Neil Young's new release ""World Record" w/ Crazy Horse is now available for pre-order. Order here
(Please shop locally & independently. But if you can't, we appreciate your supporting Thrasher's Wheat by clicking this link or YOUR COUNTRY's FLAG. Thank you!!!)
<-Older Posts Blog Home Newer Posts->

Sunday, July 12, 2015

REVIEW: Red Rocks: Neil Young + Promise of the Real, July 8 & 9, 2015

Neil Young
Red Rocks, CO, July 9, 2015
Photos by Michael Golden
(Click photo to enlarge)

Here's an excellent review by Michael Golden a long time Neil fan. Thanks Michael! (& Tom!)

It had been pouring rain all day long. The parking lot was red mud as we trudged up to the south entrance of the amphitheater. The woman at the gate told us that the show was barely half sold that evening. In the steady rain, we watched Band of Horses perform. As Band of Horses closed out their set, the skies parted. A beautiful rainbow appeared in the eastern sky, and then, two women came out onto the stage. Tossing seeds and watering sunflowers, they seemed intent to let it grow. Only a distraction to me, and everyone else, as after a few minutes watching these two women, somebody had snuck out onto the stage behind the old upright. Our spiritual leader had arrived. If Red Rocks was only half sold out that evening, someone might want to explain why as Neil started performing After the Goldrush the entire place was on their feet, clear up to the back row. The venue was packed to capacity.

Neil set out on a tremendous solo acoustic set, later to be joined by Willie's kids and the Promise of the Real. There was something for everyone at these shows. From longstanding hits to songs pulled from the dustbins of history, nobody, and I mean nobody could have been disappointed by Neil's performance Wednesday night. When was the last time you heard Hold Back the Tears and Peace of Mind in one show? How about Bad Fog of Loneliness and Flying on the Ground is Wrong? For goodness sakes, even after better than a couple hundred Neil performances over the past 35 years, I was blown away. For the hardcore fan, Neil pulled out songs like Words (Between the Lines of Age), Don't Be Denied (1st song of the encore Wednesday evening) and Double E (2nd song of the encore Wednesday evening).

The Monsanto Years was certainly heavily promoted in the show, as those of us who know Neil would anticipate. We weren't there to see him perform Heart of Gold or Old Man (although he did!). We were there for the obscure and the new. We got everything we bargained for, and then some. Wolf Moon is an absolutely beautiful song, and Neil pulled it off impeccably. While the new album is focused on corporate farming practices, this is nothing new coming from Neil. He has stayed the course over virtually his entire career. Just listen to After the Goldrush, Field of Opportunity, or Mother Earth as examples. This thread is nothing new to Neil, and we as his fans largely support it.

The setlist was incredible, spanning from the Buffalo Springfield to the present day. I for one was stunned at the number of Stray Gators songs Neil performed, considering that all members of the Stray Gators have sadly passed away. There is no replacing the soul of the Stray Gators, Ben Keith, but Lukas & Micah Nelson sure tried on slide guitar and using a bow on the guitar. Also surprising was the number of Crazy Horse songs performed. With only one exception, they all came off incredibly well. That exception was Cowgirl in the Sand. It just seemed like the band didn't have the sound balanced properly during the jams in between verses. Perhaps that was just my perception. But White Line, Love & Only Love, and Double E came off just great. In any event, seeing Neil do Cowgirl in the Sand cannot be easily discounted. It WAS fantastic, thank you Neil!

After nearly 3 hours, the show ended with Don't Be Denied followed by Double E. If there was anyone disappointed with this show, perhaps they should consider never leaving their house again, as it's been a long time since I have seen a Neil performance this moving and energized.

