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Hiro Nishiyama's review
(more reviews coming)
The show details.
A FujiRockers.org review.
Our long, long, really long-time dream came true! Neil played in our home-country for first time since 1989. As Crazy Horse, they hadn't came here for a quarter of a century!!! Even for me, who has seen Neil's concerts over 20 times, it really was special. So guess how the fans who haven't see him for so long (or never have) felt...
Fuji Rock Festival is the biggest rock festival in Japan. It has four stages, and Neil Young & Crazy Horse was on the "Green Stage", the biggest one. They were the headliner on day 2 of the festival. Before them, some of the other acts were the Hothouse Flowers, Patti Smith, Stereophonics, and Alanis Morissette. They were all good, especially Patti -- she was amazing.
Patti Smith opened her set with a great version of Gloria. 70 minutes was too short for her set, but on the other hand it did make for a "concentrated" show. She even did Fredrick, Because The Night, Pissing In The River, and Rock'n'Roll Nigger. Too cool. Another highlight for me.
There are no seats for the audience at Fuji Rock, and people rush to the front during the setchange. Many kinds of people there: older, younger, men, women -- some seem to be retired from rock for a long time, some younger ones seem to think "it's a good chance to see legendary Eddie Vedder's Dad." But many of them (including me) have aged with Neil's music in their own lives, and have waited, waited and waited many years for this night.
Finally, Neil, Billy, Ralph and Poncho appeared on stage! The crowd shouted and screamed. A lot rushed and pushed to the front -- to the point where it was a little dangerous. With the opening Don't Cry No Tears, some are actually crying. I didn't, but I can understand deeply why they cried.
I've Been Waiting For You... Oh, that's what we all would like to say to you, Neil!
Neil didn't say "How ya' doin'?" or anything like that during the show. He only did some strange screaming into the microphone at one point. But obviously he was feeling good that night. He smiled a lot -- not only to his fellow Horse, but even a lot to us! All of the Horse seemed surprised and pleased by our enthusiastic welcome. (Ralph threw his drumsticks to the audience at the end of the show!)
The scheduled showtime was 9:30-11:00pm. When Neil went straight from Hank To Hendrix to Only Love Can Break Your Heart (with the Horse) for the accoustic set, it appeared that the setlist was going to be a rather "reduced" version. But fortunately Neil changed his mind... After OLCBYH, although Larry brought out Old Black, Neil began to sing The Needle with his Martin, and the Horse went backstage again. Clearly that song wasn't planned. (And I believe Powderfinger and TTN played in the encores were not planned, either...)
Hey Hey My My was a killer. Extended solo with almost one note! He really got into it. After Sedan Delivery, Poncho switched to organ and Hurricane began. There seemed to be some mechanical trouble with Neil's Fender-deluxe amp or the whizzer -- the sound was not as strong as usual. He was perhaps a little irritated about it, and he looked back at a big speaker behind his Fender amp, and played toward it. I thought that he was trying to get some extra excitement for himself (from a shower of big sound) but it didn't bring enough, apparently. Larry came out to check the gear, but by the time it was fixed the "main" part of LAH was done and the long long "chaos noise" part had begun. It seemed as though they were trying to make up for the loss.
That scene was on the webcast, so many of you know how it was. Really killer chaos -- noise -- feedback. Billy beat on his bass with a cable... Seems like it never ends... Neil cuts all of his strings and sings like chant... A spell... And more... Played piano as if he was "cracked"... Nothing could stop them... LAH that night lasted 20+ minutes. At least half of it was the chaos jam. But I loved it!
The announced curfew had already passed, but they still did 2 encores with 4 songs. The most impressive one was the piano-guitar rendition (similar to the way he does Hold You In My Arms) of Tonight's The Night. A very spontaneous, improvised version of it -- almost sorceritic.
The show lasted almost 2 and a half hours! What a night. Everyone there was acually blown away. What we saw was not a nostalgia trip. It was timeless musical magic -- something that most of us had never experienced.
The applause never really ended... It was our thankful feelings from the bottom of our hearts.
If anyone from the Young-camp reads this, I'd like to say something to you in conclusion...
"Thanks for coming to Japan, Neil, Billy, Ralph, Poncho, Elliot, Pegi, Astrid, Larry and all the people working with you. We really enjoyed your show, and for many of us it'll be the experience of a lifetime. We hope you enjoyed it too, and hope you recognized there are so many fans here. So please don't make us wait for another decade till the next show! We hope we see you here again, very soon. Domo-Arigato, thank you so much, we love you."Hiro Nishiyama
(more reviews coming...)