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Copps Coliseum (Hamilton, Ontario)
Oct 31, 1996

Jump down to...
--> John Kato Kitamura's Review
--> Barry 7 Year Warranty Gillott's Review
--> John Carter's Review
--> Darren McIlwraith's Review
--> Dave Slug Fielder's Review
--> Mike Caplan's Review
Also See:
--> The Hamilton RustFest
--> Mark PowderFinger Klus's Neil Days in Canada.

The Set List

  1. Hey Hey My My
  2. Cowgirl In The Sand
  3. Big Time
  4. Pocahontas
  5. The Needle and the Damage Done
  6. Helpless
  7. Comes A Time
  8. I Am A Child
  9. Scattered
  10. Cinnamon Girl
  11. The Loner
  12. Natural Beauty (done electric)
  13. Fuckin' Up
  14. Music Arcade
  15. Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere
  16. Stupid Girl
  17. Rockin' In The Free World
  18. Prisoners Of Rock'n'Roll
  19. Losing End
  20. Welfare Mothers
  21. Dangerbird
  22. Powderfinger
  23. Slip Away
  24. Roll Another Number

Copps Coliseum, Oct 31, 1996

review by John Kato Kitamura

"Boo!", spoke Neil, to start off the Hamilton Hallowe'en show. Trading spontaneity for tightness, Neil veers off into an extremely odd set list - one that kept us guessing "Uhh.. what song is this?" throughout the evening. There were lots of sloppy moments - some lyric mixups, a few train crashes - but what a setlist!

Here are some recollections:

  • Needle and the Damage Done: I think here he mentioned that the Copps Coliseum was "a great place to play". When he first put on the acoustic, he started strumming some chords in D, meandering into new song territory. Neil must have been in a creative mood that night, because...

  • Helpless: ... because just before this song, after putting the C harmonica on, he played something that was Helpless-like, but in a 6/8 rhythm. This veered off into unknown territory, and Zain and Andy and I were looking confused and shrugging our shoulders. Neil then said something like: "That's how these get written. Hope I remember that later". He then started Helpless.

  • I Am I Child: Just before this, Neil strummed a bottom heavy Em and said something like: "How about Down By The River? Or should I wait for the band. Sometimes I do it with this (pointing to acoustic guitar)". The crowd yells confusing replies. Then Neil started I Am A Child. Unfortunately, he didn't return to this song with the band.   :-(

  • Cinnamon Girl --> The Loner: The arhythmic coda to Cinnamon Girl was kept short, and Neil made a dramatic if somewhat rickety segue into opening chords of The Loner. At this point, I was sure that there was no written setlist, and Neil was choosing these songs as he played them. My impression is that Billy and Ralph looked surprised, and there was some hesitation at the start.

    If anyone has a recording of this performance, note the second solo (over the chords normally played behind the verses). Neil was playing a barre across the top three strings at the 12th fret (in the D modal tuning) in eighth notes while hitting the Bigsby on the first beat of each bar. He had this really clean sound -- it was almost like he was playing an Elmore James slide riff!

  • The Loner --> Natural Beauty: Again another segue. At first I thought the Horse was completely lost! But no - Billy softly started the bass line behind Neil, and Ralph sang harmonies on the chorus. I think Poncho changed a guitar, and came in softly around the second or third verse. Ralph didn't play a steady beat to this song - he occasionally did a hi hat backbeat, some cymbal washes, and once or twice a snare accent and kick drum accent.

  • F*#$%& Up: This seemed very long! An extended version?

  • Music Arcade: He's singing this a lot more forcefully than the original recording (maybe to stay above the crowd noise?). I think he skipped a chorus.

  • Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere: The band sang great harmony throughout. At the end, Neil was soloing over the fadeout part, and the Horse stopped singing (The Sha-la-la part) but Neil wanted them to sing over the solo, so he sang a Sha-la-la by himself, looking over at Billy -- and after that Billy and Ralph sang the Sha-la-las until the end.

  • Prisoners of Rock and Roll: "Alright Hamilton!" opened the lengthy encore. There was a train wreck here at the end of one of the solos. Neil went into the chorus, but the rest of the band were still playing the verse part. Also, something weird happened in the last chorus. Everyone was singing into Billy's mic, crowded together. Maybe Neil couldn't hear himself too well over there because I think he kept playing a wrong chord. (The F under the Oh-Oh-Oh-OH-oh part). Again, if you have a tape, maybe you can figure out what's happening here.

