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Charlotte, NC, August 9, 1996

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--> The Tag Team Review
--> Sean Ragged Glory Dail's Review
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Also See:
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The Set List

    electric with band
  1. Hey Hey, My My
  2. Pocahontas
  3. Big Time
  4. Bite The Bullet
  5. Slip Away
    solo acoustic
  6. The Needle & The Damage Done
  7. Heart of Gold
  8. Sugar Mountain
    electric with band
  9. Cinnamon Girl
  10. F*ckin' Up
  11. Cortez The Killer
    solo acoustic
  12. Music Arcade
    electric with band
  13. Like A Hurricane
  14. This Town
  15. Sedan Delivery
  16. Powderfinger
  17. Welfare Mothers

Charlotte, August 9, 1996
Neil & Crazy Horse Bite The Bullet

tag-team review by
John Meckley
She Who Must Be Obeyed

Powderfinger here.

Locator kindly let me have 1st crack at posting details about Neil & The Horse's opening show of the '96 North American tour. (The back of one of the tour shirts for sale says 1996-*97* World Tour!) To boot, this was my first live Neil show, period, and to see it with Thrasher, Shakey, Youngster and all thanks to Locator's generosity, it doesn't get any better Rustie-wise. To be brief, are we glad Neil's back home. :)

Here's the setlist: (See above.)

Thrasher here.

I feel like I've just been pummelled by a jackahmmer. Every fiber of my being was assaulted by gigantic chunks of molten feedback.

When Neil & the Horse launched into Bite the Bullet, I think you could hear the roar of the crowd into downtown Charlotte. Folks were going nuts.

When the opening chords of Fuckin Up richotted thru my cranium, Shakey, Youngster, Powderfinger, Locator, & Meckley all started to flip off Neil and the band. Pancho returned the favor and gave everyone the middle finger back. By the end of Fuckin Up, every middle digit in the crowd of 15,000 was flying.

What a night! If you only go to one show this summer, see the Horse!

A more relaxed, tanner, deafer Shakey checkin in here...

HOLY SHIT! I waited three years, almost to the day, to see Neil again. I still can't believe the sounds I heard. Neil was in a good mood, too, and was pretty funny at times (not to mention that he actually spoke more than "How ya doin'?")!

Highlights for me were Bite the Bullet, Big Time, Sedan Delivery, and a killer Fuckin' Up, at the end of which he began singing "You Made Me So Happy" by Blood Sweat & Tears! On This Town, he played what looked like a Fender Squire, which I had never seen him play before.

He was dressed in tan silk shorts (they looked llike pajama bottoms to me) and he fit right in with the Pearl Jam look. He also seemed thinner than I've seen him in in recent pictures. Well, I'll let another member of the Mobile Rust Unit take over, I think I hear a pool calling me :)

Cinnamon Girl, I thought of you when Neil played, well... Cinnamon Girl :)

Youngster here...

Let me write something quick while I drink a brewsky. This show was tremendous. A big thanks to Locator who hooked us up with great tickets. I can't thank him enough. The highlight for me was Bite The Bullet. Amazing stuff here. We got blown away! Can't wait til Atlanta tomorrow followed by the RustFest in Raliegh. This is the life! More to follow in a few days.

John Meckley here.

One word: "Young the Gold. Jewel the Silver. Hendrix the Bronze".

Powderfinger back here:

The final words go to Neil & The Horse (after Bite The Bullet):

"Wow, are we tight tonight!"

Locator sez:

Well Meckley was resourceful enough to bring the word E C H O S on 5 pieces of 8.5 X 11 (take a look), so SWMBO & me & John & Linda held up the letters. Neil saw us....we were IN THE FOURTH FUCKING ROW FERCHRISSAKE RIGHT DOWNFRONT!!! (sorry, was I raving again??) and anyway he pointed at us and the whole band dug the sign and realized that we were somehow more connected about things Neil than most. Pancho pointed at me and smiled as I was jumping around so much. I was completely gone down the road.

Wotta show! I was proud of the crowd, too. They were on their feet before the music started and they never sat down. What a homecoming for the band. They appreciated the vibe and beamed it right back at us. It was an amazing opening to what promises to be an amazing US tour.

