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Show Reviews
Farm Aid 2001 Updated: . Bookmark:

Verizon Center
Indianapolis, Indiana
September 29, 2001

Jump down to...
--> Crazy Moon's TV impression
--> Harness The Intensity
--> Dan's report
--> Jason Gonulsen's review
--> Brian Sleeman's extended review

Also See:
--> The show details.
--> A post-show press-release.
--> An Indianapolis Star review.

The Confirmed Set List
  1. Don't Cry No Tears
  2. Love And Only Love
  3. Mother Earth   (on pump organ)
  4. When I Hold You In My Arms
  5. Rockin' In The Free World

Farm Aid 2001 -- Verizon Center
Indianapolis, Indiana, September 29, 2001

early TV impression by Doug crazy moon Butterick

Great show! This was the first Farm Aid that I have seen either in person or on TV.

I really liked the Dobbie Brothers and thought their bass player just rocked! I couldn't think of a better name for a band than the Doobies...

Neil's set ROCKED! nothing better than seeing Neil at his best.

Always love Willie's playing -- I wish my hair was as long as his.

Doug, aka crazy moon

Farm Aid 2001 -- Verizon Center
Indianapolis, Indiana, September 29, 2001

excerpt from review in the Indianapolis Star newspaper

"In terms of Farm Aid's mission in helping independent farmers, Young and Arlo Guthrie were the day's bright lights of conviction and reason. No other artists came close to articulating the family farmer's uphill battle against massive corporations.

"Young punctuated his unforgettable appearance with pleas for pledges from at-home viewers. Joined by legendary backing band Crazy Horse, Young and his guitar work were abrasive wonders -- highlighted by the multiple waves of energy he unleashed during 1990's Love and Only Love.

"If we all could harness the intensity that Young applies to good works, farming problems and countless others would be solved in short order."

Farm Aid 2001 -- Verizon Center
Indianapolis, Indiana, September 29, 2001

report by Dan

Finally recovered from yesterday's Farm Aid. Thought I'd share a few thoughts...

I was fortunate enough to get a media pass, so I attended the pre-show press conference. As highlighted from the Indy Star article, Neil was far and away the most passionate about the desperation of small, family-owned farms and farmers. He talked for about five minutes at the press conference, entirely about the issue. Everyone else talked for one or two at the most, and mostly about how great it was to be involved in Farm Aid.

Also at the press conference, it was announced that Dave Matthews was becoming a Farm Aid director, I think they called it. Sounds like he's going to now be billed with Willie, Neil and John as one of the regulars. It was my first time seeing him live, by the way. Thought he was great. His solo acoustic version of All Along The Watchtower was even better than the version he and his band did with Neil in Charlottesville, IMHO. Certainly had the crowd in a frenzy.

I couldn't believe how packed the place was, by the way. Just in my second year in Indiana, and it was my first time at Deer Creek/Verizon. Impressive venue, real good crowd. For the most part, they seemed to get into everyone.

Now for Neil's set. Enjoyed Don't Cry No Tears as the opener, but almost felt like Neil knew he had a time limit so he got in and out of it real quick. We were told that the headliners were given 50 minute sets and couldn't go over that. Did anyone time Neil's set? Sure didn't seem like 50 minutes.

Love And Only Love was amazing. With the media pass, I was able to be in the photo pit, front and center, for the first two songs. This was a moment I'll never forget. The entire band was really into the song.

Went back to my seat for the rest of the set. Crowd didn't get into Mother Earth or When I Hold You in my Arms that much, although I enjoyed both. Rockin' In The Free World got everyone back into it. It was nice to see people who you knew were there to see either Dave Matthews or John Mellencamp go nuts and singing along with this song.

All in all, a good day and a good show.


Farm Aid 2001 -- Verizon Center
Indianapolis, Indiana, September 29, 2001

review by Jason first and last Gonulsen

My first Farm Aid -- and it was a short and sweet rockin' set by Neil. He and Crazy Horse came out and took the stage as Willie introduced them to the crowd. Pegi (wearing a cowboy hat) and Astrid also took the stage. The songs...

Don't Cry No Tears -- not a surprise I guess, but I didn't think they'd open with it. All the rusties in attendance were definitely in to it as was most of the crowd. Clean-cut version; Neil DID get into a couple of solos as it seemed this opener was a warm-up for Love And Only Love.

Love And Only Love -- worth the price of admission IMHO. Neil was screaming "There's so much hate" -- his anger was obvious. Terrific performance... He was REALLY getting into the solos. Pegi was staring at him and swaying the whole time. The band looked like they were also having fun.

Mother Earth -- didn't click for me. I don't think it did with the rest of the audience either. I remember when he played this in Detroit in 99 and I was really taken aback by it -- but for some reason it didn't do it for me last night. Definitely a proper song to play, but he sort of lost the rest of the crowd... for a bit.

When I Hold You In My Arms -- surprise surprise. I really wasn't expecting one of the new songs. It was very nice to see his piano/guitar work at the same time. The ultimate calm before the storm...

Rockin' In The Free World -- Intense. He got the crowd back into it with this one, hands down. I noticed he sang "Got a man fightin'" (or something like that) instead of "Got a man of the people." Anyway, you could smell The Horse on that one.

And then it was over. I don't think it was a 50 min set like I had heard it was going to be, but the songs we got were great and filled with intensity -- and I'll take that over quantity any day.

Dave Matthews and John Mellencamp were also excellent, especially Dave, whose solo work is very promising.

Nice to meet everybody. Hope I can do it again soon.

first and last

Farm Aid 2001 -- Verizon Center
Indianapolis, Indiana, September 29, 2001

review by Brian Sleeman

Just got back about an hour ago and thought I'd write with some comments... First of all, sorry that I missed so many of the Rusties at Claude and Annie's. I didn't get into my hotel until 4:30 Saturday morning, and after a little sleep and the rest of the drive, time just didn't allow for it. Hope you all had a great time though.

