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Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Concert Review of the Moment: Neil Young Concert Reviews: Calgary - January 19, 2014

Neil Young
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.

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.
Thanks Derek! Great report. Stop back by this way again next time.

Sounds like Calgary ended on a high note, especially with the encore songs.

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10 Comments:

At 1/22/2014 09:34:00 AM, Blogger Mother Nature on the Run said...

Signed. Sealed. Delivered. Thanks Derek.



 
At 1/22/2014 11:15:00 AM, Blogger Dan1 said...

Neil's Grammy speech:

http://music.yahoo.com/news/read-neil-young-39-full-epic-speech-grammy-140523612-rolling-stone.html

 
At 1/22/2014 12:01:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great review!
I was at the Calgary show as well, and I just wanted to say that the oilsands film WAS shown. It was shown at intermission, after Dianna Krall's set. So the reviewer might have missed it if he left the auditorium at intermission.

 
At 1/22/2014 12:23:00 PM, Blogger zuma66 said...

i think at one point during the latter part of the show neil started

- powderfinger- ??!!

check the tapes....

"look out mama..." then stopped .

anyone else notice this?

"heres one you heard before"...; )

 
At 1/22/2014 02:53:00 PM, Anonymous SD said...

Neil's new album in March...

"@thirdmanrecords

An unheard collection of rediscovered songs from the past recorded on ancient electro-mechanical technology... @NeilYoung's A LETTER HOME."

 
At 1/22/2014 03:48:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

what is the point in making a new link for a post we already saw ? we already read it. you are the Loner at the end of the car Thrasher Wheat.

 
At 1/22/2014 04:15:00 PM, Blogger Thrasher Wheat said...

@Dan1 - thanks and will get posted soon. Great speech.

@zuma66 - interesting. check those tapes and get back to us!

@SD - A LETTER HOME -- new album title?

@Dear anon - just in case some folks might have missed Derek's excellent review, we like to highlight the best of TW comments.
So keep those suggestions coming! ;)
peace

 
At 1/22/2014 04:40:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

http://www.nme.com/news/neil-young/75048

 
At 1/22/2014 06:12:00 PM, Anonymous SD said...

@ Thrasher: yep, apparently

http://www.rollingstone.com/music/news/neil-youngs-low-tech-new-album-a-letter-home-due-in-march-20140122

 
At 1/22/2014 07:50:00 PM, Blogger Derek Aldridge said...

@ Thrasher: Thanks for featuring my review.

@ Anonymous: Yes, I was getting a refreshment during the intermission. It never occurred to me that they would have played the video then, when presumably there were not too many watching.

@ zuma66: I am fairly sure that Neil did not false-start the vocals to Powderfinger. I don't think I could have missed that. He might have false started the guitar part and I could have missed that. On a related note, after one song, Neil said that while he was playing he had got caught up thinking about what he was going to play next and started to mix up the guitar part. I didn't notice though.

I didn't mention in my review, but Diana Krall was also great. I saw her headline the same venue about 15 years ago. It was fun to see how thrilled she seemed to be, touring with Neil, given that she is quite the star herself. I'll save the rest for Thrasher's Diana Krall blog.

 

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