Direct bookmark: http://HyperRust.org/Tour99/?R3
The concert started just after 9:30 and ended just before midnight, with a short intermission. Neil looked fit, trim and shaved. No more of that "old hobo" look.
The stage was similar to those '92 solo shows, with pump organ in back, grand piano on stage left, upright piano stage right. A stool to sit on, surrounded by 7 or 8 guitars and the guit-jo.
Neil sounded fantastic! All songs (with the possible exception of the pump organ ATGR) seemed to be in the original key, no need to transpose to accomodate his vocal chords, as he was right on the money all night.
Neil played 4 songs on piano, 2 on the upright and 2 on the grand. A strange thing that I noticed was how quiet the crowd was during Philadelphia and Birds on the grand piano, yet how noisy the crowd was while he played Lotta Love and Out Of Control on the upright.
It must have been about 11:00 when he played Birds because about half-way through, the chirping of watches going off could be heard! (Hope that doesn't show up on the tapes!)
There were false starts on at least 4 songs, but Harvest Moon was the only song that he didn't seem to have together. He did a false start, and totally left out the "harmonic" bits. He played it fast and seemed to be just trying to get it over with!
Neil seemed somewhat annoyed by the cat-callers. At one point someone yelled Old Man and Neil asked "Is that a song title?" At one point, he asked if we had ever been down to the water and listened to the seagulls. I'm not sure if it was a reference to the annoying cat-callers or what?!?
Prior to playing Lotta Love Neil was trying to say something, but the cat-callers were so noisy that he quit, and said something about trying to have a conversation. Then he played Lotta Love, and I can't help but feel that he was trying to dedicate that song to someone special......Man, shut up you guys!
Hey, I'm starting to sound negative. Sorry, it wasn't negative at all!
As Neil started playing Slowpoke, he went for a while strumming the chords to the first verse, then gave up. He said that he just needed the first word and he could remember the rest of the song. Then he started leafing through a song book at his feet that Joel Bernstein had put together for him (hmmm, I wonder if Joel printer out the HyperRust guitar tabs?) and as he reached the S section, he said.... "Silver & Gold, Sleeps With Angels, Slip Away, ah, here it is, Slowpoke." That was cool.
It was an outstanding performance! I loved every minute of it, and it was well worth the money! Priceless!!!
Hey hey, Wow! What a night! Got back to Seattle at 3:30 am (I think). Honeyslide took the morning off and is still asleep. I'm faking my way thru work. I'm just gonna ramble incoherently for a few minutes. Any quotes of Neil are probably not word for word. (Reactor, you can reprimand me in person Friday if this gets too long :-)
Lost Dog and TLE were wonderful hosts. Would have loved to have been able to crash on their floor and stayed for tonight's show. The whole experience of attending a Neil show is so much better when you can share it with friends. Especially when you travel from out of town to the show.
After last night's show, especially the first set, I'd say the ticket prices are justified (IMO)! Anyone who has a legitimate chance to go to one of these shows (and can swing it financialy) is making a huge mistake if they miss it. First of all:
THE SONG BOOK!!!!! THANK YOU JOEL BERNSTEIN FOR GETTING IT TO NEIL!!!!!I think by Neil having a catalog of his tunes with him, the set lists should change every night. Hopefully he thumbs thru it each day and tries to pull out some unusual gems for the next show.
He was really dipping into his catalog. One incredible tune after another. Tell Me Why, Albuquerque, Birds, On The Way Home, Nowadays Clancey, Philadelphia. It was frustrating when people were screaming for Old Man, Sugar Mountain. Neil didn't need any help picking his set! Hopefully he knows that alot of us want to hear these other tunes. That's one thing I would say to him at the meet 'n greet if I had a chance.
Re: the audience. The usual suspects. The chatty girls dragged there by their boyfriends. The drunk guys thinking they're at a rock festival. There's no avoiding them. It was a little worse than usual last night because of the 9:30 start. Gave an extra couple hours for people to ingest more booze, etc.
The sound in the Queen Elizabeth Theatre was great, but you could hear every noise anyone sitting around you makes. I guess I wasn't really in church, but it was as close as I ever get. There were two girls in front of us, talking, giggling, etc, during Philadelphia. A little distracting, but there's no way you're gonna get everybody to actually listen to the show. Even if they are sitting in $80 seats!
It was really interesting when Neil stood up from the grand piano after Philadelphia and said "That's a really sad song."
I thought Neil's piano playing was incredible. I got the feeling that he had been playing the piano more than the guitar recently. Lots of false starts, blown lyrics, etc, on the guitar tunes. But the piano ones would all be "takes" if it was being recorded.
Lotta Love on the piano was fantastic. At the end he stopped sort of abruptly. The crowd applauded. Then he started playing the Lotta Love riff again just because he knew it sounded great.
