canada.gif

gb.gif

de.gif

us.gif
Neil Young's new album "Roxy - Tonight's the Night Live" 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 . Thank you!!!)
ADVERTISEMENT
<-Older Posts Blog Home Newer Posts->

Saturday, July 14, 2018

William Prince: My Two Nights Opening For Neil Young

William Prince

William Prince was the opening artist for Neil Young's solo concerts at the Wang Theatre, Boston, MA, on Wednesday, July 11 and Thursday, July 12. William Prince is a JUNO Award-winning singer-songwriter from Manitoba, Canada. More on William Prince and his story.

Here are his thoughts on opening for Neil Young.


My two nights opening for Neil Young.

As I type that, the cosmic dust is still settling. I don’t know if it ever will because you pick-up and keep going to the next thing. I’m on a plane right now to Edmonton. If Neil showed me anything, it’s how wonderful it can be to keep going once the whole thing is yours. I’m so thankful it was two nights. That’s how much time is needed to really process his being and take in the moment. I tried my best to do just that.

Preface:

We have the same agent in the States. The vibrant Marsha Vlasic who I met for the first time. This was my second time meeting him.

We spoke a number of times. He was so generous with his time.

His crew and partner are the sweetest people.

I didn’t ask for a photo because he treated me like a friend and peer. Everything Neil does and says is quotable and photo-worthy. That’s what happens after all that work. He gets it all the time. I was in his house and that’s all I needed.

I’ll never forget making him laugh and his ageless smile. 72 years and 100% charming, funny and cool as hell.

Chapter 1: The Call

“You’ve just been offered two nights opening for Neil Young in Boston. Can I say yes?” My manager was delighted and it was only a week’s notice. Of course, I said. A million times “yes”. In the meantime, head to BC to a beautiful resort in Harrison Hot Springs and open for Buffy Sainte-Marie. Calm yourself and prepare. What a show that was. Two incredible icons in one week. I’m playing a lot of new songs lately and that will sometimes take me out of the room to focus. Not this time. I felt every moment. I guess I’m learning the new songs. Buffy was the sweetest as always.

She always asks about Wyatt first-thing. Her show was spectacular. She blessed me and sent me on my way rejuvenated with love.

Chapter 2: “Austin, Massachusetts?”

We get to Boston. My best bud Adam and I. Future tour manager once I can afford to replace his teaching salary in China. Leave it to me to put him to work on his vacation. I couldn’t stop him from coming. “Yeah, like I’m gonna miss my best friend opening for Neil Young”, he exclaimed. That was that.

We did the only thing you can do. Got tickets to the Red Sox and relaxed. I never want to do much before a show. Even after, for that matter. I’m usually alone and satisfied working on songs in my room. I’m glad I had my bud there to take me out to the ball game. It was hot and I was excited as could be suffering from Day 1 of a brutal sinus cold courtesy of my sweet son. Can’t leave for 10 days and not kiss his face a million times. It was worth it.

Red Sox win.

Chapter 3: The First Night and His Sound

I was up to my usual stuff that day. Up too early and ready to see this beautiful theatre. I read all about it. The history is remarkable to say the least. Wiki: Wang Theatre. Emails, memes, articles, checking on my family. Sat outside the hotel with coffee smoking delicious American Spirits (yellow) until I was ready.

Nobody’s heard Earthly Days here. It’s 8 hours til showtime and I’m preparing my set. Earthly Days is always a good starter song because it’s so simple and allows for any last minute adjustments once the show is rolling. I’ve decided that’ll be the first song.

We get to the theatre for Neil’s sound check.

The Wang Theatre. What a breathtaking place. The stage is beautiful. There’s a totem pole. Upright piano, pump organ, two grand pianos, 7 acoustics (one of Hank Williams’ and two from Stephen Stills), a dozen harmonicas scattered throughout.

Sitting glasses of water everywhere. (Why?)

Neil gives history lessons for each instrument and rinses his harmonicas in the water after each song. He wipes them on his pants. Cherries and oranges on stage for a snack during the last half hour of his set. This guy addresses a crowd of 3600 while casually eating an orange.

The sound check felt like every curiosity of mine as young performer confirmed. What do you do leading up to the show? Does Neil check his own stuff? Yes. There’s a piano tuner on hand and a crew he’s been with for 40 years. It’s easy, laid back and fun. I watched from afar as not to impede his workspace. Neil plays piano and calls out minor adjustments. I’m in pre-show singer-songwriter heaven.

“But only love can break your heart...” that melody on keys will stay with me forever. He played it on a guitar for the actual show.

