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Joby In your eyes and on your mind Treegoob's Review
Michael Fingered Mustache Kelsey's Review
(more reviews coming)
The show details.
A Philadelphia Inquirer review.
I just got back from my first show of the tour.
Here's my impressions...
I missed Tegan and Sara.
The Pretenders were great fun. Chrissy Hynde looks healthy and beautiful and once again kissed the stage in honor of Neil. She did The Loner opener with a real neat psychedelic guitar jam all through it. Closed with Needle, but then came out and encored with Dylan's Forever Young -- which she dedicated to Neil.
Neil came on about 15 min after Chrissy left the stage. He looked great. Black t-shirt, white cargo shorts, and sometimes a panama hat and Trans sunglasses.
Motorcycle Mama was slower than I expected -- bluesy and awesome. Pegi and Astrid were clearly having a ball and belted out Nicolette's part with a vengence. Both of them looked beautiful, swaying the whole night like angels over Neil's left shoulder.
Powderfinger just sounds so much better electric that there's no real comparison to his solo acoustic version from last year. Near the end of that song, and all through EKTIN, I was having some problems with my ticket and finding my seat and all so I missed much of those songs.
Which calls to mind... *Rant mode on*
Camden's Blockbuster/Sony Entertainment Center is rapidly degenerating into one of the worst places to see a show I know of. They sold every square inch of space in the "Gold Circle" that they could -- to the point where it must have been a fire hazard. Being crammed into tiny folding chairs, smashed between my neighbors, I almost freaked out. Normally that stuff doesn't bother me. But whatever scumbags thought it was a good idea to charge astronomical prices for the front eight rows of that place and cram in those chairs and SELL SELL SELL as many as they can to the point that no one could possibly be comfortable, should be violently beaten. Or at least have their money taken away from them.
*Rant mode off*
One of the songs I was most looking forward to hearing was I Believe In You. It didn't disappoint. I just love that song. (He's not using the capo on the first fret anymore, and plays it in standard tuning.)
Unknown Legend was very nice. Pegi had a beatific smile during the whole song. Ben Keith's pedal steel was very prevalent here and takes the song to whole new levels live.
Neil bantered with the crowd a bit here. He mentioned how it was great to be in Philly again, and that it seemed like he was just here last week. He asked us all how we were doing, and said it was a beautiful night. He asked us if we were all sticking together, which I assume was referring to the humidity, which was pretty bad.
He jammed out on Dance Dance Dance. I was very happy to see this song. At this point I noticed that behind Neil and the band were four large flags across the stage hanging on wires from the roof of the shed, that were used as screens. During the line "Never thought love had a rainbow on it" they projected concentric rainbow colored circles on each screen. A nice touch. During other songs there was a variety of colors and patterns projected on the screens behind them.
Neil talked some more here, about how back in the day he used to play in Philly at a place called the Electric Factory. He said he used to do two sets, one acoustic and then he and the band would come out and tune up for twenty minutes then leave the stage. Then they would come back out and play an electric set -- so really it was a three set deal. I guess he was talking about "way back when", because then he went into Buffalo Springfield Again. He's reworked it a little bit, with a new ending that I like.
Razor Love was next. Beautiful song.
Lotta Love was mellow and nice.
Neil talked to the crowd a bit again and came out with some funny stuff. He talked about being from Ontario, and having a small family farm where his daddy lives. He said he wrote this song for his daddy, but then said most of all I wrote it for ME! and he threw up his arms in the air like a little kid. Then he said that when he says things like that, he thinks he should just shut up for the next few hours -- which got a big laugh from the crowd. Then he played Daddy Went Walkin, which was also reworked a bit with the new band.
Piece Of Mind was next, and was a highlight for me. When Neil sang "she still gets me hot" I let out a "WOOO HOOO!" Pegi turned towards me with a huge grin, and I couldn't tell for sure but I'd swear she was blushing.
Bad Fog Of Lonliness was a great song. I think I have this on the original Archives Be Damned collection, which is the only place I've ever heard it.
Playing songs like Piece Of Mind, Bad Fog, Winterlong, etc, is great for us Rusties, but it was around this time of the set where I noticed that a lot of the crowd around me just didn't seem to be getting it. They didn't recognize what they were seeing, and I kinda felt like giving some of them a crash course in NY history. He's definitely promoting the archives with these sets, and believe me I'm not complaining.
Neil dedicated Walk On to the "kids of HMS." Anybody know who they are? Jammin song... Got the crowd up and groovin again throwin their fists in the air during the staccato parts of the guitar solos. I could swear Neil was looking at me as he sang "Some get stoned..."
Winterlong was fun to sing along with... "You seem to beeee whereee I belonnnnggg..." Hope I didnt annoy anyone. Spooner Oldham played a xylophone kind of thing during this song.