Then he wandered over to his guitars again. Birds, Albuquerque and Nowadays Clancey were astonishing. The vocal performances were unbelievably great. When these tapes emerge, everyone is going to be blown away. Be patient. There were alot of people taping last night.
Cool story: while he was strumming the Old King intro on the banjo he was talking about his late dog, Elvis. I quote neil: "He was a hound dog!" He talked about stopping at a rest stop and Elvis getting out and running in bigger and bigger circles marking his territory. He said, "You'd be there for 8 hours waiting for him to come back."
On The Way Home sounded perfect. I really am starting to believe the CSNY tour might happen. Good To See You would sound really nice with his old friends.
The only complaint from me I guess is that there were too many Harvest Moon songs. After collecting all the 92 (and the 97 HORDE acoustic set) tour tapes, I really don't need From Hank To Hendrix. It would be unbelievable if each night he kind of featured one of his albums. If last night was the Harvest Moon show, then that would be totally cool. How bout On The Beach Friday, and Stars and Bars Saturday?
Also, where were the brand new songs? He has to have written some other new songs. There are only a handful we've heard since Broken Arrow came out in 96. I guess we'll all find out soon enough on this tour. Maybe I'm just getting a little greedy. If he did the same set list as the first set last night each show of the tour I would have no complaints. Actually, he could have stopped after the first set and I would have been satisfied. It was that great!
I'll sign off now, but I look forward to reading other reviews, etc. Can't wait for the folks I partied with last night to arrive in Seattle. Lost Dog sets a tough precedent. Honeyslide and I will try to continue the tradition in style in Seattle this weekend.
Any of you who've been to the IRF's or to other RustFests know the great atmosphere at these get togethers. At first, you meet alot of people from all over the world and you just try remember names etc. As the fest progresses you realize you're making more really great friends. By the time you leave you're already missing them.
What a great show. Sound was good and Neil's voice was just so sweet. Great selection of tunes as always. Standouts for me were Philadelphia, Don't Let It Bring You Down, Lotta Love, On The Way Home, and that After The Goldrush on pump organ was awesome.
It was so cool to see Neil just flub around... He started Don't Let It Bring You Down but mixed up the words so he just stopped and started again. Also the bit with Slowpoke was funny. He started playing the guitar but forgot the words. Then he says "All I need is that first word and I'll remember the whole song" (at which point people were yelling "Smoke another one Neil!" ;). Then he pages through his book chunks at a time and says "Now I'm going alphabetically" and starts naming off the tunes he was passing by in that book. Silver And Gold, Slip Away, and then he found it ... Slowpoke.
Very cool to see him so relaxed. I think all he was trying to say before Lotta Love was that he was trying to have a "conversation" with someone in the front who yelled something up to him... He may have been interrupted by the crowd. Personally i don't care when people scream as long as he's not playing music. I like to hear the song requests people try and make. Last Trip To Tulsa was being lobbied hard by one group in the center somewhere... Someone wanted Revolution Blues (man that would be sweet).
Just a great opening night.
The show was amazing. It was my first time seeing Neil live in any form and I was blown away. He opened with Tell Me Why, which I really didn't expect and didn't think I'd enjoy, but it worked out fine. I think the next one was new, and it was beautiful. The melody is still in my head. Then came War of Man, another new one on piano, Alberquerque and World on a String. Not any of my primary choices, but still entertaining.
Here's where my memory gets foggy. I know he played Don't Let It Bring You Down, which was fantastic (though he forgot the 3rd line of lyric, laughed, and started again), the track from Philadelphia, and a couple Springfield tunes (Clancy and another one) to round out the first set. He then took off for a while (which I didn't really expect).
His second set was simply fantastic. Worlds better than the first one... He played From Hank to Hendrix, Unknown Legend, Harvest Moon, Old King, After the Goldrush (on pump organ), Old Man (beautiful), Birds (even more beautiful, on grand piano), Lotta Love on upright piano, and a new one called Slowpoke. This one sounded EXACTLY like Heart of Gold in a different key. He forgot the lyrics and had to flip thru his little lyric book, which he explained had the songs in alphabetical order... "Silver and Gold... Sleeps With Angels... Slip Away... (which prompted a shout of "Yeah!" from me) "Slowpoke.." Good tune, but probably my least favorite of the new ones that night.
He also played Heart of Gold, Throw Your Hatred Down and the song that made the whole night perfect, a revamped version of Sugar Mountain.
Yeah, sorry if I'm a little short on details for the techies.. I wasn't really close enough to make out what guitars were used for what songs (well, I was, but I decided I didn't care).
The Vancouver crowd, by the way, was hilarious. Neil had some fun mocking the constant song requests (Crowd: "Old Man!" Neil: "Is that a song title?"). I've never seen so much weed light up so quickly into a show, by the way. So, congrats on that.
