Direct bookmark: http://HyperRust.org/Tour97/?R17
(updated Friday, 19-Jun-2009 07:18:55 EDT)
Late Crazy Horse Set
Tired Eyes here at Great Woods. No early set today...Neil arrived late. A bunch of Rusties are watching Neil play with trains. Beck was also there until a few minutes ago, when he signed ticket stubs for a number of Rusties, including yours truly. Zeke is also hanging out with Neil and the trains.
The venue is very spread out... Long walk from HORDE o' Culture stage and the Second Stage to the trains and these computer terminals. That's about it for now.
No early set today. The first band went on at 2:30 p.m., leaving no window of opportunity for Neil... I suspect that we'll get an acoustic set tomorrow immediately after the doors open (between 2:00 and 2:40).
If you are not here today, be aware that Great Woods is very spread-out (but beautiful!). The HORDE O' CULTURE tent is to the left of the gate in a nicely treed area, covered with woodchips. The Lionel tent is way on the other side of the grounds -- it took a long time to find it this afternoon, and the distance between the two areas precludes any Neil-gawking if you're waiting for an acoustic set to start.
Beck helped Neil set up the trains today. He was wearing a charming hat that almost completely covered his face. He was also sporting a surprising amount of stubble for someone so small. As he left the tent, several people ran over to the tape to get his autograph. And I was one (along with Tired Eyes and Bob B.) He almost went past me, but I called out, "Beck! Hey Beck!" and he turned around, muttered something friendly and let me grasp his hand (to steady it) while he signed my ticket. Oh! And a few Rusties got to shake Neil's hand, but that was nothing. WOW! Lonesome Whistle starstruck again here at the HORDE (by the other guy).
Mary, Mary, no no, not the whole Beck story. again. OK, you've noticed a change here. It's Andy and I've commandeered this terminal, because in a minute Mary is going to try to show you her autographed ticket stub right over email.OK, back to Mary now. Hey, we're having a blast here. You oughta see our seats. Within spitting distance of Neil.
Hey Shakey! Are you jealous, man? 'Cause I can't see any other reason why you'd be abusing me via Rust these last coupla days. ;-)
O.K., enough of that.
We had a terrific fest this morning (from 9:30 - 1:00), hosted by Paul & Judy Rask with assistance from Biker Alane & Urban Guerilla. What great hospitality! These Americans are a generous bunch.
Gotta go. Beck's on in 15.
Miss you all.
]]]]] Lonesome Whistle^ [[[[[
Friday night's Great Woods show was nothing short of stellar. Neil was in an intense mood. A man possessed.
At 9:30pm the band launched into HHMM, and within a couple of minutes Neil was unleashing solos that cut like a hot knife through flesh. The intensity increased with Crime in the City. What an incredible version of this incredible song. Neil was wild with Old Black and almost frantic to get the words out. I was immediately caught up in the energy and so fortunate to be close to the stage.
The band paused for 30 seconds or so to recover from the previous 15 blistering minutes. Leo in the seat in front of me called out for Ordinary People, then Surfer Joe, before the Horse grunged their way into Hippie Dream. I guess when this song started I was worried that the Horse were heading into cruise control -- I wanted something faster. But then the song ended and the coda began, 6-7 minutes or so of improvisational jamming that was reminiscent of the Dead Man soundtrack. I'm not a musician but I could appreciate what was happening on stage between Neil and the band, who were huddled together over by Billy's amp. It was like we were being treated to a rehearsal at the ranch -- Neil and the Horse were oblivious to the thousands watching them. It was a special moment that took the evening almost into Dead territory.
Next up was Big Time. For me the show lost a little momentum here. It was similar to the 1996 tour renditions of this song, whereas other songs played on the 1996 tour seem to have been ratcheted up a notch or two for HORDE. However, Neil was again unleashing some wicked solos -- as he did all night.
