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Friday, June 24, 2011

Comment of the Moment: "Neil Young is like a lighthouse beam"

The Comment of the Moment is from the Joel Bernstein quote "Neil Young is like a lighthouse beam", one of the most perceptive and insightful observations we've come across in awhile.

And Joel would know.

From a comment by BIGCHIEF:
I suppose if anyone would know it would be Mr. Bernstein.

However, I believe that 'beam' is merely the aura that accompanies his presence wherever he is. Neil has a special gift and it's no small thing. Whenever he is on stage, not only does he have the attention of most of the audience, but other band members as well. All eyes on Neil. All of the reviews concerning the current Buffalo Springfield reunion is centered on Neil.

While not intending to belittle the other members, it's really the Neil Young and the Buffalo Springfield Show. When performing with C.S.& N, it's the Neil Young and C.S.& N Show. The audience response is overwhelmingly favorable towards Neil. The man can't help it.

Even when he consciously attempts to just be another band member and lay back, his aura is so vivid it's like he has a constant spotlight on him at all times. During this current tour, it seems that he is having the time of his life just by playing in a band again and sharing that spotlight with his brothers without any of the competition and drama that was so prevalent the last time around. Never the less, as humble and unselfish of a human being that Neil has evolved into over the years, there is no sign that the 'lighthouse beam' is even close to becoming dim.

The aura is only getting stronger as time goes by.

Thanks BIGCHIEF! Nice.

More on you are like a lighthouse beam...

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At 6/24/2011 02:17:00 PM, Blogger P.W. Fillmore veteran said...

Having seen the Springfield twice now, I differ with the author and praise Neil for the Show not being "Neil Young and the Buffalo Springfield". The three members are showing great respect for the Music and each other!

P White

At 6/24/2011 03:47:00 PM, Anonymous Zot said...

I concur with Paul regarding the Buffalo Springfield 2011 tour. It's Neil's people that are running the tour and it's Neil who is running the show onstage, but it's Richie who's holding it all together.

People have said that they have never seen Neil so happy to be onstage, and just enjoying the heck out of the whole show. I know that they are all thinking "why didn't we do this before? Oh well, better late than never!"

I've read on all of the blogs about what a "bucket list" item this has been, and I am one of them. When I attended the 1st Oakland show, I joked about "who are all of these old people?" On the other hand, I've also read that due to some health issues, some of us may not be around in a couple of years or so, but that they were glad to have seen these guys perform again. I could just as easily be in that catagory too.

At 6/24/2011 11:43:00 PM, Blogger BIGCHIEF said...

I said a lot of things that I can't take back and I'm not even sure if I wanna ... My emphasis was to intentionally not 'belittle' those others who bask in the glow of Neil's light. However, it isn't very often when you hear an artist referred to as a 'lighthouse beam'. While once upon a time, Neil's acceptance into C.S.N. depended on how well he could impress Graham Nash who would make the final decision at a luncheon/job interview, it is Graham who now, in an ironic turn of events, who has to wait on Neil these days to determine whether they will have a concert (C.S.N.), or an event (C.S.N.Y.). In the shows that I've attended, I can't recall any drunken fools calling out for Graham or David while Neil sheepishly attempted his turn at a solo. Unfortunately, the reverse occurs way too frequently. While Stephen once had his own little lighthouse, he seems content these days to bask in the glow of Neil's. And about Crazy Horse? Their existence totally depends upon 'the light'. These observations of mine are not based upon the egos or the lack of between bandmembers who have or have not performed with Neil but merely observations based upon audience response and point of views. The 'lighthouse beam' that Joel was referring to was Neil's penchant to focus 100% of his energy and talents to a specific idea or task at hand to the exclusion of concern for anything else at that moment. With lazer-like concentration. With the limited knowledge that I have of him, I'm certain that Joel would concur that Neil is not very good at multi-tasking. that is exactly why projects often get placed on the back burner until he deems it ready for his undivided attention. Case-in-point. Human Highway?, Archives? Link-Volt? etc. That is why each project seems to have a life of its own. That is also why he has such a vast range of style between recordings and such because being so focused on the project at hand, he never refers to past records for insight or direction for what is happening in the present. That was then, this is now. He has never been one to fall into a 'formula rut' trying to duplicate the success of a past project. For me, those qualities translate to the 'aura' that I refer to. His ability to stay true to 'the muse' and retain his integrity inspite of the damage he leaves behind in relationships and broken committments are now beginning to make sense after all of these years. For a long time, many industry insiders considered him 'aloof' and 'careless' with career decisions and the way it 'seemed' that he treated people as a means to an end to achieve his goals. But now he finally is getting acknowledged for the risks that he has taken to the point that many of his peers looking back whish that they could re-write their creers by his example. You only get one shot and his, as it turned out, was right on target. The few who caught on early to his genius profited. It's not by accident that most of his associates stay with him for life. The man is plugged into something and they recognize that even if they ain't quite sure what it is. As for me and you, we can bask in the glow of his music and wonder how he comes up with this stuff till the cows come home. As a frustrated musician myself, I long ago accepted the fact that my job, as tough as it may be at times, is to enjoy his gift whatever the cost. His job is to nurture that gift and continue to be faithful to 'the muse' whatever that is, and to continue to be the 'keeper of the lighthouse'. As for the many musicians whom he has affected along the way, It's far better to put ego aside and bask in the light of genius than to be lost in the shadows and wonder what might have been.

