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The Forum (Los Angeles), Sept 11, 1996

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--> The *DREAMER* Review
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Also See:
--> Jon Neal's Neil-Encounter

The Set List

  1. Hey Hey My My
  2. Pocahontas
  3. Big Time
  4. Slip Away
  5. The Needle and the Damage Done
  6. Heart of Gold
  7. Sugar Mountain
  8. Cinnamon Girl
  9. Fuckin' Up
  10. Cortez The Killer
  11. Music Arcade
  12. Like a Hurricane
  13. This Town
  14. Sedan Delivery
  15. Dangerbird

The Forum (Los Angeles), Sept 11, 1996

review by Eric *DREAMER*Leighton

It's 2:00 am, but as promised with my setlist, here is my review of the Forum show.

First, I will say I was at the second Great Woods show on 8/22 and will do some comparisons here. First, I liked this show better. Maybe because it is indoors the sound is "stronger", you can feel it pass into you. It was loud, but neither I or my wife thought it was to loud.

We arrived just after Gin Blossoms started, liked them, but Patti Smith was very good (in fact my wife liked her best).

Before Neil was to play, my two boys (8 & 10) wanted to go up to the stage so we went up and saw Zeke setting up there, and while talking about him up there this guy also knew it was Zeke, and says "hey, are you a Rustie" and I of course extended my hand with a smile and we introduced ourselves. John was truely my kind of Rustie, he and I both danced throughout most of the show. Any way, off to our seats where I realized that I didn't have a pen to assure a precise setlist. Jim Hammit, who was next to us was kind enough to give me his.

The lights dimmed finally at 9:47 (according to Jim Hammit) after Gin Blossoms and Patti Smith finished great sets.

Neil and the Horse started in fine fashion with HHMM as good as ever, pausing for the electric Pocahantas which both Jim and my wife liked very much. I need to get used to it, I liked it but felt like it wasn't right. Let's face it, I like the acoustic version better, but it was good. Big Time was strong, Slip Away was excellent, and when the song hits it's stride half way through, it carries you away with it.

Acoustic set was good, along with some glitches. TNATDD was usual self, Neil followed that with the first of three times he addressed the croud with "Nice to be back in L.A. Nice to see y'all here". Then, HOG seemed ridden with problems of I believe technical in nature. It seemed that his voice volume dropped down, but that passed. Then I found that he was losing beats somehow and then stopped momentarily to fix his harmonica brace (which caused a timing problem and hesitation). If you hear a tape sometime you will pick it up easily. Neil did a good job of sliding through it all. Sugar Mountain was once again tirelessly good to hear, nice to sing along with and many did.

Before CG, Neil once again addressed the croud with "How ya doin". I still don't tire of Cinnamon Girl, to me it meets the beat, and I was jumpin'. Fuckin Up was strong, and they all seemed really into it, to the third degree. Frank and Billy were at one point slamming each other in the heart of the jam, it was a great dose of electricity.

On to the next two favorites, with one in the middle. Cortez has a very long intro, before the vocals start, it seems longer every time I see it but I don't know that for fact. Cortez, was once again, a great slow starting song that builds into something totally engulfing the audience (this was my wife's favorite). Music Arcade was played with a much quicker timing than the recording, and something else, I thought he said "polishing your window" instead of "washing". Has he done this before? Did I hear right?

LAH, what can I say, I ran up behind John two rows up from me across the aisle during the peak of my fulfillment and yelled to him "it doesn't get any better than this" and to me that sums it up. During that moment LAH was at its best and so was Neil Young and Crazy Horse. Neil finished LAH much like before with possibly something added, he played his guitar with the strings he'd broken to bring out every gram of sound he could, and then it appeared that he "gently" dragged Old Black not just by the srings but by the cord and got into a little tug of war with the tech in the white smock and hard hat.

He lost the tug of war and then proceeded to take on the candle, dumping the wax on stage and going back to the drummer area blowing, blowing, blowing until finally the flame was extinguished and the candle was slung over his shoulder and then tossed to the floor. Great, spectacular show.

Encores: This Town was started with "here's a new one we don't know very well", but the performance belied him. Sedan Delivery isn't one of my favorites but was done in great form, I have always loved the change in timing. Danger Bird is one that I hadn't seen yet and wasn't disappointed, this can certainly be one of my favs, and my wife liked it second to Cortez. It was a good finish to a great show.

