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Saratoga Performing Arts Center
August 25, 1996

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--> The Rich *OLD KING* Rini Review
--> DebK's Mini-Review
--> Steve Grey Rider Chant's Review
--> The Wally Bear Review
--> Mike Monroe's Mini-Review
Also See:
--> The SPAC RustFest
--> Dee Vanderberg's Neil Encounter
--> The rust@death Tribute Box Set Delivery Quest

The Set List

  1. Hey, Hey, My My
  2. Pocahontas
  3. Big Time
  4. Slip Away
  5. Welfare Mothers
  6. The Needle and the Damage Done
  7. Heart of Gold
  8. Cinnamon Girl (verses reversed)
  9. Cinnamon Girl (regular)
  10. Fuckin' Up
  11. Cortez The Killer
  12. Music Arcade
  13. Like a Hurricane
  14. Sedan Delivery
  15. Dangerbird

Saratoga Performing Arts Center, Aug 25, 1996

review by Rich *OLD KING* Rini

Travers' Weekend in Saratoga came to a crashing end with Neil performing at SPAC in front of a large and friendly crowd. Not the best of nights for Neil and The Horse in terms of hitting all the notes, but the passion was still there and they remained totally committed to the music. Fairly standard setlist with a couple of new wrinkles thrown in. Welfare Mothers bumped Sugar Mountain and Dangerbird made an appearance as the final encore.

The highlights (for me):

  • First, Slip Away just keeps getting better and better. It's amazing how dreamy the thing is. Just close your eyes and climb on that magic carpet with NeilHorse.

  • Second, Neil started CG with the second verse and then did the first and then finished the song and then without missing a beat did the whole thing all over again in the right order. Afterward Neil spoke for the one and only time: "Two versions for the price of one. That's life in the 90s..."

  • Third, Dangerbird was infreakincredible, and I've never considered this one of my favorites. They definitely stretched the envelope on this one. On and on, better and better, higher and higher, one monumental solo after another. Funny aside: It sounded like Neil was going into Powdefinger when he switched to Dangerbird. It totally crossed up Pancho who scrambled to switch guitars and catch up to Neil.

    The lowlights (or why I thought the MSG show was better):

  • First, they only came back once, and now we are down to 14 songs!

  • Second, does it have to be this loud? I'm no prig about volume but when it starts to hurt something's wrong.

  • Third, LAH was less than inspirational. Fairly short and not very well played at all. Yes he did break his strings, flap Old Black around, offer it to the Gods and blow out the candle.

  • Fourth (and most important), at the close of this monster/awesome Dangerbird he ripped his strings again and repeated the Hurrricane feedback bath. Once was fun, twice was silly and more importantly...BORING! One reason I love Neil is that he's never boring. Well now...almost never. This spectacular version of Dangerbird deserved a better ending.

    *OLD KING*

    Saratoga Performing Arts Center, Aug 25, 1996

    review by DebK

    Well ,I have to disagree with Rich (Old King) on this volume thing. LAH was almost loud enough for me. Okay, I've sat in front of a lot of speakers over the years...   :)   When standing with that noise pounding through me I couldn't wipe the huge grin from my face...

    I have no show on this tour to compare SPAC with, but of the many many times I've seen Neil play, I have to say this was the most intense (and fun at the same time!!) I've seen him do..

    Funniest moment for me was when the guy 2 seats down from me stood up, whipped around to the row behind him and shouted STOP BLOWING THAT POT SMOKE IN MY FACE! Hilarious...

    Some quick thoughts on the Fest... Thanks, Rich, you were a great host. Sorry I was such a tired assistant! It was great meeting all of you, knowing you were all there loving the show as much as I was made it even more special. In past shows I was always sneaking away from family and friends to get closer -- with them pissed at me at the end instead of understandind I had to do it!

    Well I'm starting to ramble... Hope we all get to do this again much sooner than the last space between tours...


    Saratoga Performing Arts Center, Aug 25, 1996

    review by Steve Grey Rider Chant

    What a day! What a night! Whew! I am still blown away by the SPAC show Sunday night.

    Left home at 2:30 to get there in time for the RustFest. Thanks to Old King and Deb for putting it together. The Heart of Gold cake was the nicest touch. It was great meeting all of you... RamRod, Shakey, Pete, Hiro, on and on... What a great bunch of folks.

    Then to the music. I thought Neil and the boys were in tres grand form Sunday night. Thanks to Schoolboy for the use of the binos during the show. Made it so much better. Some highlights for me...

  • Welfare Mothers - I don't think I've ever seen a band having more fun on stage than when the guys were pogoing and flat almost knocked themselves and Neil on their asses. Absolutely hilarious. They were so into it.

  • Cinnamon Girl - Two for the price of one. What a deal. Good recovery, Neil!

  • Danger Bird - Feel damned priveledged to have caught that one.

