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Wednesday, December 20, 2023

Neil Young's 2023 Year in Review: Neil Goes Coastal

Photo by Pat Q. 


Similar to those years of Neil Young past -- 2023 was as "newsworthy" as ever -- both in terms of quantity and quality. 
While 2023 was Year #4 of the concert tour hiatus, Neil Young did manage to finally perform live in concert again.  
From the heartwarming intimacy of the solo 2023 Coastal Tour to the ongoing  Archival releases and their staggering volume, 2023 was a year that was definitely both exhilarating and exhausting.

Walk with us on a journey through the past year of 2023 ... 


Neil Young @ "Old Growth Logging Protest Rally"
Victoria, Canada - February 25, 2023  
image via Rusted Moon

Neil Young's Time Fades Away on CD: "50 years have passed."

The Greek Theatre, Los Angeles, April 22, 2023
Photos by Mike "Expecting 2 Fly" C.


Neil Young Archives: Where Art, Business and Community Intersect | NYA

Stephen Stills, Lukas Nelson, Willie Nelson, and Neil Young 
 Farm Aid 2023, Noblesville, IN - September 23  
"Why I [Heart] Neil Young" by Pearl Jam's Stone Gossard 
Neil Young and Stone Gossard of Pearl Jam
Shoreline Amphitheatre, October 24, 2010 
(Image credit: Tim Mosenfelder/Getty Images)
 The Rivoli, Toronto on Nov. 3, 2023
Photo by Andrew Bennett

Neil Young & Daryl Hannah @ TRAFFIC RECORDS
photo by The Reverend Reiderson 

And, sadly, gone but not forgotten ... 
A Tribute to Gordon Lightfoot: 1938 - 2023
  "Rockin' In The Free World" Finale
Neil Young, Buckcherry's Josh Todd & Gordon Lightfoot
Live 8 - End Global Poverty Concert - July 02, 2005
Jeffrey Reid "Jeff" Blackburn: 1945 - 2023  
w/ Neil Young
(also, see A Tribute to Jeffrey Reid "Jeff" Blackburn: 1945 - 2023)
A Tribute to Pete Long: The Definitive Neil Young Fan

David Crosby: 1941 - 2023
Photo by Francesco Lucarelli 
(also, see A Tribute & Appreciation for David Crosby: 1941 - 2023 +
David Crosby Tributes of Note: Not A Long Time Gone ).

As we conclude 2023, once again, we ponder that age old question: Is Neil Young burning out or fading away? 

We've argued that he is neither.

Neil Young is the quintessential survivor.  So we here at Thrasher's Wheat say thank you so much for all of the love and support over the past decades from the rustie grains fan communities.

Neil Young Independent Websites
Times-Contrarian | Neil Young Archives
 (Click photo to enlarge)

Earlier this year, Neil Young Archives posted a listing of Neil Young Independent Websites, which prominently featured Thrasher's Wheat.

We are honored and humbled to be recognized as "Independent Media". And we are committed to continuing our struggle to exercise our freedoms and rights to "speak truth to power". It brings us joy to share our "truths" -- whether it be an opinion on Neil Young's music or something much heavier.

Most of you know our backstory well here after  25+ years cranking out the posts.  It has been an amazing journey with so many rewards which we continue to reap the most valuable of all dividends -- those which are monumentally priceless.

For example, earlier this year we made a pilgrimage out to Seattle and connected up with our dear "Brother Alan in Seattle".

w/ "Brother Alan in Seattle"

Our rendezvous out west with "Brother Alan in Seattle" was a long time coming and most rewarding.

To connect up with our Neil buddies, hang out and enjoy the music is our definition of bliss. As in finding the true meaning of life. And we consider ourselves quite fortunate to be able to travel about the country and world and meetup with our fellow "rustie grains" (as Neil himself refers to us.)
Then there was that time we went to Farm Aid and a Bob Dylan & The HeartBreakers concert broke out ...  
 "Maggie's Farm"
Bob Dylan w/ HeartBreakers Benmont Tench & Mike Campbell 
photo by thrasher
Seeing Neil, Bob, & Willie -- a true musical hero trifecta - all in the space of ~90 minutes was some of the finest times we've had at a concert. ever.

It is these note's for us that keep us going, such as this one from The Extraordinary Grain Man Dan on  Thanks for Supporting Thrasher's Wheat.