The lights came on at 11:47, exactly 2 hrs, and very satisfied with the show. Next stop: Irvine Meadows.

I am just a dream

A wet cat, fast food, jet lag and other observations
The Forum (Los Angeles), Sept 11, 1996

review by John Elliott

Neil Young seemed about as at home for The Forum last Wednesday as a cat would feel in a bucket of water. It was like french fries without ketchup. Like fast food without the fast. It was missing something and you could feel it. Many of the seats were empty, others became empty fast.

The crowd seemed glazed -- I don't know. Maybe being in Inglewood on a Wednesday night, getting started at 9:45 pm, bad acoustics, all combined with a $5.00 American beer is just too much for any normal (Non-Rustie type) fan to take. I had jet lag but it seemed like a few others might have been stricken with it as well. Go figure.

Fuckin Up came across fairly well as did Big Time and Slip Away, but it just wasn't right. Like a Hurricane had it going on, but the whole thing kinda blew a tire and headed for the emergency lane after that. Dangerbird was the last song played as people were leaving so it just was like background music. A shame for such a great song. After the bird, the lights came on and it was time to get ready for Irvine and hope that the performance would be equal to the anticipation. 405 South, or the thought of it, held so much promise one would have to feel the upturn was coming. Would this be the one for the land of suntan lotion?

As it turns out the Forum would stand as a contrasting darker background to the mother of all shows: Irvine Meadows. Hello suntan lotion. These two shows were like night and day. Obviously, this kind of diametrical opposition, this ying and yang if you will, only proves that wet cats with jet lag prefer fast food -- or you could discount that argument entirely and just say that Neil and the boys were having an off night at the Forum.

It's hard to say...

The Forum (Los Angeles), Sept 11, 1996

review by Jon Morning Son Neal

This was my first Neil show. Oh wow. The experience was like no concert I have ever attended.

I saw no MORE BARN! shirts, and the only Rustie I met was Dreamer, with his two young boys. It was fun talking with you before and communicating with you during the show, Eric. Before the show started, we were up at the front of the stage watching the roadies (and Zeke) setting up shop.

Gin Blossoms were fine, and I guess Patti Smith was OK. I left the arena both times, so that my ears would be in the most intact condition as possible in preperation of the blasting it would receive from Crazy Horse. But I listened to them from outside.

I had 14th row seats in the center section of the floor, which was great. Throughout the concert, I looked up at the farther seats, and most people seemed to be sitting down, not really enjoying themselves, or so it appeared to me. But in my section, people were on their feet 90% of the time -- great by my standards. I would just as soon have everyone stand up the entire show.

Hey Hey, My My was a killer way to start the show. I think it's just about the perfect opening to a Crazy Horse show, setting up the theme "Rock and Roll can never die" very convincingly.

For Big Time Neil seemed to be trying to enunciate his lyrics as clearly as possible, so that the audience would more easily understand the meaning of the song. I guess it's safe to say that this tune means a lot to him.

Slip Away had a great jam; really psychedelic. It was enjoyed.

About the acoustic sets -- I had always read on Rust about how none of you wanted to hear Needle, HOG and SM. I always thought this was a sort of snobby attitude to take, because at every show there are those who have never heard these songs, or any Neil songs for that matter live. But after last night's show, I understand: THESE SONGS JUST DID NOT WORK. I love the quiet, countryish, sentimental Neil Young very very much, but at such a loud, testosterone filled Crazy Horse night, their performance was very incongruous to the rest of the show. It's hard to describe. They were just very out of place, and had no emotional effect on me. ONE EXCEPTION: when he let the audience finish Sugar Mountain on it's own, that was very moving, hearing the whole arena sing along to it.

Like A Hurricane: Words cannot describe this performance. I have never experienced anything like it. The man poured his heart and soul out through twenty minutes of deafening guitar, and I drank it all up -- it really felt that my soul and his were communicating. I don't remember that much of it -- it was like my mind was turned off and all I could hear was this soul of his, juxtaposed with my own rather potent and sad memories that this song provokes within me. I think I saw this before on here, but this song really should be called LIKE AN ORGASM because of the towering buildup and triumphant release that it has. THE SHEER EMOTION OF THIS SONG I DOUBT HAS EVER BEEN OR WILL EVER BE EQUALLED IN LIVE ROCK AND ROLL. I encourage everyone to hear it at least once so you can tell your great grandkids about it.

