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Great Woods (Mass), August 21, 1996
Chris Small's Review
Trevor Hundred Foot Iron Umlah's Review
A Boston Globe Review (on another web site)
Pete T's Pegi/Ben-Encounter
The Set List
Great Woods (Mass), August 21, 1996review by Chris Small
Fantastic show. I had a last-minute third row center seat (closest I've ever been at one of his shows) and was completely blown away.
Started at 9:00PM, ended at 10:40PM. Neil was wearing this year's uniform, a t-shirt, "pyjama" shorts (looking for some of that grunge audience, eh Neil?), black socks with the Nike swoosh on it, and walking/climbing shoes. Very chic.
The stage was very minimally dressed. There was the world's most beat-up upright piano to my left, that was (if memory serves) only played for the "dink dink dink dink" in Big Time. To its right, Pancho, Billy, then Neil. Ralph had a nice kit in the middle. And way in the back of the stage was the beautiful old pump organ, which stayed lit (and unplayed) through the show. (During the sound check they tested the mike on the organ, perhaps in case Neil decided to play it, but it didn't get any use last night.)
Instead of pushing the band back from the edge of the stage, they were brought up right to the edge. The mics were set on the front of the stage, and large (3 or 4 foot tall) monitors were set on the sides. This placed the band 3' closer to the lip of the stage (nice for me!) but blocked the view of the people on the sides (bad for them!). I would guess that either (a) the band likes the big monitors better, or (b) they like being closer to the audience. Or maybe a combination.
Ralph was flying a small (about a foot square) Jolly Roger over his kit.
There were no giant amp props, no giant microphones, no scuttling cockroaches, no Jawas, no video screens -- it was like going to see a band at The Rat in Kenmore Square -- a drum kit, a pile of old amps, and four guys bashing it out under the lights. Very, very appropriate.
Another thing I noticed was that one of the techs came out before the show, held the end of Neil's guitar cord, and chalked out a half-circle on the stage, showing how far he could wander without pulling over his amp.
I was overwhelmed by Slip Away. I'm not usually prone to this type of description, but Neil's guitar work slipped off into a space where the harmonics, feedback, and repeated musical motifs pulled me, emotionally, to a place where I couldn't do anything but gape and grin with amazement. Although technically he's not the world's greatest guitarist, he hit a place on this song last night that really pulled me in. Real trance-music stuff. That ten minutes was worth the price of the ticket (and the two hours in traffic) right there.
Fortunately, he kept playing.
The short acoustic set was very sweet, then the Horse returned for a to-the-point Cinnamon Girl (no complaints), Fuckin' Up (where Pancho, as seems to be his habit, flipped off the audience with a grin at the start of each chorus), and a nice Cortez. Music Arcade was also good.
The closer, Like a Hurricane, started out, well, like a hurricane, with Pancho on synth (wearing very nifty mirrored shades, perhaps to protect his eyes from the really annoying strobe light "lightning") and the others making thunder-like music. They went into the song, played it more-or-less straight, went back into the thunder and lightning for a while, Neil went nuts, ripped the strings out of his old black Gibson, whacked it for a while (trying to get feedback when you don't have any strings is difficult), picked up one of the large candles on the stage (8" or so in diameter), walked around with it for a while, mimed blowing it out, then finally blew it out and dropped it on the stage (spattering hot wax all over the place) as the Horse brought it to a close.
The encores, Sedan Delivery was quite good (w/o the reggae lilt added on Live Rust), and Roll Another Number was a very welcome capper to the evening. It's not often you hear someone end a concert with a twenty year old C&W song -- but it was a light, fun way to close out the evening.
Wish I had a ticket for tonight....
Great Woods (Mass), August 21, 1996review by Trevor Hundred Foot Iron Umlah
Just back from my "road trip" to Boston. 12 hours drive each way. Can anyone top that????
Anyways, the show was great! Worth every penny and every minute on the I-95 south Thursday at rush hour. We missed the Rust Fest and the Afghan Whigs but caught most of Jewel. She was pretty good.
Neil came on at about 8:45 and played until just past 11:00. Setlist is pretty fuzzy right now but it started with HHMM/Powderfinger/Big Time/Slip Away/Fuckin' Up.
Acoustic set included Long May You Run. Cool to hear 20,000 sing together on Sugar Mountain.
Loner was a good surprise. Cortez and Hurricane SMOKED.
Encore was This Town and Sedan Delivery. No second encore as the lights went up immediately and the crew came out.
Neil looked wiped as he walked off. Might not have been feeling too great. He didn't speak at all except for his usual "Crazy Horse!"
Caught an funny mondegreen after the show... I thought this was hilarious, but it may have been the 6 or 7 $4.75 beers I drank. On the way out of Great Woods you know how every one is happy and singing? This guy sings in a very strong Boston accent:
"Lookout yonda, there's a lifeboat comin' up the riva!"Later,
Hundred Foot Iron
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