Lastyear, we wrapped up 2022 with a post on Thrasher's Wheat's future in light of the strong possibility that Neil Young might never tour again on  Where Do We Go Now ... or Where Did We Go From There?  

Where Do We Go Now ... 
or Where Did We Go From There?  
Charles Theater, Baltimore, MD
December 2012

(Note: Photo not Photoshopped)


At the moment, everyone can relax somewhat because Thrasher's Wheat will continue to celebrate Neil Young, his music and the fan communities. So stay tuned for some hopefully exciting announcements in the months ahead as we celebrate our remarkable little milestone as the 2nd longest running music blog in the  history of the internet

Maintaining a robust, healthy, engaged community that allows open, honest and free speech is paramount for us here in Neil / RUST & TW grain communities.  There is simply nothing whatsoever which is more important to us and what we do and stand for.  Again, thank you so much for reading our articles, sharing them throughout the web, and contributing your own thoughts through comments and messages. Today, more than ever, we need independent thinkers like you folks out there in the rustie-grains village that rely on a solid moral compass – not a pre-determined agenda – to understand this circus, to stand up, to speak up, and to fight for what is right.

Lastly, if you would like to support what we do here at Thrasher's Wheat, you can make a donation on PayPal link below:

Only your credit card is necessary to apply directly & securely. No PayPal account setup necessary. (NOTE: A portion of ALL donations also help The Bridge School, Farm Aid, Musicares, and other worthy causes.)
On a positive note, we have rebuilt our mailing list subscription on a new platform.  If you have not subscribed already, please do so by going to this link:  (be sure to check SPAM folder)

Mailing list subscribers are eligible to win cool Neil stuff on contests we run on occasion. No spam. We promise.  Again, if you can't support TW financially, the next best is to share our mailing list and encourage other Neil fans to join the "Grains Community" here @ Thrasher's Wheat.
Thanks and again: everyone enjoy your holidays and Happy Neil Year!!!

peace & love,
thrasher & thrashette

Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays & A Wonderful Neil Year To All!

(& thanks to all The FarmAidians, esp Kim B. )


Our work is far from done.  So we'll see you down the road in 2024.

Neil Young: "happy new year"
via Neil Young Archives 
(Click photo to enlarge)

Labels: , , , ,


At 12/20/2023 02:30:00 PM, Blogger Alan said...

Righteous! Thank you Thrasher (& Thrashette!). What a fantastic year end wrap up! Well done! What a year!

It was literally a High Point to have you over for a visit with me in Seattle! It’s a honor to meet the man who makes TW happen! I love having you as a buddy, in real life as well as here in the TW fireside hearth. It’s a friendly place we have here.

I was glad to catch Neil on Coastal in WA and Bend, with my Lookout Mama on the Deschutes River to hear Neil lay it down once again. Let’s do it again! Dan, Neil, all y’-all, just waiting on the Boise announcement! Outlaw field indeed! Roll another #!

Your Brother Alan in Seattle

At 12/20/2023 11:41:00 PM, Blogger Alan said...

Happy Holidays, Peace and Love to All People, and let us never give genocide a free pass, whatever the era, whoever is doing the killing. Let Love cover the Earth so we may stop fighting each other and instead come together to face the gravest threat to life on Earth: Global Warming. Let us open our minds to make peace and end War.

Your Brother Alan in Seattle

At 12/21/2023 10:36:00 PM, Blogger tomatron said...

Yet another huge year. Coastal Tour/ Before & After, Farm Aid, Roxy with the Horse!! Two amazing Official Bootlegs!! Chrome Dreams on vinyl, not to mention Odeon Budokan and Time Fades Away 50!! All sounding amazing. Bring on 2024 and the Volume III motherlode.

At 12/22/2023 12:55:00 PM, Blogger The Metamorphic Rocker said...

Solstice greetings and a few slightly belated thoughts on Before + After: my favorite aspect is that it’s mostly a keyboard album. The first third, up to On the Way Home, is acoustic guitar. The remaining two thirds are mostly piano, with pump organ on If you Got Love, Mother Earth, Mr. Soul. When I Hold You in my Arms has the only electric guitar, beautiful tender licks. I dare say it is more open and emotional than the MGs arrangement, and I’m an avowed defender of AYP? in many respects. The extra verse I recall from ‘01 tour recordings is good to have on record, though it does remind me of The Wizard of Oz (“If I only had a heart”).

