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Pine Knob (Clarkston, MI), Sept 1, 1996
The Kato Review
The Computer Cowboy Review
David Waymire's Review
Zain Patel's Review
Andy Strote's Review
Dave Slug Fielder's Review
Mary Maguire's Zeke Encounter
The Set List
Pine Knob (Clarkston, MI), Sept 1, 1996review by John Kato Kitamura
In comparison to the Barrie show the day before, the venue couldn't have been any more different! Molson Park was (for me) a huge mosh pit jammed in with a crowd of sweaty people (who were not always pleasant, but hey, what can you do). Pine Knob felt like an amusement park with little plastic seats and security guys scurriying around like mice to make sure that you stayed in front of them. Because of that the show had a more relaxed feel for me, but it didn't seem to bother the Horse, who stormed on at full fury. (Almost) everybody was standing by the encores.
Andy's MORE BARN banner again made an appearance - story is told elsewhere. And it's a great story!
Sugar Mountain was introduced with "I wrote this song when I was 19 years old".
Pine Knob has TV screens on each side of the stage, so one could get some good views of the Neil's expression and what he was doing with his guitar. However, Shakey noted that they only showed the chords of songs we already knew! :-) There was a moment that brought a smile to my face during Music Arcade - in one of the choruses Neil sang "Have I ever been found out ..." and immediately smiled at the mistake (or was it intentional? Who knows?). He finished off the chorus using "I" throughout.
Cortez seemed short - I think Neil may have skipped the last verse.
They weren't using as many monitors as at Barrie, but the sound still got pretty muddy during the rave-up before Hurricane. In fact, the opening guitar riff to Hurricane was so ensconced in feedback that Billy and Ralph missed the downbeat. Ralph signalled to Billy, came in a couple bars later, and then Billy came in on the second round of chords. During the break in the middle of the song, there was a lot of distortion when the whole of Pine Knob started reverberating with Billy's G note. In the melee at the end, after breaking all his strings and wobbling his guitar around, Neil dragged it offstage (by the broken strings?).
In the encores, Rocking in the Free World was very slow. It may have sped up when the band came in. At the end Billy walked offstage, but Neil wasn't finished yet. Neil started playing a slow riff in E, and Pancho and Ralph joined in. Billy ran back on and grabbed is bass and sat on the drum riser to play along. After a couple of minutes, Neil signalled a final chord, and the show ended.
Pine Knob was another great show - the third (and unfortunately last) for me.
For all you west coast rusties - the shows have been great. I hear that Andy is sending his MORE BARN banner on to be present at the rest of the shows. Wave that MORE BARN banner with pride!
Pine Knob (Clarkston, Michigan), Sept 1, 1996review by Computer Cowboy
I drove up to Detroit the day before the show. Not a really long drive, but I was hoping to avoid going straight to the show after five hours on the road. My best friend, Bob, had been after us to come visit and this was a perfect opportunity: Bob and I each aged another year over this weekend, and we're each into Neil.
Bob has a houseful of people there, as it turns out. And they are all German. Bob and his wife speak fluent German, everybody was a beer drinker, so my Neil adventure turned into Oktoberfest. I don't know what was more fun - telling the dirty jokes, or trying to explain them.
We spent THE BIG DAY on the lake in Bob's new boat. Apparently it's a law -- if you live in Michigan you gotta have one. Cool with me. By showtime I was completely beer soaked and sun drenched. Really a cool bunch of people.
I drive to the show, right? Because Bob put us up, etc. He takes me the back way -- 15 right turns, and maybe as many left ones. Not a big deal until after the show, when he refused to direct me back.
But here I am, 24 hours later, back at the tube.
Oh, the show! Yeah, almost forgot:
I'm wandering in through the parking lot (I think we parked in Wisconsin), several people yell at me about the shirt. Just admiring it, not rusties.
Right by the main gate we pass a tailgate party. There's a guy sitting in the trunk of a car, playing a guitar. I walked right past him -- noticed what I thought was an OPL label on the front. Checking out the back -- the ECHOS poster! Has to be a rustie, I think. I go back and introduce myself. It's Shakey, Rust's Tom Sawyer -- having commandeered a guitar and playing for the crowd of folks (I don't think he knew them - but I could have gotten the wrong impression). Not Rusties anyway.
Shakey starts to scare Bob, telling us his plan to become a truly memorable disgruntled postal worker. We chatted for a while, listened to Shakey's tale of woe (missed out on a backstage pass at Great Woods, but I'll let him tell that one) then let Shakey get back to playing, we headed on in.
Met Rich Stephenson (hope I got that right - I apparently set your business card free) and his wife. Admired Andy Strote's MORE BARN sign. :) Hope it shows up in Zeke's video (sorry I missed that Barrie show, sounded incredible!)
Jim Greene was there - great seat! I met Kato, Andy Strote and Mary Macguire for the first time. Very friendly folks, thank you for being so. And Kato - the ultimate in polite - insisted on laughing at all of my stupid jokes. Sorry man, that'll only get you more. There were a number of other Canadian Mikes and Daves, I'm sorry but my brain just refuses to yield up all of your names. Maybe if the Gin Blossoms hadn't been blasting away at the time...