  • The Losing End: Neil sang a line in the second verse twice. A minor mixup in the lyrics, but he made a face when he did it.

  • Roll Another Number For The Road: It looked like the Horse was ready to run off stage after Slip Away. I think Billy had taken off his bass when Neil burst into RANFTR. But he quickly slipped it on again and they went into the song.

    Here my memory fails me, and someone with a tape will have to verify this. I think it was Dangerbird - a small train wreck when Billy started playing the bass to the chorus but the band was still on the verse. I think Neil turned to him and maybe said something, but it still seemed to take about four bars before he synced up. He was laughing a bit, and then again went to a wrong part for a short time.

    Also, I think it was Roll Another Number - at the end of a solo (?), the band pauses before a chorus starts. Neil was at the mic, but instead of singing a verse, he paused (forgot the line?), yelled "Aaaargh!" and started another solo! Finally, I think it was in Slip Away - Poncho played a bit of a solo! A few notes while Neil was droning on the D.

    Thanks to Mary for the tickets, and all the Rusties for the energy. And thanks to Neil for such a great show in my old hometown!


    If you waded through those obsessive details, here's a couple more details I forget to mention...

  • The Elmore James-like slide part in The Loner - what made this all the more amazing is that while this was going on, Neil was bobbing up and down from a crouched position. His whole body was in frenetic motion and this beautiful sound was coming out!

  • At the feedback laden end of Rockin in the Free World, Neil started to play Oh Canada. Billy joined in after a bit.

  • The concert must have been extremely long to the red-sweatered staff at Copps Coliseum. After the show, one member was plaintively bleating "Please leave! C'mon guys! Exit this way. Man, this is like a marathon!" I'm still laughing about that guy.

  • Copps Coliseum, Oct 31, 1996

    review by Barry 7 Year Warranty Gillott

    NEIL! Much has already been said about the setlist. I also enjoyed Kato's musician-take on the whole affair. Here are my impressions on just a few numbers:

  • Helpless: I'm not from Ontario, but when he sang the first line, and the entire place went nuts, I got CHILLS!

  • I Am A Child: Although the HyperRust lyrics page lists lyrics to this song as "God gave to you, now, you give to me", I distinctly heard him sing "I gave to you, now you give to me". Twice. Am I nuts, or has Neil changed the words sometime in the last 28 years?

  • Natural Beauty: I ECHO the sentiments posted earlier: the Horse seemed rather clueless at first, but as the song progressed, it took better form. By the end, it was beautiful. Great to hear this tune electric!

  • Fuckin' Up: Several have commented on the length of this tune, but what did it for me was the dynamics! During the "extendo-jam", they slowly brought the energy wayyy down, then brought it way up! And bummer, I didn't see any bird-flipping from Poncho. Had that camera ready, but no go.

  • Everbody Knows This Is Nowhere: I experienced major time warp when they started playing this tune!

  • Rockin' In The Free World: Hey, I was finally sober enough to remember the red/white/blue lights during this tune (particularly at the end). And I was one of several (hundred?) lucky people standing BEHIND the MORE BARN banner, when it was hoisted up during each chorus. I snapped a couple of pictures of the *back* of the banner, I'll let you know if they come out. They might be interesting!

    Encore (I prefer to call it Second Set!):

  • Losing End: More time warp! Whaddahell is he doing?

  • Dangerbird: More chills on this tune! Neil's guitar CUT through the place! (I'm sorry I'm using so many damn exclamation points!)

  • Slip Away: Did some (more) swimming on this one, which for me, includes rocking back and forth with my eyes closed. Man, what a long show. My heels hurt! Neil, next time you do this, warn us beforehand so I can put those Doctor Shoals pads in my boots.

    7 Year Warranty

    Corel, Copps, and Corel cops (part 1)
    Copps Coliseum, Oct 31, 1996

    review by John Carter

    Hi everybody,

    After the Ottawa show, Mary nominated me to write about some of the events of the last few days, and while I don't want to disappoint her, there are some things that are really only hers to tell. But, here goes:

    Thursday didn't even start out like a normal day. Sure it was Hallowe'en and everything, and that should never be a normal day, but when you know you're taking part of the day off work to take off out of town to see Neil, you just have other things on your mind. Is there gas in the car? Is there oil in the engine? Have I got my MORE BARN! t-shirt? You know.

