Comment of the Moment: Neil Young @ Farm Aid 2013
Neil Young @ Farm Aid 2013
Photo Gallery by Brooklyn Vegan
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The Comment of the Moment is from Farm Aid 2013 in Saratoga Springs, New York by Mr Henry, who said...
First of all, can we maybe retire the phrase "campfire music" when making comments and comparisons about music. It's become meaningless and a bit trite through overuse; what Mr. Harvey used to call "a hamburger word" back in HS English class. And I guarantee that what Neil Young played Saturday night was in no possible way, shape or form anything that you can objectively call "campfire music", at least not when he plays it.Thanks -- as always -- Mr Henry!
Neil's entire set at this year's Farm Aid was all a covers set. That's right--everything he played was a cover. Think about it: what are the two Neil Young songs that everyone knows, (most) everyone loves, everyone plays a version of. My God, Heart of Gold just might be the single most covered song in the past twenty or thirty years, and maybe in the history of music (at least if you exclude Beatles songs). How many times have you been somewhere--the grocery store or any other store, the post office, the dentist office--and heard those familiar chords? It's in our collective cultural DNA.
And Neil played both songs exactly like you hear them in your head. There was virtually no change in either version, they were right in the middle of his set, and it was the only time on stage when he wasn't challenging or confronting his audience and fans. Does anyone out there think that was just a coincidence? That it was really "...I don't know what I'm gonna do next" that made him suddenly decide to do those two songs, and only those two songs? Especially after John Mellencamp's intro..and then hear Neil's intro for Willie. He's saying it's not just about me, it's about all of us, it's about the music that we made and will continue to make.
The songs he chose to do were all connected; the fun is trying to figure out just how. Hardin and Ochs; Ivory Joe and Sonny James; Gordon Lightfoot. I absolutely loved his version of Early Morning Rain; we were mesmerized watching it. Why did he choose to start his set with this song?
The entire day at Farm Aid had an underlying theme celebrating the music that came before and that still is 100% today and tomorrow. Amos Lee did an incredible version of A Change Is Gonna Come; fifty years later this song just continues to grow and grow. Willie did more covers than I can ever remember, and not just the ones that are part of his regular set. Texas Flood was a wonder to behold, and a wonder to watch. Lukas honoring his dad and Stevie Ray, while looking at times like a young Kris Kristofferson. And the circle is truly unbroken. Good Hearted Woman plays, and it looks like Willie might still see a bit of Waylon right up there with him.
Carlene's performance of Troublesome Waters so gently epic. Every Carter and Cash family member tells their own story through this song, and also the story for each one of us. Glad to see you looking so great and sounding so wonderful, Sweety! Just keep staying Stronger, avoid the "special diet" and Keep On The Sunny Side whenever times get rough.
If Poncho's hand was okay, then Neil's performance would have been something else. For my money, he figured out something that was new and different, then just went for it. Even the audience was really into it, and was calling out their own requests for Neil to cover...the one who yelled out "Come on, let's go" must be a major Richie Valens fan :)
Yes, four unperformed cover songs by some of the folk legends of the past with Phil Ochs and Kurt Cobain's ghosts hovering. What a night to remember.
Labels: farm aid