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Thursday, August 18, 2022

REVIEW: "Noise & Flowers" by Neil Young + Promise of the Real | ClashMusic

"Noise & Flowers"
 Neil Young + Promise of the Real 
  Release Date - August 5th 
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From a review of "Noise & Flowers" by  Neil Young + Promise of the Real | ClashMusic, "a wild and engaging live set recorded to salute long-lasting friendship." (Words: Nick Roseblade)


"Field of Opportunity" from the album 'Noise and Flowers"

There are a few surprises during the set too. 

Most notable ‘Field Of Opportunity’ and ‘On The Beach’. These classics sound fresh and vibrant thanks to the playing. After an elongated version of ‘Rockin’ In The Free World’ we are treated to ‘Comes A Time’, ‘From Hank To Hendrix’, ‘Are You Ready For The Country’, ‘I’ve Been Waiting For You’ and ‘Winterlong’ before ‘Fuckin’ Up’ closes the set in rambunctious style. As the credits roll ‘Hey Hey, My My’ is heard, but not seen. This is slightly doing us dirty as I would have loved to witness the interplay, and possibly more of Lukas’ pogoing, during this performance – perhaps it will be released on a future boxset. 

One of the most enjoyable things about watching ‘Noise And Flowers’ as apposed to listening to it is how much fun everyone seems to be having. During ‘Field Of Opportunity’ Young says “take it Lukas!” and Nelson plays the solo. Young nods in approval. It doesn’t quite feel like passing the torch to the next younger generation, but it’s fun to see. Before that there is a touching moment between Neil Young and Micah Nelson. During a longshot Micah catches the songwriter’s eye. A massive smile crests his face. Young turns to face him. We can’t see it, but I expect Young was smiling back.

During ‘Keep On Rockin’ In The Free World’ the whole band is just having a blast. Everyone gets a solo/time to shine and show off. Micah and Corey McCormick get up on Anthony LoGerfo’s drum platform and the three of them just rock out. Lukas wants to get involved, but has missed his opportunity to join in, so just pogos on his own until Young saunters over and they rock out together. 

Then there are the false endings with Young trying to catch LoGerfo – and the rest of band – out. He doesn’t, but you can tell he’s enjoying tiring to. This is all great to see. It shows that Young still loves playing live and messing about with his mates.

One of the most disconcerting things about ‘Noise And Flowers’ is that halfway though it switches from black and white footage to colour. No matter the true reason for this, it’s a bit of a stylistic curve ball. This detracts absolutely nothing from the music, or the performances, but it’s a bit odd none the less. 

‘Noise And Flowers’ is one of Neil Young’s best live DVDs and one that should delight both old and new fans of his work. The interplay between Young and Promise of the Real is great and dare I say, they somehow manage to out ‘Crazy Horse’ the actual Crazy Horse. This is a greatest hits selection worthy of Elliot Roberts’ 50-year friendship with Neil Young


Full review of "Noise & Flowers" by  Neil Young + Promise of the Real | ClashMusic.

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


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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 8/18/2022 03:49:00 PM, Blogger thrasher said...

+ N&F playing in Hearse Theater this weekend!

At 8/18/2022 04:44:00 PM, Blogger Dan Swan said...

I definitely agree with the reviewer that watching the performance is obviously a wonderful experience, and it certainly elevates the proceedings. But simply listening to this on vinyl is every bit as exciting, and you do have a sense of being there even without the visual aspect. I love the set list, and the band has such a unique way of allowing Neil to experiment with different ideas. I’m really enjoying this release a lot, but I wish it would have been longer. Considering the length of some of the shows on this tour, I would have expected a three hour release. Oh well, I still love what we got.

Peace 🙏

At 8/19/2022 10:03:00 AM, Blogger thrasher said...

@ Dan - right about releasing a full concert set would be excellent. not quite like the full concerts of the moment.

But a full concert compilation of the best of the tour. Like what is compiled on rust for each tour.

maybe someday?

At 8/19/2022 03:10:00 PM, Blogger The Metamorphic Rocker said...

My N+F blu-ray came in earlier this week. Definitely worth it: the audio enhancement from listening on streaming/mp3 is dramatic (don’t really have the quality playback equipment to justify investing in vinyl—long, frustrating story involving various mid-range turntables that developed problems).

Ironically, the intentionally dirty, murky mix makes this one of those NY recordings it’s especially worth tracking down in the best possible audio form.

The recent discussion on here about jazz, though I know it’s been primarily about Toast, feels to the point here. Both the Horse and the Real are capable of delivering plenty of noise, noise which, at its most hectic, moody, or frenetic reminds me of my deep period of listening to Coltrane, Ornette Coleman, masters of experimental, cutting edge (at the time) “free jazz”. Later Coltrane can be every bit as wild the noisiest parts of N+F. Straining at the limits of melodic and harmonic structures.

As to freedom, it is elusive when not illusive. It’s only half the picture. The question, morally, about freedom is: what you do when you’ve got it? That’s where the value lies.

At 8/21/2022 05:42:00 AM, Blogger Flyingscotzman said...

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.


At 8/21/2022 12:11:00 PM, Blogger thrasher said...

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

Straight to CotM @

We too enjoyed "Noise & Flowers" last night as well. After proper Saturday Night Hearse Theater 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.

So wonderful these documentaries exist with so much focus on the band and their playing instruments. Very little audience, very unWELD-like.


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