My sound check was great. The crew took such good care.


Chapter 4: 5 Minutes Early

It’s showtime. The theatre is rumbling. People are here and ready. 7:53 PM.

“Do you wanna go out 5 minutes early for an extra song? Let us know when you want the lights to go down and it’s all yours”.

I took the 5 extra minutes. Lights drop. Theatre erupts and I deliver my 35 minutes.

Earthly Days, Bloom, The Carny, Lighthouse, Wasted, Great Wide Open, made up song about Boston, Breathless, done.

Off stage they encourage and let me know it was great. Up until the first song I’m still an unknown guest to most. I always love the opportunity to present my songs and stories to new people. Felt like everything clicked and I was welcomed even more into Neil’s camp. The vibe is all appreciation and excitement. I’m overwhelmed. All I can say is thank you.

Neil’s manager comes up to me and says “Absolutely gorgeous, William. Breathless is the most beautiful song I’ve heard in some time. How is Neil supposed to follow that?” With all the love in the world.

We all have a big laugh.

Truth is, I was a little shaky. I know my voice isn’t 100% because of the cold. What you learn from a theatre that size is volume is necessary. My mix was quite loud and I asked for it to be turned way down. People will always change the sound of the empty room. Chatter from the second balcony hangs over you. It’s loud. That many people quietly talking is LOUD. Mental note for tomorrow’s sound check: turn the mix back up. It got better as everyone started listening.

Highlight: someone yelled my name when I walked on stage. In Boston, where I’ve never been!

Daryl Hannah comes over and expresses the sweetest things about every song. She watched from the side both nights. Such a beautiful person.

Chapter 5: Heart of Gold

You can read in depth reviews of Neil’s show everywhere. Every song. “Ohio” gave us chills. I love that he played to the room. It was a quiet show for the most part.

Quiet but plenty heard. Those old theatres were designed for no amplification. Neil knows and uses it to command the room.

He sang Pocahontas the first night. He spoke about First Nations people with love and as an advocate. He was so funny and interesting. He shares the stories of his songs. The mood he was in when writing them. Where he was. He took his time moving from station to station playing beautiful renditions of every era.

“Down By The River!!!!” “Harvest Moon!!!” “We love you Neil!”

Endless requests.

He comes back sharp as a razor.

“The thing about the call outs is I always manage to play them in the next city. I always come through. It just takes a little time.”

This was Neil’s show. Nobody else. The people loved every minute. Humorous, poised, confident. A master class in how to be yourself on stage.

Neil Young solo is like watching Scott Nolan in the studio. Interesting stories and beautiful songs while always on the move.

Quotes:

“We’ve been fortunate. We made songs and we made a lot of money. That’s not really that interesting but it’s always good to have a lot of money.”

“I believe Boston is the centre of folk music in America” *roaring applause* “Mind you, I said that in Detroit and Chicago, too.”

I laughed and cried all night. I got emotional at one point. I’ve never been here before. I’ve never seen this. I didn’t expect any of this to happen. I took a moment to be thankful and bask in it. One of many dreams coming true.

It felt like Neil spoke to me the next night.

“Who would’ve thought all this would happen? Nobody knew what these songs would be back when I was writing them. They just listened. Thank you for being here and listening.”

He also talked about his dad meeting him at a show in the 70’s in the same theatre.

“He took a bus all the way here to meet me. We sat on my bus and talked about old times”.

Photo by William Prince

Chapter 6: Tomorrow

“See you tomorrow, William.”

Something about that hit me. Yes, I get to be here tomorrow. I get to do this again!

Neil Young knows my name and with that trademark grin threw me a “see ya later, bud” kinda send-off.

Chapter 7: Night 2

Night 2 was such a smash. My sound was tweaked and perfect. I was more familiar with what the building was gonna do. I opened with “All I Know” followed by a never performed new song. Felt good to pump up the crowd with something upbeat. The theatre was packed and everyone listened from the get-go. I took the 5 again. I spoke more. The show doesn’t change. All I can do is my show regardless of the building.

People ask what I do and my answer is “I sing songs in buildings”.

Imagine what weeks of doing this is going to do for my performance and artistry? Every step in its time and place.

Neil’s second night was like my first. He was a little more reserved and let the songs talk. It’s the last night of a long run for him. Nobody complained.

“Sorry I’m not talking. I don’t know what’s going on. But, thank you.”

Chapter 8: Hey Hey, My My

I could go on forever.
I might write a book.
I think this is one chapter of a book.
I think the last three years of my life is one song for the album I write when I’m 50.

I hope one day I can talk about a piano of mine that survived a fire and has been with me for 48 years.

