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Saturday, April 30, 2011

Concert Reviews of Neil Young:Tower Theatre, Upper Darby, PA, April 30 & May 1, 2011

A review that manages to undermine its thesis with a backhanded compliment of the concert.

From Neil Young intriguing but not life-changing at Tower | Philadelphia Inquirer | 05/02/2011 By Dan DeLuca:
The 17-song set list - which Young has performed with little variation on this tour - mixed acoustic gems such as 'Helpless' and 'I Believe in You' with Le Noise material, plus rampaging warhorses such as 'Down by the River' and 'Cinnamon Girl,' done in the layered, solo electric Le Noise style.

Sounds great, right? It wasn't, quite. At least not by the elevated standards of Young, who seemed crankier than usual. That might have been in response to high-volume audience members who persisted in bellowing out requests long after it was clear he had no intention of granting them. Before doing a jaunty new song called 'Leia' on piano, Young dedicated it to 'the little people, who aren't yelling their asses off.'

The purely acoustic numbers, particularly the opening trio of 'My My, Hey Hey (Out of the Blue),' 'Tell Me Why,' and 'Helpless,' were sublime. A study in perpetual motion even when seated, his ever-distinctive high tenor piercing the night, Young has no equal when it comes to commanding the attention of a few thousand with just his guitar and voice.

The rest of the show was more problematic.

More of Dan DeLuca's review where we were left scratching our heads at how someone can find a concert "problematic" because it is "not life-changing."

Talk about lofty expectations of "the critics"...

Another take...

From Neil Young Impresses Solo at the Tower | On That Note by Ed Condran:
Young effectively ended the set with the new moving cut ‘Walk With Me.’ However, there were points when Young was utterly transcendent. The gorgeous ‘Helpless,’ ‘My My, Hey Hey (Out of the Blue)’ and ‘Down By the River’ were more than worth the price of admission.

It was just Young and a wall of noise. He alternated from guitar to piano to pipe organ. The eccentric icon appeared to chat with a cigar store Indian, one of the few objects adorning a spare stage set.

The quirky Young proved to be mesmerizing whether stooped over in that familiar manner while jamming away on his guitar or tickling the ivories.

The waves of noise were a reminder, who is truly the Godfather of grunge.

There were moments in which Young and his old warhorses took fans to another place, which felt awfully good.

From CONCERT REVIEW: Neil Young @ Tower Theatre, 4/30 | Philadelphia City Paper | 05/01/2011 by Sam Adams:
Clad in a white linen jacket and Panama hat, Young opened with the Greatest Hits trio of “My My, Hey Hey (Out of the Blue),” “Tell Me Why” and “Helpless,” but that proved to be something of a (doubtless purposeful) misdirection for a set half composed of lesser-known songs, including six of Le Noise’s eight tracks and the unreleased “Leia” and “You Never Call.” That previous audiences might not have welcomed the approach could be gleaned from the laminated signs posted in the lobby, which read in part, “The artists respectfully request that you refrain from whistling or yelling out during the performance,” which loosely translates as, “I played ‘Cinnamon Girl.’ Now shut the fuck up.”

That didn’t stop one beefy dude from repeatedly yelling “What the fuck?!” as the crowd streamed out after Young’s single encore, but then he’s spent decades perfectly the delicate art of getting classic-rock fans to turn out whether he’s playing the hits or a rock opera about environmental revolution. Saturday’s show might not have been what the audience was expecting — and chances are Sunday’s will be much the same — but those who came with open ears heard Young finding new ways into well-worn classics and forging onward with characteristic eccentricity. At times, the show recalled Young’s defense of his scattershot run of 1980’s releases: “You can call me erratic, but I’ve always been consistent about it — consistently erratic.”

From This time, Neil Young delights his fans - By ED CONDRAN:
Fans were well behaved this time around, at least by Young standards. They were attentive while he showcased tracks from his latest album, 'Le Noise,' a solid collection inspired by life and loss that alternates between cacophonous rock and softer, folkier numbers.

Young effectively ended the set with the new moving cut 'Walk With Me.' However, there were points when he was utterly transcendent. The gorgeous 'Helpless,' 'My My, Hey Hey (Out of the Blue)' and 'Down By the River' were more than worth the price of admission.

