Direct bookmark: http://HyperRust.org/Tour99/?R15
Just got back from the March 8 show in Portland. OMG - Neil was incredible.
When he first came out he kinda just sat down and started playing Tell Me Why without saying a word. I was watching through binoculers and noticed he didn't even open his eyes. I thought, 'Oh, no, Neil doesn't really seem to be into it tonight'. But then somewhere around the third song or so he seemed to come alive and was just completely ON for the rest of the evening.
He seemed to be in a really good mood after that, complimenting Portland as one of his favorite parts of the country to play, telling a few funny stories, he even came out for TWO encores!!
The last encore was a great version of Powderfinger. (Normally I would rather hear a more obscure song, but this was REALLY good - the guitar was powerful and soulful and he screamed the words to the song over top of it - man, the combination gave me goosebumps.)
We had a few loudmouths in the crowd, but Neil seemed to take in in stride, at one point saying something like "I can't think of anything to say right now, I'm sure I'll come up with something clever, eventually."
Neil talked a while about the plight of the family farmer, he seems be very passionate about the subject. He played Homegrown, calling it a modern day protest anthem and said, "This started out to be a good-time, funky little song about dope, and then it evolved by not changing and letting everything else change around it - kind of like Jerry Garcia." :) That's a sample of the good humor he had all night.
He seemed to find it amusing that someone would compile his songs in alphabetical order, refering to the songbook he had on the floor. I probably shouldn't go on and on quoting Neil, but I hope that someone taped the show because he said a lot of funny things tonight that really added to it. And it should be shared by all. (I'm sure taping it was no problem, since there was practically no security at all there.)
I must mention, also, that he did play Pocahontas, much to my delight. This is the fifth time I've had the pleasure of seeing Neil, but I've been waiting for him to play Pocahontas, since I first heard him live seven years ago. I knew that the possibility was there, since he played it earlier in the tour, but I got very nervous when someone VERY LOUDLY requested it. Neil said something like "Geez", and I thought for sure he wouldn't play it, but he did! Now I can die happy.
One more comment I'd like to make is about his T-shirt. I thought it was interesting because it said 'El Purgatorio Artistico' on it. Hmmmm.....
Anyone who has the chance to go see this show, should definately do it.
It was comparable to, but better than, IMHO, the pre-Harvest Moon
tour in 92. Keep on Rockin...
(more reviews to be added soon... --RE*AC*TOR)