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Brixton Academy
London, England
May 21, 2002

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--> Len Read's review
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Also See:
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--> A Depression Blues review.
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The Confirmed Set List
    First Set
  1. When You Dance
  2. The Loner
  3. Differently
  4. Sleeps With Angels
  5. Are You Passionate
  6. Goin' Home
  7. Cinnamon Girl
  8. Cortez The Killer
  9. Let's Roll
  10. Powderfinger
    Second Set
  11. Quit (Don't Say You Love Me)
  12. She's A Healer
  13. All Along The Watchtower
  14. Two Old Friends
  15. Mr.Soul
  16. Down By The River
    Encore
  17. Helpless


Brixton Academy
London, England, May 21, 2002

review by Len Read

A wet night in humid London town -- and it didnít take much for Neil and the band to work the audience into a sweat.

There was a technical problem halfway through -- and a couple of sound gremlins -- as Neil made his debut at this 4,300 seater venue, south of the river Thames. But despite an enforced intermission, Neil was in good spirits and offered some of his tongue-in-cheek asides to the audience.

He made reference to the fact that Brixton, which was the scene of anti-police riots in the early Eighties, is now one of Londonís more crime ridden boroughs. He commented: ĒI hear that if you leave by 11:30 it can be a bit dangerous... Donít worry, weíll play Ďtil 1am." {loud cheers from the audience} "No, Iím joking.Ē

Earlier he told the fans: ĒItís great to be back." {pause} "Actually I havenít been here before. But Iíll be back."

The venue is a former cinema reminiscent of the old Rainbow in North London which, during the Seventies, was Londonís major rock venue. Around the top of the stage are Moorish / Spanish inspired architecture. Downstairs, however, all the seats have been ripped out -- so there was a huge swell against the stage. Upstairs the un-numbered seats are on a very steep able.

Neil and co ambled on stage about 9pm, and it was straight into rousing versions of When You Dance and The Loner. He had on his battered straw stetson, while Poncho was in yet another Hendrix t-shirt. For Duck Dunn it was another patterned shirt while Booker T was in t-shirt and slacks but no baseball cap.

Most arresting sight on stage was Pegi and Astrid in black leather mini shirts, matching pairs of black boots, red blouses and black jackets. The jackets stayed on for the whole show -- they must have been hot!

There were huge ovations for the classics, but apart from GoiníHome and to a lesser extent Letís Roll (which was a thousand times better than the studio version) the Are You Passionate material got a comparatively lukewarm response.

It was during Powderfinger that Neil, using his gold top Les Paul, experienced problems with part of his rig. A couple of attempts to correct the fault urging the song failed to appease Neil. So at the end of the number he called a halt and announced the band would be back in ten minutes.

To be fair, from my position in the circle, I couldnít tell what the problem was. Things sounded no different to my ears! But Neil didnít show any signs of anger at the problem and appeared, to the audience at least, pretty laid back.

It was nearer 15 minutes before the band returned. After the first number, Quit (Donít Say You Love Me), he announced with a grin, ďThatís better.Ē

It was during this number that Astrid moved to piano to add some colour to the song -- and her mic let out some nasty sounding crackles during Neilís soloing. He seemed to it shrug off. She needed a new mic.

Possibly the best number of the night was the penultimate, a brooding and magnificent Down By The River, which had the audience swaying in time to some beautiful, slow burning solo lines that we love Neil for. Then it was off and back for a surprising and welcome version of Helpless. Then lights up and into the rain.

My initial thoughts: Good gig, not quite classic status. Good vibes from Neil. Everyone in the band seemed to be having a good time -- in fact Neil did say at one point that the Academy was good place.

Interesting fact: over my 11 Neil Young gigs in Britian (he hasnít been here that often you guys and gals in the USA) as far as I can remember this was the first to not include an unreleased song.


(more reviews coming...)