Funnily enough, the album/audio collage really jumps to life for me with If You’ve Got Love, the first keyboard track. On one hand, this makes me question how well the collage idea functions. If the flow were ideal for me, I’d expect that I’d want to start repeat listenings at the beginning and listen all the way through the 48 minutes every time. As it is, IYGL is where I get hooked. A mood or tone settles in. From here on, some of the transitions are sublime and positively chilling. For instance, the way Mother Nature segues to Mr. Soul is downright spooky, bringing all kinds of angst and transcendence bubbling up to the surface. I’ve always appreciated Neil’s forays with the well-tempered pump organ, and I’m so glad there’s so much of it here!

What’s been said about B+A and concept art is interesting to me. I tend to think of conceptualism in the same vein as performance art, so a live concert would qualify. I associate conceptual art with happenings, and rituals. The central notion is of art as a doing or act, a process rather than a product, experience rather than only entertainment. In conceptual and performance-based works, this is usually an experience shared between artist and audience, sometimes blurring boundaries between the two.

A Neil Young concert certainly qualifies as an “experience”. Are all concerts and large gatherings essentially happenings? I’m not sure, but I do think our ways of appreciating art express a human desire for gathering and ritual. According to the filmmaker Kenneth Anger, who died recently at 95, making movies is a matter of casting a “spell” on an audience. I suspect the idea applies to all forms: sensory experience of good art is akin to a trance or elevated state that perhaps puts us in touch with parts of the mind we don’t routinely access.

In the case of B&A, part of the spellbinding effect for me is the piano and pump organ. Maybe this is just a reflection of my mind, like I need a certain length of time (about four songs’ worth) to get to a deeper level of concentration. On second thoughts, it could be that the start of the album is all set-up, establishing all the mental and physical pressure the remaining songs, with their ethereal and droning qualities, offer relief from. This is especially true of I’m the Ocean, which is a tremendous song on its own. For those versed in philosophy, I’d go so far as calling it Neil’s post-modernist manifesto. Basically, it focuses on the relentless appetite for distraction, entertainment to make up for a society that makes us feel dead inside. Having established that backdrop, the rest of the songs can then drain away the hyper-stimulation and, at least temporarily, fill the resulting void with something comforting and fulfilling: music as meditation.

This may just be one example of how all art involves drawing the sacred circle and raising consciousness. On the other hand, don’t mind me—I did just get a book on Alistair Crowley from the library! Others will undoubtedly have different, equally valid ways of responding to B+A.

Happy holidays and peace to all!

At 12/23/2023 01:54:00 PM, Blogger Dan Swan said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

At 12/23/2023 01:57:00 PM, Blogger Dan Swan said...

@The Metamorphic Rocker : Your comments and observations are always welcome here. I continue to marvel at your ability to express your thoughts with such clarity. I genuinely admire your ability to write so clearly, as well as the references you use to make a point. As in “the way Mother Nature segues to Mr. Soul is downright spooky, bringing all kinds of angst and transcendence bubbling up to the surface”. Or, “Basically, it focuses on the relentless appetite for distraction, entertainment to make up for a society that makes us feel dead inside”. I gotta say; you definitely have a gift for zeroing in on the essence of what you’re attempting to articulate.

I’ve been working on my writing skills for a couple of decades now, and I still haven’t gotten close to where you’re at. But I’ll keep working on it because it’s important to me. But I always enjoy reading your work, so thanks for always sharing your insights.

Peace 🙏

At 12/24/2023 01:09:00 PM, Blogger Alan said...

Santa Claus is bringing my copy of Before And After so I have not been listening, even on NYA. But I jumped at the chance to hear Neil play the 12 string in the opening song and enjoyed it several times.

For me, I’m The Ocean brings on a Bacchanalian wave of passion & power. As the Moon moves the Ocean & energizes humans when it is full (*proven by research), Neil times his studio recording intentionally to capture the magic this lunar energy brings to him & the band.

When I listen to ITO, I feel the awesome power of the tides as this song hits me like a drug. It’s almost like flying one’s spaceship a bit to close to a black hole! But this ocean is full of life and critters, all along for the ride. My ADD perhaps affects my perception of it. And my history of surviving a high speed drunken car wreck while under the influence of heartbreak (or so I thought) comes into play.