The second night was equally exciting. This time however, the weather decided to be a bit less cooperative. While the day was gorgeous, Neil's performance was rained on. Actually, it poured. And candidly, it didn't matter. Thursday evening was packed to the rafters. Fortunately, the real fans knew to bring their rain gear, and we needed it. Neil came out of the box a little rough on his vocals with After the Goldrush, but he quickly gained his composure. His set while shorter than Wednesday evening, had some incredible highlights. As Neil broke into Winterlong, the emotions of the second day were overwhelming. It is a song that is so moving and personal that I felt as if he performed it in my honor. I have lived the storyline of Winterlong, and it is painful. It was a great version, very moving, and just phenomenal. Again, hearing Words performed was just unbelievable, not to mention one of the best Down by the River's I have heard in years, possibly decades. Neil didn't do Cowgirl the 2nd night, but the Down By The River had 10,000 plus people in the pouring rain cheering as he pulled off one of the most incredible solos I have ever heard him do. Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere was late in the show, which is odd as he often performs that song early in the performance when I have heard it on prior occasions. The encore Thursday night wasn't a real barn burner, but we had almost 2 1/2 hours of Neil, non-stop in the pouring rain with lightning illuminating the night sky around Red Rocks. No complaints whatsoever.

"Well all you critics sit alone..." I read a review by a fellow named Matt Miller. He must have been at a different Red Rocks this week and seen a different Neil Young. When 10,000+ people are on their feet getting pelted by heavy rain, cheering at the top of their lungs during virtually the entire show, sorry Matt, but I'd say you might reconsider your statement "...the fans lost interest from the long concert and the new, preachy songs toward the end from the new album." Judging from what I saw, nothing could be further from the truth. Consider the following - there are 12 shows on this tour, 2 were at Red Rocks, and nobody walked away disappointed. A woman next to me Thursday night broke down into tears. It was her very first Neil show, she flew to Denver from Sausalito, and she couldn't believe how good he was. Sadly, she didn't bring her rain gear - typical Bay Area concert goer. There were fans in attendance from coast to coast. I met people from the midwest, the east coast, the west coast, and points in between. The real Neil fans knew this was going to be a special week at Red Rocks, and Neil let nobody down.

For those of us musicians, Neil used the old upright (you know the old beat up upright), the foot pump pipe organ, the old Martin D-28, the White Gretsch, and Old Black. I don't recall him using any other guitars.

As for the Stray Gators portion of the show, it was great. The Stray Gators were one of the best bands Neil ever recorded and performed with in my opinion. We were fortunate that they came back together 20+ years ago for a stint. Let them all rest in peace.

With regards to the Crazy Horse songs, they were good. But Neil, this is to you personally - it's time to let the Horse out of the barn. I have a hard time seeing Love & Only Love, White Line, Down By The River, Cowgirl in the Sand, and Everybody Knows This is Nowhere performed by some other band when Poncho, Ralph and perhaps Billy are ready, willing and able to rock n roll. There is no substitute for Crazy Horse, especially when the guys can pull it off.

Finally, for those concerned with Neil's wrist, it was wrapped the 2nd night, but not the first night. Obviously it's causing him some pain. Maybe that's why the 2nd show was a bit shorter than Wednesday evening. Regardless, show me a musician who can captivate an audience for close to 3 hours, with no intermission, have them engaged and on their feet, cheering, singing, crying and totally into every word and note. The greatest singer/songwriter/musician we have ever seen is thankfully still with us, and he continues to bring us timeless music in a relevant manner. Nobody can do what Neil does, nobody ever will.

Long May You Run Neil.

Michael Golden
Truckee, California
Nice review Michael. Thanks for sharing.

More reviews, photos, videos and more on Red Rocks: Neil Young + Promise of the Real, July 9, 2015.

Also, commentary, discussion and analysis on last night's Thrasher's Wheat Radio on Wbkm Dot Org. Download podcast at Thrasher's Wheat Radio Hour - 7/11/15 - Episode #138.

Don't be denied!

Tune in details and podcast info @ Thrashers Wheat Radio Hour.

Thrasher's Wheat Radio
Tune in on, Saturdays @ 9P EST

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.

Labels: , ,


At 7/12/2015 07:10:00 PM, Blogger redroxx said...

Great review from the shows on the Rock. But I disagree a bit on the Horse comment.

IMO, Lukas has started to do something nobody has done - stepped in for Danny, and honored him at the same time. I predict that sometime in the later shows of the tour, Lukas will succeed in pulling Neil into the most unbelievable live rendition of DBTR in Neil's career.

