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Sunday, April 24, 2011

Neil Young Concert Reviews: Avery Fisher Hall, New York City, NY, April 24 & 25, 2011

Neil Young
Avery Fisher Hall, New York City, NY, April 24, 2011

Photo by Norman Y. Lono

From Live: Neil Young And Bert Jansch Preside Over Avery Fischer Hall - New York Music - Sound of the City By Andy Beta:
Better than: Easter dinner with your two guitar-playing grandfathers.

Critical bias: My favorite Neil Young songs of late are about him wishing he could be a fish ('Will to Love') or wishing he was a robot (see Trans).

Overheard: At a lull between songs: 'Play whatever you want, old man!' (Though it could've also been: 'Play whatever you want.' 'Old Man!')

Random notebook dump: 'Helpless' was accompanied by the gentlest crowd singalong ever heard.

Photo by Brian Harkin

From Neil Young, Playing Solo, at Avery Fisher Hall - Review - By BEN RATLIFF (who actually writes with true knowledge of guitar playing styles):
“I feel a rumblin’ in her ground,” Neil Young sang, alone onstage at Avery Fisher Hall, playing his Gretsch White Falcon, sounding the low notes of a strummed chord, muting them a little with the heel of his hand. The song was generally about planet earth but could have been specifically about where he stood. As he struck those low notes, the metal fixtures in the room talked back: the exit signs, the lighting plates and possibly the balcony railings all rattled like rivets in a cymbal.

And then the full effect. It wasn’t much to look at. He switched off between his usual instruments, the White Falcon and a black Gibson Les Paul, through two Fender deluxe amplifiers. Playing “Down by the River,” he flipped his guitar’s selector switch up and down between verses and choruses. Occasionally he hit a pedal to engage a slow and subtle phase effect. That was all, or at least all you could see.

The reverb — in the amplifiers, not in the room — took on an extraordinary quality, as if the implied space in the music became a little more real. The sound seemed giant-size but not painful: it didn’t fire at you, it enveloped you. Mr. Young’s shows generally suggest sophisticated thinking about frequencies and pain thresholds, but this was something else again.

Neil Young
Avery Fisher Hall, New York City, NY, April 24, 2011

Photo by Brian Clark

From Rock legend Neil Young played eclectic with NYC show, playing from new CD 'Le Noise,' old classics BY Jim Farber:
Guitar hero, acoustic balladeer, country bumpkin, grunge pioneer, electronic dabbler: Neil Young has played all these roles in his 45 year career. But at Avery Fisher Hall Sunday night - for the first of two sold-out shows - he melded two into something winningly rare.

Appearing alone, as he periodically does, Young roamed between acoustic and electric guitars, as well as piano, pipe organ, and harmonica. But the most interesting pieces found him mashing up two roles he usually keeps apart: solo performer and electric jammer. Some songs that Young might commonly have rendered as full-on band rave-ups with Crazy Horse, like 'Ohio' or 'Cortez The Killer,' he delivered with just a lone, purposely distorted electric guitar.

The cross-pollination mirrors the strategy of his latest CD, 'Le Noise,' an album he created with Daniel Lanois in the produce's home studio. That disc features wall to wall solo pieces doused with electro-feedback, making for an ironic mix of intimacy and amplification.

From Live Report: Neil Young At Lincoln Center by Carter Maness:
The crowd, split between the usual Lincoln Center blazer wearers and these sorts of original fans wearing frayed flannel or concert shirts from the '70s, was reverent throughout the night. It didn't hurt that the stage design reflected the music perfectly. Art deco lamps illuminated the pianos, while a cigar store indian's eyes reflected the venue's Rothko-esque backdrop as it slowly shifted during the set.

Musically, the progression from acoustic numbers to electric classics like 'Cinnamon Girl' and 'Cortez The Killer' was a bit surprising yet ultimately successful. Using a multi-amplifier approach like on Le Noise, Young's low notes boomed with great clarity and his highs were sonically sharp. His voice remains distinct and full. It's inspiring to watch a performer of Young's age and caliber still at the top of his game.

Neil Young will be performing tonight at Avery Fisher Hall, New York City, New York. 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.

