London, UK Concert: Neil Young + Promise of the Real - June 11, 2016
Photo by Every Record Tells A Story
From blog Every Record Tells A Story:
There are two kinds of live artists: those who play the hits, and those who don’t.
One of my favourite Neil Young stories is about the time Young played a set of completely new, unheard songs to an audience, then told them “here’s one you’ve heard before” only to then dash their hopes of hearing something familiar by repeating one of the new songs he’d just played.
Pure trolling, early seventies-style.
Last night, and indeed throughout this tour with his new band The Promise of the Real, Neil Young has become an artist who plays his back catalogue. The O2 Arena was treated to a beautifully paced set of classic songs, into which were sprinkled a couple of newer songs.
When Neil Young – always one to follow his own path – has a tour where he does play the hits, you have to ask yourself, “why?”
Young has never been afraid of making hard decisions. From quitting Buffalo Springfield to go solo, to ditching Crazy Horse to join Crosby Stills and Nash, to ditching Crosby Stills and Nash to team up with Crazy Horse again, Young has always followed his instincts. So why now?
The answer may lie in the band that is backing him. The Promise of the Real include two of Willie Nelson’s sons, Micah and Lukas plus a formidable rhythm section, all of whom are young enough to have grown up listening to Young’s music. Already a unit, POTR jammed with Young at 2014’s Farm Aid and Young subsequently asked them to back him. They have the energy and enthusiasm of youth and it is suiting the seventy year old Young well.
From Neil Young, 02 Arena, London — ‘Mighty, often mesmerising’ - An epic gig brought together agitprop stage business, heart-sore balladry and sprawling jams | Financial Times by Richard Clayton:
“You start down in the Shire, and by the end, you’re in the crater of Mount Doom.”
So said Micah Nelson last year of Neil Young’s latest, epic touring show. (Together with his brother Lukas, this son of Willie fronts the great man’s backing group, Promise of the Real.) Even if the 70-year-old Canadian is nobody’s idea of a retiring hobbit, the Tolkien analogy isn’t a bad one for a mighty, often mesmerising yarn of a gig that sweeps from heart-sore balladry to whammy-hammering electric guitar jams — with a touch of Manichean panto thrown in.
The riffing becomes truly immersive once Young switches to “Old Black”, his 1953 Les Paul. “Love to Burn” manages to be thunderous and meditative; “Mansion on the Hill” giddily consoling; the rarely heard “Revolution Blues” still menacing and magnificently bitter.
As with the best journeys, it’s not the arriving that counts but the getting there.
The great Neil Young and Promise of The Real last night at O2 pic.twitter.com/5pO94tAg1R— bob smith (@bobsmithpfc) June 12, 2016
Laura Marling/Neil Young, a terrific show at the O2. pic.twitter.com/BxtppvQsfw— Brian Moses (@moses_brian) June 12, 2016
Neil Young, at the O2. From Hank (sweet, acoustic Neil) to Hendrix (grungemeister Neil). Waging heavy environmentalism. Eschewing hits.— David Souter (@DavidNSouter) June 12, 2016
I really wish I didn't sell my Neil Young tickets— Porter (@M0okid) June 12, 2016
Neil Young + Promise of the Real will be performing tonight, June 11 in UK, London at The O2 Arena.
Got a report? Drop us a comment below.
Check Sugar Mountain for setlist updates and Chronological Grid, Recording Summary, Statistics and Extras.
Also, see Neil Young + Promise of the Real 2016 Concert Tour Dates for reviews, photos, videos and more.