Neil Young: Rolling Stone | 100 Greatest Guitarists
Birmingham NEC Soundcheck, 24 September, 1982
Back in 2007, Rolling Stone compiled a list of "The Twenty-Five Most Underrated Guitarists". Seriously. And Neil Young was #3.
Well, now -- just 4 years later -- Neil is on Rolling Stone's list of 100 Greatest Guitarists?! At #17??? Imagine that. He keeps getting better day after day...
And not really sure what has happened to Neil's guitar playing over the years because the last time Rolling Stone compiled their list of the 100 Greatest Guitarists, he was #83.
I mean Neil's good and all that. But what is possibly happening with these Rolling Stone editors? We just don't get it at all. Please someone explain. (ED: See comment below explaining RS methodology).
In the meantime, here's what Phish's Trey Anastasio has to say about Neil Young:
If I was ever going to teach a master class to young guitarists, the first thing I would play them is the first minute of Neil Young's original "Down by the River" solo. It's one note, but it's so melodic, and it just snarls with attitude and anger.
It's like he desperately wants to connect.
Neil's playing is like an open tube from his heart right to the audience.
In the Nineties, we played a festival with Crazy Horse. At the end of "Like a Hurricane," Neil went into this feedback solo that was more like a sonic impressionist painting. He was about six feet back from the microphone, singing so you could just hear him over the colorful waves of hurricane-like sound.
I think about that moment a lot when I'm playing. Traditional concepts of rhythm and keys are great, but music is like a giant ocean. It's a big, furious place, and there are a lot of trenches that haven't been explored. Neil is still blazing a trail for people who are younger than him, reminding us you can break artistic ground.
Speaking of "Down by the River", here's Phish at the Farm Aid Benefit, near Chicago, IL, with Young on October 3, 1998. Pretty freakin' awesome DBTR.
Setlist notes from Andy's Phish Page indicate that Young joined Phish onstage for "Runaway Jim". Next came an electric instrumental that is best described as "Arc"-like. This was followed by a monster 26 minute jam on "Down By the River".
Judge for your self, but this version of "Down By the River" is considered to be one of the top 10 performances of the song ever. Certainly the best ever non Ol-Black version. Neil uses a hollow body
The Trey and Neil duel @ 12:45 is epic. We can't honestly we've ever sen another guitarist ever push Neil so far to the dark side.
Unfortunately, the YouTube version is *only* 19 minutes long.
Phish and Neil Young - Farm Aid 1998
Photo by Barry Brechsian
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