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At 4/25/2011 08:34:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Neil put on a wonderful show, what a talent. Sang pretty much all of the classics. Especially loved Ohio, Helpless and Tell Me Why. Neil's voice was superb, a great blend of soulful heart rendering vulnerability (Helpless), mixed w/ classic hard rock (Cinnamon Girl). Worth every penny, audience in awe of this R&R legend.

At 4/25/2011 10:33:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Neil was at his best. Electric to acoustic moving back and forth on stage.Everyone was up clapping after his amazing twist and turns of old songs.He was so cool applauding the audience as we were applauding him.It is heaven being in his presence.Still feeling his energy.

At 4/25/2011 01:24:00 PM, Blogger RSS said...

Neil Young, NYC and only 2 comments? Wow. Cant wait to see him in Philly Sat and Sun this week. Post m ore folks.

At 4/25/2011 02:23:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Neil was AMAZING!! He rocked out! He put his all into this show!
The Crowd was at turns mesmerized and pumped up. I still can't believe this legend is giving us more and more great hits and great shows.
Do not miss this show!
I'm trying to get tickets to go agian tonight!

At 4/25/2011 02:53:00 PM, Blogger Mother Nature on the Run said...

This time he's playing in my town (after 10 or more years?) so I don't have to go to NYC to see him!!!

At 4/25/2011 04:13:00 PM, Blogger Sal said...

An incredible night to see two artists in total command over their own mastery. Bert Jansch was amazing, playing the old way into a mic w/ a non-pick up guitar. Neil doesn't play like that but he was just as masterful. A tremendous evening that made me forget the ticket price I really couldn't afford but did anyway.

At 4/25/2011 05:06:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Neil's piece was priceless, but the audio crew for Jansch was awol and as a result his lyrics were indecipherable. Coulda been a function of the Scottish burr but methinks the mix weren't right What remained, though, was a lovely acoustic guitar. I must get the CD.

At 4/25/2011 06:32:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Incredible show. Been seeing Neil in every configuration since '76. This night was amazing. He made classics like "Helpless" and "Down by the River" sound new. The songs from "Le Noise" sounded newer. Talk about noise, I could not believe the noise he made his electric guitars give off. Every song was a winner - played with heart and touch. He didn't say much at all, just let his voice and instruments do the talking. Maybe the best show since "Rust Never Sleeps."

At 4/26/2011 12:44:00 AM, Anonymous dgNYC said...

I really liked the NY Avery show--great quality stuff and a good crowd. And I love most of these songs.

The problem is, this is the FOURTH time I've seen this same show. I saw him last summer in Conn. and twice in Winnipeg and he played all the same things. I'm seeing the Chicago show in two weeks and I think I'm in for more of the same a fifth time around.

I like the solo, small concert hall format. But w/such a repertoire of songs, it would be good to vary the shows a big.

At 4/26/2011 12:58:00 AM, Anonymous The Loner said...

So I got to witness Neil for the 4th time - my first was in the UK in the peak days of CSNY - then fast forward to 2007 at Farm Aid and CT. Now Avery Fisher hall Sunday night. How fitting that he opens with My, My, Hey, Hey - only wish is he would have finished with Hey, Hey, My, My - but then it would have been almost too much.


At 4/26/2011 02:37:00 AM, Anonymous vertigone said...

@12:58 - He finished the early shows of this tour that way. Good stuff.

At 4/26/2011 09:21:00 AM, Blogger Jonathan said...

@vertigone - and which shows were those that he closed with 'Hey Hey My My'? What tour have you been following?

At 4/26/2011 09:55:00 AM, Blogger Mr Henry said...

First two shows last year (Albany then Buffalo) had a two song encore: Walk With Me then an electric version Out of the Blue. Third show in Worcester also had a two song encore: Walk With Me and then Heart of Gold.

A few shows in Part One and many (most) of the shows in Parts Two and Three had Old Man, then Walk w/ Me as the encore. Two shows had Old Man and Heart of Gold included in the encore along with Walk With Me (Spartanburg and Reno). This year's tour, Neil has performed Walk With Me as the only encore (so far).

Thanks Sugar Mountain!