Another pause while the band left to watch, as Neil headed for the lone mic stand with acoustic and harp. As expected, he began the solo set with From Hank to Hendrix -- a beautiful rendition. Then on to Needle and Ohio -- the latter prefaced by a story that perhaps set the theme of the evening: oppression of ordinary people by faceless authority:
"Thank you." (tunes guitar)He's probably done this before, but three times he rapped the guitar body with his knuckle to create some rifle or cannon shot-like sounds that really added to the pathos of the song. I waited for the fourth "shot" but perhaps missed it.
"When I first started in music... when I first started in music Boston was kind of a folk town. There was a real big coffeehouse scene, a lot of singer songwriters here. A lot of them could tune a hell of a lot better than me too. And then there was ah... folk rock. I was in a band back then called Buffalo Springfield -- we were a kind of a folk rock band. Then that ah... that lasted for a while. We really were folkies at heart when we started.
"When something happens you know folk music has kind of a story about it -- before you had any newscasts or CNN or some guy coming down to lay down a little groove and embellish it and move on to the next town. This is an old story but it's a folk story. It's kind of a timeless story because the same things're going on today, just in different ways.
"Anyway, I'm going to do this for the four kids in Ohio here. Things got out of hand and the National Guard came in and these kids were demonstrating against the war. Standing on their college campus there holding up their signs on top of this big hill, grassy hill, and things weren't looking so good."
Leo was flipping out when the Horse galloped into Throw Your Hatred Down, waving his NEIL YNG xeroxed license plate over his head. It was a great place for me to be standing, because Leo caught Neil's eye several times during the night, and definitely played while staring right at him. And me being directly behind Leo made it look like he was playing just to me.
TYHD was just what the show needed--a booster shot that brought it back up to intensity we had during Crime in the City. Was it during this song that Neil mimed machine gun fire with Old Black? Did anyone videotape this show??
Another brief pause, then Powderfinger. More wrenching yet precise solos -- Neil was on fire with the guitar all night long. Segue into a 9 minute Tonight's the Night, nothing could've been better. The beginning was stripped down with only the bare essentials apparent, then built up and backed down, teasing the audience with what was to come -- a full frontal assault after Neil's answer to the statement "tonight's the night" with a sotto voce "yes it is, yes it is." Indeed it was.
TTN fully unleashed, we rocked, until Neil stopped us short with the next lines of the song and then launched into a Hendrix-like solo unlike anything I'd heard so far that night, soaring and gorgeous. Stop again, and Neil sang in such a shakey shakey voice. The Rustrows were transfixed. Segue into Sedan Delivery. Impossible to describe the places TTN and this song took me so I won't try. "No one knows Billy! No one knows." Neil kept screaming Billy's name.
That was our allotted 90 minutes so I thought there'd be no encore. I would've been satisfied a few dozen times over without one. After a couple of minutes the band came back arms over each others shoulders to take a bow. Neil was beaming. Of course they wanted to play more, and so they did -- and we were treated to a RITFW of historical proportions.
If Neil had attacked Old Black before, it was nothing compared to this tour de force. Neil pulled out all the stops. THIS was the song with the machine gun miming, not TYHD. He was possessed. During this gigantic solo it seemed he'd run out of things to do so he ambled over to his amplifier and sat on top of it to continue the solo! It was an incredible moment.
A couple of times the song appeared to end, but no -- it continued relentlessly. The Horse did not want to stop playing. By now the house lights had been on for about five minutes, what looked like some Great Woods stiffs were assembled on the stage looking bewildered, and the band played on.
Finally, after 13 minutes of RITFW, Neil ripped the strings, kissed Old Black and laid her on the stage in front of his amp. Then, while Poncho (or was it Billy?) did the same and whipped the strings with the lead, Neil went to the foot switches in front of his monitor and stomped on one, then another. He glared at the pedals while stomping, then raised his head to the mic to almost beg "people on the street, red white and blue... people shuffling on their feet" (long pause, foot stomp) "people sleeping in their shoes." Unbelievable.
Thanks for reading this long review, and many thanks to Lookout Mama for her Rustrow efforts and Bikeralane for arranging such excellent seats. I'm sorry I didn't get to meet more of you there.
lurking Rustie for 4 years and still handleless!
(more to be added when I can... --RE*AC*TOR)