I get the same feeling listening to Dream Machine (Born To Ride), the unreleased classic song which can now be heard on the NYA timeline concert with Booker T & the MG’s. I have also survived a high speed bicycle wreck not too far from Neil’s old Broken Arrow ranch. In that case I was taken out by another bicyclist and flew through the air belly up, seeing clouds in the blue sky above, before crashing to Earth in a crumpled heap. Gasping for breath after the wind got knocked out of me, I somehow had no broken bones. A helmet saved me from serious injury (wear a helmet!). As in the song, I was riding way too fast. Just as I was about to catch air off a rise in the trail, expecting to fly 10’-15’ before landing on my wheels smoothly, 3 bicyclists appeared, blocking the entire asphalt trail while biking uphill towards me. In the left was a deep cement ditch and on the right was a chain link fence. I tried to squeeze between the cyclist on my right and the fence, “Missed it by that much” and became a living projectile.

The bicyclist who I hit later helped me buy a new bike. But first they drove me to the ER where I was an X-ray student at Mills Hospital in San Mateo. My buddies took x-rays of me and I received a new nickname: “Crash.” I had an accident snowboarding earlier that year too!

Neil Young used to bring his kids in to Mills Hospital for medical care in Radiology. One of my fellow students was a water in a local cafe and told me about Neil coming in solo for a sit-down spaghetti dinner, like a regular guy(!).


At 12/24/2023 01:09:00 PM, Blogger Alan said...

I used to ride my bicycle from Belmont up Woodside road (2000’ elevation gain) and occasionally see cool cars drive by. I always figured it was Neil driving around his cool cars. I spotted Ben Young’s van a few times. It was the one with “BEN” on the license plate. I rode my bicycle past Neil’s Broken Arrow Ranch driveway several times, “Old Bear Gulch Road.”

One time I was driving a friend down Skyline (scenic highway, setting of Dram Machine?)… My car overheated and as timing would have it, I asked my friend if he’d like to check out Neil Young’s driveway. We pulled over as the car was on its last legs & parked. We walked around the woods there a bit and I left him to go take a pee. I came upon a cave and gazed at it. There was evidence of firesmoke on the roof of this small cave, and clues that it was very old. The charred sandstone was falling down a bit from the cave ceiling, a result of rainwater moving through and forming carbonic acid, eroding the sandstone.

I imagined that this cave might have been used for shelter by natives, or someone that needed it, long ago. The Native American history of the area made me consider that, and I felt the connection thru Neil’s song catalog, with his frequent imagery of Native American peoples. It struck me as potentially profound.

That was in 1996. Another thing that was going on at that year was the comet Hale Bop was visible in the night sky, a blueish green traveller passing by in space. Neil drops a reference to it on Broken Arrow. What a great year that was for me in my hardcore Neil You g fandom experience. I got a photo signed by him, saw 6 Old Princeton Landing shows, and caught the Bridge shows and a big gig at the Concord Pavillion. For that last show I was joined by the woman I knew from college who I had “crashed my car over” and it was a good bookend to that chapter in my life.

I must say that seeing Neil in a huge Amphitheaters paled in comparison…. after having seen him from 5’ away a few times from inside the OPL on a 6” stage, with 150 lucky people! And to me the song list at the big show was not as great as the OPL shows.

That was a walk down memory lane, I hope you get some entertainment from it; that is my intention in sharing it.

Merry Christmas Eve, Happy Holidays to all, and may Peace & Love Reign on Earth!

Your Brother Alan in Seattle

At 12/24/2023 06:36:00 PM, Blogger Dan Swan said...

@Alan : Thanks for sharing some of your experiences. I have found that most (if not all) of us have had our own reckless tendencies throughout our lives. I’m inclined to believe that the ones who survive, still have things to learn about them selves before departing this realm. It’s clear to me that you are definitely one of those.

My dad used to tell me that “life’s a great teacher…..if you’re paying attention”, and I hadn’t always paid attention when I was younger. As I’ve gone through my journey, I’ve learned to pay closer attention. And I have found gold in embracing every mistake, and every success I have encountered. These are the things that make us who we are. If we can find a way to embrace everything we’ve learned from our past, we can move forward with much less baggage to weigh us down.

You sharing your experiences in such an open and fearless manner is evidence that you are paying attention. And I hope your future continues to inspire you to continue to become the person you are meant to be. We are all works in progress after all, no matter who we are.

Peace 🙏

At 12/24/2023 07:53:00 PM, Blogger The Metamorphic Rocker said...

