Concert Review of the Moment: Neil Young Concert Reviews: Calgary - January 19, 2014
Jack Singer Concert Hall - Calgary, Alta., Sunday January 19, 2014
Photo Gallery by Mike Drew/Calgary Sun/QMI Agency | Calgary Sun
(Click photo to enlarge)
The Concert Review of the Moment is from Neil Young at Calgary on January 19, 2014 by Derek Aldridge:
I saw Neil Young in Calgary tonight and it was as good as I expected.Thanks Derek! Great report. Stop back by this way again next time.
This is about the eighth or ninth time I have seen him over the last 23 years and the first time solo acoustic. (I’ve been a big NY fan for about 25 years.) I had followed the reviews from the recent shows back to Carnegie Hall and knew what to expect. The notable set list surprises (to me) were Four Strong Winds (Ian Tyson is from Alberta, so there is that connection), Blowin’ in the Wind, and Mother Earth. I had thought Mother Earth was a natural for the Treaties tour and was surprised that he had not been playing it. It’s one of the few pipe organ songs I really like, so it was a very pleasant surprise for me. I did not record an exact set list, but the one on Sugar Mountain looks right to me.
I’ve never heard Neil talk so much before. He probably spoke for ten times longer tonight than in all the previous shows I’ve seen combined. He seemed to be enjoying himself. The venue was where the Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra performs, so the sound quality was excellent. Unfortunately the great acoustics seemed to encourage certain people in the audience to shout their special messages and words of encouragement to Neil in-between songs. Thankfully they mostly kept quiet during his songs. I expect this must have been annoying to Neil, but he didn’t say so. In fact he did respond to a couple of the comments, which probably encouraged some of the shouters a little.
There was no film about the oilsands or even any discussion about it (from the stage at least), which surprised me a little. I thought there might be someone giving a small speech at the beginning, and I thought I had read that there would be a short film but there wasn’t. Near the end of the show, Neil thanked people for their support and noted that they had raised about $500,000. He also said, "Even if you don’t agree with me, we can still be friends" (I think I got that right), which I thought were wise words given some of the nasty comments that people have made towards him recently (in the mainstream media).
Neil seemed very strong vocally, to my untrained ear. While he presumably does not have the same vocal range that he had when he was younger, he still sounded great to me. In some cases changed the tone of his singing somewhat, becoming more expressive in some ways than the original recording. It’s hard for me to describe in words, but I was liked it. An example of this was his version of Mr. Soul, which was unlike any of the versions I had heard before (original, Unplugged, with Crazy Horse, etc). He did Mr. Soul on the pipe organ and it was really interesting vocally (his expressiveness). Unfortunately, I was not that keen on the pipe organ. Had he done it at the piano or on guitar, it would have been the highlight of the night for me.
Anyway, the show was great. I never really expected to have a chance to seen Neil solo acoustic in a great venue, so I’m really glad he jumped on this cause and came to Calgary. Despite being a fairly large city (1,000,000+), he has bypassed us on several tours. And thanks to Thrasher for this great blog – I’ve been reading it (intermittently) for years, but don’t think I’ve commented before.
Sounds like Calgary ended on a high note, especially with the encore songs.