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Wednesday, May 06, 2020

Bridge Concert Memory: "Splendid Isolation" by Warren Zevon w/ Neil Young - 1993

Here is a special and timely Bridge School Benefit concert memory from 7th Annual concert at Shoreline Amphitheatre on 11/06/93 of Warren Zevon performing the song "Splendid Isolation" with Neil Young.

Particularly touching are the final frames where Neil places his hand on Warren's shoulder in a gesture of friendship, support and solidarity. IOW, a proactive gesture in direct opposition to isolating.

Warren Zevon and Neil Young
(Note: Neil's right hand)

From Rolling Stone by Angie Martoccio:
"The term “splendid isolation” is a British military term from the late 1800s that refers to avoiding permanent alliances. The late songwriter delivers a hell of an argument about wanting to be alone, delicately supported by a harmonica and Young’s signature falsetto on the chorus."
Warren Zevon and Neil Young
Warren Zevon and Neil Young
Winter Park, Colorado, 07-11-1992 - Photo by Richard Creamer

Warren Zevon and Neil Young played “Splendid Isolation” and 'Comes A Time' live in July 1992, at the Winter Park Resort in Colorado.

Back in 1987, Warren Zevon recorded "Sentimental Hygiene" with Neil Young, Mike Mills and Bill Berry (R.E.M.'s rhythm section,essentially).

The late, great Warren Zevon and Neil Young have a few interesting musical intersections.

Neil also plays lead guitar on Warren Zevon's song "Gridlock" from his 1989 album, Transverse City.

Warren Zevon - Sentimental Hygiene

And a minor Warren and Neil connection is Zevon's song "Play It All Night Long" with the lyrics:

"Sweet home Alabama",
Play that dead band's song.
Sweet home Alabama,
Play it all night long.

Of course "that dead band's song" refers to Lynyrd Skynyrd's anthem "Sweet Home Alabama" with the immortal lines:

"Well, I hope Neil Young will remember
A southern man don't need him around anyhow"

From Warren Zevon's biography, the sory is that he ran into Neil and invited him to play a benefit show. Neil then returned the favour by inviting him to the Bridge Benefit.

The biography uses passages from his diary. One passage reads:

July 10, 1992-Colorado

"Stopped to eat at what seemed like no more than a crossroads in the middle of nowhere: we walked in and there was Neil Young and his wife, Pegi. They're with their son at camp: pure coincidence.

July 11, 1992-Winter Park

...Up at 8:00 with a headache.

Rode over to the festival site early with Randy Newman and his guy. Newman seemed to have no interest in me whatsoever...Neil and I running into each other was major local news. Later Neil and Pegi arrived, Neil wearing "Old Velvet Nose" boldly on his T-shirt...He asked me what we were going to do. We played Splendid Isolation and Cortez [ed. - 'Comes A Time', per setlist]

...great audience...great day.

Neil and I spent some more time together. I sure like this guy and it was a thrill playing with him on stage.
Also, Warren Zevon wrote 'Things To Do In Denver When You're Dead'.


I was working on a steak the other day
I saw Neil Young in the Rattlesnake cafe
Dressed black, tossing back a shot of rye
Finding things to do in Denver when you die

Well, we guess that you can never practice too much "sentimental hygiene" these days. Yet, we have not found anything splendid about isolation. Nor "things to do in Denver when we're dead'. So, we'll just say once again, Keep Calm, No Fear, Shut It Down, and Keep on Rockin'! until we come up with a better solution.

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At 5/06/2020 07:45:00 PM, Blogger rolandthompsongunner said...

The biography also has a great passage on the recording of the solos for Sentimental Hygiene. Warren was blown away by the sure power Neil brought into the studio, then left his new producer alone to just cobble the pieces together into the song... knowing he was a fan.

A great song and some great playing. Splendid Isolation is also excellent and one of my favorites. The writing is so sharp. "Lock the gates, Goofy take my hand... lead me into the world of self!"

Two of my favorites! (As evident by my handle)

Stay safe everyone. Call the ones you love, remind them how much you care and spread some positive energy.

At 5/07/2020 10:17:00 AM, Blogger thrasher said...

hey RTG! Yeah, this post's for you!

Glad you caught it. we knew we had a big WZ fan out there who would like this, so glad you caught it.

"I'm putting tinfoil up on the windows
Lying down in the dark to dream
I don't want to see their faces
I don't want to hear them scream"

ps - just updated w/ image of NY's right hand on WZ's left shoulder. brothers


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