I'm just sorry I won't be there. I'll have to settle for the 9.75 out of 10 version I witnessed on 7/9/15.

Live music is better, bumper stickers should be issued.

At 7/13/2015 07:50:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank-you, Michael

Beautiful piece

At 7/13/2015 11:55:00 AM, Blogger TopangaDaze said...

Nice review, I could imagine being there.

Obviously everyone has their opinions on the different facets and versions of Neil's persona where he and his songs shine the brightest. Regarding Crazy Horse, prior to 1991 they were far and away my favorite Neil collaboration. But during the Weld tour, he/they started with the ridiculous drawn out false song endings, and since then it's only gotten worse (to my ears). As I've previously said, now they simply bore me to tears in concert and I stopped attending their shows.

Just my opinion, and I'll always hold Crazy Horse in high esteem from the Rockets right on up through Poncho, but the way Neil plays with them no longer has the magic (for me). Way too sludgy and drones on far too long...

Take my advice
Don't listen to me

At 7/13/2015 03:04:00 PM, Blogger Art Carey said...

Interesting to me: the Matt Miller review of the first Red Rocks night is a very positive assessment of Neil and his performance. Really.


Post a Comment

<< Home

<-Older Posts Blog Home Newer Posts->

Willie for a Nobel!

Willie Nelson for Nobel Peace Prize
for Farm Aid and his work on
alternative fuels, and world peace initiatives.

Farm Aid

Go Farmers Markets!

"In the >field< of opportunity
It's plowin' time again."

Silverline Communications

(Home of the FarmAidians)
Tecumseh, Ontario, Canada
(519) 737-7979

This blog supports free speech!

Demand justice for Aaron:
Support "Aaron's Law" and inquiry into his prosecution

(... he didn't kill himself either...) #AaronDidntKillHimself

Induct Neil Young & Crazy Horse
Into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame

Please Help Support Independent Media &
Non-Corporate Advertising
This Blog's For You!

The Hypocrisy of the Mainstream Media

It's Been Called The
"Missing Link" in the Ditch Trilogy


Sign the Release "Time Fades Away" Petition
Join The 10,000+ Who Have Already Signed


Neil Young Appreciation Society

Sugar Mountain

Neil Young Setlists
Rust Radio


Bands Covering Neil Young songs


Official Neil Young News Site

The Bridge School

The Bridge School Concerts
25th Anniversary Edition

**100% of Proceeds to Benefit Bridge School***

The Essential Neil Young

Fans Favorite Neil Albums

Top 50 MP3
Neil Young Song Downloads

Top 10 Best Selling Neil Albums Today
Support Thrasher's Wheat
via Purchases from:
United States - us.gif
Canada - canada.gif
United Kingdom - gb.gif
Germany - de.gif

Neil Young Songbook Project

In the fields of wheat

"Children of Destiny" will NOT be harvested
However, the chaff will be burned by unquenchable fire

Neil Young + Promise of the Real

Europe 2016 Tour Dates

2015 Rebel Content Tour

Neil Young & Crazy Horse
Alchemy Concert Tour Reviews

Fall 2012 N. America Tour
Spring 2013 Australia/New Zealand Tour
Summer 2013 Europe Tour

Europe Summer 2014 Concert Tour
Neil Young & Crazy Horse

Thrasher's Wheat Radio Supporters Go To Europe

Neil Young Films

2010 MusiCares Honors Neil Young

Features Elvis Costello, Crosby Stills & Nash, Sheryl Crow, Josh Groban, Ben Harper, Elton John, Norah Jones, Lady Antebellum, Dave Matthews, James Taylor, Keith Urban, and others.
Proceeds from sales go to MusiCares,
which helps musicians in need of
financial and medical assistance.


