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Calgary Saddledome, Oct 25, 1996

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--> Geoff {Mr. Geoff!} Nash's Review
--> Doug Ross's Review
--> Scott Jensen's Mini-Review

The set list

  1. Hey Hey My My
  2. Powderfinger
  3. Big Time
  4. Pocahontas
  5. The Needle and the Damage Done
  6. Helpless
  7. Cinnamon Girl
  8. Fuckin' Up
  9. Cortez The Killer
  10. Music Arcade
  11. Slip Away
  12. Like a Hurricane
  13. Scattered
  14. Sedan Delivery

Calgary Saddledome, Oct 25, 1996

review by Geoff {Mr. Geoff!} Nash

After a fairly uneventful trip up to Calgary with my dear wife and our non-Rusty type friends Susan and Tom, we headed over to the Hard Rock Cafe for a few preconcert snacks and libations. Thanks to the waiter for the half dozen Concert posters!

Then we saddled up and headed on over to the Saddledome to find our seats. I didn't have the time, energy or money to do the RustRow thing (sorry, but thanks for the info Sheila) so we ended up with seats way up in the restaurant (read: "nosebleed") section. Quite a ways up, but with 7-power wide-angle glasses, I felt like I was right on stage.

A pretty good crowd at about 9 or 10 thousand, but it started out kinda slow for Pete Droge. A pretty good set from a pretty tight Seattle band. Moist came on stage to almost a full house and launched into a high energy set featuring some material off their first and second albums. Not bad either, but my anticipation was at a fever pitch.

Things were just about set at 10 minutes to nine and the guys in white lab coats (I think it read ElectroTechnics or something like that on the back) came out and lit all the candles -- funny touch. At precisely 9PM the Horse sauntered onto center stage....

Neil picked up Old Black and launched immediately into a sonic rendition of HHMM. Neil was resplendant in khaki shirt and baggy shorts. Pancho wearing a Jimi teeshirt, Billy in plaid and Ralph with standard headband and teeshirt.

Then, for all you Edmonton rusties dissappointed in not hearing Powderfinger, well.... you should have followed the bus down to Cowtown. The Horse picked up speed through PF and launched into a fuzzy, mesmerizing version of Big Time. By this time I was practically launching myself over the railings of the upper deck to get closer to this sonic invasion. The seats we had were faaaar too comfortable for a Neil concert and I yearned to be front row, where there was a mere foot or two separation from the stage.

The mesmerizing, fuzzy, distorted and yet quintessentially melodic mood continued through a superb Pocohontas (The Saddledome received a mention at the end: "....and the Saddledome ... and Muhammad Ali").

The Horse was tied up for an acoustic reprieve with Needle and a very emotional Helpless. I wonder if Helpless goes over better here in Canada than in the US? There was a real connection between audience and singer during this song.

Well, just as the audience thought Neil was settling into this quiet, reflective mood, he jarred us awake with one of the highlights of the show, kicking Old Black into a scorching Cinnamon Girl. Lumbering about the stage like some kind of crazed, arthritic arachnid, Neil pushed all the right buttons and plugged it right into the crowd. Fuckin' Up continued this trend before the mood became somber with a reflective Cortez.

The acoustic came back out for a wonderful Music Arcade. I think if Neil had released this song in 1970 it might well have become his *signature* piece. A simply brilliant piece of work. Slip Away was next allowing for a gentle transition into what was to follow.

And what followed was almost too incredible to put down on paper. In many ways I'm glad I don't see Neil too often... Last time was in '91 on the Smell the Horse tour. Because I don't see him that often I don't get caught up in the *Comparison Game*. And I would hate to have to *compare* what followed, Like a Hurricane, to anything I had heard before. There simply can be no comparison.

It was a sonic attack which defies description. It was like a War of Sound on stage and at the end there were no survivors.... and Old Black lay shredded and in ruins. And with that, Neil simply shrugged, turned his back and left the stage. A more caustic performance I can never hope to see again!

Yes, the Horse came back for an encore, but it was empty -- everything had been given on Hurricane and there was nothing left to give. I think the audience felt this also, because after a quick two song set of Scattered and Sedan Delivery, the Horse limped off into the distance not to return.

It was a performance of ebb and flow -- moving from high to low, and back to high energy. The only flaw that I could see was that it seemed to end on a low energy note, even though it was Sedan Delivery. Somehow the punch was gone. I almost wish I had left after Like a Hurricane. I should have known that it could not be topped in the encore from an energy standpoint. But I'm one of those who take Neil at face value -- whatever he wants to give is just fine by me...

Thanks Neil! Thanks Pancho! Thanks Billy! Thanks Ralph! And thanks Pegi for lettin' yer hubby out once in a while to play with his buddies!

{Mr. Geoff!}

Calgary Saddledome, Oct 25, 1996

review by Doug Ross

Hi Rusties

This is a little late (that work thing gets in the way sometimes) and I know Geoff has already posted a great review. But I always like reading the different views of the same concert so here goes.

