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Monday, June 06, 2016

VIDEO: "Down By The River" - Neil Young + Promise of the Real - Glasgow, Scotland, June 5, 2016

An extraordinary video of Down By The River by Neil Young + Promise of the Real from last night in Glasgow, Scotland, June 5, 2016 . 19:00+ minutes of Old Black shredding does not get much better.

Scotsman comments on "Down By The River" video:
I almost cried with joy watching this video. Everything that was 'wrong' with the electric songs last year has finally been put right. POTR, who (electrically) sounded like a mediocre pub band doing Neil Young covers for much of last year, has matured into a backing band worthy of a musical king.

Neil is back fully in control, completely confident, alone in the spotlight, dashing off eloquent guitar solos and singing like a man decades younger. He's awake, he's alive, he means business. He dominates. It's like a different person to the old guy we saw on Colbert the other evening.

And he's playing lead guitar again! PROPERLY playing lead guitar, I mean, not just noodling around in the background whilst Lukas plays guitar hero. Neil's guitar instrumentals are given the space and time to develop, and the results speak for themselves.

Lukas, by the way, sounds great on this performance. He does one concise but powerful guitar solo, and then provides a sparse, tasteful rhythm part that allows Neil to really solo, unobstructed. The rest of the band sound great too. If anything, Micah could vary his rhythm just a little more, play a bit more sparsely, to give the song some more 'air'. Electric Neil Young needs plenty of air, the more the better.

The arena sound helps out, with a lovely echo spacing out the sound. Like Bob Dylan, Neil Young really does sound much better indoors. He's better in arenas and halls than at festivals.

Those of you in the audience last night were treated to a astonishing performance by a 70-year-old man, if this video is anything to go by. Neil Young could have died years ago, like Danny Whitten or David Briggs. And yet he's still here, playing at a standard comparable to his best. I hope more of us get to witness similar magic in the coming weeks.

I am offically excited about LIVE Neil Young again. Thank you Neil. And, finally, well done to POTR.

Thanks Scotsman! Than it's official -- it all gets REAL -- sooner or later. Glad we have that cleared up now.

Version #2

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At 6/07/2016 02:34:00 AM, Blogger Alan said...

Hmm. Glad to hear you're excited for the current tour. I'm not sure how omnipresent you were for the last PotR tour, but the show I saw in Seattle on 10/4/15 was mind-blowing, tremendous, incredible. I don't think anyone was complaining about PotR sounding like a pub band. Sure, they may be playing "better" now. I was absolutely thrilled with the last tour and so was Neil. I actually love the Monsanto Years songs and they are playing less of those now, so… I am glad I caught the last tour for my 16th Neil Young show. I've seen him play with a lot of different arrangements, more with Crazy Horse than any other, and they were all great. The current band is able to faithfully mine the Deep catalogue and play sophisticated songs that many haven't heard in decades. I agree with the praise you gave the band and that Neil is a marvel, kicking rock and roll ass at his age like the Rust has never set in. Long live Neil Young. By the way, the new album by Promise of the Real is quite good. They do a blazing cover of "If You're Going to San Francisco" with Neil on organ. The chorus reminds me of Neil too, but he is not credited. The song may even eclipse the original; at the very least it updates it and serves it up for the current political revolution in progress. Vote Bernie! -Alan in Seattle.

At 6/07/2016 03:13:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Just to note that my comment above was written about the version #2 video that Thrasher mentioned.

Both versions are great, but version #2 captures the echo of the arena better, which I like (and is also more comparable to what Neil is hearing as he plays). Being in the front row is a great worthwhile experience, but you don't get the full sound of the arena in the same way as you do a little further back.

Alan: There were some great shows last year, particularly the acoustic sets. But overall, the electric songs felt more like "Promise Of The Real with Neil Young", rather than Neil Young with POTR. Everyone was overplaying and steeping on each others toes, stifling the life out of Neil's guitar solos (his signature guitar sound is so 'big' that it's very hard to fit in amongst a busy sounding band - somebody needs to take a step back).

Things improved over the course of last year, but the difference this year so far is that Lukas is taking much more of a back seat and letting Neil drive. There's more space to the sound, and as a consequence the music feels less clumsy, less amateurish, there's less collision between the different instruments, more a sense of purpose and direction.

Above all, Neil is given the necessary room to play more unobstructed lead guitar again, which for most of us, is a very good thing. Long may it continue.


At 6/07/2016 05:28:00 AM, Blogger growl said...

I am resisting the temptation to watch these videos. I don't want to dilute the impact of witnessing things first hand this weekend. But it seems I am in for a couple of great nights. Just gotta decide which night to wear my TW shirt...

At 6/07/2016 07:38:00 AM, Blogger growl said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

At 6/07/2016 10:51:00 AM, Blogger Unknown said...

A "mediocre pub band"?! Spits out coffee laughing...the NY + POTR show I witnessed last year at the Greek Theater in Berkeley was hardly a pub band. While Monsanto leaves a few things to be desired, the band rocks. The version they performed of Working Man is still in my mind.

I hope Euro Rusties continue to have a fantastic summer tour!

At 6/07/2016 11:03:00 AM, Blogger downbutnotout said...

I absolutely agree with the above,I was at the Spokane show last October and must say I've never seen Neil enjoying the vibe so much. Miss CH, but will never stop Neil exploring! Roll on-Saturday to the O2, London

At 6/07/2016 12:24:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yes, most shows from last year are perfectly enjoyable. The Inglewood show I recently listened to struck me as containing some very powerful performances, including a soaring Cowgirl In The Sand. And I've consistently said that the acoustic and Gretsch songs have been routinely good from day one. Lukas and Micah are both very likeable and talented guitarists.

But for those of us who enjoy hearing Neil Young play lead on Old Black (that's everyone, then), these 2016 shows (so far) are a clear improvement, simply because he is doing so much more of it.

You only have to compare July 2015 with the June 2016 version of Down By The River to see how the sound has progressed, with Neil taking far more of the solos, and the band playing with more restraint and class, with a deep understanding of what they need to contribute.

The people in the audience the other night got to witness pretty much 100% Neil Young on lead guitar. Which is the way it should be. That's what we are there to hear. Of course we are. Somebody else can play lead for him when he is dead.


At 6/07/2016 03:15:00 PM, Blogger Pocahontas said...

Saw POTR in Brooklyn 5/27 sans Micah whose not in the band. They are very tight and Lucas can really sing and perform. He's also nice-got to shake his hand as he hung around for a few moments at the end. It was fantastic to see them in such a small venue. Agree that this DBTR is soaring. Last year they were just getting their chops together and this year we will likely see some really great moments. Wish I could afford a ticket to Europe. Cortez encore at Jones Beach last year though was unforgettable. Will always have that memory.


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