    My plan was to leave the office at about 1:30, but as soon as noon hit I knew that I wouldn't be able to concentrate. At least I wasn't as irritating as I was before the Barrie show, jumping up and down chanting "I'm gonna see Neil, I'm gonna see Neil".

    After visiting friends in Stony Creek, we headed in for the Rustfest at Chester's. A Rustfest really is a special thing, and there's absolutely no question that being with other Rusties adds to the enjoyment of the show. Not only do we all feed off the music and the band, but off of each other as well.

    That said, the Copps show became a feeding frenzy. When I look back at this setlist (see above) I can't help but think that the whole thing was either a dream or a cruel hoax. But then I remember seeing Frank and Billy when Neil started to play the opening chords to Natural Beauty -- they just looked at Neil as if he was playing some kind of joke on them and they didn't know what to do. They were caught off guard as much as the crowd was, but they picked it up pretty quickly and did a great job of a song that they'd probably never played before.

    And that was what the entire evening was like. Neil was throwing them curves all night long and the Horse kept delivering. It was an absolutely spectacular show. I walked away Thursday night thinking that maybe going up to Ottawa was a bad idea. In Barrie we got the electric Needle. In Hamilton we got, uh, practically everything. I mean, suppose they slipped back into the standard setlist? The jury was still out even as I was heading out of town on the 401 on Saturday morning.

    (Continued in part 2.)

    Copps Coliseum, Oct 31, 1996

    review by Darren McIlwraith

    Some quick thoughts on last night's show before I figure out what to ask Neil tonight at MuchMusic. This may be a problem though, as I think I may have over done it with my SMELL THE HORSE chant. My voice is fubar'd. Anyone with a secret remedy?

    1. Hey Hey My My - good starter
    2. Cowgirl In The Sand - cool, seemed like he wanted to play guitar more than sing i.e. it seemed like a burden (probably not the right word)
    3. Big Time - same as Barrie, good tune
    4. Pocahontas - they're starting to groove now! It really works electric
    5. The Needle and the Damage Done - I think *everyone* was singing along
    6. Helpless - the one line I think everyone was waiting for, you know, there is a town in .... (if everyone wasn't singing during needle they sure were now)
    7. Comes A Time - this didn't really work for me solo acoustic
    8. I Am A Child - neat surprise
    9. Scattered - wow, he's spicing it up tonight, I can't predict what's coming next. COOL!
    10. Cinnamon Girl - solid like always
    11. The Loner - OK I have NO IDEA what he's going to play next
    12. Natural Beauty (done electric) - see what I mean. This was deep out of left field. What possessed him to play this (maybe I'll ask him tonight!!!). BTW I LOVED it, I could listen to this song over and over again. A nice wall of electric sound!
    13. Fuckin' Up - he's just f%&k up!!! He really had me moving. Poncho wasn't flipping anyone off though (I guess he didn't see me 20th row and all)
    14. Music Arcade - nothing insightful to add here
    15. Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere - WOW, what the f&*k is going on tonight. What did I do right. THis morning I find out I'm going to be in the audience at Much and tonight he plays this unbelievable set. BTW, I think Mary liked this choice, all I could see were these hands flailing (trust me this is the right word) around for 4 minutes straight.
    16. Stupid Girl - cool
    17. Rockin' In The Free World - knew this was the end of the 1st set. Only expecting a couple of tunes in the encore but who cares given what he's all ready played. Nice finish.


    18. Prisoners Of Rock'n'Roll - OK neil, you're one for one on tunes I want to hear in the encore, keep it up.
    19. Losing End - still more surprises. I am now convinced he will play DBTR since he's basically played the rest of EKTIN
    20. Welfare Mothers - subbed in for Sedan Delivery i guess?
    21. Dangerbird - no offense to those who love this song but I really couldn't get into it. Too slow for me - the only song where I just stood there. Oh well, different strokes for different folks.
    22. Powderfinger - does neil know what time it is or how many songs he's played. Maybe he's planning a sleep over.
    23. Slip Away - suits the encore more than the number 3 (or was it 4) spot it used to hold in the batting order. Can't really explain why, It JUST DOES.
    24. Roll Another Number - I know this is the end, but can't think of a more fitting ending. I can sum it up in one word, WOW.
    Look for me tonight in the studio audience with a faded blue sweatshirt and black hair. Oh yeah, I'm 25 if that helps. Later...

