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Friday, July 24, 2015

Concert Reports: Essex Junction, VT - Neil Young + Promise of the Real, July 19, 2015

Neil Young + Promise of the Real
Essex Junction, VT on July 19, 2015
Photos by Mark Harlan/
(Click photo to enlarge)

Here are a couple of very special Neil Young + Promise of the Real concert reports from Essex Junction, VT on July 19, 2015 from our good friends at, Eric & Tony!

The first review is by WBKM's Eric Koval:
Concerts for cause....performance with purpose.....entertainment with intent. This is what has carried my spirit and vigor for Neil Young since I was a teenager. His ability to reach people, tug the heartstrings, and stand up for his beliefs continues to inspire me to carry the message forward. The message is clear: Mother nature is on the run and we need to respond.

Coming off a rather rough personal patch to begin summer, it was with absolute joy to gather days before with family, friends and Rust clan from around the globe to welcome Neil to my hometown. The venue was at our local fairgrounds in Essex, Vermont which has been a conundrum for many artists for years. Dylan struggled here on occasion.....David Lee Roth was confused by the place....Metallica had to break local noise ordinances and curfew calls to express it was refreshing to feel the Neil and witness the warm reception right outta the gates.

Norah Jones & Puss n' Boots

Puss n' boots is an amazing band. Confidence, beauty, and ability complimented the silky Vermont evening as folks mingled and found their places. Stagehands dressed as farmers spread sacred seeds onto the stage and with sun setting Neil soon appeared maybe 25 feet directly in front of us seated at his piano. With a quick glance at my two oldest boys, a reach out from my wife's hand, the absolute purity of Neil's voice/ inflection had my soul "All in." An array of timeless tunes that emote warmth and connection allowed people to take in Neil's heart....I looked around and nearly everyone was beautifully....."I wanna live.....I wanna give....." it chokes me up to even write it.....can we exist in this space forever.....together.....please?
Once his acoustic set finished, Promise of the Real took the stage and flanked Neil. Best band name.....a reminder to keep to the truth. Sure rock and roll can be fun......sure it can be crazy and wild.....but to be true is to be great. No easy task for anyone. I've had the opportunity to see this band grow for the past decade as we attend Farm Aid nearly every year.....and every year I come home recharged knowing that this next generation has a band like this.....a band that honors the past while completely rocking the now. Always refreshing to witness anyone truly living their destiny......and these guys are. As a father I'm just so happy my kids will get to hear/ see this band for years to come.

The set list just kept giving. White Falcon, one of Neil's classic guitars, plugged in and Neil and the Real hit full stride from the first notes and established that this is no ordinary band......Fascinating Micah Nelson playing Ben Keith's riffs with a bow.....serious hairball Lukas Nelson driving, jumping, and poking in and out of Neil's calls. Anthony keepin hot time, drumming it up, and smiling dearly.....a wide eyed Corey on bass truly conjuring up his best inner Talbot. Tato filling it all up with his heart of gold. The message was expectedly strong and focused. Monsanto, Starbucks, Safeway. The courage to call em out! Call out the corporate greed and chemicals that are killing the land. As the intensity built both my wife soon began to crave the creamy crunch of ol' Black. Raw, real, and potent the crowd danced, many mouths wide open as society is starved to hear something other than the greedy hand of capitalism serving up slop skimmed off the surface.

Long way to go in this fight to reclaim Mother Earth.....yet I write feeling the magic in my heart and just grateful. Never have I a seen an artist so quick to leave.....yet maybe that's indicative of a speedier return. Long may YOU run Neil Young and I hope you dug the antique train lantern!

See ya on the Thrashers Wheat Radio Hour,

~ Eric

Eric Koval
Founder and Executive Director
Music Guild International

The following review is by WBKM's Tony Gallucci:
Yes, indeed our once young Neil is nearing 70. Well, on Sunday night July 19, 2015, Neil Young proved that 70 is the new 45. Playing with a band of musicians who were just barely born when "Ragged Glory" was released, Neil should have seen that he finally met his match. Instead, what he has met is a group of musicians equally passionate and dedicated and concerned about the future of our world...and as unafraid as he is to speak up about it. Tools sharpened. Prepare to rock.

