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(updated Tuesday, 14-Aug-2018 17:56:06 AEST)
|Farm Aid 98|
New World Theater
Tinley Park, Illinois
October 3, 1998
Just watching Phish finish up the show. Here are my thoughts....
Hootie & The Blowfish - I was never a big fan of these guys, but I enjoyed their set. It was pop, you know, fun. Was that Woody Harrelson thing nessasary? Nope.
Steve Earl - VERY impressed. I really don't know much about him, but I gotta find out more. He reminds me of Gram Parsons, who's one of my favorites. Nobody was even plugged in. They just jammed in front of a big microphone. Any ideas for a first record for me to buy of his?
Brian Wilson - Saddest freakin' thing I have ever seen. It's not even funny. He was just out of it, man. Very sad. Off key voice, he had to read everything that he sang and said. Terrible. He was so talented, and his life just fell apart. What a shame.
Wilco - These guys were cool too! They kind of reminded me of Let It Bleed/Sticky Fingers/Exile On Main Street era Stones. I gotta get one of their albums too.
Martina Macbride - She has a great voice. I kinda got bored towards the end of her set, though. Very talented.
Willie Nelson - With Daniel Lanios playing guitar. I liked Willie's solo during the first song. Mickey Ralphael played some good harp, too.
John Mellencamp - Good set. My favorite was The Authority Song. I would of liked to have heard Small Town too, but like Mick says, "Ya caan't always git whatcha wooont."
Neil - I think my heart stopped when I heard him say "Thanks, Willie." Hey, it's been a year since he's played live. It was like getting a letter from an old friend.
I don't think anyone guessed Throw Your Hatred Down first. It's a good idea for an opening song, too. I think this is the second time he's ever played it solo, acousic. Heart of Gold, well, you know, it kinda has to be done. It's like his Satisfaction. Neil, whatever gets you though the night, that's all right with me, you know?
Since Farmer's Song wasn't on the CMT broadcast, I'll cut right to After The Goldrush. It's been awile since he's done it on the pipe organ. I thought he was gonna do Mother Earth at first. I actually didn't know what it was until he started singing. Old Man was done on the 12 string, tuned down a whole step. Jeez, when the last time he did this one? '84 with the Harvesters, or something? Very emotional version. Then Powderfinger. On the 12 string also! It's refreshing to hear it acoustic, after two Crazy Horse tours.
Phish - Jammy, very jammy. Not in a Crazy Horse way, more in like a John Coltrane way. I liked them. They still have about 20 minutes to go, so, there might be a "super jam" at the end. I hope Neil brought Ol Black!
So, Neil was my favorite, of course. I can't wait to hear what he does at the Bridge show!
Hang The DJ
PS: CMT did an excellent job! They didn't cut any songs in the middle.
They cut songs OUT, but none of that "Oops. it's been 20 minutes, time for a
commercial break, HAAHHAH sucks for you! We're here, and you're there, so we
can cut it and not be bothered, ahhaahahh! But you, you will watch the
commericals and sob! HAHAHA..."
Holy smoke. Unbelievable. I was sitting there about to call anyway with my pledge, then Neil comes out and does Down By The River with Phish, and they just friggin' play and play and play.... Man, next non-Crazy Horse electric tour he does, I nominate Phish as the backing band. Transcendent version.
Neil was really getting into it too -- "that look" came across his face during some of the more out-there jamming. And my wife said he looks real good too (dead ringer for my brother-in-law, now that he's cut the hair and grown the beard).
I'm so transfixed I forget to call, and then during the closing numbers we're celebrating in the living room so I forget to call then too. (Don't worry, I made the call right at the end.)
What was it like for y'all there in person?
Old Pueblo Flyer
Got home last night from FA about 5 am, so I didn't have time to post till now. I went back and read all the posts concerning the broadcast, it was so cool to see what the Rusties were posting during the show, and I smiled knowingly to myself as I saw a few start to complain about Neil's short set, because I was feeling the same way, disappointed, not in his performance, but the fact it was so short. Well then came Phish and they were great. And I catch a glimpse of Neil plugging in, the next thing I know....... WOW!
I attended the show with 3 Phish-heads who, by the end of the concert, all they can talk about is Neil. To me it was an historic moment, when all those young fans there to see Phish encounter a legend they have previously only heard rumors of. I will always remember this night, but what will stand out will be the sight of seeing the young kids dancinging maniacally to DBTR, like it was Garcia, not Young on stage. I think Neil's following just grew quite a bit larger last night.