At 4/26/2011 11:17:00 AM, Blogger Thrasher said...

Thanks Mr H & Sugar Mtn!

At 4/26/2011 11:37:00 AM, Blogger TomCrac said...

Went to the show last night @AFH NYC... Cant believe how fast it goes by. So glad to have been able to experience it. Neil was as good as ever, from Huge walls of sound shaking you in your seat to hearing a pin drop. Loved those moments where you think you know the song and then he steps out for a little extra interpretation. I wish the audience would have given him just a little more room to finish his songs, sometimes if you just listen and not assume its over, you get a little something extra on the finish, a few extra bends, some sonic feedback etc. It was really special to see a geniuos at work...Hope everyone lined up to see his future shows has a good as a time as we did in NYC!

At 4/26/2011 12:04:00 PM, Blogger Thrasher said...

Thanks TomCrac and everyone else for sending in reviews!

Sounds like a great run in NYC.

Even the NYT sent someone who seems to know a little bit about guitar playing?! (review linnk above)

At 4/26/2011 03:00:00 PM, Blogger MARIAN M. said...


Everything wonderful that has been said about this show is absolutely true!

It was an experience that I have nothing to compare with.... For me it was THE concert of a lifetime. I will treasure the memories for the rest of my life!

I had shed many tears last October when I wasn't able to get to CT to see this show. I was SO thankful to learn that Neil would be here in NYC in the spring! I was at last night's (April 25) show.

Well, I must say it was truly worth the wait!

Live music IS better....

I absolutely LOVE the new songs!

Yet even the "older" songs were totally new again!!!

I was surprised at how emotional I got (in a good way). When Neil played "Ohio," it wasn't just a song evoking a memory from long ago, it was if we were back there in 1970. I believe that song really made a difference then, and it's still powerful stuff indeed!

Another wonderful surprise was how the lighting really added to each song. Absolutely beautiful!

I never felt so much love from Neil before. He really bared his soul to us through his music.

I also say, "DON'T MISS THIS SHOW!"

Thanks Neil for the excellency! I sure do love you!!!

And thanks, Thrasher, for providing a place for me to share!

Marian M.

At 4/26/2011 03:22:00 PM, Anonymous vertigone said...

Thanks Mr Henry for elaborating. I was at the Albany show.

@ Jonathan, what tour have YOU been following? :)

At 4/26/2011 04:35:00 PM, Blogger Thrasher said...

Marian - that's fantastic! Thanks for the report.

So glad you got to experience the TR tour.

Someone said Neil's voice has never sounded better.

We are the lucky ones.

At 4/26/2011 05:37:00 PM, Blogger Mr Henry said...

Great comment Marian! Made me feel good just reading how much you loved Neil's performance...thank you.

RIP Phoebe Snow. I hope that you are at peace and that you and Valerie are together now and forever. God Bless the Child....

Talk to me some more
You don't have to go

At 4/26/2011 08:51:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

From start to finish I was blown away by Neil Young Sunday night at Avery Fisher. Wish Bert Jansch had not played for an hour though and then another 20 minutes until Neil came on meant we were sitting there from 8pm to almost 9:30pm before the real show began. Jansch was repetitive and boring. I have seen Neil Young many times over 3 decades and every show is different with a different sound, vibe, whatever you want to call it. This show was no different. The use of sustain and reverb/feedback was incredible. You felt as if the music was caressing and merging with you and the crowd, entering your body. This was definitely a new experience with everything in the concert hall rattling and humming in response to Neil's guitar. Pure ecstasy. The crowd was appropriately responsive and reverent. I have been to too many shows ruined by incessant screaming and yelling and talkers. This crowd was polite but definitely psyched. My only complaints about Neil's set is that it wasn't long enough! Also wish he had let loose and wailed with some solos like on Cortez. He was much more into sustained notes and effects this time which was great but I do miss those incredible solos. If you haven't seen him on this tour you have to swallow the high ticket price like I did and go. It was worth every penny and then some.

At 4/27/2011 12:03:00 AM, Blogger Steven said...

Check out Cinnamon Girl on Youtube from 4/24/11

At 4/27/2011 12:05:00 AM, Blogger Steven said...

