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Bridge Benefit XII (Oct. 17 & 18, 1998)
Bridge Benefit XII (Oct. 17 & 18, 1998)
Scheduled to Appear:
Bridge Benefit XII (Oct. 17 & 18, 1998)
Neil's Set List (Saturday)
Neil's Set List (Sunday)
Show Reports and Reviews
A SonicNet review of the Saturday show.
A SonicNet review of the Sunday show.
A San Francisco Chronicle review (Sat).
A San Francisco Examiner review (Sat).
A Wall Of Sound review (Sat).
A Jam News review (Sat).
A USA Today review (Sat).
A San Jose Mercury News review (Sat).
An MSNBC review (Sat).
A New York Times review (Sat).
A tuberider review (Sat).
Mike Expecting To Fly Cordova's ReportFirst, I think all the bands were very concious of what the benefit was all about and they all did an excellent job of conveying that to the audience and the kids on the stage. This was much better, I think, than '97.
The music was excellent, I thought. Some of the acts won't come across nearly as well on audio because they are so visual. I'm thinking of Jonathan Richman and Barenaked Ladies here. They were both so much fun to watch and hear. Totally unexpected enjoyment for me.
Wallflowers were also good. I became more interested when they did their slow cover of Don't Cry No Tears (another one for volume III of the covers tapes!) On both nights they also covered Bowie's Heroes.
I feel sorry for Sarah McLachlen because she had to follow the intense fun of Barenaked Ladies and her music is just so much more mellow. She is a very good singer though.
Phish was ok both nights. Gotta love a band that plays Neil songs with Neil. Excellent version of Helpless on night one and Four Strong Winds and Dylan's I Shall Be Released on night two. Neil sang with Sarah M. on FSW and had a verse on ISBR.
REM was sort of a disappointment for me. I didn't really get into their live playing as much as I thought I would. I've always thought of Country Feedback as a sort of Neil sounding song so I thought it was appropriate of them to feature Neil on lead guitar both nights. Man On The Moon is an expecially appropriate song for Bridge, I think. Don't follow through on your dreams and you get a truck stop instead of St Peter's indeed.
The real surprises were getting to hear Ambulence Blues both nights and Expecting To Fly on night 2. Wow. Ambulence Blues was very good. I was so shocked all I could do was sing along with it the first night. He changed one line to go along with the times, I think. Instead of "but it's either that or pay back the kidnapper" he sang "you screwed around and now won't even talk to her." At least I think that's it. Check the tapes when they come to your home.
Expecting To Fly: never thought I'd hear this one. I thought I recognized the intro; then came "There you stood on the edge of your feather". Believe me, I was sitting on the edge of my seat. He sang it wonderfully; not like the versions from '70 or the BS version, but very nice. I was in total amazement during this entire song. "Thanks, Neil!" that's what I yelled out after this song.
I hope Neil keeps on digging into his catalog and starts playing a much wider variety of tunes. He sure has plenty of great ones he could perform. This Bridge provided a wonderful taste of that.
Thanks again Rusties for all the fun!
Joe FEEDback Sirotnak's ReviewA FeedBack's-eye view of Bridge:
Neil: Two thumbs up. Outstanding Saturday. Merely excellent Sunday (he looked tired to me). He still commands the stage with his enormous 'presence', even if he does look like everybody's weird uncle. But why does he insist on that, for lack of a better term, grating guitar tone. His tone (and volume...didja notice that Neil was just plain louder than anybody else?) reminds me of that U2 album title Rattle and Hum. I think a little gain-reduction on the guitar would have been nice.
New songs: pretty, but slight. AB and ETF - Well, they just don't write 'm like that anymore. Damn these are good songs - and Neil sang the sh!t out of 'em! These two tunes alone were worth the price.
Phish: I'm not a phan...yet. Compared to Neil's set on Saturday, they seemed lightweight, almost a footnote. But Sunday, I warmed up to them. I was starting to get that fuzzy feeling where the distance between the band and audience breaks down. They drew me in. I'll give em 1.5 thumbs up. They are clearly very talented. Too good, in fact.