It was just Young and a wall of noise. He alternated from guitar to piano to pipe organ. The eccentric icon appeared to chat with a cigar store Indian, one of the few objects adorning a spare stage set.

The quirky songsmith proved to be mesmerizing whether stooped over in that familiar manner while jamming away on his guitar or tickling the ivories.

The waves of noise were a reminder of who is truly the Godfather of grunge.

There were moments in which Young and his old warhorses took fans to another place, which felt awfully good.

Excellent vibe review on Amused Cynic.

Neil Young will be performing tonight at Tower Theatre, Upper Darby, Pennsylvania. Special guest Bert Jansch will open concert.

Got a report? Drop a comment below.

Check Sugar Mountain for setlist updates and Chronological Grid, Recording Summary, Statistics and Extras.

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


At 5/01/2011 07:55:00 AM, Blogger RSS said...

Neil played the Tower Theater last night and the show was awesome. Bert Jansch came out precisely at 8PM and played for about 45 mins. You can see why Neil has him on tour. Bert’s mellow finger picking acoustic style reminiscent of Neil’s. He played about 5-6 songs and they were well received by the sparse crowd.

Neil came out right on cue at 9:15 and just played. Started with three acoustic then went to Old Black then on to his White Grestch.

Highlights were the acoustic my my hey hey to start out. This was just spectacular. Love and War was really good. The run of Down by the river, Hitchhiker and Ohio was spectacular. But for me Cortez was magical. I've seen this performed a lot by Neil and this version is really really great.

Crowd was good, not too many cat calls for Old Man.....although one guy called for it and Neil said "I'd be scared to try that one". He seemed really into the show and made 1 or 2 comments but for the most part he just showed up and does what he does guitar.

This tour isnt as good as Chrome Dreams tour but it is definately worth the trip.

I'm going back tonight for round 2 with my 18 year old son.

At 5/01/2011 08:33:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Did he perform "Man Needs a Maid"?

At 5/01/2011 08:48:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

He did MNAM on the Chrome Dreams tour.

At 5/01/2011 09:39:00 AM, Blogger Unknown said...

Everybody's praying to Allah
Prayin' to the lord
But mostly their praying about
Love and war

Maybe the best Neil show I've seen. Yes, spending $600 for the tickets - my very last $600, such a literal last $600 that when the bill came for dinner the night before my card bounced and I had to make my big brother pay for it - got me close enough to for it to be special. Fifth row in a tiny old theater. But hearing Neil at 65 years old sing me new songs I've never heard before, and have me singing along by the end of the songs just like this was the Freedom tour or some shit, was pretty damn special.

I had to pee so bad. But he was in the middle of these three or four new songs. New songs so beautiful and resonate and familiar and powerful that I needed to hold it until he got back to some tired old hit. When he finally finished and went back for the old hit, he went and grabbed Old Black and slinked into Down by the River. He was all alone up there with Old Black and he really needed my help with the background vocals and the chorus. I was too close not to oblige. I could hold it a little longer. He appreciated it.  Then some old crunchy white semi-hollow body for O H I O. Really had to pee.

One encore song. A brand new one again. Nobody minded. Then the lights came on.

My last Neil show? Probably. But I could kinda see myself sitting in an old theater with Neil for another decade or two. Singing about Allah. Singing about the lord. But mostly singing about love and war.

At 5/01/2011 02:35:00 PM, Blogger asg said...

sorry, Patrick but no, he didn't need your help...but I admire your bladder control ability...apparently the older one gets the less ability one has (sigh)

At 5/01/2011 10:11:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

i've seen neil a number of times, and i thought he seemed detached... something was bothering him. i think he was disappointed with the cat calls and the loud cheering everytime he started a song..some of his first couple lines are often the most magical parts, why drown it out making noise instead of clapping after.. idk, i saw graham nash walk of a set one time because of the same type crowd behavior..

At 5/01/2011 10:51:00 PM, Anonymous Mother Nature on the Run said...

Maybe he misses his wife. I think she should surprise Neil in Cincinnati. She can stop at Findley Market on her way in from the airport to pick up lunch with real food and go on a picnic.

At 5/01/2011 11:10:00 PM, Anonymous Mother Nature on the Run ... said...

