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The Meadows (Hartford, CT), Nov 8, 1996

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Also See:
--> The Hartford RustFest

The Set List

  1. Hey Hey My My
  2. Pocahontas
  3. Slip Away
  4. Powderfinger
  5. Big Time
  6. The Needle and the Damage Done (played extra 2nd verse at beginning)
  7. Out of My Mind
  8. I Am A Child
  9. Heart of Gold
  10. Helpless
  11. Scattered
  12. Cinnamon Girl
  13. When You Dance I Can Really Love
  14. Fuckin' Up
  15. Cortez The Killer
  16. Music Arcade
  17. Like A Hurricane
  18. This Town
  19. Sedan Delivery
  20. Rockin' In The Free World

Through the keyhole in an open door
The Meadows (Hartford, CT), Nov 8, 1996

review by John Elliott

There was no open door in this case as the panels separating the lawn from the theatre were closed down, keeping the crowd warm and dry and limiting the audience to around 7,500. This was a good thing as driving showers and high gusty winds hit the area late Friday. Moist was the opening act and so were some of the crowd, having been soaked walking to the theatre from the venues' free parking areas.

Neil and Crazy Horse saddled up at around 9:40, came on stage and kind of huddled while Neil called the plays. It seemed as though he was festering about what to open with, perhaps off the cuff, but HHMM came blasting off as it had at so many other shows. Needless to say, it rocked, but it did appear as though something else may have been discussed as the opener.

Next stop, Pocahontas. Sounded great and got the faithful pretty wound up. I think a few of the lyrics were changed, but what the hey--it was still great. Slip Away was solid as usual... Always amazes me, always cranks, and it just keeps getting better. Of the 7 performances of Slip Away I've seen live this was probably in the top three, just in terms of energy level. Everyone was grooving to it. Watching Neil do the arachnid as he extends into the Arabian jam is always a high point, and a testimony to Young's present excellence and the new solo wrinkles found on Broken Arrow.

Powderfinger. Great performance here. No doubt my favorite performance of this song was in Hartford. It sounded great. Poncho's vocals were great. This fired up the crowd, a truly professional rendition. On Helpless, which came later, excellent harmony from the Horse was also present. Excellent sound job on both numbers.

Big Time. Before firing this one up, Neil said something about how he thought the venue folks should paint the rear doors of the enclosed theatre. He said approximately, "Ya outta paint something big out there, so it looks like a billion people that just go on and on" He then said, "That would be the Big Time." Then without further commentary they just plain old rocked the joint on this one (Big Time). From beginning to end a total A+ in all departments. Outstanding. Truly a highlight. Neil hit notes that others never hit. Hitting solo after solo like a praying mantis wielding a lasergun.

NATDD was nice, the lyrics were in a different order than the standard, but hell it doesn't matter, the mood and the message remain intact.

Out of my Mind! A little heard gemstone from the BS ditty bag. Sounded great. Easily the highlight for those fans looking for variety. In this same light, I Am A Child was welcomed. Both of these songs are truly amazing when you think about Neil's career and just how great he has been throughout. These two songs in particular give me that sort of haunted amazement, a deep respect for Neil and what he has done. Think about it. The same artist that brings you these poetic and touching songs can also get up and crank rafter clanging solos like a shotgun toting lobster. Hard to imagine that this shotgun toting lobster also wrote the song Philadelphia isn't it? Not only that but he can do this and never even stop to reload.

He can bring tears to your eyes with a song or drop a rock bomb on you at the flick of a switch. The warm tone of a pre-war Martin with harp in tow or the high voltage of Old Black or Old Gold. He has all the tools and knows how to use them. I suppose the pump organ on the back of the stage is Neil's atomic bomb, it's used as a deterrent, Neil really doesn't want to hurt anyone. He can more than take care of you with his conventional weapons. Zap!

