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Karen Popp's early review
Jim Beller's report
Jim Zooey's short review
(more reviews coming)
The show details.
I guess on Thursday night's Leno show Neil was taking it easy in preparation for the rocking, ripping performance he planned for us tonight in Redwood City!! Unbelievable. And he had fun! Lots of "How ya doin'?"s and one or two "Ya doin' okay?"s. No sunglasses -- he commented that he liked the light on the audience. More than a few of those smiles that are sort of subtle, but present when he is in a good mood.
The sets were great! Started the night off with When you Dance, then he did The Loner. He also did Differently, You're My Girl, and Sleeps With Angels. Before he did Let's Roll he said it is one song he wished he hadn't had to write, and that we would know what he meant when he played it...
Quit (Don't Say You Love Me) was sweet. Perfectionist Neil started Goin' Home over, saying he had just missed it, but he was smiling about it and sailed through it the second go-round. He also said he was playing some old songs (Cinnamon Girl, Mr. Soul, Cortez, and a fantastic ripping version of Powderfinger) and some new songs. (I really liked She's a Healer...)
The encore was a very sweet Helpless. As he left the stage it sounded like he said something like they were going to practice more or maybe it was play more? Maybe a reference to another stealth gig tomorrow night??? (By the way, tickets were easily had at face value, and there was good room to dance around.)
And in comparison to some of the talk about Neil's performance of Are You Passionate on Leno, I can tell you one thing for sure: the version we saw last night was incredible, he just nailed everybit of it. And he didn't lose any of the words.
Fashion-wise, he started the show with no hat, similar shirt to the one he wore last night on Leno, black jeans... For the second set he put the cowboy hat on. No belt!
Fantastic wonderful show. Those intense eyes searching the crowd, then the smiles... Smiles and that incredible interaction with his musical instrument and the boys in the band. A great way to start the weekend!
Now I'm off to dreamland...
Some details we picked up from our vantage point eight feet (sometimes 4!!) from Neil:
ps: Pegi waved and Astrid smiled at me! I hope Neil (and my wife Els) didn't notice Pegi shamelessly vibing me all night! (-:
I get sick of living in the Bay Area every once in a while, but when I think back on all the stealth gigs I've seen over the years (e.g., warm up for the Trans tour at the Santa Cruz Civic, 3 of the 4 '84 Catalyst shows, the Bluenotes at the Fillmore, Booker T and the MGs at the Warfield, Crazy Horse at the Warfield), not to mention all the Bridge School shows, I thank my lucky stars that I've lived in this area for 25 years.
I have to say last night was one of the best Neil shows I've seen. The band was great. (I don't know what you call it, Booker T and the Horse?) Poncho had a grin on his face most the night, and Duck Dunn also seemed to be having the time of his life.
Neil definitely was in a good mood, and played the crap out of his guitars.
I expected mellow, and mellow did walk in and out a few times -- but this show rocked. Many of the new songs really shined, and the AYP album that has been growing on me has stepped up a few notches for me.
Never been the the Fox Theatre, but thought it was a great venue. I was fairly close to the stage, but not too boxed in. I could complain about a few folks in the crowed, but why bother raining on the parade.
I had a desperate search for tickets which worked out in my favor, but like folks said it seemed easy to get tickets at face value out in front.
*Satisfied with a Fish on the Line*
This was probably my biggest score in 23 years of going to see shows - totally a case of being in the right place at the right time. Given a heads-up from a net post, I tuned into KFOG at 2:45 on Friday expecting to hear a 3 PM Neil-related announcement. Turned out the station was giving away pairs of tix for a performance to be held that night at the Fox Theater in Redwood City. I quickly checked the TicketBastard site and saw the listing for the event - tickets on sale at 3 PM, only at TM outlets.
I literally ran out of my apartment, jumped in my car, hauled ass to Tower Records, and got there a couple minutes before 3:00. After waiting nervously for the customer ahead of me to complete his transaction (tickets for the SF Opera), I was rewarded with a pair of General Admission tickets. I called a buddy from work, who quite understandably cleared his schedule in order to meet me at the theater.
I got down to the Fox at about 6, where the soundcheck was in progress, and audible to the 25 or so people lined up out front. I thought I could make out Down By The River. The doors opened at 7:00, and after passing through a fairly thorough patting down at the door, we ventured inside to check out the room.
The venue capacity was 1100. There were seats in the balcony and at the rear of the main floor, but the area right in front of the stage was GA. We staked out a spot about 15 feet back, right center (between Neil and Booker T).
The mood in the room was electric. Everyone I talked to seemed totally psyched and really appreciative of how lucky they were to be there. I talked to one of those contest winners from Buffalo. She said that the show was supposed to be the next night, Saturday the 11th at the Great American Music Hall, but that it had been switched to the Fox unexpectedly. Also in attendance were a few lucky individuals who happened to be in the hotel lobby where the contest winners were staying - they were invited to tag along for free.
The lights went down and the show started at 8:10. In the first set, When You Dance I Can Really Love was a great rocking opener. The Loner was great and Sleeps With Angels was killer. The set ended at 9:25 with Powderfinger.
After a short intermission, the show resumed at 10 PM. The second set included the highlight of the night for me, She's A Healer with an unbelievable groove & extended jam. It also included an incendiary All Along The Watchtower and a very long version of Down By The River with great soloing.
The second set ended at 11:00 PM. After a couple of minutes they came back out for a single encore of Helpless. Lights on and Greensleeves on the PA at 11:10.
This is a great band, combining the rock-out sensibility of the Horse with the soul of Booker T (who was much more prominent in the mix than he was at the CSNY show I saw in Oakland). My only (minor) complaint for the evening was that the sound could have used a bit more in the low end -- but maybe that's just hearing loss on my part.
I hope someone recorded this one for posterity - this was possibly the best show I've ever seen.
(more reviews coming...)