Awesome show. Check out Cinnamon Girl on YouTube posted by mrjanuary1951.

At 4/27/2011 08:03:00 AM, Blogger 3Ds Ranch said...

Thanks, Steve. Saw the one with Joe Walsh & John Entwistle, too!! Where were you sitting there? I'm always afraid of getting busted. Those ushers have too much power and the ones closer to the stage tend to be meaner than a junkyard dog.

At 4/27/2011 08:38:00 AM, Blogger Mother Nature on the Run said...

Mr. Henry, she passed with the same dignity and respect she lived her life. I heard Phoebe tell her story in her words on the radio waves. It was a life changing event for me.

Maybe you remember, too, the live radio programs back in the days when Grateful Dead, Flying Burrito Brothers, Phoebe Snow, Peter Frampton would be interviewed right before their show ... live on radio! I am thankful for the radio stations that still carry on this tradition.

At 4/27/2011 12:48:00 PM, Blogger barrooman said...

Bert Jansch repetitive and boring?
christ you gotta open up your ears brother!!!

At 4/27/2011 03:50:00 PM, Blogger Mother Nature on the Run said...

Oh I read that, too! What a dipshit. Did Bert's fingers fall off or what? This is the guy who inspired Jimmy Page, right?

Take Mr. Henry's advice and ride the music...

"Short people got no reason to live" - Randy Newman

At 4/27/2011 09:31:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

It is amazing how bigoted people can be even about musical taste! I have to "open up my ears" and I am a "dipshit" because I didn't appreciate the artistry of Bert Jansch. It is a matter of personal taste folks. I found Jansch's vocals annoying and guitar playing style repetitive but I guess I'm not entitled to an opinion. Calling people names for having differences of opinion is what is basically wrong with this country. I like Kandinsky but dislike Pollack. Dipshit or not? I am from a "blue state" not a "red state" - dipshit? You know who the real dipshit motherfuckers are - opinionated assholes like you who think they have cornered the market on taste/opinion and lash out at anyone who differs with them.

At 4/27/2011 11:54:00 PM, Blogger Greg McGarvey said...

thanks for the reviews! i'm enjoying these a lot.

At 4/28/2011 11:41:00 AM, Blogger 3Ds Ranch said...

Feeling pretty self-righteous about reducing a man's 60 plus years of musicial gneius not to mention the number of musicians he's influenced over the years, Mr. Anonymous 9:31?

Maybe a better way to have stated your opinion was this way: "It bored me to sit and listen to Bert Jansch." In describing Pollack's art: "It bores me to look at his canvas."

At 4/28/2011 12:57:00 PM, Blogger Mother Nature on the Run said...

Mr. Anonymous "I'm being persecuted for having musical taste,"

I have no qualms about what people like or dislike; however, I take issue when they give sloppy-self centered critiques and then act suprised and persecuted when someone challenges them on what they said.

Your comment about Mr. Jansch reminds me of folks complaining about an aged bottle of cabernet that was drunk right after it was poured instead of giving the wine time to breath.

At 4/30/2011 07:44:00 AM, Anonymous The Loner said...

Hey Hey My My - almost a week gone and I still feel a Rumblin' - 'what a killer' concert - however to say it was only a concert does not do it justice - this was art in its finest form - for me this was up there with the best of Picasso - or Dali or Van Gough - I now understand get why the "Archives" are so important - we have to be able to capture what Neil is doing on this tour as he plays alone but with all the spirits around him ..... Long may you run Neil - but you have to record and release every show you do or these precious moments will be lost and only availabe in the souls of those who were privileged to witness you your creative genius in person


At 5/01/2011 10:55:00 PM, Blogger 3Ds Ranch said...

"Time Fades Away" belongs on vinyl, Jr. Get a turntable and take it for a spin!

At 5/10/2011 12:01:00 AM, Anonymous The Loner said...

Thanks Anon for the Junior comment - it makes this "Old Man" feel very good - I have gone through 2 vinyls of TFA - I also travel a lot and find it difficult to carry my record player with me all the time. A CD TFA would enable me to carry this gem with me wherever I go - LOVE AND PEACE AND KORITFW

The Loner


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