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Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Concert Review of the Moment: Neil Young @ Massey Hall, Toronto - January 12, 2014

Neil Young - Massey Hall, Toronto - January 12, 2014
Photo via National Post
(Click photo to enlarge)

The Concert Review of the Moment is from Massey Hall, Toronto - January 12, 2014 by the ever so prolific Anonymous:
Yes, great show at Massey Hall last night. Neil was in really fine fettle both onstage and backstage afterwards – very open, warm and humorous.

The show, as others have noted, was a little shorter – Neil came on about an hour late. Everyone here has talked about how wonderful Neil was in vocally, and I concur. Every now and then he reached down deep and sang very, very strongly – Ohio and especially Southern Man being the best examples. So there seem to have been some very intentional dynamics to his singing.

Neil's comment, noted in a post above, about 'not being able to sleep' was in reference to his writing 'Mellow My Mind' in the middle of the night while enjoying a bout of insomnia. A rather funny story because all of a sudden out of nowhere he just started talking about insomnia in a manner that seemed completely unconnected to anything goin on. Let’s just say that I probably wasn’t the only one in Massey Hall who was wondering ‘Now where in the world do ya think he’s going with this one?’ And then he just picked up the banjo and in about half a sentence resolved it all with typically off-beat humour and shit-eating grin in reference to what he was about to play.

Also, regarding Pocahantus, he mentioned backstage that he’d written a really funny additional verse about Stephen Harper but unfortunately forgot it on stage.

First time I’ve seen Dianna Krall. She opened with a powerful version of Dylan’s ‘Every Grain Of Sand’, complete with soulful gospel piano, followed by another powerful version of ‘Don’t Fence Me In’ . . . and it just went from there. At one point she went off on a rather amusing short monologue about how she used to play his songs in Nanaimo, British Columbia as a young girl, and now here she was playing his piano. She then completed the thought by saying that she ‘just might have to steal Neil’s piano’. And her piano playing – much of it was literally like a virtuouso who’d just been let out of a lunatic asylum. Some of it rapturously beautiful, and other of it like a cascading collision of multiple key signatures and styles. Very, very expressive – particularly on one of Tom Waits’ delightfully mad tunes that she did. She also did tunes by Warren Zevon and Randy Newman. Overall she seems like a real character – a smokey-voiced chanteuse who was just as offbeat and quirky, if not moreso, than Neil and his musings. Not too hard on the eyes either.

One thing that hasn't been mentioned yet is just how incredibly beautiful, incantational and hypnotic the traditional music by Chippewa drum/singing circle was – we got to listen to a little piece of the long ages with that. Much of the drumming/ singing was accompanied by a fairly shocking and heartbreaking large screen video about the Athabaska Tar Sands by Greenpeace. Also, twice the Chippewa ‘Mother’ – whose name I never caught – spoke very gracefully about their cause, and expressed deep gratitude to Neil and also ‘Mother’ Diana Krall for their support. One other thing, Neil’s brother Bob told me a little about the media blitz Neil was doing and would continue to do in order to to get under the skin and up the nose of Harper Inc. and the oil Titans. The plan is to repeatedly draw as much public attention to the issue as possible for each of the four shows.

It will be interesting to see what kind of reception the ‘Honor The Treaties’ roadshow gets in the fair city of Calgary (BTW – small nit, but Bob also noted how the person who did all the ‘Honor The Treaties’ collateral – including a huge fabric poster as the stage backdrop – unfortunately used the U.S. English spelling of “Honor” – it’s “Honour” up in these parts)

The concert as a whole, within the context of that entire experience – NOT TO MENTION NEIL PLAYING ONE GEM AFTER ANOTHER SOLO IN THAT UNBELIEVABLY RIVETING WAY THAT SO DEEPLY AND DISARMINGLY AFFECTS THE EMOTIONS AND UNLOCKS ALL KINDS OF COMPLEX MEMORIES AND FEELINGS – was one of the best I’ve been to. The overall vibe of everyone in Massey Hall was wonderful.