I don't care if you're selling vinyl windows or playing music, being on the road can be boring as hell for people who travel for a living.

I'm sure there is redundancy like any other job. I think people are fake'n it half the time pretending their happy when deep inside they're longing for life to be simple.

"I'm home again to you babe
You know it makes me wonder
Sittin' in the quiet slipstream
In the thunder."

At 5/02/2011 05:31:00 AM, Blogger Jill said...

So true ...

`Make a living like a rolling stone

On the road there`s no place Like home

Silhouettes on the window`

At 5/02/2011 09:13:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

My wife, 7-year-old daughter and I took in the show Saturday night from the nosebleed section at the Tower Theater. Although it doesn't quite have any Jonathan Demme quality about it, this link -- -- captures some of the ambiance.

I've seen Neil play too many times to count (it was the 6th time for our little girl), but this concert was indeed special, as special in its own way as the 1978 RNS show at the Spectrum or the 1998 Bridge Concert (Ambulance Blues with REM)in Mountain View. The Philly crowd was as described in other posts, but Neil was neither detached nor off his game -- he was totally absorbed in the moment of the performance. Even with Neil, that's not always the case.

(Thanks to the presale notice on this web site, my nosebleeder tickets were actually quite inexpensive. Eliott Roberts has a legitimate point about Neil's ticket pricing policy. Devoted fans can find a way to go without losing their houses to the "greedy hands" that have destroyed our economy"

At 5/02/2011 09:43:00 AM, Blogger Unknown said...

A review for the Philly Tower Theatre date is located here:

At 5/02/2011 10:29:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

At 5/02/2011 10:36:00 AM, Anonymous WozRust said...

I am eagerly anticipating Neil's Chicago appearance this upcoming Saturday, May 7. My first time seeing him was at Purdue University in '80 when he split the show between solo and Crazy Horse. However, I was treated to a great preview of the complete Le Noise at his Farm Aid appearance last fall. He truly has succeeded in reinventing himself in sound while preserving heartfelt lyrics.

At 5/02/2011 10:39:00 AM, Blogger Mother Nature on the Run said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

At 5/02/2011 10:51:00 AM, Blogger Mother Nature on the Run said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

At 5/02/2011 10:59:00 AM, Anonymous Mother Nature on the Run said...

Thank you Sweet Jesus for presales! Now if we can only bust the folks who end up reselling their tickets for 3x the cost!

I've talked with the some of the folks in the "pit" and some of their tickets are "comped" with no face value but they've paid 2 and 3x the face value.

What's going on there?

When these ticket bastards resell the tickets, don't the tickets have to show the actual value?

Wozfest, I'm getting really excited about seeing the show, too! I SEE a lot of good tickets left for the Chicago show.

I'm sorry I can't do anything about this crappy weather. On the other hand, everything is green with all the rain but Cincinnati might slide off into the Ohio River and crash into Indiana.

Do you think Neil will honor Annie Oakley with his song about her when he comes to Cincinnati?

"When you see the golden trigger
Stand before your eyes
By the time you stop to figure
Lady Wingshot flies away."

At 5/02/2011 11:23:00 AM, Blogger Dan1 said...

I bought my ticket for last night's Tower Theatre show in the pre-sale and not even right at the start of the pre-sale. I paid $150 face (plus fees) so I think it was the second most expensive ticket category and the seat was fabulous! I was about 6-7 rows from the stage and to the right side ... will write thoughts on the show later but the venue and seats were great, the pre-sale format is hugely helpful. In sum thought the show was good (not great) but with some amazing moments. The reverb was intense ... overall pure joy to spend an evening with Neil!


At 5/02/2011 02:48:00 PM, Blogger MARIAN M. said...


What I'm finding very puzzling is how many comments I'm reading that refer to the Le Noise songs as "new" and/or "unknown" songs. That album has been out for over six (6) months now! If people aren't bothering to buy and listen to his new music, why are they even going to the concerts; and then complaining?

I'm so looking forward to hearing your sharing on the shows you saw in Baltimore and Philly!!! I know they must have been wonderful!

Keep on rockin!

Marian M.

At 5/02/2011 03:43:00 PM, Blogger thrasher said...

@Marian - heading home on the twisted road. will try and get a report up but maybe not until tour completed.


