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Tweeter Center
Boston, Massachusetts, August 12, 2000

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--> John Wood's Review
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--> A Boston Herald review. He REALLY wanted the hits...
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The Confirmed Set List
  1. Motorcycle Mama
  2. Powderfinger
  3. Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere
  4. I Believe In You   [electric]
  5. Unknown Legend   [electric]
  6. Dance Dance Dance
  7. Buffalo Springfield Again
  8. Razor Love
  9. From Hank To Hendrix
  10. Daddy Went Walkin'
  11. Peace Of Mind
  12. Walk On
  13. Bad Fog Of Loneliness
  14. Winterlong
  15. Words (Between The Lines Of Age)
  16. Harvest Moon
  17. World On A String
  18. Tonight's The Night   [on piano]
  19. Like A Hurricane
  20. Mellow My Mind

Tweeter Center
Boston, Massachusetts, August 12, 2000

review by John Woods

While leaving the show last night I heard complaints that "Neil didn't have his best stuff tonight." That clearly came from the "wine-n-cheesers" who expected a "greatest hits" set. Instead of listening to the same tunes spoonfed by "classic rock" radio, they should have dusted off their copies of Comes A Time and the Decade compilation. This was a NUGGETS show!

I had arrived at Great Woods (I loathe the name Tweeter Center) and reached my seat a few minutes before the Pretenders took the stage and played a most enjoyable warm-up set. Chrissie Hynde was quite cool, with an engaging stage presence -- and possessing a great rock-and-roll voice in her own right. I wasn't big into the Pretenders back in the early 80s -- then again, I loathe most of the popular music produced during that period. But they scored points right off the bat with a cool cover of The Loner to open their set.

There were a handful of Pretenders tunes that were gems -- the understated Talk Of The Town, the *way* cool My City Was Gone (where I did my first dancing of the night), the fun Back On The Chain Gang and the fine Stop Your Sobbing. The set-closer was a rearranged & inspired full-band cover of The Needle And The Damage Done. Their encore of Middle Of The Road was pure rock & roll, with Chrissie's harmonica solo adding that edgy touch.

Then came the main event. Any artist whom in the span of 2 hours and 5 minutes who can make me cry three separate times, and give me a permagrin at some serious musical breaks, is doing something right. Perhaps it helped that my seats were excellent (15th row right side, but with the sweet *angle*), but the bottom line is that Neil and this band are playing the real stuff!!!

The Motorcycle Mama opener was slow and deliberate, with Pegi & Astrid taking the second and fourth verses. Powderfinger was much the same, with the first feeling of that locked groove from Keltner and Duck both smooth as silk yet rocking. I was downright giddy during Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere -- one of Neil's finest pure rock anthems, played to the bone.

Both the sweet I Believe In You and Unknown Legend had Neil playing his black electric, working quite well in giving a cool rock edge to the latter.

Where the corner was turned, though, was on Razor Love -- so achingly beautiful that tears flowed from my eyes as Neil and the band subtly built the ballad to a gloriously understated peak. There's something to be said about restraint and hushed dynamics... Here, both were utilized magnificently.

From Hank To Hendrix featured plenty of harmonica from Neil, with Astrid & Pegi's rough-but-just-right harmonies complementing Neil's tenderness. Daddy Went Walkin' in the hands of this band became a good ol' hoedown! A playful shuffle that reminded me once again IF IT AIN'T COUNTRY, IT AIN'T SHIT!

Once again, Neil changed moods, and the result was that I dearly wished my sister Pam was with me so we could have shared a long hug. Piece Of Mind, simply put, was one of the most beautiful, etheral, glowing and gorgeous ballads I have ever experienced by ANY artist! As I type this now on this Sunday morning, tears are once again flowing from my eyes. The placement of notes, the ache in Neil's vocal, the bliss of Astrid, Pegi & Neil's harmony, the stunning accompaniment...all I could ever ask for from a ballad and more. Thank you, Neil!!

The next string of tunes were righteous and real. Walk On was in a lower key, but contained every bit of its playful personality -- "some get stoned, some get strange, sooner or later, it all gets real, Walk On."

Bad Fog Of Loneliness, a unreleased gem from over 25 years ago, had that engaging feeling. Then Winterlong placed another permagrin on me. It's another of my personal favorite Neil rockers. Neil and the band seemed to be where I belonged!

But then there's Words... Words... BETWEEN THE LINES OF AAAAAAAAAGE! Thirteen-plus minutes of electric bliss, with its slinky pace handled flawlessly by the Duck and Keltner. It's a treat whenever the two of them are on a stage backing anyone! But this was good ol' rock-out Neil, bending stings, hurling his body into every note, and there wasn't a single dragging moment. The Real Stuff!

It was time to cry again, though... The full-band treatment of Harvest Moon did that in the right places. I *could* complain that Spooner Oldham's organ was a touch loud in the mix from my vantage point, but in the words of the late & great John Coltrane, "Damn the rules, it's the feeling that counts." Once again, tears of joy and bliss flowed freely.

And again Neil shifts moods... The electric World On A String was sheer coolness: Pure rock-out fun! Then the set-closing Tonight's The Night took that one step further -- played faithful to the original arrangement with Neil attacking away on piano. While this is not the rock-out of Crazy Horse, it is pure feeling! This was a snaky, slinky *greasy* groove, with Ben Keith's steel touches perfectly augmenting Neil's piano. The set seemed too short to end, primarily because at that point, I was honest-to-God ready for ten more hours of this stuff!

The night would not have been complete without one more epic, and the 12-minute Like A Hurricane delivered one. Neil's crazed electric runs wrapped themselves around the urgent, rock-solid groove by the Duck and Keltner. Finally, to close the night, Neil "Mellowed Our Minds" with one final dose of bliss... Wisely, he didn't shoot for those impossible-to-reach high notes. The last notes of the song ended a night that was sheer bliss for me.

A few other notes: the "How ya doin'" count for the night was 6, with one of them directed to those "on the beach" (the lawn, which was filled with sand). The only miffs I could think of was a slurred line in Powderfinger, but Duck also chuckled about a goof he made that I didn't catch. Then again, with crisp players like Duck and Keltner, anything off a millisecond probably sounds erroneous to them.

Finally, while tickets were not cheap, I could not complain one bit about last night. Music is supposed to move you with many different feelings and emotions: Neil did all that to me last night. To those whom Neil failed to move because they wanted to hear Heart Of Gold regurgitated the umpteenth time, go home and listen to your local radio station. For those like me there to see NEIL last night, we were rewarded with bliss.


(more reviews coming soon... --RE*AC*TOR)