Little marvels like OOMM, and IAAC and then free for all's like Fuckin' Up, When you Dance ICRL, Hurricane, Rockin' in the Free World? From "He's just a fuck up" to "Blue, blue windows behind the stars". Please. Talk about range. Can anyone alive today even come close to what this guy has accomplished musically? What else could an artist ever do to prove his ability then Neil already does. Neil's so good he can't possibly top himself. No doubt he continues to try, though, and we're all glad for that. Album after album, tour after tour, it's this drive he has to top himself, challenge, expand and contract that makes him so great. When he's in the Neil Young with Crazy Horse mode though, "It's all one song" and all you need do is just Slip Away. You'd be hard pressed to come up with another artist who has so much to offer as to make this option available...

The Meadows (Hartford, CT), Nov 8, 1996

review by Jennifer Throwin' Shadows Sahn

I have to say that I was a little paranoid that the crowd might be dead. I kept looking over my shoulder nervously, knowing that if all those behind me were seated, that it would only be a matter of time before I got kicked, verbally assaulted, or pelted with projectile cheetos. BUT everytime I looked, I saw happy standing smiling people nodding genlty to the music.   8-)   The crowd was UP! And I was one of the first to sit down during Cortez. I just wanted to thrash my head around while giving my feet rest.

I loved every minute of this show! When You Dance, and Out of My Mind were high points for me. I don't think anyone yet commented on the acoustic set in its entirely: Needle, OOMM, I Am a Child, HOG, Helpless (is that the correct order?). But I want to say Wow: Neil really gave his all, let it all out. Such personal songs. I nearly cried during I Am A Child! I always find that I discover new dimensions and new meanings to songs when I hear them live. Like just listening intently to the lyrics at home isn't enough, seeing the performer, hearing the intonations first hand brings another level of truth.

Big Time jammed! It's so much tighter now than this summer! I cheered for the new songs as much as the old--they sparkle!

When Neil made the comment about painting the back wall with an endless sea of people I cheered the loudest I could. An image of the world taking time out to give it all to Neil, and to let him into their hearts, elated me. If everyone could embrace those hard lessons he reminds us of: Walk On, Don't Be Denied, Don't Let It Bring You Down, etc., think of what a kinder, gentler, more tolerant, more satisfied, happy, and confident world we would be. I love you Neil.

One question: Did he spit at Billy during Fuckin' Up, when they were horsin' around? I thought I actually saw him launch one.

Thanks again to Chris for his valiant efforst on behalf of Rust. The seats were awesome. I think Neil was lookin' my way during one of the songs. I think he was admiring my flannel, not my dancing stamina. And bh, I kept looking for the wink when he sang "throwin' shadows" but it never came. I wish I could've seen Shakey's face when he started OOMM.

Alas, I'm at work, and though I'd love to ramble about Neil all day, I must get to what they pay me for.

By the way, I brought a friend to the rust row who's 10 years older than me and though he'd liked Neil for a long time, had never seen him. This guy's favorite album is Ragged Glory, and he likes Neil's rawness, and likes things like chainsaws and feedback. On the drive over we were talking about other concerts where we'd sat in the first 10 rows, and such, and Chip said, well, I hope there's feedback...I hope he does Fuckin' Up. Well, he was blown away--got those 2 requests, together. On the long walk to parking lot ZZZ, just east of Siberia, where the weeds growing up out of the cracks were higher than the curb, he admitted to me that he's never seen anything like that. I called it Heartfelt reckless abandon.

Two other friends who went and were sitting up in the triple letters called it adolescent. My 55-year old boss who was school at a conservatory as a concert pianist and who had never been to a rock concert before felt "assaulted" during LAH. Chip and I have been trying to think of a way to explain why it was so great for us. I likened it to going on one of those crazy amusement park rides where you submit fully to something more powerful than logic, more centrifugal than gravity. Pure bliss mixed with the unknown variable of emotion, risky and beautiful.

Any help?

