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Thursday, February 28, 2019

9 Years Ago: Neil Young Performed at Olympics Winter Games Closing Ceremony

Neil Young
"Long May You Run"
Vancouver Olympics Closing Ceremony: Winter Games 2010

PHOTO by Getty

9 years ago today, Neil Young performed at the Olympics Winter Games Closing Ceremony in Vancouver, Canada.

Neil Young performed "Long May You Run" for the Vancouver Olympics Closing Ceremony: Winter Games 2010. As snow gently drifted down from above, Neil strolled about with his harmonica rack and Martin guitar.

60,000 inside Vancouver stadium. Millions on the TeeVee box.

One harmonica. One guitar.

One man.

Following Young's performance, the cauldrons were extinguished and the torch arms retracted, bringing a symbolic coda to the Olympics finale.


Nearly universally, Neil Young at Olympics Closing Ceremonies was considered to be the broadcast highlight based on reviews and commentaries we saw here and here.


Neil Young Extinguishes Olympic Flame
"We've been through some things together
With trunks of memories still to come"

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At 2/28/2019 08:36:00 PM, Blogger Greg Mantho said...

Another moment in time that stood out for its poignancy vis a vis the anti-climax of the ceremony. I remember some of the athletes milling around, trying to squeeze just a little more out of the experience. They didn't want it to end, but it was over. Neil's delivery, and its simplicity simply struck the right cord in every respect, much like his 911 rendition of Imagine. Not overblown, not attention getting, or self promotion, just an honest attempt to connect to the moment and what it meant for the participants, and a proud Canadian audience. Together with the brilliant design and composition of the set, it made for an instant classic performance.

One of those TV moments that makes a part of you wish that Neil had chosen over his career to perform more for audiences that don't have a clue about him, e.g. SNL's Keep On Rockin' In The Free World, or the Oscars Philadelphia. It's in line with my long held ambivalence about the songs Heart Of Gold, Old Man, Cinnamon Girl, etc., which got beaten into the ground to the neglect of so much of his discography, even half of which had it been widely known would have given him a far greater status in the music world, something he still doesn't enjoy despite some legitimate and sustained attention paid him the last twenty years, or so.

But this is just me thinking out loud, and definitely appreciating that Neil has made his decisions for his own reasons, and not mine or anyone else's. Now it's me beating it into the ground reiterating what we all know about the man. A guy can dream a little, tho, right? Right???

A Friend Of Yours

At 2/28/2019 09:46:00 PM, Blogger thrasher said...

Right, yes, a guy can dream a little 'A Friend Of Yours'.

funny, in doing research for this post, we stumbled on your original comment in the moment 9 years ago @

Looking back over those comments we were really struck by the reaction to what followed Neil's LMYR. After the flame went out, a whole menagerie of characters ensued like Giant Mounties, hockey players and dancing giant maple leafs. Quite the abrupt contrast.

It was a real Neil TV moment, eh?! right? Right???

At 3/01/2019 09:55:00 AM, Blogger Soldier Steve said...

If I remember correctly. Long May You Run was played in memory of Larry Johnson who passed away in January 2010. Neil played LMYR on the late night with Conan O' Brien too.

How many people tuned in to watch the closing ceremonies on the TV.

At 3/01/2019 09:57:00 AM, Blogger Soldier Steve said...

60,000. I reread and see it now.

I thought it would be more?

At 3/01/2019 10:17:00 AM, Blogger thrasher said...

@ Soldier Steve - "60,000 inside Vancouver stadium. Millions on the TeeVee box."

Not sure about global audience, but we can tell you that when Neil started playing, here @ TW we saw the largest traffic spike of all time which still stands. Truly server melting traffic. Literally 1000's of hits per second -- as we recall -- as Neil's performance continued and well into that night. (of course, #'s add up to nothin'.)

Yes, you're correct that LA had passed away several months prior.

Lastly, the image of Neil playing under torch as the flame goes out is for the ages.


At 3/01/2019 05:48:00 PM, Blogger ForeverYounger said...

9 yrs. ago? Already? man, don't blink.
Re: the comment of Neil playing LMYR on Conan:
I remember Neil THANKING Conan for having such great musical guests over the years.
I used to DVR nearly every late night show & burn to dvd the musical guests. By far, Conan had the most. Ironic how nowadays he doesn't even have a band on his show, let alone NO Musical Guests.......
I don't even watch late night shows no mo'.
I think it is b/c of the monologues? EVERY show starts out with political commentary fer the first 10, 15 min (sometimes longer).
But the reason MAY be the lack of Quality Musical Guests?

At 3/01/2019 06:49:00 PM, Blogger Soldier Steve said...

I think Larry passed in January 2010. So a month prior to the Olympics.

At 3/01/2019 06:50:00 PM, Blogger Soldier Steve said...

Larry died on January 21st 2010

At 3/01/2019 09:22:00 PM, Blogger rolandthompsongunner said...

And Thrasher from Rust Never Sleeps is on Hearse Theater today. Because the song is great and our host is phenomenal.

At 3/05/2019 08:23:00 AM, Blogger Unknown said...

What a great song,artist and performance....Neil singing in the Canadian snow!Just listen and shiver,what a delight.Cees Mostert.


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