Video & Comment of the Moment: Winnipeg, Nov 16, 2012
Neil Young & Crazy Horse
The MTS Centre, Winnipeg, Nov 16, 2012
Followed by these Comments of the Moment by fan Ted St. Godard:
Let me start by saying I love NY, always have, always will. Seen him multiple times, multiple venues, multiple configurations. Last night it was Winnipeg, the Alchemy show.Followed by reply from SD:
Make no mistake, it was, as billed, a Crazy Horse show. There were some highs, not least of which was seeing Ben Young sitting at a Bridge School table. And the new songs, magnificent. Walk Like a Giant was terrific, and likewise Ramada Inn. The oldies were nice, especially Powderfinger.
Neil certainly appeared to be enjoying himself, and good for him, but, and here's the but: I'm sorry to say that there was just way too much self-indulgent choking of the proverbial chicken, not to mention every song included a belaboured circle jerk. We get it Neil, you like feedback, and you like making your guitar sound more like thunder than anything else. And when you ride the Horse you're playing to each other. We love that, but enough is enough.There's a great big stage, step away from Frank and Billy, you can stroke each other after.
When an album of song-ending feedback is offered, we can politely say "no thanks," but in live show, when we want more of what we know you've got, end the bloody tune, wipe your brow, smile for the nice people, and play on.
My 19 year old son hit it on the head when he leaned to me during another prolonged outro, and said, "he's beating a dead horse again."
That said, the encore of Roll Another Number, was magnificent, some of the vocal moments were Neil at his best (some would say weakest, but we who love him feel otherwise), and there were some beautiful, melodic solos, during which, for a minute or two, NY actually faced the audience. And they more than made up for the painful, and frankly, embarrassing parts. I'd go again tonight if I could.
Neil is never going to please everyone.
The best you can do before going to a show is educate yourself about what the show is going to be like. We live in the internet/instant-access/youtube age - you have a wealth of information at your fingertips to help you decide what to spend your money on.
My only Neil experience has been with the Electric Band in 2009. It was awesome, but it wasn't Crazy Horse either. But I'm sure at that show other fans were even happier to hear the hits played - as was I, but I knew regardless that Crazy Horse would be the pinnacle of a live show.
It's the nature of the beast, and it's the reason why it is pointless to say things like "if only Neil would do this instead" to please you. It would be impossible for Neil to tailor his setlist to fan expectations or needs.
Who is the 'fan' he needs to tailor it to?
Should he be up there at 67 years old for 5 hours making sure each and every fan leaves happy? If he plays solely a 'greatest hits' list, what does he say to the hardcore who want to hear deep cuts? If he plays a lot of electric what does he say to the fans who want more acoustic? Vice versa? How does he reconcile recording new music, being into it fully, wanting to perform it live, with fans who complain about hearing too many new songs? How does he reconcile doing what he, as the artist who fans are paying to see, as the creator of the art they pay to see, wants to do with his art while he is on stage?
It's a lose-lose scenario - which is why the best way to view any show is to appreciate what you get to witness - whether it is perfect to your liking, or not. It's foolish to continually expect or search for perfection in an artist, and pointless to reduce your live experience to positives & negatives. The whole experience deserves more than that, and more than an endless search for what to critique and what to find fault in.
I thank my lucky stars I was able to see an artist who has impacted my life perform in a live setting, when so many others I will never get a chance to see.
It is and always will be different things to different people. We should be so lucky we get to enjoy a person who, at 67 years old, still elicits such emotions.
Many, many sincere thanks to both Ted & SD for their thoughtful comments.
To which we say, well ... Jack Black holding this sign kinda gets to the heart of the matter regarding freedom...
"Just do what you want to do
Don't listen to anyone else"
(Jack Black w/ sign)
Neil Young Honored As MusiCares Person Of The Year
Strange things -- indeed -- do happen when the worlds of art and commerce collide. Don't believe us? See for your self what can happen for the turnstiles or the value of artistic freedom, audience entitlement, and elite fan hypocrisy.
waging heavy wheat,
ps - so what do you think?