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Sunday, August 21, 2022

Comment of the Moment: Concert Film "Noise & Flowers" by Neil Young + Promise of the Real | Hearse Theater | NYA

Neil Young on Tour - 2019
w/ Manager Elliot Roberts Looking On
  (Click photo to enlarge)


This weekend, the concert film "Noise & Flowers", of Neil Young + Promise of the Real from Europe 2019 -- directed by Bernard Shakey & dhlovelife -- is playing in Hearse Theater | NYA.

Neil Young writes on Hearse Theater | NYA:

Promise of the Real and I on tour were celebrating the life of Elliot Roberts.

Two weeks after he passed we were on the road in Europe and we made this film. The concert film is full of emotions because we loved Elliot so much. We celebrated his life.

Thanks ‘Promise of the Real’
Miss you Elliot!


Which brings us to the Comment of the Moment on "Noise & Flowers" by Neil Young + Promise of the Real by the irrepressibly delightful Scotsman:

Just a "last-minute" reminder that the Noise and Flowers concert film with Promise of the Real is streaming on Neil's website today.

(My plan was to get the blu-ray before watching the whole thing, but I did sneak a look at a couple of tracks on Neil's site — and now I want to watch it all, because they were a lot of fun.)

A visual treat? Oh yes.

I think the most engaging tours (musically *and* visually) are the ones where Neil is the dominant force on stage, rather than "merely" one of the gang. At heart, he's a solo artist with a point-of-view. Even when he's playing with a band.

(That's one reason why he's not well-suited to those shambolic all-star celebrity jam sessions that happen at awards ceremonies. Unless there's a good producer involved!).

And then, of course, there's the "spook" — the sense of space in the sound that leaves room for the listener's imagination.

In order for one musical force to step forward, other elements have to step back, or to the sides — *and then* find a way to make their personality felt within those boundaries. Without killing the spook.

In 2019, the vibe *and* musical arrangement was in place for the band to put on a mighty performance, and they certainly delivered on that promise (both in Europe and the short US mini-tour that came first).

I enjoyed following pretty much every show on YouTube (I couldn't make it to the Hyde Park gig, so the YouTube audience films were a welcome and enjoyable alternative).

I thought Promise of the Real sounded great, looked great, and played with a real sense of direction... of travelling somewhere special.

The audience began the show in one mental space and was carried away to another — with a sense of uncomplicated direction, a sense of urgency, and that vividly-alive feeling that I wrote about in a previous comment about Noise and Flowers.

Neil fans know that several of Neil's most memorable tours have been performed in Europe. Starting in 1976, with magical performances including Like A Hurricane at the legendary Hammersmith Odeon in London, England.

And now, the archivists, historians and other note-takers can add the 2019 tour to that distinguished list.

So my heartfelt suggestion is to head over to Neil's site and enjoy an hour or so of watching the concert film. Although I was planning to wait for the blu-ray, I expect I will be joining you.


Thanks so much -- as always -- Mr Scotsman.

We too enjoyed  "Noise & Flowers" last night as well.  After proper attitude adjustment, managed to get the stream going about 11P and finished up after midnight sometime.  Don't think we woke up any neighbors, but we did hear hounds that howl in the distance.  

A highlight had to be FU when Lukas just sprawls out on the stage and Neil just grins.

"Noise & Flowers"
 Neil Young + Promise of the Real 
  Release Date - August 5th 
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More on Neil Young & Promise Of The Real - Noise & Flowers ...


First Impressions: Noise and Flowers by Neil Young + Promise of the Real |  The Old Grey Cat  


More on The Story Behind The Album Cover "Noise & Flowers" by Neil Young + Promise of the Real .

More on Sneak Preview: "Noise & Flowers" Track by Neil Young + Promise Of The Real.

More on "Noise & Flowers" Coming in 2021: Neil Young + Promise of the REAL | NYA - UPDATED


REVIEW: Neil Young & Promise Of The Real - Noise & Flowers Box Set - CD Bluray Vinyl | Davy's Cinema Flicks & Music Picks


Neil Young + Promise of the REAL

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At 8/21/2022 11:52:00 AM, Blogger Dan Swan said...

Excellent commentary on what I feel is an outstanding visual experience, and a live album for the ages. So happy that Scotsman is here to share his thoughts, as he has a such a gift for translating what is heard and seen into the written word. A gift he shares with many who post here on Thrashers Wheat. Thank you Scotsman for the eloquent observations.

Peace 🙏

At 8/22/2022 05:00:00 PM, Blogger Flyingscotzman said...

Thank you Dan for your very generous words. It's a pleasure to be here, amongst excellent online company.

The "intrepid" (inconsolable, inflammable) Scotsman.

At 8/22/2022 05:09:00 PM, Blogger Flyingscotzman said...

Thrasher: sounds like you had fun! I watched several tracks — decided to save the rest for when I get the blu-ray. Didn't get to F*!#in' Up, so looking forward to that.


