young @ Mobile, Alabama, September 26, 2010

Neil Young
Seminole Hard Rock in Hollywood - September 23, 2010
Photo Gallery by © Ricky Schneider / PR Photos

With Neil Young's 2010 tour over now, it seems like it's time to catch a breath.

So breath deep.

Here's the Neil Young Concert Review of the Moment from Mobile, Alabama Neil Young Concert Reviews - September 26, 2010 by Melanie Young:
What a night this was.

It was my first time to see Neil, and I never thought he'd come to my hometown. My understanding is that he'd performed in Mobile once before, with Linda Ronstadt back in the '70s, and that he'd been booed off the stage. I know he almost never tours in this part of the world, and I'd figured it was due to the 'Southern Man' controversy and that he felt people here didn't like him and wouldn't come to see him.

If that was indeed the case, then I hope he knows now how much he is loved here, and that he won't be such a stranger in the future. The crowd in the beautiful jewel-box Saenger was vocal about their appreciation from the moment he came out on stage until the moment he left after the final encore of 'Walk With Me.' I myself was the first person to shout 'We love you, Neil!' after his entrance, and my fellow concertgoers roared their approval.

What I liked about this particular show is that we got a little taste of everything Neil does - piano, organ, harmonica, and all of his guitars: Hank, Ol' Black, the white Gretsch, and the guitar he used on some of the songs from Le Noise (what kind of guitar is that? Someone please post if you can tell me).

We got some old and some new; I was especially happy to hear 'Helpless,' the song that originally made me fall in love with him. 'I Believe In You' was rendered on the same piano that Allen Toussaint rocked in his opening set. The falsetto Neil deployed on this song was very soft and tender, and unbelievably lovely - his is one of the most unique voices in all of rock, the epitome of 'high lonesome.' He's apparently suffering from a cold at the moment, but my ears sure couldn't hear it.

The most riveting material of the night naturally proved to be his newest songs.

My favorite song from Le Noise is 'Love And War,' and I was most anxious to hear it - and it didn't disappoint. I think it's the best song he's written in years; an admission that no, he doesn't always know what he's doing, but he keeps on doing it anyway because he believes it's worth doing. Love and war are in some ways two sides of the same coin; we can no more explain the hows and whys of war than we can the capriciousness of the human heart - and it is, after all, in that unfaithful vessel that all of the joy and pain that's known in the world originates. Everyone is fighting their own war, be it on the fields of battle or in their own backyards. Neil's gently delivered observations, combined with haunting, Spanish-inflected guitar work, add up to one of the most devastating songs I've ever heard, live or otherwise.

But the song that literally pulled me to the edge of my seat was 'The Hitchhiker.'
Delivered with the most passion of the evening, I was deeply moved by what seems to be Neil telling the story of his life through his bouts with substance abuse. The lines 'I don't know how I'm standing here . . .' brought tears to my eyes. You are still standing, Neil, because you are meant to be; you are here to keep doing what you do so well - singing about love and war, and all of the flawed facets of our human condition.

It was over way too soon, but not before he acknowledged every section of the audience by pointing to them; each section answered him back. I joined a small crowd of people waiting by his bus, hoping for a picture and an autograph, and to thank him for coming to see us and support us. It was not to be; I heard a crew member say he wasn't feeling well, and was sitting inside with his shirt open. When the blinders were taken down from the bus windows, I could see that this was indeed the case. He wasn't moving much, but he did give a couple of waves to that handful of us who were still waiting in the drizzling rain, which I appreciated greatly - worth waiting for.

Feel better, Neil, thanks for what you've done for our ravaged region, and come visit us again soon.

Thanks Melanie! Let's hope Neil once more "makes friends down in Alabama" and visits again someday...

Neil Young performs in concert at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Hollywood, Florida on September 23, 2010. UPI/Michael Bush Photo via Newscom
Neil Young
Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino, Hollywood, Florida, September 23, 2010
UPI/Michael Bush Photo via Newscom

More Concert Reviews of Neil Young in Mobile, Alabama - September 26, 2010.

Also, see Neil Young's "Twisted Road" Concert Tour Reviews.

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At 9/29/2010 10:59:00 PM, Blogger Melanie Young said...

Thanks, y'all! As a longtime lurker, but relatively new poster to the site, this is an honor.

At 9/29/2010 11:34:00 PM, Blogger Matthew Lintzenich said...

What a wonderful, eloquent review! I love your in-depth breakdown of Love and War. You said it all so perfectly with the whole two sides of the same coin thing, and Neil's deep exploration of the human condition on the new material. Thanks for your contribution, and keep 'em coming!

At 9/30/2010 12:56:00 AM, Blogger Melanie Young said...

Thank you, Matthew!

At 9/30/2010 06:21:00 AM, Blogger Chris said...

Really nicely put- I enjoyed reading this :)Would have loved to have seen that concert.... Hopefully he manages to get over to the U.K soon :D

At 9/30/2010 01:53:00 PM, Blogger Melanie Young said...

Thanks, Chris! It was the show of a lifetime for me. I hope he makes it across the pond soon, too.

At 9/30/2010 02:17:00 PM, Blogger Blue Train said...

Melanie - the other guitar was a Guild M-20 - probably from the 60's. When it was current, it was the least expensive guitar that Guild made - all mahaogany including the top. We saw him in Pensacola on Tuesaday night and I though that guitar sounded great.

At 9/30/2010 03:24:00 PM, Blogger Melanie Young said...

Thank you, Blue Train. I thought it did, too. From my vantage point in the balcony I thought it might have been some sort of souped-up National Steel; that's what the sound quality made me think of, anyway.

At 9/30/2010 07:07:00 PM, Blogger Sandy Horne said...

Beautiful Melanie.... Thanks for posting your experience. Isn't it amazing seeing him live! There is nothing comparable.

At 10/01/2010 04:15:00 PM, Blogger Melanie Young said...

Indeed, Sandy! It's definitely up there with the most memorable nights of my life. I hope he comes back this way soon. Thank you for your kind words!

At 10/05/2010 10:18:00 AM, Blogger doc said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

At 10/05/2010 10:25:00 AM, Blogger doc said...

So ya get to see ya Uncle play live much?

just wonderin'


At 10/05/2010 02:50:00 PM, Blogger Melanie Young said...

Why, doc, you didn't know that Uncle Neil comes over to the house every weekend for jam sessions on the back porch? ;-)

At 10/05/2010 11:03:00 PM, Blogger doc said...

Well! tell him about his very patient and tolerant fan base when ya see him!! lol


At 10/06/2010 10:57:00 PM, Blogger Melanie Young said...

Y'know, doc, I tell him about it all the time, but for some reason he doesn't seem to listen to me . . . ;-)


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