I felt kind of out of place at first.. I'm only 16 and I'd be willing to bet good money that I was one of maybe 5 people under 20 there (and most were in their 40's+). I feel I got some dirty looks from a few old fellows who probably thought I was there to hear Pearl Jam or something (or, alternately, I'd accidentally gone to the wrong venue to see Marilyn Manson, who was playing down the road). Oh well... I struck up a nice conversation with a couple in front of me before the show who had seen Neil a fair amount of times and had some stories to tell.
It was a great night, and I wish I could go back again tonight, but alas I'm back in my hometown of Victoria.
We saw the two nights in Vancouver and loved them. Just incredible.
The first night was fantastic! Tell Me Why was a beatiful opener. The new song Looking Forward is great as were all the new songs. I have yet to hear a Neil tune that I don't like the first time I hear it. War of Man was great, and Out of Control is another incredible song.
Albuquerque was awe inspiring. Even though this song does not make too many appearances it was played true to the original and sounded great. WOAS was great as well, but the Don't Let It Bring You Down was stunning. Philadelphia was beautiful, and ending the first set with Nowadays Clancy Can't Even Sing -- followed by On The Way Home -- justified the trip from Ontario on it's own.
The second set was as strong as the first. I loved every song, and highlights included the cuts from Harvest Moon, Birds, Throw Your Hatred Down and Lotta Love. Every Song was played well and it was an all round incredible concert experience.
(See the second night review.)
The "Meet and Greet" was really good. We were treated to alcoholic or nonalcoholic refreshments and some nice snack food. Elliot was tending bar! He then introduced a Bridge School video which wasn't anything I've seen at the Bridge School Benefit Concerts. It was set to One Of These Days, and featured lots of mug shots of Bridge performers and some information on the school.
Neil and Pegi came in inconspicuously while the video was playing. Neil and Pegi made a few comments, and then mingled with the crowd. Zeke was there also. I shook the hand of Neil Young tonight. Twice.
Wow! If you're a Rustie, last night was the stuff that dreams are made of!
The show's been described several times, so I won't dwell on it. Although the audience was very annoying with their whooping and hollering during the quieter parts of the songs, and between songs with lots of requests, Neil handled it very well for the most part. But he looked annoyed a couple of times. (I could tell because we were in the centre of the third row from the front!)
Once of the funny things he said to the audience went something like this. He asked if we had ever gone down to the beach to listen to the seagulls, the point being that the crowd sounded like a bunch of seagulls - you can't quite make out the individuals, but you went there because you wanted to. Have to listen to the tape to get my story straighter!
The meet and greet was very cool. An extremely well-mannered, quiet group of us (80? 60? I don't know) were ushered backstage into a reception room with munchies (don't ask for details, I didn't look), wine and beer, coffee, etc. After the video and a few words from Elliot and Pegi about the school, Neil wandered about pen in hand and signed anything anyone wanted signed and shook hands and made small talk.
I shook his hand! I said thanks for the great music (wonder how many times he's heard that - but he smiled and seemed to appreciate the sentiment for what it is, sincere intention). I got signatures!
The crowd was very well-behaved, no pushing or mobbing, lots of opportunity for everyone. I talked to Pegi for quite a while about the Bridge School, got introduced to Zeke (and shook his hand, too) and talked to Elliot for quite a while too.
Were we ever on Cloud Nine when we got home! Stayed up until 3 partying and listen to Martin the guitar maker play Neil songs (he's very good, fortunately!)
And woke up to harsh reality: 4 hours sleep, kids to feed, and work.
But we get to see Neil again tonight!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Folks, if your city has a 9:30 start time, and serves beer before the concert and during the intermission ... then go to the concert for the experience, not for the music.
Intricate guitar solos were drowned out by incessant "Wooo-oo-oo" cries and piercing whistles from the slack-jawed mouth-breathers who paid $80 for a concert they probably won't remember. We saw several young studs who were barely able to walk at intermission.
As noted in other reviews, many people thought that lighting up a few joints would enhance the experience. Maybe the guys in front of me enjoyed the acrid clouds of smoke. I didn't. C'mon guys, not at an indoor show in a concert hall.
My son has attended more than a hundred concerts by a wide range of artists from metal to punk and then some. I've done the same a generation earlier. Neither of us has ever seen a more ill-mannered, boorish crowd.
Go anyway -- it's worth the steep ticket price just for After the Goldrush on the pump organ. But be warned: for every loud-mouthed yahoo who had a wonderful time, there were probably ten ordinary fans who will remember a great show spoiled. Woo-oo-oo indeed.
Okay, I blasted out Last Trip To Tulsa exactly 3 times. I never interupted any music. Obviously he heeded me since he played it the second night. I also had a few beers, some people were yelling excessivly, I figured out he wouldn't play it after the first 2 song breaks.
This is the 7th Neil show for me, never sat close enough to be able to request a song. Except that time in Peterborough, Ontario when I walked into a music store and he was in there playing piano, or when he came into the store I was working at with his Father (Scott).
I think there has been enough talking about the people calling out requests and there should be more about the great show.