"There's more to the picture
Than meets the eye"



Neil Young FAQ:
Everything Left to Know About the Iconic and Mercurial Rocker
"an indispensable reference"

Paul McCartney and Neil Young


"You can make a difference
If you really a try"

John Lennon and Neil Young

"hailed by fans as a wonderful read"

Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young:
The Supergroup of the 20th Century

Director Jonathan Demme's Exquisite film "Heart of Gold"

eddie & neil
Eddie Vedder and Neil Young

Revisiting The Significance of
The Buffalo Springfield

"The revolution will not be televised"
... it will be blogged, streamed,
tweeted, shared and liked
The Embarrassment of Mainstream Media

Turn Off Your TV & Have A Life

"Everything Is Bullshit" +
"Turn Off The News"
Turn Off the News (Build a Garden)

Neil Young 2016 Year in Review:
The Year of The Wheat

Kurt Cobain
Kurt Cobain and Neil Young

Neil Young's Feedback:
An Acquired Taste?

Young Neil: The Sugar Mountain Years
by Rustie Sharry "Keepin' Jive Alive in T.O." Wilson

"the definitive source of Neil Young's formative childhood years in Canada"

neil & joni
Joni Mitchell & Neil Young

europe 1987.jpg

Bob and Neil

So Who Really Was "The Godfather of Grunge"?

Four Dead in Ohio
kent state
So What Really Happened at Kent State?

The Four Dead in Ohio

May The FOUR Be With You #MayThe4thBeWithYou


dissent is not treason
Dissent is the highest form of patriotism

Rockin' In The Free World

Sing Truth to Power!
When Neil Young Speaks Truth To Power,
The World Listens

Emmylou Harris and Neil Young

Wilco and Neil Young


Bruce Springsteen and Neil Young


Elton John and Neil Young

Lynyrd Skynyrd and Neil Young


The Meaning of "Sweet Home Alabama" Lyrics

Neil Young Nation -
"The definitive Neil Young fan book"

What does the song mean?

Random Neil Young Link of the Moment

Bonnie Raitt and Neil Young

I'm Proud to Be A Union Man


When Neil Young is Playing,
You Shut the Fuck Up

Class War:
They Started It and We'll Finish It...

A battle raged on the open page...
No Fear, No Surrender. Courage

"What if Al Qaeda blew up the levees?"
Full Disclousre Now

"I've Got The Revolution Blues"

Willie Nelson & Neil Young
Willie Nelson for Nobel Peace Prize

John Mellencamp:
Why Willie Deserves a Nobel



Love and Only Love

"Thinking about what a friend had said,
I was hoping it was a lie"

We're All On
A Journey Through the Past

Neil Young's Moon Songs
Tell Us The F'n TRUTH
(we can handle it... try us)

Does Anything Else Really Matter?

"Nobody's free until everybody's free."
~~ Fannie Lou Hamer

Here Comes "The Big Shift"

Maybe everything you think you know is wrong? NOTHING IS AS IT SEEMS
"It's all illusion anyway."

Propaganda = Mind Control
Guess what?
"Symbols Rule the World, not Words or Laws."
... and symbolism will be their downfall...

Brighter Planet's 350 Challenge
Be The Rain, Be The Change

the truth will set you free
This Machine Kills Fascists

"Children of Destiny" - THE Part of THE Solution

(Frame from Official Music Video)

war is not the answer
yet we are
Still Living With War

"greed is NOT good"
Hey Big Brother!
Stop Spying On Us!
Civic Duty Is Not Terrorism

The Achilles Heel
Orwell (and Grandpa) Was Right
“Emancipate yourself from mental slavery.”
~~ Bob Marley

The Essence of "The Doubters"

Yes, There's Definitely A Hole in The Sky

Even Though The Music Died 50+ Years Ago
Open Up the "Tired Eyes" & Wake up!
"consciousness is near"
What's So Funny About
Peace, Love, & Understanding & Music?


Show Me A Sign

"Who is John Galt?"
To ask the question is to know the answer

"Whosoever shall give up his liberty for a temporary security
deserves neither liberty nor safety."

~~ Benjamin Franklin


(Between the lines of age)

And in the end, the love you take
Is equal to the love you make

~~ John & Paul

the zen of neil
the power of rust
the karma of the wheat