At 6/25/2011 10:46:00 AM, Blogger Thrasher said...

@ PW - Agree. total respect between the band. the way it should be a joy to witness.

@Zot - Yes, we're all so lucky to be alive to expereince this. has there ever been a '60's band reunion that has been so anticipated? So inconceivable? So successful?

@Bigcheif - you get neil. totally.

At 6/26/2011 09:42:00 AM, Blogger asg said...

all due respect to Stephen, and he still deserves it, when Neil starts his guitar solo (MR SOUL-Bonneroo 2011) the crowd goes bonkers...seeing/hearing that gives me goosebumps

At 6/26/2011 05:27:00 PM, Blogger asg said...

or maybe it was RITFW...anyway my point is, to borrow a line from a different TW discussion, NEIL is, in his own way, ALWAYS on "the front burner"

At 6/27/2011 04:13:00 PM, Anonymous Zot said...

My own perspective is that I was one of many, many people who were very upset when the Buffalo Springfield first broke up. I did follow Neil's career, and I was a fan of Poco, but CSN, not so much. To have Neil having to go through a "job interview" with Graham Nash is insulting to me. I never did care for him.

At the same time, I was never one of Neils' dedicated fans who hung on his every word, note, nuance, nor did I attempt to dissect, analyze, and try to get into the deep, deep pysche of Neil. I was just a music fan and thought of Neil as a member of one of my favorite bands.

As many of those who have reviewed the Buffalo's shows are for the most part younger fans of Neil's, (like Michael Golden) I am sensing that they really didn't get at first the affinity and reverence that Neil (and Stephen and Richie) has for the band. Big Chief says that Neil never referes to past records for insight and direction, and yet, here he is at the beginning. Neil understands that while he may be in 'charge', this band is greater than the sum of it's parts. It is a band in a true sense that the lawyers never were. (CSN&Y)

I have seen some of Neil's solo shows too over the years, and his demeanor many times was one of dark, brooding, intense, introspective, and focused. (that Lighthouse Beam) With the Buffalo, people have commented that they have never seen him so relaxed, joking and laughing, and enjoying the moment. Neil is basking in the glow of the Buffalo. Also, saying things like he did at Santa Barbara. "Richie's OUR lead singer. Now, we all sing lead, but Richie's the lead singer of 'this' band."

See them while you can, because the Buffalo won't be running forever(except in our hearts).

At 7/05/2011 04:46:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I got into Neil in 1971 after listening to 4 Way Street. After I consumed his 2 solo albums and the CSNY album, I got into the Buffalo Springfield. My favorite song was 'Nowadays Clancy Can't Even Sing' and it killed me when I found out that Neil wrote the song but didn't sing it. If Neil sang lead vocals on Nowadays on the new tour, I would be more open to seeing Buffalo Springfield.


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