When the song was over, I was dead. I sat down and didn't even applaud -- I was too exhausted.

For his encore set, he started with This Town. I don't think anybody really wanted to hear it, I'm sorry to say. Not after Hurricane. He said "This is a song we don't know very well" before he played it. The song might have been better if it had been played earlier in the show, this was a strange placement.

Sedan Delivery was performed well, though it's not one of my favorite songs.

I'm going to share something personal that I thought of during Dangerbird. The show took place at the Forum, the home of the L.A. Lakers. I am a giant Lakers fan, and directly above the stage were the Lakers' six championship banners. As Neil sang "And though [his?] wings have turned to stone" I could't help but recall the glory of the Lakers past, and all those Laker heroes whose wings really have turned to stone. It was a deeply personal moment, sitting on the floor of the Forum, where great glory and heartache have been experienced. It touched me immensely.

I was hoping for RITFW, Powderfinger, or Roll Another Number, but alas they were not to be.

After the show I had a very interesting encounter.

It was a good night. I'll see you guys at Irvine Meadows.


The Forum (Los Angeles), Sept 11, 1996

review by Wally Heser

WOW, what a show last night. That was about the 15th or 16th time I have seen Neil over the years. And each time is better than the last.

As was normal for LA, the place was slow/late in filling up. And I was not that shocked, when the lights came on after the show to find the place already almost half empty. Sad, but that's LA for you.

I just can't get into Patty Smith, didn't like her the first time around, and I still don't like her. Her band was very good, she just never let them shine.

Neil, what can I say... Three times in my 45 years I have had or seen the music turn magic.

The first time was with this band I was in back in the early 70's. It was two in the morning in a old garage, playing Down By the River. For the four of us, time just stopped. It was beyond any zone I have were been in since. It was as close to an out-of-body / magic / space thing has I have ever experienced. (I never did drugs other than grass, and yes I did inhale, but not on that night.) It is one of those times when everything just clicks into place. You can't force it, it just happeans. There is no drug that can match it. It is such a high. I can't put it in to words, but it is the most perfect/pure thing I have ever felt or seen.

The next time was seeing Gato Barbierri, a jazz sax player from South America. I watched as Gato and his horn became one. You couldn't tell where one ended and the other began. He made love to his horn and the horn made love with him. It again was that special kind of magic that music can be.

And now last night, Neil doing Slip Away. It was truly a most magical thing. Neil was Old Black and Old Black was Neil. It wasn't someone playing his guitar, it was a pure/perfect form of energy. It was magic. I don't know of any other way to tell it, words just don't cover or explain it. It is something that happens inside of you or them. For me, it was as close as I will ever come to a religious experience in this lifetime.

For me the show could have ended right then and there, and I would have gone home happy. But I am glad to say it didn't. Even if the rest of the show didn't match up to the one moment, it was still miles beyond anything else out there.

If we had had a earthquake last night during LAH, you would have never known. The radio said this morning that LAH was 36 minutes long! It was the most AWESOME! Rocked you down to the soles of your feet.

Now it's on to Irvine for tonights show. Interested in seeing the differences between an enclosed show and an open air show.

Would like to thank Richie for getting the tickets, and to all of the other Rusties that I was able to meet.


The Forum (Los Angeles), Sept 11, 1996

review by Ron Starrett

Hi all,
First of all let me say... I DID IT! I got the show on tape (my first ever Show I taped myself). I'll admit it is not the best quality, but it is listenable.

Ok, now the show. I really don't know what to say. This was my first Neil show (I've been waiting 3 years to see him) and it was more than what I expected. I was just blown away. I felt like I was in a trance, I was just mesmerized by Neil and the Horse.

I really enjoyed the electric Pocohantas, but when he played Big Time he really hit me. I don't know what it is about this song, but it has much the same impact as Down by the River. There is just an overwelming amount of emotion pouring out of those songs. I thought it wouldn't get much better, but then he played Slip Away and boy was I wrong! It sounded great.