Neil looked trim. Bald spot no bigger. Pancho's lost a lotta weight.

Jewel was way better than I expected. Missed Ben Folds Five. But I'll catch 'em in Raleigh......

Nite Rusties. You guys are in for a major treat of classic proportions.

Evening...SWMBO here.

Had a the best time however, I wasn't sure if Poncho was flirting w/ my husband or just having a good time??? Locator got a nod from the Man himself. Neil actually has a great smile. Cool.

(p.s.: Jewel was excellent)

The Charlotte Show

review by Sean Ragged Glory Dail

Just made the two and a half hour drive back to Raleigh after a wonderful celebration of noise in Charlotte. It was so great to see Neil and the Horse again, though I must say the setlist was very predictable, with no surprises. As had been suggested, they did play Bite the Bullet, though virtually none of the folks around me in Gold Circle seemed to recognize the song, much less it's connection to Charlotte (there was a slight cheer at the mention of "Charlottetown").

The setlist:

(See review above)
The guys were in good form and clearly enjoying themselves. As usual, no one said much. However, Neil did introduce Bite the Bullet by saying something like,
"This is a song we don't know very well....but it sounds about as good as the ones we do!"
LAH was the highlight for me, with a great strobe-light intro. It didn't go as long as that monster verson from the Phoenix Festival (thanks again, Steve!), but must have clocked in at 13-14 minutes. Neil virtually destroyed his guitar, breaking what looked like four strings by song's end! Btw, he was decked out in very baggy shorts, probably in anticipation of muggy Carolina weather (actually, it was a very pleasant night for this time of year, following a rainy day).

Well, there's much more to say, but its almost 3 am and I'm exhausted. I'll follow-up tomorrow with anything that other attendees don't contribute. I wore my MORE BARN shirt (which Brad got to me literally hours before I left for Charlotte! Thanks, Brad!), but didn't manage to hook up with any other Rusties. Hopefully, I'll find you guys in Raleigh on Monday...

. . . . . Ragged Glory

Charlotte town!

review by James McKelvey

After going through two downpours, a thunderstorm and about five major traffic jams it still turned out to be one heck of a night in Charlotte. It is late and I should head to bed and write this in the morning but what the heck.

Pretty much the usual set list with special songs like Bite The Bullet added for local appeal. The second half of the show seemed to go to another level as was reported on the first half of the tour. My twelve year old liked Sedan Delivery, Like A Hurricane, and Powderfinger the best. Said he is going to give the Guild D4 a whirl in the morning with the Happy Traum Homespun tape series.

Think I enjoyed this show more because of watching the History of Rock and Roll on the Learning Channel all week. Loved the standard acoustic set and realized that it is the sing-a-long factor for doing it night after night. Heck, it was magic with nearly everybody in the place singing. Sixty miles up the road after the show heard three guys in the bathroom at Taco Bell singing Sugar Mountain.

Never did see my seats in the 50th row and just started out in the 20th row center and moved to around 10th row by the middle of the show. Shed upgrades are wonderful!

Since the weather was so weird there should be an interesting mix of comments on the show. I get the digest so I haven't seen anything yet but some things I noticed:

  • Jewel had a pretty decent band but not the Stray Gators (darn!). I thought she did an outstanding job as an opener and given the fact that she was in NYC that morning it is amazing her set was so energetic.

  • Tim Mulligan laughed out loud when I asked if the Echoes were gonna play anywhere Sunday night. Told him Cat's Cradle in Chapel Hill didn't have anything going! BTW, the soundboard didn't have a set list and I didn't see any onstage either.

  • Elliott Roberts seemed to get a big kick out of Jewel's yodel encore off on the right side of the stage as you look at it from the audience.

  • Where the heck did the Rusties meet because I couldn't find anybody between sets. Oh well, at least we are all sitting together at Walnut Creek. The place was pretty darn full and very big(well, I'm used to 250 seat clubs of late).

  • Oh yeah, people were on their feet for the entire show so wear comfortable shoes and for gosh sakes, try 'n keep 'em dry if you can.