REM: I like this band, but Saturday they were about as appealing as a cold dead fish. Stipe gave me the creeps a little. A very intense man. They sounded great. Professionals. But Sunday they seemed like a different band. A whole different vibe. Did anyone else catch that affectionate/indulgent-child smile that Mike Mills, sitting at the grand piano, threw at Stipe? I don't know why, but I found that charming. And their interaction with the kids was great. REM probably is routinely hot-and-cold in concert. It just seems like their way. All in all: another 1.5 thumbs.
Sarah McLachlan: Not my cup of tea, musically (melodies too complex, I think. I'm sort of a melody-moron). But her voice is outstanding, beautiful. I'd like her records more if they sounded like her Bridge sets, stripped of all the high harmonies and gallons of syrupy reverb. Her set-closer with the BNL guys (Building a Mystery) was letter-perfect. Two thumbs up for performance. But only one for song quality. How 'bout another 1.5 thumbs and call it done.
Bare Naked Ladies: This sort of comedy-music doesn't usually age well, but this was my first BNL experience, so I was totally swept up by their energy. Great show. They're better musicians than many of the light-pop bands out there. Their songs are very well crafted. FEEDback highly recommends this band. Two thumbs up.
Wallflowers: Ho hum. Professional. Bland. Gotta give 'm credit for just going out there and doin' what they do. Would YOU like to be Bob Dylan's son? Nice Neil cover. One thumb.
Jonathan Richman: As you've read before, his act is rather too subtle for a big amphitheatre, but he worked it. I liked it. Another 1.5 thumbs.
Eels/Pete Droge/McCready: Opening a show like Bridge has got to be tough. Expectations are so high. I give them all credit for a game effort, but it didn't work for me. One-half of a thumb.
So there you have it: 11 1/2 thumbs up for the Bridge! People keep telling me I'm all thumbs. It was a good show both days, but on Sunday from sundown 'til the finale was truly special. I feel fortunate to have been there.
M. Morin's HighlightsWOW!!!! Neil never lets you down, what a beautiful show, year after year!
Jonathan Richman was the first highlight, by the way he has a new album on Vapor (Neil's label) this week. I Was Dancing In a Lesbian Bar (what a great song) can be found on the Surrender to Jonathan album on Vapor. Great dancing moves, bad sound though, didn't ya think?
Wallflowers: No set change. Made Don't Cry No Tears into a slow ballad -- nice but not inspired. Also, did Heroes (Bowie), again uninspired.
BareNaked Ladies: Surprise of the show, people really enjoyed them and their Canadian humor, very poppy, very catchy tunes, probably not for everybody, but they joked about Neil, and his beard, and his not-so famous hip-hop period. Little of a set change, as far as their improv parts but song list was same both days.
Sarah McLachlan: She has the most beautiful voice, and it filled up the amphitheater. Played with couple of the Barenaked Ladies, with her band and solo. Your Love Is Better Than Ice Cream was probably the highlight for me, great analogy, only a woman could of thought of that..
Phish: Saw this band in 92,93 three times, and they simply blew me away, they played here at Humboldt State, and lemme tell you folks it was orgasmic atmospheric liquid, if you know what I mean. They played to the kids the most. Those barber shop quartet songs were classic, Freebird was unforgettable, everything. Helpless: almost as good as the one with the Patti Smith improv a couple of years ago.
R.E.M.: That may be the last time you see them, and what a way to go. Country Feedback with Neil was amazing, surreal, floating, mesmerizing. 2nd night was better because of the sound, Neil was on right away picking solos. New album is going to be good. Wished for something old but I guess they are over it as of right now. Did Electrolite, Call Me Leper, Daysleeper, Losing Religion, Country Feedback.
NEIL YOUNG: Peaceful, cool, humorous, deep, loving, generous, honest, friend, prophet, simple, iconoclastic, beyond definition, genius, man, child. Played two hella great sets. Expecting To Fly, From Hank To Hendrix, FOUR STRONG WINDS w/ Sarah Mclachlan, Helpless w/ Phish, Ambulance Blues w/ REM, Horseshoe Man, others. Just great.
Great shows, met some great people, Hi to Bill and Eva from Atlanta, Q, Mick, Ciaran/Devon, Sorry I didn't see you Andy, Crazy taper Lady, and others, it was great, wasn't it!!!!
M. Morin/Humboldt State University
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