At 8/24/2022 07:21:00 AM, Blogger Ron said...

I watched the full film on NYA last night and really, really enjoyed it. It's great to have this visual and aural record of Neil with POTR - they enable him to play so many songs that he probably wouldn't play otherwise. I remember Neil commenting at the beginning of Trunk Show on how that band could play almost anything from his back catalogue and POTR are similar.

According to Sugar Mountain they played 48 different songs on the 9 dates of the European tour Noises and Flowers is from! Would maybe have been great to have a few more songs on this film/vinyl, but what we have got is great and sometimes less is more. I didn't make any of these shows but did catch Neil and POTR at the London O2 two years previously. They did 83 songs on the 40 dates of that tour! Only three of the tracks they did that night in London are on N+F, but it was a great show too and included some of my personal favourites I didn't expect, including Revolution Blues! They also did a great version of Hold Back The Tears which was an unexpected highlight for me as it's not a song I have often played or am particularly fond of. I feel similar about Field of Opportunity on N+F - enjoyed it more than I expected too.

Anyway imo this is yet another treat from Neil (especially On The Beach!), and it's great to see him having some much fun and energy with the band and the performances. It's easy to forget he is in his seventies and we are lucky to have him.

At 8/25/2022 04:32:00 AM, Blogger Flyingscotzman said...

(Off topic – sorry.)

Do we know when Toast (the released version) was mixed?

Because if you listen to the Are You Passionate mix of Goin' Home, you can instantly hear why Crazy Horse (from the other side of the mixing control room) weren't totally impressed by these recording sessions back in 2001.

The mix is limp and grey and flat sounding (what I call the "wet cardboard" effect). The vocal is tentative — it struggles to find the melody, and is submerged by the guitars. The lead guitar hits a series of bum notes that kill the mood.

The bass has no real depth or presence. The overdubs might as well not be there. Poncho's masterful second-guitar performance is buried.

And in the end, Neil just aborts the performance.

The feeling is: "this isn't quite working". Which is frustrating. For the musicians and producer and the listener.

But the mix on Toast is the opposite of all that. And it's the *same* take — the same version! Neil and John Hanlon knew there was something special in this performance, and they went in and brought it to the surface.

This is an album where the production, the overdubs and the mixing all play a huge part in the success of the music.

That's not a criticism! The production is part of the art.

Similarly, many people wear makeup to accentuate their natural beauty. Nothing wrong with that, and it's the same principle.

In the music world, an audible sense of production only becomes a problem when a) it detracts from the music's natural beauty and b) when the production covers up a lack of substance.

(Much of Le Noise, in my opinion, is an example of the latter. The production is impressive, but the effect is a hollow one.)

On Toast, extensive work has gone into making Goin' Home sound as good as humanly possible. The bum notes have been chopped (as minimally as possible), the vocal has been heavily compressed to even it out and add some heft, there's a 3D sense of vocal echo, the abrupt ending is faded out...

It sounds magical. And, unlike the Are You Passionate attempt, it's been mixed with both gutsy horsepower and real colour. This is the spirit of David Briggs in the mixing room.

The Are You Passionate mix of Goin' Home is like a documentary. We might imagine it's Neil telling us "this is why I re-recorded this album".

Whereas the Toast mix is designed to take this rough diamond of a performance and present it to the world in the best light possible.


At 8/25/2022 04:52:00 AM, Blogger Flyingscotzman said...

Ron: I was at the London 2016 gig, too. I thought the acoustic set was good (both solo and with POTR), and the electric set was alright until they cranked the PA volume up too high.

POTR's "busy" sound was balanced on the edge of over-saturation at the best of times. And at that point, the instruments sort of mushed together into a wall of distortion.

Like you, I enjoyed Revolution Blues. And the first version of that song with Promise of the Real—from spring 2016—is one of the most exciting performances Neil has done with them, in my opinion.


At 8/25/2022 05:07:00 AM, Blogger Flyingscotzman said...

PS: the mixes of Goin' Home are different enough that some listeners have imagined them to be two different takes. Understandable!

But there are some extra overdubs on the Toast mix — so the two aren't musically identical.

E.g notice the twinkling piano (and what sounds like the church organ) rising out of the mix just before the final guitar solo — helping propel it into a higher gear.

I think these are inspired touches, instantly reminding of the overdubs we hear on Drive Back from Zuma. Another power-chord-based song that somehow feels entirely different to its 2001 cousin.


At 8/26/2022 04:43:00 AM, Blogger wsanjose01 said...

i think its down already. bummer. I saw the Telluride tho had fun at the last dollar or The Buck as they say. . I watched the Crime in the City looked like Ragged Glory Tour. Good rockin . Cow Palace did I say loud ? no ok you couldn't communicate for 3 days

At 8/27/2022 12:31:00 AM, Blogger wsanjose01 said...

This comment has been removed by the author.


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