  • Kudo's to Zeke Young for a great job! He went right to work after Jewel's set ended getting everything ready for his dad.

  • Larry Cragg must an unofficial member of Crazy Horse now playing keyboards and percussion on a couple of songs (but he did go right back to handling the guitars right after the songs).

Persona, Power, and Pathos -
The Transcendent Art of Neil Young
Concert Review - Charlotte, North Carolina (USA)
August 9, 1996

review by Gary Black

Set List:

(See first review above.)

Ironically it was a North Carolinian, Thomas Wolfe who said six decades ago "you can't go home again". Well, as Neil Young said last night, "it's good to be back home", after touring this summer in Europe. Thomas Wolfe only lived to be 38. Neil Young, who passed his 50th birthday a while back, has become a mature performance artist who again shows us all that it's better to turn out, than it is to just ......

Wolfe wrote, as preface to Look Homeward Angel,

"Naked and alone we came into exile. In her dark womb we did not know our mother's face; from the prison of her flesh have we come into the unspeakable and incommunicable prison of this earth. ... which of us has not remained forever prison-pent? Which of us is not forever a stranger and alone"
Neil Young, an expressive artist of the first magnitude is one of literally only a handful of men or women in this century who truly speak to us across the unfathomable barriers between our souls. He began his solo career as "The Loner", in a song some said was written about partner Stephen Stills. But we all know Neil is at his best writing about himself. "A perfect stranger", he wrote, "know when you see him". Well, we saw him again last night in Charlotte. And he, veritably alone now among his peers for enduring creativity and relevance, has again spoken the truth and we have heard him.

Over the years, Neil has taken on numerous personas, probably surpassed only by David Bowie, in his search to speak the unspeakable, to communicate from within his prison-pent flesh. In fact, few writers would dare make this comparison, due to the sensitive, singer-songwriter image first embraced by the young Canadian become Californian. It just didn't feel right to compare Neil Young to the Diamond Dog. And yet, look at the record(s). Superstar with CSNY, country/rocker with Crazy Horse, the depressed/nearly catatonic Neil who had lost his friends to drugs and the destruction of the rock 'n' roll life, the Geffen years of Pink Shockers, hillbilly rockers, and Trans-tronic electro-glide. Not to mention side trips with Devo and "patterning", the tremendous physical and emotional investment he made in therapy for his young son who was born with cerebral palsy.

After these downers, Neil began his rebirth as a blues brother who wouldn't sing for his supper and then on a Saturday night in 1989, on live TV, he broke a few strings and rock in the free world would never be the same. Most recently, after being christened the "godfather of grunge", he refused to sit on his porch and smile at all the young grungies; hell, he went off and joined the band doing things people his age just don't do.

During all these years and through all these masks, the one we never really saw, though, was Neil Young, joyous, having fun, being ... dare I say it, young. He was writing about old men and old ladies while barely out of his teens. Well, last night, he had fun. Neil came onstage in a pair of short pants and rocked and ranted our blues away with a wall of noise and fire that rarely burns in these parts.

In fact, unless I missed a concert in the 80s, it had been 18 years since Neil Young last played Charlotte. Look at the set list. He came, played a bunch of songs the audience would like, and worried not a whit that some may throw him into the same category as the legion of re-union tours around these days. Concerts that sound like radio days 20 years gone. But he doesn't worry, cause the pressure is off to prove his worth as an artist, as one naked and alone. He has earned the adoration of his generation and the respect of the critics. He has made the Big Time.

The Horse power was there, too, of course. But, as we shall see, it was a Horse of a different color from the early days. The power was there, but, as Frank, "Pancho" Sampedro, said when asked to compare Crazy Horse with Pearl Jam, he said that they didn't play from anger, they played from passion. In fact, there were times, with Billy Talbot on his knees drummin' on his bass guitar, with the bound-up violence stored in his fists, and Ralph Molina providing a rhythmic counterpoint on bass drum and cymbals, Pancho stroking away, and Neil invoking the spirits flat-wound into his guitar strings, that their passion, their power, called up the evil of anger, called up the evil of war, called up the evil of bloody tears on a beaten child's face, and embraced it. And then, amidst a ringing, roaring of electronic elegies and white-strobbed light bright, they blew out its candle, as quite literally, Neil Young reached for a huge candle that had been burning onstage throughout their set, raised it above his head in the din, then, in an instant with the breath of a hurricane, extinguished the flame. The drama was sublime.