Throwin' Shadows

1700 Miles For Neil
The Meadows (Hartford, CT), Nov 8, 1996

review by Kevin Johnson

When I left Indiana, it was pouring down rain. Sorta Like A Hurricane. Anyway, my destination was Hartford, Conn, for my 5th show this year. Plus, to make things more interesting, I had just landed 3rd row tix for the Buffalo show two days later! LOOKS LIKE A GOOD WEEKEND!

A warning -- if you wear contact lenses, NEVER STAY IN AN ECONO LODGE!!! Their sinks are weird, and the first night out on my trip I lost my left lens down the drain. The rest of the journey was kinda rough (driving with one eye sucks) but I managed to stay focused on my destination.

Good seats -- front row of the second section up. Brought a tape recorder, so it's kinda tough to watch it with all these security guards.

HH,MM -- solid, sang "My my, hey hey" verse at end.

Pocahontas -- I'll never get tired of the electric version. Neil's voice sounded scratchy at the end, but that made it even better.

Slip Away -- shorter than this summer, but another great version.

Powderfinger -- heard this in chicago, too. Nice.

Big Time -- this song is so much better live (aren't they all, though?)

NATDD -- good, the crowd was pretty quiet.

Out Of My Mind -- AWESOME! I've looked at my Sugar Mountain set lists -- this is the first time on the tour he did this song! I was about the only one who knew it, I think, but once again the crowd showed some respect

I Am A Child -- beautiful. Better than any live version I've heard. Neil was ON tonight. (The Horse, too.)

Heart of Gold -- killer intro that gave me hardcore chills.

Helpless -- I don't think Ralph could hear the rest of the band, 'cause he kept losing the beat.

Scattered -- I really wanted to hear this. he started with the second verse.

Cinnamon Girl -- one of the highlights. About a minute in, Ol' Black stopped working, so Neil gave her to Larry. While Larry was getting the gold Les Paul, Neil was left guitarless, so he started kinda air-guitaring and doing the Pete-Townshend thing with his right arm. The crowd was going nuts, and Neil got the guitar just in time for the first solo, which he tore apart. A real cool moment in time, that one.

When You Dance I Can Really Love -- didn't expect this! They jammed out on the dropped D-F chord part at the end.

Fuckin Up -- Neil and the Horse went nuts. "He's just a fuckup!" part at the end sounded like death metal (the vocals, at least).

Cortez -- another otherwordly version. This song is one of the best IMO.

Music Arcade -- loved it.

Like A Hurricane -- shorter than this summer, I think, but no less intense. This is what it's all about, folks. Being in the eye of the hurricane.

This Town -- anyone know what that guitar is? It's not a Tele, is it? I think he said "piss the hours away" instead of "kiss the hours away".

Sedan Delivery -- manic, tight. I'm so glad they're doing this song lately.

RITFW -- I was hoping for Dangerbird, but i'm not complaining! The end was better than usual, but I'd have to say the Chicago show back in September was better. Neil and the Horse went into this weird space-jam at that show (anyone got a tape?).

Well, shit, that was Hartford. The Buffalo show was... a different experience. Maybe later I'll be able to tell that tale...

dream comfort memory despair...
kevin johnson

Neil Acknowledges MORE BARN
The Meadows (Hartford, CT), Nov 8, 1996

review by Roger Schoolboy Weiss

Hartford ramblings:

First off, kudos to Chris for being the Rusty of the decade. What a great time, great seats. Thanks Chris, you are the man!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

When the band came back to the stage after LAH, the MORE BARN Banner was hoisted from the "F row". Neil was standing with Frank and Billy, Neil said something to the boys and they cracked up. Neil then pointed at The Shroud of Tourin' and gave it the okay sign. I also got the faint impression (and this was from my perspective in "F block") that Neil seemd a bit apprehensive. Like "geez i'm glad you guys are here, but I hope you aren't going to camp out on the ranch."   ;-)

The show was the best of the 4 I've seen this tour. They went into this marvelously chaotic jam at the end of Fucking Up. The squal of feedback issuing from the speakers was tangible. Waves of sound were pouring over me. My thought at the time was that the band was playing "The dance of the Egyptians". It was a vibe thing, I can't explain it. When he segued into CTK it was a perfect moment. This is coming from the clown who was heard to assert his ambivalence to the song preshow.