Capsule review, random notes:
We picked Gambones over the opening of the show, so we didn't arrive until the Wille/David Allen Coe set. I'll start from 3:00 when CMT started broadcasting:
HOOTIE: Pretty standard stuff, Hootie and Steve Earl opened because they had to be at other venues later. The definite highlight here was Woody Harrelson's version of Jailhouse Rock. What a bundle of energy! Suprising voice, and the latest Hemp threads. In fact when he was off camera, Woody was certainly advocating the production of hemp.
Steve Earle: Probably the only repeat performer from last year whose performance this year wasn't as good. Had a lot to do with his bluegrass buddies, but it was interesting to see the Del McCourey Band position themselves to use the one microphone.
Brian Wilson: Good set! Although Brian didn't look like he was excited to be in attendance, I enjoyed the music, although I thought In My Room was very weak. Paul Shafer was very evident throughout the entire set.
Wilco: Didn't see much of this set, as I was wandering around the lawn, but the music sounded good, will watch them once I get the rebroadcast taped.
Martina McBride: Great voice, but I just couldn't get into her songs. She was a damn site (sight?) better than Billy Ray Cyrus last year though.
Willie Nelson: Great set almost entirely off new album. Willie did forget who was playing keyboards for him. Not to worry, Paul Shafer soon took over.
John Mellencamp: Talk about a 180 degree turnaround from last year. John seemed to be so much more into his music this year, very funky, lots of dancin, a very good set, and this coming from someone who is NOT a big fan.
NY: Great opening. TYHD was always one of my favorites, this version was special. A predictable, well played HOG. I believe CMT cut-away from Neil's Farmer song, Neil did say the song wasn't finished and wouldn't be until the plight of the family farmer was finally decided. Old Man was good, but I couldn't really find anything special about it. Powderfinger rocked, got chills when I heard the opening line, "Lookout Mamma...."
Phish: I was extremely impressed with my first experience with Phish. The music was excellent and the crowd was really into it.
Encore: As stated earlier. Neil w/Phish was a special, magical moment. Maybe the best single performance I have ever seen live. Willie came back and closed with his "trinity" encore of Circle Be Unbroken, Uncloudy Day, and Amazing Grace. Neil and Phish both played right along without missing a beat and contributing vocals. 5 star performance.
I was there in the fifth row, center. I have got to say, hands down, this was one of the best shows I have ever been to. And I have never seen Neil like this before.
The acoustic set was absolutely flawless. First off, he looks great -- he's cut his hair off and grown a beard. Throw Your Hatred Down, Heart of Gold, Farmer's Song, After The Goldrush on the pipe organ, and then Old Man on the 12 string! I cannot remember ever seeing him do Old Man. Maybe in 82? Well, I almost lost it. Then, he launches into Powderfinger. Just excellent.
During the whole set he was doing his bit, asking folks to send in money and to use their right to vote... asking the crowd, "Do you have a voice? Are you registered to vote?"
Phish's set was great, they were jamming hard on Runaway Jim and out comes Neil to join them (I think he borrowed one of Trey's electrics?) and into the jam I hear the first three chords of Down By The River... I thought he was just teasing the crowd! But sure enough, he and Phish launch into this wicked DBTR jam...
After 8 minutes I was in awe. At 10 minutes there was no end in sight, At 15 minutes I was mental. At 20 minutes I had to ask my friend to pinch me. TWENTYplus hard core, Neilicious minutes!
I haven't heard a band back up Neil like this... maybe ever! He was just nuts, with that crazy look on his face... He threw off the fedora he was wearing, and he was just insane. All the Phish guys were just looking like they were in awe or something... like this is the Mark McGuire of music.
So, I am thinking Rock and Roll History here, Last Waltz kind of thing, Neil's career high. This can't get any better. But out comes Willie and he goes into that old 1940s standard Moonlight In Vermont. One of my very favorite tunes, and there's Neil totally getting into the swing. Then they go into Will The Circle Be Unbroken and then Amazing Grace. I have lost it by now, and I can't believe what I am listening to. They finish up with that Old Willie standard Uncloudy Day.
It was pretty much the most unbelieveable thing that I have ever seen. Completely magical.
I think the performance of Down By The River with Phish will go down in Rust history as one of Neil's greatest performances.
The song DBTR seemed to evolve in ways I have never heard before. Even Neil seemed to be challenged in ways that have not been seen since early Springfield days when he would not be outdone by Stephen's wild riffs and endless jams.
Neil was amazing, at one point flinging his hat off.... guess he must have wanted to get a little *more* into it! It was a magic night, added to the long list of Neil's magic moments. Neil seemed a little lost without a whammy bar, but he knew how to make up for it. Incredible...
Glad I was there to see it person...