What will we respond to now, now that our youthful anger seems spent. We, who are now becoming the Old Man and the Old Laughing Lady? How will we measure and direct our lives and our children and the forces around us. How will be persuaded to continue in search of the dream we had. Is it over? And how can an artist who has often given us defining moments and direction with a song.. like Ohio, or The Needle and the Damage Done, or Sleeps with Angels, or a hundred more, how will he persuade us to carry on. Indeed, how is he, himself persuaded?

In Aristotle's book Rhetoric he states that there are two different categories of persuasion. First, there is the unartful type, similar to brute force, and then there is another type. Pathos is an artful form of persuasion based on emotion. It works when it draws up the sympathies and emotions of the audience causing them to accept ideas or calls to action. Aristotle states that pathos uses opposite emotions like anger and mildness; friendship and enmity; fear and boldness; shame and shamelessness; pity and indignation; envy and emulation, to make a point. And we all know of Neil's ricocheting around from hard back to soft, from band, back to solo, from liberal rhetoric back to Reagan right.

And that is what I heard ring most true, last night. How those old songs, especially the long jams like Powderfinger, Cortez the Killer, and several of the new ones, like Big Time and Loose Change have become little symphonies, so incredibly rich with years and years of nuance and emotion, a delicately expressed pathos which, in the hands of a lesser man, would be merely mush. Neil Young has written and performed for us the emotional soundtrack of the second half of the 20th century. No other artist can claim to have done so. His influences, he wears right out front, Hendrix, Dylan, the Stones, but he alone has remained true to his (he)art.

Neil Young's latest album is entitled Broken Arrow. In an interview once, Neil said that the broken arrow was a Native American symbol for peace, but added that, if you see a broken arrow around, you can be sure that somebody has lost a great deal. Peace comes at that sort of cost. As Neil Young struggles with coming to terms with his own mortality and the loss of his youth, just as he has struggles, once again, to come to terms with the loss of a great friend and producer, David Briggs, we can only gain in the listening. Some say that this sounds like a goodbye tour for Neil Young. I say that's just Neil trying on a slacker attitude for size, but it won't fit. I say he'll be playing old blues tunes or getting in real trouble with Keith Richards before you know it. And we'll be right there with him.

Copyright 1996
Gary Black

Neil & CH in Charlotte - More Thoughts

review by Mark Powderfinger Klus


Just got back from a 12-hour train ride from North Carolina to Philly, and a nice day it was to see the scenery in the sun and reflect on things Neil.

A few more randon thoughts on last night's show in Charlotte:

As soon as Neil got on stage last night in those baggy shorts, we could tell he was in good spirits. (So were we, Thrasher to my right had his hands raised above his head for most of the show. I was bouncing up, down, all around as best I could. On the other side of Thrasher Youngster and Shakey glowed the whole time.) Neil said as much when he mentioned it was good to be back home to roars of approval from the crowd.

For me the highlights of the show were the opening 5 songs culminating with Bite The Bullet with a solo vocal from Poncho :) and another magnificent (13 minute?) Slip Away where Neil's melodic free form exploration had more of an edge than at Glasgow while remaining very beautiful. This is the kind of music-making I live for, especially when Neil half intones "she just slip away" towards the end of his improvisations. We should be so lucky to witness this. The other highlight was the encore section, in which after a fine This Town, Neil & The Horse ripped through Sedan Delivery and Welfare Mothers, sandwiching my first ever live Powderfinger in between. I had my hands *way* above my head during the opening chords. This time (400 something?) around, the 1st solo, where Neil stayed in the bottom, bass-end register of his gold-top Les Paul the whole time, something he rarely does in this song, was especially fine. :)

The sound mix was a bit on the raw side IMO, but those long, low, drawn-out drone notes at the end of a few songs sounded perfect and oh so beautiful, holding me in a trance that could have gone on forever. I may be the only Rustie who feels this way, but hell, I'm sticking to my guns: for me these drones are eternity notes, a totally different realm from the flow of time and space. Ecstatic, folks, out of this world. Live music *is* better.