OK, so several fine folks have posted the setlist, so I won't go through every fucking unbelievably intense rendition of classic and new songs. This show seemed to be dead-on Deer Creek, which is to say it was right up my alley. I've always loved the quiet Neil, but that isn't what I need right now. :)
During Pocahontas I noticed a lot of details that I'd missed before. Like how close together the band stood. Practically on top of one another. The little pirate flag next to Molina. The feathers over the drum kit. The skull on the side of the speaker. Thank god for Bob's binoculars.
That pump organ looks more like a throne tonight than before. He starts with HHMM - the king is gone but not forgotten? Still singing to your lost friend? I hope you get to live the dream you had for a very long time.
I would really love to get a copy from the video feed to the big monitors on either side of the stage. Neil again kept his back to me all night, but the cameras compensated. Now that I think of it - I don't think he shoved his butt out at the crowd like he did at Deer Creek. 'course, it wasn't a full moon either.
I coulda missed it - there was a mosh pit forming right in front of us. People jumping around, dancing like crazy. This crowd was into this show *all night*. I don't know about the other rusties, but the energy in the crowd around us was (where's the thesaurus when you need one?) incredible. It was a big crowd, too. Bigger than Deer Creek, certainly.
This crowd was even up through the acoustic stuff. Cowboy's heaven. Bob was cool too - he really got an earful, never once told me to shut up. Never complained about me dragging him around scoping out rusties, either.
Wish I had more news to tell you. I can remember little things, like Neil running out of cord while blowing out the last few notes of Cinnamon Girl. Music Arcade was upbeat? I thought so. Did he use a pick? Didn't have that brushed, hushed, inside my head sound from the album. Coulda been that way at DC too, I wouldn't know. The blown out candle went off stage with Neil, on his shoulder (or did it - looked like it may have ended up on Pancho's keyboard?).
Powderfinger - good version, something a little different than the other show I'd seen. I thought for sure the locator's video was going to show up on the monitor, but alas it must not be ready yet.
Encore #3 - Rockin In The Free World. It started off mean. Deliberate. Rumbling. As befits one of the most sobering looks at our lives I can stand. The music can't be denied - it rocks! Even Neil is smiling. I smiled too, tried not to listen to the words, heard them in a different way. Hmmm. Normally I try not to think too much during a concert. Neil always does me in, tho.
Hey, they showed the moon on the monitor at the end. Here in the mecca of the rust-belt, I bet they read my last review.
I could bore you with tales of our after show Neil-fest, but I won't. Just a glimpse - a quiet lake shore, a guitar, a tired crowd, and a cowboy working his way through every Neil tune he could remember. I even did A Man Needs A Maid acapella. Bob's wife socked me in the arm ("I'm no maid") and a German girl said it reminded her of wild men screaming on their night trips. Hey, what????
Then I drove back.
Pine Knob (Clarkston, Michigan), Sept 1, 1996review by David Waymire
My third Neil show of my life. Trans/Shocking Pinks in Lansing (1983, I think) was a hoot, even if nobody else seemed to get the joke. Blue Notes/Crazy Horse at Pine Knob 10 years ago was fun...but this was the real thing.
What a great show. Hard to believe the guy is 50 years old. He was rocking the whole way. Nifty candle set up, opens the door for those expecting something laid back. Boy, did they get surprised. Rock and Roll was here to stay on this night.
Came out with Hey Hey My My, Pocahontas, Big Time and Slip Away mega rocking. The Slip Away jam was one of the best I've ever heard by anyone -- CSNY, Dead, Allmans, anyone -- sort of like Lester Young meets Weather Report. Great virtuosity in a smooth way by Neil (like Lester The Pres Young), and just playing the hell out of the melody all the way through (like Weather Report). Most excellent.
Neil carries all the weight, although he couldn't do it without knowing exactly where Sampedro, Molina and Talbot will be every second of the night. And they are always just where they are supposed to be.
Then the solo acoustic greatest hits medley (Needle, Heart of Gold and Sugar Mountain). Good stuff, and he was really fulfilling obligations tonight.
Great Cinnamon Girl, really good Fuckin' Up (I still don't understand how that song gets into his regular play list, but he jammed it very well -- really hard), Cortez the Killer, Music Arcade and Like a Hurricane -- during which he destroyed the strings on his guitar, then pulled it around the stage by the strings getting some incredible and still music-like feeback out of it. Then he picked it up and pounded on it to get even more amazing feedback in rhythm with the rest of the band.
Then the encores: Powderfinger (the place erupted), Sedan Delivery (again saved by a fun jam) and Roll Another Number (whata great tune). Back one more time for Rockin In the Free World -- to finish up at 11 on the dot, meeting the Pine Knob curfew.
I've read a couple other reviews, and see some agreement...the way he's taking off on Slip Away is really a quite a highlight, and a wonderful surprise. Keep on re-creating yourself, Neil, cause you do the same for the rest of us.
Reflections on Barrie and Pine Knob (part 2)
review by Zain Patel