I was hoping to hear the electric Needle but the acoustic sounded just as good. After a Heart of Gold with some technical problems and an enjoyable Sugar Mountain, Neil launched into Cinnamon Girl. It sounded as good and fresh as the EKTIN version.

Fuckin' Up sounded better than ever before, as well. Cortez was phenomenal, I once again felt myself floating away on the music. I felt that if I closed my eyes I'd be there with Montazuma. Then came Music Arcade. For some reason I really enjoyed this song. Once again I don't why, but this song is one of about five that stick out in my head from this show.

Like a Hurricane was awesome, but I could personally do without the ARC-ish drawn out ending. But that is my opinion. The encores were great as well. This Town was the first, and this is another song that stuck in my head (has this been played on the tour yet?). Sedan Delivery was next and it sounded vintage Live Rust-ish.

The last tune was excellent: Dangerbird was everything all the Rusties had been saying it was. I could have listened to the solos for the rest of my life! I could go on and on.

The only bummer was that I arrived too late to hang out with any Rusties before the show. And since I'm not in the Rustrow, that would've been my only chance.

I can't wait to see Neil again. Once again I'll make that drive down I-15 to Irvine. Rust or Bust! Hope to see y'all there. If any of you see a black Jeep Wrangler with a RUST OR BUST sign in it, that's me. Stop by!


The Forum (Los Angeles), Sept 11, 1996

review by Rich Proto-Rusty Schearer

Met a lot of Rusties at Richard Hand's truck in the parking lot. He tied balloons to it so we could find him. It was nice to meet real people and I was glad to have the opportunity to thank Rich for getting me the excellent ticket to tonight's Irvine Meadows show.

I think Neil played too loud for the Forum acoustics. I took my daughter, Christine, who's not a fan, just to see if she could get into it. I know the songs and the lyrics by heart, so I knew what was going on. But she was lost. His voice didn't always rise above the wall of sound. And the guitars were sometimes too distorted to distinguish the notes. I noticed some of the crowd leaving early, and apart from LA fans being famous for leaving in the 7th inning, I think the acoustics must have had something to do with it. So much for the bad part.

The good part is he played his heart out. About two hours of the good stuff. Highlights for me were:

  • A really clear Cortez

  • F**kin Up with an extra 5 minute rave up

  • And an overpowering Like a Hurricane, which ended with Neil whipping Old Black with his uprooted guitar strings, and Billy stomping his bass with his foot and beating it with a power chord.

    My daughter, being a ska fan, liked Sedan Delivery and its superfast beat the best, as well as Sugar Mountain, which she says is the first song she remembers from babyhood (I played Live Rust every night at home for a year or two).

    Thanks again, Rich.

    PS. Loved Patti Smith. I think I should have paid more attention to her the first time around. Think I'll get her new album.

    The Forum (Los Angeles), Sept 11, 1996

    review by Anonymous

    Fantastic concert last night as expected. I was there as a guest of Zeke Young (I'll explain the connection some other time). He could not have been nicer or more hospitable. Our seats were right in front of the sound board. Zeke said that although you can see better upfront, the sound was better a bit further back. We met his girlfriend along with many of his high school friends who had also been invited.

    Zeke gave us a full explanation of the soundboard, mentioning that he had recorded DAT dubs from every performance. It is not known what they will be used for.

    He also mentioned that Graham Nash appeared backstage, though he did not perform with NY and CH.

    We were given VIP passes but that really only afforded us to go to a hospitality lounge. No sightings.

    The Gin Blossoms opened and were quite good, running through a quick 40 minute set of their more popular songs. Then Patti Smith performed some highly psychedelic numbers and some very catchy melodies as well. Tom Verlaine on guitar.

    Neil Young and Crazy Horse performed a predictable set list but the performance itself was quite inspired. The closing Like a Hurricane was just a pure aural assault. Zeke told us the decibel level would be quite high but the last 5-7 minutes felt like being next to a jet engine during an earthquake with no earplugs.

    I am forty two and have been a fan of Neil Young since Nowadays Clancy Can't Even Sing. I am always amazed at the youth of Neil Young's fans, many of whom weren't even born when Sugar Mountain was first written and performed. Yet every fan in the place sang every verse of Sugar Mountain like it was an anthem.

    All in all, it was a unique evening. My personal thanks to Zeke who went way out of his way to make the evening more interesting and enjoyable.

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