Neil's repeated mockery of the Blood, Sweat & Tears You Make So Very Happeeeee over those menacing grunge chords as a kind of coda to F*ckin' Up was hilarious and had the crowd going nuts. After it was over, Neil took a short walk to his left and flashed a brief, self-satisfied smile of a man who had just fulfilled a long-cherished dream. Only he could do this sort of thing on the spur of the moment. :)

Yes, the setlist was kinda conventional, especially the acoustic set. But it seems to me that Neil wants the crowd to participate. I noticed that during Big Time and Slip Away, a lot of people sat down. I mean, how could you sit down and not sway to the sublime meanderings of Neil's Old Black in these songs? But that's the way it often is. (The Glasgow crowd seemed to be an exceptionally appreciative exception, and Neil accordingly loosened up with his choice of songs.) However, as soon as Neil picked up his acoustic guitar and picked the opening notes of Needle & The Damage Done, everybody was on their feet and singing along. Ditto for Heart Of Gold and Sugar Mountain, which followed. So, you have this tension between what Neil wants to play and what the crowd wants to hear, and you can't blame him for wanting to please the crowd, even if his heart is more into the newer or less played songs. Still and all, here's hopin' that Neil gets comfortable and feels more secure real soon and mixes things up, like a Dangerbird maybe or a Cowgirl or a Country Home or even a Southern Man...

I'm probably preaching to the converted, but I'll say it anyway: Folks, if you get a chance to see Neil, do so. Consider this for a moment, he and The Horse have been together on and off for over 25 years, and yesterday's Cinnamon Girl sounded just as fresh as the day it was born. These guys are special, a unique and lasting force in the world of music. Neil rocks with the energy of a teenager but now has all that accumulated experience of ups and downs of 30 years in the music biz and countless personal experiences. He is a total master of Ol' Black. And who knows Neil better than Poncho, Billy and Ralph? Who better to play with Neil?

To repeat myself, last words this time around are from Neil after he and The Horse did up Bite The Bullet in style: "Wow, are we tight tonight!" Wow is right.

Keep on rustin' while ye may!


Mark (Powderfinger) / mklus@netaxs.com

"Good ol' boys are comin' from miles around"

Neil in Charlotte - It Rocked!!!!

review by David Herndon


Incredible show here in Charlotte Friday night. Everyone is in for a treat for the duration of the shows. They guys were tight and having fun blasting us with some hard-core rock and roll as only Neil and CH can do it.....

I managed to scamper down towards the front row. Sounds like some of the Rusties had GREAT tickets.... still don't know how people get good seats... I always get not-so-good. There really weren't any bad seats, BUT I WANTED FRONT ROW!!!

Wound up at the front for the finale, Welfare Mothers, and it rocked!!! They were jamming and we were dancing in the aisles.....I wanted more but the security guard told me they have an 11 PM sound curfew there....

At the end of one song (I think it was either Sedan Delivery or LAH) I thought Neil was gonna trash his guitar...scared me actually, he had this look. After ripping the strings off to the point where he couldn't finish the song really, he had the guitar laying on the ground holding it by the neck. Looked like he was gonna lift it up and smash it..... I knew better I guess, but it looked like he was serious... I think even Talbot thought he was gonna do it. Instead, he handed it off and picked up one of the giant candles on stage (cool set, BTW), lifted it over his head like he was gonna smash it, then slowly set it down in front of the drumset and brought the song to an end....... Talbot was backing up the whole time... heheheh.

Neil looks GREAT! Nice legs too! (I couldn't believe he had on shorts, but then again, Charlotte nights are hot and muggy! I don't blame him....) He's really slim looking and reminded me of Angus Young (AC/DC) bobbing around stage jamming with those shorts on....really cool!

YeeHa!!! What a great Friday night it was..... May have to fly to Denver to see him again and hook up with some friends... If anyone can get me great seats, let me know .

Dave, in Charlotte......

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