Then came Words. I don't think I can add any more to what's already been said... I love watching Neil sway back and forth almost out of his sandals with the long jams... It builds to an explosive crescendo at the end -- it was this song that reminded me most of the kind of guitar work Neil did earlier this year with CSN.
Harvest Moon was lovely. The most beautiful love song ever written. This is my wedding song if I ever marry. After this one Neil thanked the audience and called us a great crowd.
World On A String doesn't mean a thing.
After Tonight's The Night, which featured some stellar guitar work by Ben Keith while Neil pounded away on the piano keys, Neil stood up, lifted off his hat, and bid goodnight to the crowd.
After the band left the stage, what looked like a piano hanging on wires slowly dropped from the ceiling and hit the floor. Ben Keith sat down at it as everyone came back onstage for the first encore: Like A Hurricane. Smokin' jams and funky strobe lights made this one a definite crowd pleaser. Then the band left the stage again.
But then they came back out and sang Mellow My Mind -- which to me is a perfect way to end the show. Great song, nice sentiment. I heard some people complaining though that they would have preferred a more rockin final song. Not me, though.
Altogether an amazing night. There were so many great songs played that I never thought I would see done live. On to Hershey!!!!! I'm first on the Sooper Dooper Looper!!!!! YEEHAAAAA!!!
In your eyes and on your mind
Right on the heels of the CSNY tour here comes Neil Young again, on his third tour in less than two years. Digging into his catalogue of released material (when will the Archives songs begin to appear in his set lists?), he played songs which seemed aimed at his long time fans who may have grown just a tad weary of hearing his well known classics over the past tours. The result was a show that mixed in several forgotten gems with, surprisingly, just three from Silver & Gold. Plus just enough of the expected to pull off the challenge of keeping everyone happy.
Admittedly I fall into the "dump the same old stuff" category of fans. But I understand that many folks at Neil shows have never seen him live, and would be very disappointed if the whole night was only the obscurities I myself would love to hear. So "sharing the music" in a different context needs to be the rule. Sometimes it seems that Neil strays too far on the side of satisfaction for all of the "concert newbies" (e.g., IMHO every Crazy Horse tour eventually becomes a greatest hits show). But last night he carefully balanced the song selection.
That was evident from the opening song, Motorcycle Mama. This was never one of my favorites, but still, it certainly wasn't a routine hit song. But then he plowed right into a terrific Powderfinger -- a standard that seems to always get better with each listen. And then he followed with a country-fried Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere.
Next came what I considered to be the first nugget of the evening: an absolutely beautiful I Believe In You. Nothing against the title song of the album this one came from, but I was sure that After The Gold Rush" was going to be in the set, seeing that it has been played the last five times I saw him live. But it was an excellent time to give it a "tour off" and bring out a replacement from that album -- one that few of us have ever heard live.
For the newbies at the show who were asking each other "what was that song?", he came back with a nice Unknown Legend, with especially nice harmonies from Pegi and Astrid Young. But then he followed that with another fairly obscure one: Dance Dance Dance. The beginning guitar reminded me of Bite the Bullet, a tune that would have fit perfectly in the set at this point and I was hoping he'd play. But no problem, Dance got the place dancing.
Next came the first of the Silver & Gold songs. Neil's tribute to the Springfield, Buffalo Springfield Again, always seems a bit hollow to me (I just can't get over the Rock'n'Roll Hall of Fame snub, but maybe it's time I move on). But the version last night was outstanding, with great acoustic lead breaks from Neil and steel from Ben. Then came Razor Love, done perfectly. I first heard this one over ten years ago, and it just gets better with age. As Neil hits and keeps that high note on "Windoooooooow".... ...what a gem!
Then Lotta Love, never one of my favorites. I always thought this was a momentum breaker in the Rust Never Sleeps tour and consider it very, very far to the pop sappy side of Neil Young music. But that's just an example of what makes him THE premier artist -- so many styles to chose from. The crowd loved it.
But then... ...a six song string that had me loving it:
Newbie restless alert! ...not to worry, Harvest Moon calmed them down. Nice version of a pretty song. Couples kissing and swaying. But then came a double shot from Tonight's the Night... First World On A String, which in full band version offered some of the sloppy power that the 99 acoustic versions couldn't deliver. The regular set closed with the title song of the album, one which Neil's done many times. Here he played piano, and seemed to stick to the arrangement on the album, more or less.
The first encore was, alas, aimed at the newbies. You knew Like A Hurricane was coming when the white organ dropped from the rafters. Good version, feedback at the end, the whole deal. The last song of the evening was for us, though: Mellow My Mind. Said it all. Great way to send us home. Interestingly, many fans (newbies no doubt) headed for the cars when they realized that it wasn't Heart of Gold or some other "hit" at the end.
There you have it. Something for everyone, great band, great sound, and Neil in a great mood (unlike the "shut up asshole" show the last time around solo in Philly). What's next? Crazy Horse? More CSNY? We'll see!
(more reviews coming soon... --RE*AC*TOR)