My office partner (Dave) and I have had solid Neil on the cd unit ever since I snagged the 4 tickets about 4 weeks ago.

I hardly slept the night before. I knew it was going to be a good one when I arrived home for lunch on Friday and there is a package from Portland. Thanks Brad, The MORE BARN! arrived just in time. I had to go back to work till 3 oclock, but I have to admit my concentration was wavering. (I had to show everyone in the office the MORE BARN! shirt and the story on the back -- yes by this time I was wearing the shirt.) Some people mentioned that I seemed a bit pumped about seeing Neil.

3pm comes finally... Boom! I explode out of the office, round up the kids, pick up their Aunt, then head out to meet up with my best friend, best gal and my wife (they are all the same person). Say adios to the kids and aunt. And off to Cowtown we putt, in the litle Honda with a tape of Neil and the Horse blasting.

We arrive at the Saddledome about 6:45, hoping to grab a beer and a burger or sumthin. We check out our seats -- 2nd tier at about the blue line (hockey talk) furthest from the stage. Then proceed to the beer and burger lineups -- found beer to be 5 bucks a glass. Declared bullshit on that and went for the burger and coke. All the time keeping my eye out for MORE BARN! shirts (sorry Geoff couldn't spot you).

Up in our seats we make ourselves at home, and presently... "Please welcome American recording artist Pete Droge". It took a while for me to warm up to him. But by the time Dave and his wife arrived I was getting into it. Between songs I mentioned to Dave I think the spirit of Jimi is here. Then Pete Droge was gone.

I was scanning the stage at this point and I think I spotted the sculpture that Greg Hernandez mentioned back in Sept. It was sitting on a piece of equipment between two candles. I saw a wood carving about 6 to 8 inches tall and about 2 to 3 inches wide (a little tower?) It looked like a guy holding two spears. I went around on the concourse to a point back behind the stage for a closer look but I got the bums rush out of there real quick.

Then Moist came on I found them to be a waste of electricity. In 40 mins of "music" they found a groove about 5 or 6 times for 10 to 15 seconds. I stuck some kleenex in my ears shortly after they started, because the sound was really dirty. Nuf said.

Crazy horse came on with HHMM and about half way thru Jimi's spirit was back and stay'd with us pretty much the whole time.

Neil was in the surfer/skateboarder shorts. For all of you people who don't like them, listen to Big Time -- I suspect he is wearing the shorts so his pants don't get wet in the ocean. He's still living a dream we had. The end of Big Time seemed like armageddon itself. Jimi was helping out on theis one. I should point out that Pancho was wearing his Jimi shirt.

In Pocahontas Neil sung Saddledome in place of Astrodome and mentioned Ian Tyson along with Mr. Brando. (Ian Tyson penned Four Strong Winds, which Neil covered on CAT). The whole crowd seemed to get a kick out of that.

Then the guys left Neil to do TNATDD. The lighters came out all over the crowd, it was very emotional. On Helpless I could hear the whole arena singing along with Neils amplified voice. Another heart squeezer.

The Horse came back for a great version of CG. Then came F#@% Up. The Jam at the end of this was incredible. Pulstating sonic waves washed us up to the ceiling and dropped us back to where we were. At one point the bass guitar was across Billy's knees and he was rythmically pounding the body of it with his fists. While Neil had his Guitar slung over his shoulder like an axe and was playing the fretboard with both hands I feared he was going to pound it onto the stage like a sledge hammer! All this time Pancho and Ralph were drummin' and strummin'. The sounds were fantastic, indescribable, you have to experience this to believe it.

Next thing I knew they were halfway thru Cortez and I was still shaking my head in disbelief at what I had just seen and heard.

A lot of people were singing along to Music Arcade. I think this is a great song.

Slips Away was another high point, I love what he does with the voice synthesizer or whatever it is.

Then the Hurricane blew in and just seemed to blow everybody away. It just built until I felt like I was caught in swirling blasting sonic chaos. Then suddenly we were in the eye (some people thought this was the end and a roar went up from the crowd) we were then engulfed as the other side of the Hurricane arrived and built to another pulsating sonic barrage. Words fail me so I won't attempt to describe the sensations and sounds. Let me just say I've never experienced anything like this before and probably never will again.

Scatterd and Sedan Delivery were the encore but we were wet rags, wasted and drained.

I've been to some big time rock shows, but nothing -- nothing -- ever came close to this experience. Like I said earlier the spirit of Jimi was there. Makes me want to pack it in and buy a pickup, take it on the road to follow the tour.

Doug Ross . . . . . Singing at you from the "rat race choir"

Calgary Saddledome, Oct 25, 1996

mini-review by Scott Jensen

Hi there. I had the privilege of attending the Neil Young show on Friday in Calgary. The concert (my first Neil Young show) was incredible, loud, and incredibly loud. I was fortunate enough to be in the front row, about four feet from Neil's mic stand. You know you're close when you can tell the brand of shoes (Salomon hiking boots) and shirt (OPL) that he's wearing. Like a Hurricane was amazing.

Scott Jensen

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