    Copps Coliseum, Oct 31, 1996

    review by Dave Slug Fielder

    Hello dudes & dudettes! Just a few brief notes regarding the Hamilton show. First of all, thanks to Mary (aka Lonesome Whistle) for getting us the tickets. Great seats, BTW!

    I'm sure you've all seen the setlist. What can I say? Totally incredible! Never knew what to expect next! Way ta go, Neil! He was in great spirits, talking about how he liked playing in Hamilton before and was glad to be back. He really seemed to be enjoying himself. Well, he played for 2.5 hrs., he MUST have been!

    The Halloween spirit was in the Neiler last night, too. Before they played anything, Neil said "BOO!" into the mic. Over the drumkit, a Jolly Roger (skull & crossbones) flag was hoisted and a few of his amps had skulls mounted on them.

    I must say that Natural Beauty makes an excellent electric number, none of it's majesty lost at all. Hope he makes this a regular in his sets for now. Actually, I'm pretty sure they meant to play Cortez, as it at first sounded like it, before it suddenly became apparent that it was NB. Then, about a minute into it, Larry Craig ran onstage and put a harp & holder over Neil's head, so obviously Larry was caught by surprise as well! This is spontenaiety at it's best!

    After NATDD, Neil started playing some little acoustic thing. It started off sounding vaguely like Sugar Mountain, then became totally unfamiliar, but beautiful nonetheless. He suddenly stopped playing, said something about forgetting what he was going to play, asked if we'd like him to get Crazy Horse back out and play DBTR, then instead started Helpless. What was that mystery song? Let the speculation begin!

    I'm not going to pick which songs from that amazing setlist were the best, because they were ALL GREAT! I shouldn't speak for everybody else, but I'm pretty sure all fifty of us felt like we were in heaven last night.

    It was great to see we got Neil's attention with our sparklers. Also, a hearty "way to go!" to those that hoisted the MORE BARN banner at the key moments in RITFW. It looked great!

    So, in closing, a little piece of advice for all of you out there: when you hear Neil is doing a concert anywhere near Toronto, if you can, MAKE EVERY EFFORT TO BE THERE! A show like last night's should not be missed at any cost! Best concert I've ever seen!

    I can't believe this guy's almost 51!
    Now, totally antsy for Ottawa,

    Copps Coliseum, Oct 31, 1996

    review by Mike Caplan

    I've had a little while now to realize that it wasn't a dream.

    When he played Cowgirl, I turned to my friend and said "we can go home now", because I said before that I would be happy with just one surprise. But it just kept getting better.

    After Needle, he played something I couldn't recognize (no vocal), and then stopped and joked with the crowd. At that point, I knew we were in for something special. Comes A Time was unexpected, but not nearly as much as I am A Child. I believe it hasn't been played since PJ tour of '95 (anyone know for sure???). Scattered was nice because i hadn't heard it live yet.

    The Loner was cool and unexpected. Natural Beauty was incredible. It took me about 2 minutes to figure out what it was. We southern Ontarians seem to get these spontaneous treats from Neil. The Horse had no idea what Neil was doing, but they joined in soon. Everybody Knows was awesome. Just before Neil started it, I saw him say something to Billy, to which he seemed to reply "I don't know that one". Of course, I may have imagined that. Stupid Girl was also a pleasant surprise.

    The encore just seemed to go on forever. Welfare Mothers was cool. He then did The Losing End, which he started playing slowly so the band could chime in when they realized what it was. Dangerbird was awesome. Nice and slow. It certainly replaced Cortez well in the set. PowderFinger cooked as usual. Slip Away was a surprise because it was the 6th encore song, but I also sensed that he wouldn't close with that.

    After Slip Away, they all put took off their instruments, and as Billy and Poncho were walking off, Neil put his guitar back on and launched into Roll Another Number, which sent The Horse hurrying back on stage. The whole show was just a bunch of surprises. I thought I was dreaming most of the time. Long Live Crazy Horse!

    (who really needs to get his mind off Neil & start studying)

    Now 9 days till Buffalo.

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