. . . which reminds of two other things: First, at one point Neil talked about Massey Hall – in a way reminiscent of what he said in the Heart Of Gold DVD about the Ryman Theatre – and about how he hopes the old Hall survives (hidden stained glass windows and all it) in the face of yet more of encroaching . . . er . . . so-called ‘development’. And second, Gordon Lightfoot – no stranger to Massey Hall – was backstage and he’s looking very healthy these days.

That’s it in the proverbial nutshell . . .
Thanks Anonymous! Nice review. Good to see you've tempered your emotions of late. ;) Maybe adopt a handle next time?

Also, see more on Neil Young @ Massey Hall, Toronto - January 12, 2014.

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At 1/15/2014 03:37:00 PM, Blogger Dan1 said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

At 1/15/2014 06:28:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Who's the hypocrite? He's got fifty odd cars and depends on 30 thousand people DRIVING to see him at whatever venue 90 odd times a year, average, to come see him play. Then when his stupid ass is broke he decides to write some bulshit "memoir" so his incredibly gullible hero worishiping wanker fan(addicts) will infuse him with more money to blow. So now he's trying to wash off the guilt on the backs of "First Nation" people and with his "electric car". Puhleeze just play and STFU you hypocritical moron!

At 1/15/2014 07:40:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Good point. I think whenever one buys a car, they should seriously consider buying used. It's the most environmental choice given our current automotive options. And if you've got enough money, convert it.


At 1/15/2014 07:47:00 PM, Anonymous Mother Nature on the Run said...

You sound like a verbally abusive husband who values women for only thing.

You can't say in one breath that you like his music but in the next breath say you don't like where his music comes from.

What we see on the stage or interview is a result of a special gift driven by human energy, genius, desires, dreams, emotions, and passions.

He is Mr. Soul, remember.

At 1/15/2014 08:11:00 PM, Anonymous Mother Nature on the Run said...

There is no shame in bartering our time for a night out with Mr. Soul. Why does it matter to you if that's our choice? If we buy his book or attend a concert, that's an even exchange for his time.

You can't call him a hypocrite for standing up to a government that has a committed human rights abuses to a group of people. As for the energy I used to attend one his concerts, how do you know that I didn't walk or take public transportation? What ever BTUs he consumes for his livelihood is probably next to nothing than what most people waste leaving their lights on all day or running their dryer on a day where the clothes could be hung out.

He's not part of the problem if he's trying to be part of the solution.

At 1/15/2014 09:56:00 PM, Blogger Greg Mantho said...

Thank you Mother, I don't want to even get started.

A Friend Of Yours

At 1/15/2014 10:23:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Only someone as illiterate and stupid as you, MNOTR, could use that many words to convey absolutely nothing but proving my point about his fan(addicts).

The only gibberish you spouted that deserves a response is the public transportation thing. I wasn't referring specifically to "you", just so your little 3rd grade mind can understand, but the VAST majority of his concert goers. And how would I know this oh simple one? There is no public transportation to speak of in this shit hole of a country and even where there is they don't run at that time of night.

At 1/15/2014 10:40:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Mother, you pretty much had me up until the point where you said my dryer and left on lights probably consume as much energy as Neil's livelihood.

That's why there's such a big divide between people. I could leave every light in the house on and have washers AND dryers running in every room 24/7 for a long, long, long, long time just to equal what Neil burns in ONE trip to Canada. Especially if the Horse is on the road!!

It kind of blows your cred to make statements like that. Easy pickin's is what you are and I sympathize with your intent. But lets keep things in perspective.

No one around here talks about all the ANGRY Canadian's who wish Neil would just shut up either. Just read the comments under his last review in one of the Canadian papers. It's mostly negative.

But hey, that's what makes him Neil. He means well. The intent is there. Just like you Mother. And that's what really counts. We don't know if he's always right, but we know in our hearts that he's on the right track! May your God bless him. He makes us think!