During LAH, Billy was kicking the shit out of his bass. At one point it looked like he was pouring something over the bass (lighter fluid) and I kept getting the impression he was trying to do a Hendrixesque funeral pyre. Speaking of Hendrix, Neil did a snippet of the Star Spangled Banner at the end of RITFW as the sonic boom began to descend.

Great show, nice surprise hangin with Mary of the Northlands and her special guest, the Shroud of Tourin. of course it was great chillin with all of the other nuts (bh, computer cowboy, shakester, mit jen, etc, etc, etc), who continue to amaze me with their matching obsession.

Now i feel the post-Neil traumatic depression.


The Meadows (Hartford, CT), Nov 8, 1996

review by Doriann

I saw the show at The Meadows in Hartford Conn., and boy, was I ever blown away. From the opening chords of Hey Hey My My until the closing chords of Rockin' In The Free World, Neil continued to amaze me, over and over again. I brought with me three people who had never before seen Neil and I don't think they realized what they were in for.

Looked like Neil was feeling pretty OK at the beginning of the show. He was talking about some zooted stuff having to do with the walls in the place. Maybe something about painting them.

The electric Pocahontas is so hot, you can't believe it's the same song. Slip Away was the great trip live that it is on Broken Arrow. How excited was I that he did Powderfinger? TOO excited. Big Time is also great live. The long endings on Slip Away and Big Time beat like a heart. You feel it in you and it's like a hypnotist's watch.

The Needle And The Damage Done, with the extra second verse, was beautiful. It gave me that kick when I started singing, only to realize Neil was a verse ahead of me!! Out Of My Mind was a special treat. There was a moment where I wasn't sure what it was, but all good things come to those who wait.

I believe it was before I Am A Child that Neil seemed to have a little harmonica mishap. Keep in mind, I didn't have great seats, so everything I saw was from behind my binoculars. He seemed to have a harmonica that was in the wrong key and he seemed a little shy about it. He mumbled something, then got up and switched. The little incident seemed to embaress him a bit. His humbleness was sweet. It endeared him to me further.

Heart Of Gold was the crowd pleaser it always is. Even though the song is a little played out., that harmonica is so beautiful it gets you every time. When he started Helpless I wasn't sure what it was -- the beginning was a little different than anything I had heard before. To say that Helpless was a treat is really an understatement. Neil's voice sounded so beautiful on all of the acoustic set, it brought tears of joy to my eyes.

Scattered was another trip from the new album, and Cinnamon Girl will rock in the year 2050. Neil broke a string during this song and the roadie came to take the guitar. Neil looked so lost, it was precious. He started playing air guitar until the real thing came back. Priceless.

When You Dance I Can Really Love got me so excited, I didn't know what to do with myself, except of course, to dance!!! Fuckin Up is always great, but I do sometimes wish that, if he's only gonna pick one song from Ragged Glory, he would do Mother Earth. That song sends a shiver down my back.

I can hardly listen to Cortez The Killer at home without going somewhere beautiful in my mind. Hearing it LIVE, I was gone! The guitar work is so beautiful, the song flows right through you. Music Arcade was, of course, the great masterpiece Neil probably knew it would be when he wrote it. The words to the song can be related-to so easily it's scary.