Was great to meet a few Rusties in the venue - did we have that whole section blocked for us? It was quite a diverse crowd around where I was seated (Sec G, Row G, Seat 6), and I noticed the lawn section (which must've been quite cold after the sun went down) was primarily composed of college student-agers. I think most of them were there to see Dave Matthews, as they went absolutely berserk when he came on. A lot of them rushed forward down into the lower sections but were quickly ushered out by security.

I was surprised how quickly the TV event kicked off. We were listening to Arlo sing City of New Orleans, and then suddenly Willie was out there and we could see Neil in the background. Nice kickoff to the show with the whole group getting out there, although it had obvious technical difficulties, no one seemed to care. Crowd went nuts when Neil sang his verse in This Land Is Your Land.

Martina was alright - I'm not a country fan by any means, but she has an amazing voice and a pretty good stage presence. It's easy to see why she's so successful in the country realm. Long set - I was looking forward to Neil and the Horse playing at least as long, and at that point I and many others were expecting him to come out and play along with Dave, too.

After Martina's set, it seemed the whole crowd got up for a bathroom break. Thankfully I and was among the first 100 in, and I was almost back to my seat when the Doobie Brothers started up - pleasant surprise as I'd only heard a rumor about their presence before the show. Their set was quite good, filled with their classics and a single new song, which was alright. The crowd seemed to really get into their performance, and with good reason. This was where the night really started to feel good...

After their short set, the stage crew came out and brought with them two acoustic guitars and set up for two mics. I and the few around me (and probably several others) thought that meant Neil was going to come out for a cameo appearance with Dave. No such luck, as it were. Neil did his introduction, announcing Dave's addition to the Farm Aid Board of Directors, and Dave got right into things.

I only recognized a few of his newer songs, but thought they were pretty decent and well-performed solo. Much of the crowd was into it and knew most of the words to most if not all of the songs. I knew and appreciated Satellite, and All Along the Watchtower was one of the highlights of the evening as far as I was concerned. The TV didn't really get across the power and intensity (not to mention the volume) it had in person, but the entire crowd was really into it. Great stuff.

I only knew about 9 or 10 Mellencamp songs, and so I was satisfied that he went with a hits setlist for his performance. On the whole it was another big highlight of the night for me. The emotion and power he and his whole band put into it -- in front of his hometown crowd -- was amazing. The song selection was nice and the crowd really got into the patriotic theme. I'm not a huge Mellencamp fan but he did a lot to impress me last night. Did the TV show all of the lighters that were burning on the lawn during (I think) Ain't That America? I won't soon forget the sight as I looked back on the thousands of people back there holding up their lighters in the dark.

John's set was at a decent volume, and I wondered if Neil and the Horse would top it - and by how much. It took them a long time to set up the stage for Neil (could've just been my anticipation -- this was my first live Neil experience), and it was prolonged by the nice check presentation of $25,000 from Verizon Wireless Music Center and Clear Channel to the 9-11 Relief Fund. Great moment right there as the firefighter representative gave a brief speech - the entire crowd gave him a standing ovation and it was one of those definitive "had to be there" moments.

On to Neil... I was surprised with choice for an opener, but thought it was a solid performance. My questions of how loud they'd play were soon put to rest -- they were by far the loudest of the night. And that's how it *should've* been. Love And Only Love was one that Steve and I thought he might play, and sure enough, he brought it out in all its raging, ragged glory. Great choice, and an all-too-appropriate message. The performance itself blew me away - Neil was definitely ON with Old Black, and he and The Horse just tore the house down.

Neil was really the only one to speak much about the purpose of Farm Aid, although he often (as usual) seemed to find himself going on and on without a predetermined direction or goal: "Now we've got a new war, and we've got less farmers... You figure it out." I knew what he meant, but...he writes better songs than he does impromptu speeches.

Anyway, Mother Earth wasn't really a surprise, and was fitting for the show - seems to be the Farm Aid anthem. After the way Neil handled the Fuji Rock webcast, and how he decided not to play any new songs in any of his pre-Eurotour shows, I really didn't think we'd hear any new songs. Thus I was pleasantly surprised to hear When I Hold You In My Arms. It began with some confusion: after a short dedication to the people of New York, as Neil sat at the piano sans guitar (I thought he might be planning to do Imagine) and had to go back for it. Great performance that really hit home. I'd be interested in finding out how non-Neil fans liked it. The people there seemed to be getting into it after the Mother Earth breather, so that was good to see.

RITFW was amazing, and was another surprise. I'm getting long-winded here (don't feel I'm like Neil ranting at Farm Aid, but I probably am to many Rusties), but this featured the best guitarwork I've ever heard from Neil. Of course, the crowd got really into this one, and the feedback and distortion flowing from the speaker-walls on either side of the stage were just too much for me -- I had to grin and shake my head in disbelief. Neil put every ounce of frustration, anger, and soul into that performance, and the jam at the end felt like it was never going to end.

I was hoping for at least one more song, but no luck. I feel bad for Greg from New Hampshire, as I figure he ended up getting about 1 minute of Neil for every hour he drove this weekend. Ouch.

I'll finish by saying Willie's set was predictable but nice, and the volume could've used a boost (or maybe my ears were still ringing from Neil). Some people were getting up to leave while he played, which I thought was somewhat understandable but also disrespectful for the founder of the event we'd had the privilege of experiencing. I'm not a big Willie fan but I enjoyed his performance and the sing-alongs at the end.

In summary, this was probably the best overall concert I've seen in my three-year, 9-concert career.

Time to go check the VCR...