I’m so thankful to Neil and his crew. I’m so thankful to my crew for getting all this together and keeping me going.

I’m thankful if you read this far.

We both sang songs. We both shared. We both carry on. Different degrees of the same thing.

Chapter 9: Encore/Goodbye

Finally.

After all that beauty, art, anticipation and delivery, Neil leaves the people cheering for an encore. He walks off with total faith that they will applaud for 3-4 minutes while he sips his warm beer, kisses the love of his life and tinkers with a ukulele.

Watching him BE is a show in itself. I was truly in awe and tried to remember as many feels as possible. Thinking ahead to how long this post would be because I want to share my journey in the right moments.

Anyway.

Neil walks out.

Here’s where he got me.

“This song is for my sweetheart”.

He plays Tumbleweed and walks off to her.

She was his last song.

Part of me remembers that feeling and wishes for it. She knows.

Someday, I’ll have Wyatt and maybe a wife to sign-off to the same way on the side. I might make 72. It was so great having my best bud side-stage for this one. I really enjoyed every moment and couldn’t be happier about it all.

I feel so blessed. I feel so ready to stay the path if the cosmos keeps it going.

I’m thankful for my friends, family and supporters of the music.

We must speak into existence the things we want for ourselves. Be positive and confident in our destination. I may not be there just yet but I’m growing every day and believing in the best. No shortcuts. Just work, time and perseverance. 7,200 people heard about the Peguis First Nation and learned a bit about my family and I.

What a victory.

My biggest challenge is acceptance. This life changes all the time and I pray every day I can do this forever. Whatever the case, my son will get to talk about his dad doing this cool thing some day. Nothing will ever change that now. Songs in buildings and reasons for Wyatt to be proud of me. That’s everything.

'Fellow Canadian William Prince opened with a solo acoustic set of his own, his low, ruminative voice lending his frequently beautiful songs a lived-in gravitas.”

-BOSTON GLOBE (July 12, 2018)

“But only love can break your heart...”

This life is what we make it.
I’m going to change the narrative and author my fate.
I will take the light I’m given with the many shades of black.

Thank you for reading.

William
Sent from my iPad

More on William Prince and his story. (Thanks HtH!)


"Tumbleweed"
Neil Young

Auditorium Theater, Chicago, Il - June 29
photo by thrasher

Also, see reviews of Neil Young's solo concerts at the Wang Theatre, Boston, MA, on Wednesday, July 11 and Thursday, July 12.

Labels: , , ,


Links to this post:

Create a Link

10 Comments:

At 7/14/2018 02:26:00 PM, Blogger wsanjose01 said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

 
At 7/14/2018 02:36:00 PM, Blogger Thrasher Wheat said...

well gee wsanjose01

we kind of enjoyed William's tale. certainly an untold story here on TW.

"A master class in how to be yourself on stage. "

you know, this wasn't really about William's music, right?

 
At 7/14/2018 02:53:00 PM, Blogger rolandthompsongunner said...

Thanks for posting, Thrasher. I more than kind of enjoyed it. Well articulated by Mr. Prince. It made me smile and I agree, it was a nice perspective. All you young artists also grow up as fans. Just ask Neil, Bruce or the late Tom Petty what they think of Roy Orbison.

This sort of reminds me of your post of Conan O'Brien's speech against cynicism. Sometimes it nice to hear something positive. It's an Angry World but sometimes People Want to Hear About Love.

-Coby

 
At 7/14/2018 03:02:00 PM, Blogger Thrasher Wheat said...

You're welcome Coby.

It was a pleasure to read as well. Maybe this is the big break for William in a tough business? Neil takes a chance w/ someone just like each year a Bridge bringing out some unknown before a big audience.

It's a gift and a joy to share the love of music.

peace

 
At 7/14/2018 05:48:00 PM, Blogger Seamus Mc Donnell said...

Fair dues, nice read.

 
At 7/14/2018 09:05:00 PM, Blogger ForeverYounger said...

don't know 'bout anyone else (Sanjose?) but i dug that lil' travellin' novella :) was kinda an insider's view, peeling back the curtain, gettin' a close up view thru someone else's eyes, @ the inner workings of the genius that is Neil. I was riveted. And If the dude can paint a picture like that in my mind's eye, must be a talented songwriter. I will now seek him out, peel back some more & dig a lil' deeper. Thank you Thrasher fer posting this. Wonderful story!

 
At 7/15/2018 11:01:00 AM, Blogger Shakey said...

I didn't know where else to post but what happened to the Heart of Gold Gala. It was talked about here and was listed on sugar mountain. But now there's no reference to it anywhere. Did it happen?

