Memories From the Rail: Neil Young + Promise of the Real - Jones Beach Theater, Wantagh, NY - July 21, 2015
Jones Beach Theater, Wantagh, NY - July 21, 2015
Photos by Hounds That Howell
(Click photo to enlarge)
Here's a photo essay review from Neil Young + Promise of the Real on the 2015 Rebel Content Tour at Jones Beach Theater, Wantagh, NY on July 21, 2015 by our dear ol' buddy Hounds That Howell. enjoy.
Standing in the Pit we see Gold Lame…well that image has appeared in a few Neil songs and now Gold Lame streams on stage. Has Neil spun this performance from the Ecorock shows at Red Rocks to the Philadelphia Marathon of duration and musical ferocity at Camden to a Broadway Musical - The Monsanto Years? Now a few miles from Broadway a chorus and Preacher are in the foot lights with the Wizard watching from stage left. Will this show be Storytone meets The Monsanto Years?
It turns out The Reverend Billy and The Stop Shopping Chorus have won prestigious Theatrical Performance Awards and been awarded jail time for their anti consumerist and earth loving gospel shows and radical performances around the Big Apple. Their powerful soaring voices singing about the agenda of the 99% and their anti Monsanto anthem set the stage perfectly for Neil and the Nephews.
But first a pleasant and engaging interlude with Norah Jones and Puss and Boots. “What does that name mean?” question from the Pit. “Buy the Book and read it,” Catherine Popper scorches the heckler - love it! Norah and her bandmates were a great change up from the fine rootsy twang slow burn songs and lush reverb drenched sound of Band of Horses. Norah is the calm soul, centered in the spirit of the music and Sasha Dobson and Popper lace every song with sexy and smart attitude reminiscent of our beloved Arkansas Girls. It’s not “The Same Old Bullshit” each time they grace the stage. By the way, check out their new album for a great version of Down By The River and they have a fall tour of the mid Atlantic region scheduled.
Exit Puss and Boots enter Farmer John’s Daughter and her Cousin sowing seeds and respecting Mother Earth and her giving ways. There are three movements in the concert. First, well People Want to Hear About Love, and Neil’s Gold Records, so he starts the show with what they want. It's Neil and only Neil and a handful of his hits.
HE strides about the stage or sits at the keyboard in stark white spotlight. Yeah it’s Neil in Black and White. Raw and real.
Now that their jones is satisfied the second movement begins with Neil and Promise of the Real emerging from the smog spread by the crop dusting roadies.
The second movement is mostly Neil's back catalogue of countrified roots rock - perfectly selected songs for a band grown in Willie’s backyard. Biggest differences between Lukas, Micah, Corey, Anthony, Tato and Crazy Horse? Attitude.
POTR can’t believe they’re playing’ with Uncle Neil. The band’s enthusiasm and excitement is palpable from the opening chords of Hold Back the Tears. The greatest band enthusiasm comes through when they perform Walk On (from which Promise of the Real was named) which didn’t for Jones beach.
I don’t remember a Neil band member smiling as much throughout a performance Corey the bassist. He has a youthful innocence and appreciation of being on stage with Neil and this amazing catalogue of songs. He’s living every Rustie’s dream…just give us one set with Neil and we’ll die happy.
Dream - well there have been plenty of dreams about who could provide the musical support to take Neil on his next journey with the Muse. Lukas, MicaH and POTR have done it. Lukas provides a lead guitar to call and respond to Neil last seen in the hands of Stephen.
Neil doesn’t have to carry the whole show any more, just power lead on the legendary anthems. MicaH elevates the guitar section with his electric guitar bowing accenting songs with a steel guitar sound, at other times an electric lute sound provides a dreaminess. Long Grain is smiling.
Tato’s percussion section is a distinctive sound. It adds a new not heard before dimension to a Neil band. At times perhaps a touch reggae and definitely Island breezy it’s great to hear this sensuous new rhythm on Neil standards.
Dreamy Winterlong ends and Neil sheds the big Gretsch and Old Black is slung around his neck. “I think it’s time for a cup of coffee” and Neil kicks off the third movement diving into The Monsanto Years with A Rock Star Bucks a Coffee Shop. Now Rustie land seems to be pretty evenly divided among “no thanks”, “not bad”, “here’s why I love Neil” reviews of TMY. Go see the videos of the show.
The album does not carry the power of the music and the message the way the live performance does. They rock it and rock it hard on stage. They have fun with the new songs - they complement Love and Only Love, Down by the River, Cortez the Killer.
Poetic, romantic, righteous works along side plainly written political social action anthems in the Neil Rock we’ve ridden with Danny, Billy, Ralph and Poncho.
Having seen Neil with MicaH and Lukas at Farm Aid and BSB last fall we were Dreamin’ Man that they would do a project together. From what we hear The Monsanto Years are aging well and will be back on the road soon.
Thanks Hounds That Howell for all of the photos... and WORDS... always between the lines of ages ...as they say. Keep it REAL in the FREE world.