If all else fails, I can just put on Zuma and drift away. I mean for me, that's really what this is all about anyway. I sure don't have the answers. But I still support the attitude. The Hippie Dream.

One thing I think most of us can agree on is legal pot coming soon to a State near you!! Let's see Neil get behind that. Maybe do a collaboration with Willie? He might really make a difference in a lot of peoples lives, especially the ones in prison for smoking a doob. What do ya think Neil? There's your CSN&Y reunion right there. The Legalize Pot Tour.

"We can change the world". They really could. It would be a nice break from just playing politics.

Negative Man

At 1/15/2014 10:50:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

All Neil is asking is that you make up your own mind based on scientific evidence and those we can see like the first nations real living experiences. Government is more interested in the economy of the moment then it is in science and our future. The government and industry is selling out Canada's precious environment at a cost that is irreplaceable. When decisions are made on dollar signs and not on the evidence and facts of science we know our land and people will be terribly impacted. So they make a huge profit only to spend it again on health care I do wish we all could be wiser.

At 1/16/2014 12:29:00 AM, Anonymous Mother Nature in the Run said...

You go right ahead and drift away into oblivion and suck up all that negative energy while you're at it. Apparently you've got nothing else to do with your time but attack people online.

At 1/16/2014 06:39:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I took the TTC to and from the show. Walked with a big swath of people heading to the subway.
That's anecdotal evidence, not just some sentence I made up based on nothing. Think they have a website too, it you wanna check their hours of operation.

No matter how rich one is, the important thing is to be conscious about you consumption, of all things not just oil. We all consume, but some of us consume restlessly. I burn gas, but I'm conscious of it, and I do try not to waste it. You can't call someone a hypocrite because they flew on a plane. I see more fault in someone who's purchase 4 versions of the iPhone already and never considered the environment impact of that.

I just really don't get people who don't want to change the world. Look what we've created in 100years, virtually this entire infrastructure in North America was created in the last century. Don't we think we can redesign it now that we know the problems we've created. It's just a challenge that the human race would have no problem changing in the next 100 years or less if we simply united.
And I think that's all Neil's really trying to do. Unite us.


At 1/16/2014 07:20:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Neil is a master of his muse but with that he is a master calculator from the day he left Canada in the mid to late 6o's, just ask the people he has crossed paths with and books written about him. Where there is smoke there is fire. Look how he treated CSN, Buffalo Springfield, the Horse in the past, I can go on.

I was at the show; he mentioned trying to drink water out of glass. Well that night they were serving everything out of plastic cups. He is trying to create a bubble ala Al Gore. Gore started this Global warming bs talk that got Ontario's tax payers paying 14c/kw windmills (green energy) instead of 2c/kw nuc energy. Middle class tax payers are getting it hard from the back. We also had a Y2K that created a bubble, its all fear mongering. Follow the money that's what is driving this (electric car) quest. Middle class tax payer's are going to end up paying for it

As for the show it was a snooze fest no atmosphere totally manipulated by a control freak. The music was fantastic like a vinyl album but could also say the audience was controlled like a cd.
Sorry Neil i like it when your more punk than elitist. Bring the horse back.

Just a note been a huge fan of his RAW sounding music acoustic or band driven since mid 70's.

At 1/16/2014 07:58:00 AM, Anonymous Mother Nature in the Run said...

Nice comment, Syscrusher. I think i was on the TTC with you and walked with that very cool crowd of folks on their way to see Neil.

A glass-jar filled with M&Ms represents our available energy resources. Some of us take a handful for our own consumption and some of us share.

When Neil or any other performer does their thing, basically we're all sharing a handful of M&Ms with each other.

Even a third grader can figure out that sharing a handful of M&Ms is a better choice.

At 1/16/2014 10:09:00 AM, Blogger thrasher said...

@Syscrusher: yeah, don't get people who don't want to change the world for the better either.

AS you're probably aware, the most of the denialists who post to blogs these days are all paid shills by the fossil fuels industry. You can check the research on this and its established fact that even the industry doesn't deny that it does.