Can I really tell you about Like A Hurricane? Are there any words in our language to describe this kind of an experience? I'll try. From the first pounding of the drum, you know something is happening. I saw Neil three times this year and the first show, MSG in NYC, was actually my first Neil show. Please don't let that discredit me -- I love Neil so much it hurts sometimes (in a good way that is). When he did Hurricane at MSG, I was so blown away that I couldn't imagine ever feeling like that again. It was like an out-of-body experience for me. So when he started it at THIS show, I was anticipating that feeling, hoping it would come back.

I needed to feel that way again. If I tell you I was not disappointed, would that cover it? Never. He blew me away so hard, I don't know if anything or anyone but Neil could make me feel like that again. Neil jammed so hard, the Horse jammed so hard, you could feel it in your body, beating with your heart. I was just watching through my binoculars, groovin' so hard. Watching him dance, just watching him. I kept telling myself, just watch him, just watch him move and get off on it because there is nothing better than this. When it got nuts, the strings were popping, Billy Talbot pounding that bass with his fists, shit I couldn't even see, but I heard.

By the time he does that whole trippy thing, I wasn't even there anymore. The guitar was just hanging from his waist, and he was singing in that trippy voice that can not be described, random lines from the song. I didn't know if I wanted to scream or cry or smile or die. It was all too much (but I already need more)!! When he ended the whole thing by pouring the wax from a candle down over him, that was it. He topped himself from the MSG show. Not that each show has to be compared, it was just like nothing I had ever really experienced before.

The encores, This Town, Sedan Delivery, and Keep On Rockin' In The Free World were all incredible. Too bad during this time I was also coming down from Hurricane... Sedan Delivery makes me dance though, no matter what my condition.

"I wanna love you but I get so blown away...."


The Meadows (Hartford, CT), Nov 8, 1996

review by the Lone Red Rider

Hi Rust-

I arrived in Hartford a little late for the RustFest, and went straight to my seat at the concert. From there I saw the likes of Shakey and crew, so I walked over to the F Rust Row to hang out a bit. (I wasn't a part of the rust row, myself.) In addition to Youngster, Shakey and Jenny who I have previously met, it was great to meet Locator, Memory County Jail, Mary, Schoolboy, Chris Lanser and others. It's too bad that I didn't meet everyone....

I signed the MORE BARN Banner, learning of it's illustrious history from it's bearer, Mary who showed off the Neil signature......

Heading back to my seat (3rd row - leftish), I introduced myself to Steve Babineau, who was in attendance taking pictures. Steve, a real nice guy, put together the well known, signed, Bridge benefit photo-poster series. He mentioned to me that he has completed a NEW set of signed photos which will be available soon.... Stay tuned to Jennie for details.....

Back at my section, I was the only Rustie around, so it was my obligation to whoop up some excitement by telling stories of OPL and explaining how the left side was the BEST side to sit on because Neil plays to that side almost exclusively. By the time all of section 300, bottom, was drenched with stories of his Neilness, the man took the stage.......

There was a lot of hi-fiving and fist pumping during the show. A lot of dancing in my section. Hilights:

  • Neil's voice is the best it's been in years. I believe that he has actually found a new way to sing, where he no longer strains for the high-notes. RITFW is the clearest example of this. When you hear the tapes you will know that I SHIT YOU NOT... all the notes are crystal clear.

  • Crazy Horse are singing better than ever. They Pull off Helpless ... they make you ask "Crosby, Stills and WHO?????" CRAZY HORSE HAS PROVED THEMSELVES TO BE NEIL'S ALL PURPOSE BAND.

  • Neil was real talkative. He pointed up to the white temporary wall in the back, which enclosed the ampitheater from the back lawn and commented that someone needs to paint it. "Paint millions of people on that ... endless rows of people..."

  • OUT OF MY MIND!!!!! I recognized it almost instantly and fell back in ecstacy. Those around me seemed cautiously concerned. At the end I just shouted "Thank You Neil!"

  • Heart Of Gold Intro... made me wonder if he was going to break into No More or War of Man.