With a balance of fury and delicacy, youthful vigor and appreciation of all that had come before them, Promise of the Real, along with younger brother Micah, gives me a deep hopefulness about the future of music. Sitting behind the band on the drums, Anthony Logerfo is no click track drummer. Strong, talented, self-assured, and always smiling. Tato Melgar on percussion adds a touch of the exotic, just the right amount of Allman Brothers quixotic style. Corey McCormick plays a solid and rhythmic baseline, the perfect bottom laid down as he stands on the stage between Lukas, leader of his band, and Mr. Young, leader of this strange and beautiful new horse of a different decade.

The brothers, sons of Neil's Farm Aid cofounder Willie Nelson, bookend the stage in the perfect circle of family. Their bond is beautifully portrayed when Neil introduces a special song, and Lukas, moving to piano, begins the beautiful and emotional "Moonlight in Vermont". It was a very special moment for me, as the language spoken only in the eyes between Lukas and Micah as the song ended, silently given witness by Neil's smile, was unmistakable. "Hey brother, this is just like we used to do with pop, at home, only here we are with Uncle Neil and 10,000 folks in Vermont !" No need to say it out loud. All who know how dear the song is to father Willie could hear it too.

"Strong Vermont...Standing up while other states lie down", shouts Neil as he punches the air to the loving delight of the crowd. Words...Between the lines of age...Only Love Can Break Your Heart...Country Home...Looking for a Love. How can we ask for more? But more comes...

Time for some nice non-GMO coffee, don't you think? It's best brewed up by two of my favorite new songs: "A rock star bucks a coffee shop", with the infectious whistles of the four front men standing abreast..."Let our farmers grow, what they want to grow". Then a little later, The very hopeful "Working Man", telling the story that changed the world in 1996... Naming names like Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, a former Monsanto employee clearing the way for patent infringement lawsuits on the sacred seed, giving ownership to what was once given freely from God. "Well I don't know you, but I do know who I am!" Defiant, as Lucas plays the country lead on his Stratocaster with his teeth. He and Cory bouncing like hippie cowboy versions of Tigger.

Crazy horse favorites played with great respect and wild abandon...DBTR, with the brothers, Corey and Neil huddled in a tight circle playing their hearts out. The sonically booming "love and only love", ending with Neil standing on the drum riser in front of Anthony, each wild man pulling the last speck of energy from each other's souls.

A special treat, standing at the bottom of the stairs backstage as each man in his own way prepared to leave the arena. Neil, surrounded by the necessary protectors, depleted, exhausted, having left nothing behind. "Thank you Neil, thank you for coming to Vermont", I shout, the steady eyes and small nod of the head acknowledging my presence, respecting me. Then comes the youth, looking like they could do it all over again...Lukas, grasping me tightly, soaking me with rockstar sweat as I try to find some words that will convey my feelings of appreciation. Anthony, smiling still, Corey, Tato...And finally comes Micah, whose genius grafted the distinctive progressive rock/jazz madness of his own band, the wonderful Insects versus Robots, into this new Real, and this new promise...that Ahmet Ertegun and Jerry Wexler, the proud musical overseers of the careers of Neil Young and Willie Nelson, could indeed this night rest in peace, knowing that their never ending influence would continue on into yet another generation...

Tony Gallucci
Founder and CEO
Music Guild International

Thanks Eric & Tony for the eyewitness reports from Vermont! Sorry we missed making the trip but we'll be there next time, for sure. And thanks for all you do to keep it REAL on TW Radio!

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Don't be denied!

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peace & love. stay calm. no fear. use discernment. recognize the illusion. question authority. prepare for the big shift. be the wheat and keep on rockin' in the free world.

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