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The Michael Harvest Moon Golden Review
(more reviews coming)
The show details.
An SF Chronicle review.
A Contra Costa Times review.
Alright, one show down for me, at least two more to go on this tour. Well, first and foremost, let me reiterate my position on this matter... CSN have become Neil's backing band for this tour. I will get into this later. But first, on with the show...
Inca Queen and my sister and I drove down to the San Jose Arena very much in advance of the show. We didn't want a repeat of this year's Bridge Benefit, where we arrived an hour early, but couldn't park the car due to traffic at the Shoreline. When we got to the arena, I was thrilled that departing air traffic out of San Jose International was blowing by at 500' over the arena. I could've sat outside and gazed at the aircraft, but we had a show to get to.
The first thing that took me by surprise was a $10 parking charge. I don't remember that from last year's solo tour, or any of the Catalyst Shows, or the old Keystone Palo Alto gigs, or the Warfield shows, or the Coconut Grove Ballroom performances, or... well, you get the point... But folks, luck was with us this evening, as we found a spot in the lot literally next to the front door. Inca Queen spotted it, and timing was everything. So it was out of the car and into the arena, after stopping in on Stephen Stills' tour bus (no comparison to Neil's).
Inside, I had a strange feeling as if I had entered an exhibition of sorts. There were shirts, programs, vendors, cotton candy, lemonade, and ushers in blue coats with black pants. Lots of things for sale, right down to plastic bags that promoted the tour. I wonder what Neil thinks of that? Then again, they were also selling Lionel Train hats. So maybe our man has jumped on the marketing bandwagon...
We had seats on the floor, way down there, like on the very bottom only about 20 rows back from the stage. So we went down there, and staked our claim for the night. I was a little surprised at the crowd, very much well groomed, well dressed, yuppie like. Almost removed from this major event. Then Inca Queen reminded me, "Michael, we're not in Tahoe anymore..." This was Silicon Valley, money flows like water, and these people were here for "the event" at the San Jose Arena. Never mind the fact that it was CSNY, it was "a concert". Inca Queen's thoughts were confirmed, when into the first few songs, most people hadn't even grabbed their seats. Losers!
I won't bore you folks with the setlist, but will give you some highlights...
That's not to say that I didn't enjoy the show, it was awe inspiring. For those of you who haven't seen it yet, you will get my drift when you do. And I will be going to the Oakland Coliseum show and Arco Arena show next week. I may even have the motivation (personal) to attend the MSG show(s) in New York. But let me assure you all, in my opinion, while this was a group effort, it was really Neil Young & CSN.
There were some other really good highlights...
When Neil started in on the guitar during Southern Man, I couldn't sit in my seat any longer. I had to remove myself into the aisle to move around and bend with the notes of Neil's guitar.
I purchase a tour shirt from each Neil tour and save them in a dresser I have out in the garage (it's filled). I had sworn I wouldn't buy a tour shirt as my protest to the commercialism of this tour. Well, I broke my promise to myself. Pay attention here folks: there is a beige colored shirt with some bizarre artwork on the front, and the back lists the 3 Northern California tour dates. This is a special shirt for these three shows only. The artwork was taken from an old CSNY poster announcing a show at The Fillmore West back in 1970. I just happen to have the poster, and that's what caught my eye. My guess is that it will be available at the Oakland & Sacramento shows. I ended up buying myself one, and getting one for a friend of mine, knowing that she couldn't make one of these performances and really wanted to go.
In sum, the ticket prices were high, but well worth it. In comparison to the '99 Solo Tour, this is different, not as intense, but still good. I would've felt better about the ticket prices had it been just Neil, but as many of you will see, it kinda is just Neil. Both Keltner (on drums) and Dunn (on bass guitar) were great additions to these guys. Thank goodness Neil suggested that they get rid of Michael Finnegan on the keyboards.
Musically, the show came out great, and I am really "Looking Forward" to Oakland & Sacramento next week. Oh yeah, and, the show appeared to be sold out, believe it or not. There were folks scrounging for tickets outside the door, willing to pay some serious $$$ for a ticket. We'll see what the next two shows on the tour bring.
On a personal note, a request to our fearless leader: While I couldn't ask for more -- and Neil, you definitely delivered -- maybe a Sea of Madness, Ordinary People, or Pushed It Over The End ???
...on wings of magic...
Michael (Harvest Moon)
(more reviews coming soon... --RE*AC*TOR)