At 5/02/2011 03:56:00 PM, Anonymous Nora F. said...

seeing neil at the tower theater... this past saturday. was truly, a suprising experience. he has reinvented himself, for sure. its up to you to figure out which instrument he will approach, and what song he chooses to play... as he disguises the intro to each new or old song... he was there to make a statement for sure thru his artistic new sound of music..


At 5/02/2011 04:07:00 PM, Blogger MARIAN M. said...


I certainly understand you're busy...take your time!

It's always worth the wait!

Still glowing a week later!

Marian M.

At 5/02/2011 04:09:00 PM, Anonymous Mother Nature on Pins and Needles said...

I just love coming to this site.

Marian & Jill, I can feel your love all the way from across the country. Stacey, I can feel that squeeze you got from Neil! And Kathy or Susie from Florida, I can feel that "Oh shit I can't believe I'm waiting to get Neil's autograph!"

Actually I don't know how any of us contain our love for Neil's music, especially after watching him in the flesh. It is something you carry with you your lifetime. It's the reason why we keep going back to see him.

It's one more day and I'm just hoping and praying that the audience will just be pouring out love, love, love and let Neil do the rest.

It wasn't so good when Chrissie Hynde came to play in Cincinnati. I think she was happy to leave the stage. Nothing more heartbreaking than watching the people who make the music you love walk off the stage and say, "It'll be a cold day in hell before I come back to this dirty, smelly, rotten town."

At 5/02/2011 09:00:00 PM, Blogger RSS said...

People who dont understand Neil will never understand a neil show. I was at both Sat and Sun nights at the tower theater....about 7 rows back on the right side sat and 7 rows back on the left side sun. The show is very scripted....he does the same thing each night all tour long. very little variation. he shows up, plays and leaves. But that middle part....he plays and plays and gives you his monwy's matter how expensive the tix are. In Sunday's show helpless really got to me.....from guitar to voice he was awesome. Love and was was the same....really got to me. Cortez wasnt as good.....but all in all it was a great show.....

Below is a link to a vid I took of the it despite the LiveNation police smacking down every camera they saw.

Critics be damned.....its Neil Young. He came, he played and he left. Its what he does. And he's good at it.


At 5/02/2011 09:59:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

RSS - Even if Neil gave the audience a time slot to "shout out" all their requests at one time -- there would always be one drunken fool to ruin it for the rest of the class...

At 5/03/2011 12:03:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Losing $200.00 on some lousy seat tickets.... spending 600.00 for pit tickets...hearing Neil's first chords and words PRICELESS.... I loved the concert and in fact would prefer Neil play all new material and advertise the fact so people would know ahead of time and stay the fuck home if they wanted to. You know all the songs you love of Neil's were NEW at one time.

At 5/03/2011 06:27:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Neil has a strong following but would never make any money if he just played his new songs.

He has a lot of old songs that many people have never heard. As for his "golden oldies," I think he manages his gold pretty well.

At 5/03/2011 08:50:00 AM, Anonymous Mother Nature on the Run said...

Lord have mercy! There is a shitload of setlists on a site called "Sugar Mtn" going back to the old folkie days!

Unfortunately, looking at Neil's setlist for 2010-11 reminds of that Steven King novel where the wife discovers her novelist husband has been typing "All work and no play make Jack a very dull boy."

C'mom, Neil, Shake it up a little dude!

At 5/03/2011 08:56:00 AM, Anonymous thezumaband said...

"I played "Cinnamon girl", so shut the fuck up!"

ha ha, someone make that t shirt

At 5/03/2011 03:13:00 PM, Anonymous Roll Another One said...

It's one thing to say it up in your head and another thing to wear it on your tee-shirt. My guess is that if you treat people the way you expect to be treated, everyone would just get along fine.

At 5/03/2011 04:04:00 PM, Blogger barrooman said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

At 5/03/2011 04:07:00 PM, Blogger barrooman said...

love le noise though to me it didnt come across as well in the theatre not enough electricity but plenty of throbbing buzzing rumble to go along with mine. as for the crowd its philly lotsa tough love, would have been more respectful(especially during mr janschs set) and quiet if the drug of choice wasnt booze......its an angry world

At 1/25/2012 04:51:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Good review for this concert:


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