 
At 7/15/2018 12:42:00 PM, Blogger tamara in montana said...

Really enjoyed reading this! Thanks for posting, Thrasher, and for all you do here at Thrasher's Wheat. Most certainly a pleasant distraction to read each day instead of the day's depressing news.

 
At 7/17/2018 02:57:00 PM, Blogger wsanjose01 said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

 
At 7/25/2018 10:57:00 AM, Blogger romat73 said...

Cool little tour diary here. Very interesting to get some backstage info and to hear his perspective. I enjoyed William's set. Thanks!

 

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.


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


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

time-fades-away-banner2a

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


broken-arrow-mag-new-logo.gif

Neil Young Appreciation Society


sugar-mtn-logo.jpg
Sugar Mountain

Neil Young Setlists
rust-radio-new
Rust Radio


bumpersticker-neil-concert.jpg


i-l-ove-neil-young-sm.jpg
Bands Covering Neil Young songs


bumper-sticker-live-music-better-sm.jpg


ny-times-logo.jpg
Official Neil Young News Site

bridgeschool_logo
The Bridge School


The Bridge School Concerts
25th Anniversary Edition

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

farm-aid-logo.gif
Farm Aid

Stop factory farms
Go family farms!

linda-eastman-neil-young-sugar-mtn-sm.jpg
The Essential Neil Young

neil-young-sleeveless.jpg
Fans Favorite Neil Albums

neil-young-heart-of-gold-film-still
Top 50 MP3
Neil Young Song Downloads


Top 10 Best Selling Neil Albums Today
amazon-neil-store.GIF
Support Thrasher's Wheat
via Purchases from:
United States - Amazon.com us.gif
Canada - Amazon.ca canada.gif
United Kingdom - Amazon.uk gb.gif
Germany - Amazon.de de.gif



Neil Young Songbook Project

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

jttp-film-poster-sm.jpg
Neil Young Films

musicares-neil-young-2010.jpg
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.

live-rust-promo-poster.jpg


trans-promo



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

paul-neil-bridge2004-sat-sfc-kkomenich-sm.jpg
Paul McCartney and Neil Young

woodstock-poster.jpg


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

lennon_peace_liberty
John Lennon and Neil Young


"hailed by fans as a wonderful read"

Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young:
csny-1974-poster.jpg
The Supergroup of the 20th Century



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

eddie & neil
Eddie Vedder and Neil Young

buffalo-springfield-poster.jpg
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



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


dylan-young-crop
Bob and Neil

weld
So Who Really Was "The Godfather of Grunge"?


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

concert-pass-europe-2003-solo.jpg


dissent is not treason
Dissent is the highest form of patriotism

Rockin' In The Free World

Sing Truth to Power

emmylou-harris-neil-young-0305-crop
Emmylou Harris and Neil Young

wilco-062305-wide-background.jpg
Wilco and Neil Young

bluenotes-pass-young88crewlam-sm.jpg

bruce-springsteen-neil-young-bridge-oct-1986.jpg
Bruce Springsteen and Neil Young

europe87concertpass


elton-john-neil-young-crop-sm.jpg
Elton John and Neil Young

ronnie-vanzant-neil.jpg
Lynyrd Skynyrd and Neil Young


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

powderfinger
"Powderfinger"
What does the song mean?

Random Neil Young Link of the Moment
neil-sad.jpg
Wisconsin-solidarity.jpg
I'm Proud to Be A Union Man

UNITED WE STAND/DIVIDED WE FALL


When Neil Young is Playing,
You Shut the Fuck Up


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

A battle raged on the open page...
No Fear, No Surrender. Courage WE WON'T BACK DOWN. NEVER STAND DOWN.

"What if Al Qaeda blew up the levees?"


"I've Got The Revolution Blues"

Willie Nelson & Neil Young
Willie Nelson for Nobel Peace Prize



John Mellencamp:
Why Willie Deserves a Nobel

willie_picnic_poster_070503



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)

Freedom:
freedom-video
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
NOTHING IS AS IT SEEMS
Guess what?
"Symbols Rule the World, not Words or Laws."
Brighter Planet's 350 Challenge
Be The Rain, Be The Change

csny2k-plate.jpg
the truth will set you free
This Machine Kills Fascists


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

"greed is NOT good"
Occupy the Music

Hey Big Brother!
Stop Spying On Us!
Civic Duty Is Not Terrorism

The Achilles Heel
#NullifyNSA
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?


churchsign


Share

Words

(Between the lines of age)

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

~~ John & Paul


Namaste