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Friday, July 05, 2019

"Danger Bird": Neil Young + Promise of The Real - Waldbühne, Berlin, Germany, July 3, 2019

Here's a video of "Danger Bird" by Neil Young + Promise of The Real on their Europe concert tour at Waldbühne, Berlin, Germany on July 3.

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A comment by Scotsman on concert at Waldbühne, Berlin, Germany on July 3
A lot of this show has been nicely filmed and uploaded to YouTube, for example:

Now, I know it's YouTube: the sound isn't professional and all that, but it gives you a great idea. Bob Dylan fans are always saying "you have to be there", and maybe there's a grain of truth to that. But a good recording will still point you in the right direction. That's why those barely-listenable tapes from Bob's 1966 tour do little to obstruct the impression of a genius at work.

And, of course, go to the show and the sound may still be subpar. There's also a 37% chance (up to 80% at Hyde Park) you will get trapped between 2 drunks wearing too much aftershave, an increasingly common occurrence at gigs in recent years (overpriced alcohol and bad aftershave apparently sell better than good music).

Everything in life involves some sort of compromise, no matter how hard you try, and up to a point I think it pays to embrace that. So ENJOY the imperfect audience recordings, tolerate the distractions at gigs, settle for "good enough"; and you may find your enjoyment actually increases. This can be the wise approach, but it can also become a trap. Keep on compromising and it's a slippery slope: pretty soon you've got nothing left.

So! Onto the show. Neil's doing a very Crazy Horse-inspired set, and he's doing the songs in essentially their original arrangements. Unlike Bob, Neil plays his songs and you don't have to guess what you are hearing.

Now, I know the big appeal of POTR is that they can play anything. But to my ears, POTR do specialise in the more countrified material: they lack that raw horsepower to propel songs like Over And Over and Into The Black fully into the stratosphere. Lukas's sprightly stratocaster playing and Micah's stoner telecaster are fine instruments in their own right, but what's missing is Poncho's gutsy bedrock of molten guitar, Billy's insistent bass, Ralphie's trapeze-catching drums, the explosive chemistry of all four instruments locking together in unison.

And on the electric tracks, I feel POTR are at their best when one of the guitarists moves over to the keys. On songs like When You Dance and Hurricane, with 2 guitars and keyboards, the soundstage just opens up (and the rest of the musical universe with it).

Listen to that! It sounds a thousand times better.

Overall, I'm liking a lot of what POTR are doing with Neil this year, just as I did on their last tour of Europe in 2016. And you can hear how much these songs mean to Neil, how much passion he has and how he revels in unbottling it for us on stage. That's the thrill of it. Of rolling back the years and just letting that flame keep on burning, without burning out.

How's Dylan going to cope following Neil in Hyde Park? Bob does his own thing, and he does it very well. Lately he's been experimenting with stripping his songs back to skeletal musical forms (listen to recent barebones peformances of Girl From The North Country, for instance). And when you are the "best songwriter in the world (trademark)", that's a very powerful approach to take indeed. I wouldn't underestimate him.

And I wouldn't underestimate Neil Young either. I hope all of you attending these shows have a great time.

Thanks so much Scotsman. Good points on POTR bringing out the Neil passion. And, yes, when aving one of the Nelson boys on keys, the soundstage can really open up and allow for locking into the groove, CH style.

Henrik Flying the TW Colors in Berlin

More commentary on Neil Young + Promise of The Real on their Europe concert tour at Waldbühne, Berlin, Germany on July 3.

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At 7/05/2019 01:24:00 PM, Blogger mrtew said...

So Neil is about to release a new Crazy Horse album but leading up to it he's touring Europe with his other band of country western boys doing covers of old Crazy Horse songs??? He's Crazy.

At 7/05/2019 04:34:00 PM, Blogger rolandthompsongunner said...

Don't you mean... Shakey?

At 7/07/2019 06:52:00 AM, Blogger A Visitor said...

Hi, just some thoughts on the Waldbühne concert and the comment by Scotsman.
I don't know about the UK, but the perfumes I was smelling around me were an e-cigarette from the hipster beside me and some pot from two grey haired oldtimers. And some real cigarettes, of course.
To POTR: Yes, they are not Crazy Horse and lack maybe the rawness. I think I agree that they are better with the country-tinged stuff, and Micah on piano adds some additional flavour to the songs. But they managed the fragility of "Dangerbird". The jam on "Love And Only Love" made the audience (including myself) chearing, Micah on the third guitar doing some extra stuff on the ground and Neil looking on. And "Hey Hey (My My)" went through the amphitheatre of the Waldbühne like an earthquake, you could feel it through the air AND through the ground.
I agree totally: Go to the shows! They are amazing!


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