@MNOTR - yes, we need to try all the M&M's! ;)

At 1/16/2014 12:10:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Did someone say M&M's!!

Negative Man

At 1/16/2014 02:08:00 PM, Anonymous Mother Nature Searching for Sirius Mazzy Star said...

Craving some Hope Sandoval myself. Just heard Ben Harper's cover of her masterpiece...

At 1/16/2014 02:09:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"I took the TTC to and from the show."

I'm talking about his entire career not "the show" you ridiculous imbecilic illiterate fanaddicts! Your site deserves to die if for no other reason than to rid the net of this buffonish cult you've collated.

Neil has made a killing gouging fans and consuming like an amoral drunkard for 40 years and now that he's broke and can't sell records he's putting out schlock like the "memoir" and hyperinflating his ticket prices to maintain an obscene lifestyle.

And I'm no "denialist", Thrashhole, I just don't look to someone whose entire life up to this point contradicts everything he's spouting out of his massively uninformed intoxicant ravaged brain. He is part of the problem and you blindly defending him regardless what he does makes you part of the problem also.

Telling his ranch keeper "just lucky" when he asks how he could have bought the place is one of the most telling comments on just how clueless he is on how the world works and how he has worked that world. Couldn't even sell part of it when he blew his fortune like a moron so he puts out more schlock that he knows his moronic fanaddicts will suck up like crack whores.

At 1/16/2014 02:44:00 PM, Anonymous Andrew said...

Holy negative thread. I didn't realize that so many people on a FAN PAGE FOR NEIL YOUNG truly despise the man. If that were me I'd probably spend my time online trolling other sites. Neil is entitled to his opinion and he can say it on stage or wherever he wants to do it. Just because his voice is loud & heard by many while yours is presented under a fake name in the comments section of a website doesn't make his opinion worth less.

Looked like a great show! Wish I could have been there.

At 1/16/2014 02:56:00 PM, Anonymous Mother Nature on the Run said...

A person's worth on this planet isn't measured by how much money he has in his bank accounts or the mistakes he made or the risks he took throughout his live.

What drives my fan addiction is that the music I fell in love with is still relevant for me. I can play Alabama, Double E, and Drift'n Back and want more. I am hooked for life.

At 1/16/2014 03:05:00 PM, Blogger thrasher said...

@Anon 02:09:00 PM - you seem a little angry? why?

Don't hate. Bring us a solution rather than just calling us names.


At 1/16/2014 03:11:00 PM, Anonymous Mother Nature on the Run said...

PS Neil was lucky. He won the big lottery but he kept on working. No matter what obstacle came his way, he kept going. I think that's why they call him a musician's friend. Did you see him playing Lou Reed's song with Jim James late last year?

Says a lot about a man when he has the respect of his peers, don't ya think? I mean, everyone wants to play with this guy. I don't think it's the water I'm drinking, but I highly advise to check your's.

At 1/16/2014 07:10:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I just saw on the news, an oil exec from Calgary has invited Neil to an oil meeting while he's in town.
Hope Neil goes, and brings his Native friends with him.

Got land? Thank an Indian.
(something else ridiculous in the news lately)


At 1/16/2014 09:14:00 PM, Blogger Dan1 said...

Thrasher, I don't know how you do it! It seems like the better Neil's shows get the angrier the trolls get! I've gone from being seriously annoyed by them to almost feeling sorry for them because the rants are so pathetic ...

At 1/17/2014 08:45:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

MNOTR, you better check your's brain just to make sure it's there cause I think it may have come out in the wash.

At 1/18/2014 12:47:00 AM, Anonymous Mother Nature said...

Not my laundry day today but thanks for being concerned. There are hits and misses in life. This support that Neil is lending to this remarkable group of people and the challenges they are facing is the right thing to do. How can any human deny another human the right to breath fresh air, drink clean water, and live on land without the fear of contamination caused by high concentrations of toxins? Remember that one scene in Human Highway? Greendale?


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