  • Guitar Problems during Cinnamon Girl. Resulted in some cool air-guitar, not seen since the Rusted Out Garage tele-broadcast... Larry Cragg got Neil an in-tune guitar just in time for the solo... cool...

  • NEIL WAS HAPPY AND PLAYFULL. He was singing out of fun, rather than ANGER....which really set the tone.

  • I flicked off Poncho during Fuckin Up and he responded in kind.

    After it was all over, a group of us tried to cajole Larry Cragg into giving out picks, but I didn't have any better luck than I did at Great Woods earlier in the year...

    Overall, this leg of the tour will be remembered as a great one. The band was super tight... The sets were long, overall... Neil's in great shape. No doubt, he's built to last.

    Lone Red Rider.

    The Meadows (Hartford, CT), Nov 8, 1996

    review by Chris smoke-ring Lanser

    A few thoughts about the Hartford show...

  • loudness: from the sixth row it was loud but not too loud - i did stuff a modicum of cotton in after about the fifth song, which i removed for the acoustic set, but i attribute that to age (mine) and nothing else

  • setlist: a really nice meandering through the tour's staples, but out of my mind was too good to be true - big time was great, and for some reason i got the impression that big time might have been a nickname (or handle) for briggs - i thought neil said something like "this one's for big time"

  • the band: thought they were really tight and played great, and had a great time playing for all of us

  • the rusties: nice to meet those of you i did - we had to jam outta there and get home to the baby, whom we had left with a sitter for the first time ever - but what a first night out!!!

  • it's all one song: i thought this was incredibly revealing - it really is all one song to neil - it's his feelings and his emotions and his life palyed out in music, in a dazzling array of manifestations - and that's precisely why, for me anyway, it is so moving and personal, why i can find so much of my own life and psyche in his music

  • in one night neil out-grunged the grungers (fuckin' up), out folked the folkies (acoustic set, and OOMM in particular) out thrashed the thrashers (any arc-like-feedback-song-ending-jam-from-another-planet sequence) and out rocked everybody else who's ever tried it with CG--->WYDICRL

  • he definitely acknolwedged the MORE BARN banner and those around it (me! me!) - poncho gets a big kick out of us, as does billy - i don't think neil is scared of us at all

    peace and rust and some elements of withdrawal

    (Chris Lanser)

    Out of My Mind In Hartford
    The Meadows (Hartford, CT), Nov 8, 1996

    review by Keith Wise

    It seemed to me that Neil and the Horse were a little slow getting out of the gate. I was a little disappointed by the compact version of Slip Away. It was good but could not compare with the trance inducing versions that I experienced at several shows in mid-August. Things started to pick up with Powderfinger and Big Time was absolutely definitive, IMHO.

    My night was made when Neil dusted off Out Of My Mind for the acoustic set (on guitar). Too bad most of the people around me thought this would be a good time to strike up conversations. I guess Neil should have introduced the song by saying, "Here's one I hardly ever play and may never play again". Anyway, it's always magical when you are present for a rare performance of a great Neil tune.

    The mini-Springfield set concluded with a really fine (and unexpected) version of I Am A Child.

    Crazy Horse joined Neil midway through Helpless to get things electric again. Saw my first Scattered and loved Ralph on this one. Neil lost old Black during Cinnamon Girl so we were treated to some inspired air guitar which included a classic Pete Townshend windmill. A killer version of When You Dance followed and then the standard (but excellent) run of Fuckin' Up through Hurricane completed the show.

    Encore set was good but a little unimaginative. I would have loved a Barstool Blues or a Stupid Girl but maybe I'll get to catch these next time around. I hate to complain about what I didn't get to hear this tour (yeah, I missed Cowgirl too!) but on the other hand, I will never forget the waves of electricity that ran through me when Neil and the Horse broke into Dangerbird at Stone Ridge.

    Thanks for the music and for just being Neil! Happy 51st - Long May You Run!

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