Dan, Thanks for your kind words. On writing: my best advice is to pay attention to the language of people you respect, people whose ideas you usually find clear and cogent. In other words, listen to the ways good communicators make big ideas digestible. And read attentively. Lots of reading is needed the best writing teacher, because it shows you all the ways others have come up with to put a sentence together.

Like many activities, if you do it often enough, you may develop habits you’re hardly aware of. If I stop to think about it, the fundamental component is sentence structure. Cultivating a broad vocabulary helps!

Merry xmas everyone!

At 12/26/2023 03:39:00 PM, Blogger thrasher said...

To all of our very special loyal commenters: it's you guys that made 2023 a good year and will help us all make 2024 a great year.

All of your insights and passions make TW a place where we often seek sanctuary from a reality that we're not terribly interested in or find particularly enjoyable.

Here we find a place where we can relate. Our country home -- if you will. This place gives us peace of mind, somewhere we can walk alone and leave ourself behind.

with the latest news that Neil, Daryl & Bob Dylan have been spending time together over the holidays in a town in north Ontario it brings us much joy to know of this deep friendship.

We can only imagine the scene. Bob & Neil gathered around the hearth. Sharing some stories. Some laughs. Maybe sharing a tune. Maybe discussing the long awaited collaboration that never seems to happen.

Maybe 2024 will be the year of Bob & Neil? We can dream.

Afterall, we're still smiling from our Bob & Neil & Willie day at Farm Aid in Mellencamp's Indiana. Who could've guessed?

See you guys in 2024!

At 12/26/2023 05:58:00 PM, Blogger Abner Snopes said...

If I can add a few points. Don't try to develop a style. Don't try to distinguish yourself from others. Let the ideas form the writing.

Thrasher and Thrashette, I love this site and I appreciate the care that is taken. Thank you.

At 12/27/2023 02:14:00 AM, Blogger Dionys said...

The days "between the years", that is between Christmas and New Years Eve, are a time of standstill, a necessary pre-condition of all creativity. So that's my wish these days for you people, the regular grains and the thrashers, that you may find the time to catch some breath before the coming year's marathon.

Outside the full moon is setting and the sun is coming up. Time to take a walk.
See you in 2024.


At 1/01/2024 10:30:00 AM, Blogger Jim said...

Real nice comments from 2023 about Thrasher's Wheat from Otis Gibbs in his video about Neil Young's Harvest cover.

In about six weeks we'll be into the year of the Dragon but for most of us here the new year starts today.

Happy New Year!

At 1/03/2024 05:36:00 PM, Blogger GDTRFB71 said...

Any speculation on the upcoming tour announcement? NYCH / solo? U.S / Abroad?


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Revisiting The Significance of
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So What Really Happened at Kent State?

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Dissent is the highest form of patriotism

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Willie Nelson & Neil Young
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Love and Only Love

"Thinking about what a friend had said,
I was hoping it was a lie"

We're All On
A Journey Through the Past

Neil Young's Moon Songs
Tell Us The F'n TRUTH
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Does Anything Else Really Matter?

"Nobody's free until everybody's free."
~~ Fannie Lou Hamer

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Maybe everything you think you know is wrong? NOTHING IS AS IT SEEMS
"It's all illusion anyway."

Propaganda = Mind Control
Guess what?
"Symbols Rule the World, not Words or Laws."
... and symbolism will be their downfall...

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Be The Rain, Be The Change

the truth will set you free
This Machine Kills Fascists

"Children of Destiny" - THE Part of THE Solution

(Frame from Official Music Video)

war is not the answer
yet we are
Still Living With War

"greed is NOT good"
Hey Big Brother!
Stop Spying On Us!
Civic Duty Is Not Terrorism

The Achilles Heel
Orwell (and Grandpa) Was Right
“Emancipate yourself from mental slavery.”
~~ Bob Marley

The Essence of "The Doubters"

Yes, There's Definitely A Hole in The Sky

Even Though The Music Died 50+ Years Ago
Open Up the "Tired Eyes" & Wake up!
"consciousness is near"
What's So Funny About
Peace, Love, & Understanding & Music?


Show Me A Sign

"Who is John Galt?"
To ask the question is to know the answer

"Whosoever shall give up his liberty for a temporary security
deserves neither liberty nor safety."

~~ Benjamin Franklin


(Between the lines of age)

And in the end, the love you take
Is equal to the love you make

~~ John & Paul

the zen of neil
the power of rust
the karma of the wheat