    On the way home, Suze and I were talking and I (or maybe it was her) said,"You know, when you buy a ticket to see Neil, you aren't so much paying to see him try to make you happy. It's more like you are paying to look into a window and see what he and the guys are doing to amuse themselves."

    Low point of the show: Some guy a few rows back yelling After Berlin in between every song. Get a clue, man. It ain't gonna happen. He's also yelling, "Mr. Soundman...more volume...turn it up." I liked the volume. From row 30 or so, it was great. You could feel the thunder of the pounding bass during Hurricane. But it wasn't so loud that my ears were bleeding afterward. They weren't even ringing like they usually do after the Horse rocks.

    Grey Rider
    Steve Chant

    Saratoga Performing Arts Center, Aug 25, 1996

    review by Wally Bear

    Howdy all!

    It finally was the day! SPAC. And u couldn't ask for any more cooperation from Mother Nature. The sun was shining brightly -- and when I turned the key in my finicky VW Van, and she started, I knew that the lights were truly shining on us. And that we were really gonna see Neil!

    This would be only my second show (and @ my age, shame on me :) and my Better-Half's first. We left at noon for a 2.5 hr drive, getting there by 4:00.   :)

    We then proceeded to try to locate the RustFest. But since I didn't print out the directions, which set the gathering time as 5 PM, we had no luck finding the Rustfest where we thought it was to be... Thinking that somehow I'd misunderstood the directions, we wandered around, asking people if they had seen any MORE BARN! shirts, or a "RustFest". Brought a lotta smiles to faces but "Nobody knew what we were talking". Kinda humorous actually.

    At one point we saw a rather large group of people and there was a man strumming a rather good version of Amy, so we started to join the group. When I stopped and asked the people walking in behind us if this was the Rustfest, he smiled and said it was a wedding reception.... Oops!

    We left and headed back toward the van, and as we walked back -- exactly where the directions said it would be -- Lorann points out a group of people with -- you guessed it -- MORE BARN! shirts. Nice job! And now I finally know the "More Barn" story. Kinda amusing actually.

    Let me see (I'm terrible w/names)... "Old King" and Deb were our local hosts, laying out quite a spread, with "Old King" flipping burgers and dddoooooooggggs. Deb brought some of the best veg and pasta salad ever (thanks again! -- munch munch..munch munch.) and a Heart of Gold (which she really has) cake for dessert. Mmmm-mmmmmmmmmm...

    Let me see who else... oh yeah, some quiet guy named David (was it Lybrand?) who was there with bh aka "brown skinned indian" and our lone guitarist RamRod, who's lonely guitar was leaning against a tree while he was off wandering. Also around was Shakey and his buddy.

    This beginning of the RustFest was small but friendly, happy and excited. Plenty of others gradually showed up, including "Grey Rider" and his woman, a nice couple from Ithaca (who had bumped into Neil in the Sheraton parking lot the night before), someone who had seen Neil in Germany (a few times during the current tour, life should be so tough) and our furthest arriving Rustie: Hiro and his woman from Tokyo (here for SPAC and Jones Beach). And I thought "deadheads" were fanatics! <snicker>

    Well by this time RamRod was back and, guitar in hand, played a beautiful Needle and the Damage Done. By his second song, Hiro and others had joined in... It was beautiful! To our lone guitarist: very nice, RamRod! And again, thanx. We had a great time!

    Well darkness came soon and we all got ready to see ... who were we there to see? ... oh yes, Neil and his favorite Horse "Crazy". From the moment Neil started with the chords to Hey Hey My My and ended with the last chords of Sedan Delivery, NY and the Horse rocked. There were no large deviations from the previous setlists I've seen, but Neil did make a comment about it being the 90's and he was giving us a 2 for one special when he played the first part of Cinammon Girl again... That reminds me: F*@kin Up was rather HOT last nite!

    He only did one 2-song encore, I think DangerBird and Sedan Delivery. But I think he played over two hours. Quite Impressive, he was...

    Come back soon Neil... I'll go see you again!

    Got Home after 3 AM, wasn't even tired yet... Haven't felt that naturally after a concert in a very long time.


    Saratoga Performing Arts Center, Aug 25, 1996

    review by Mike Monroe

    Back from fulfilling my end of a bargain...

    My wife went to SPAC with me, so I took her to see the Cranberries last night. (Ended up having a good time, too.) She describes herself as 'Neil by marriage' but likes him a lot more than she lets on. And she always seems to enjoy his shows.

    Anyway, the show was fantastic. We were back in the second section of seats, so the sound level was perfect -- not too loud but enough that you could feel the bass when Billy was winding up his amp.

    Dangerbird has always been a favorite of mine. I went to the show hoping Neil would play it, but really not expecting it. Well, it was all I wanted and more. It just soared! What a great feeling when walking out after that, that night.

    Old King, Deb...thanks for the hospitality, burgers, and pointing me to a place to stay on a busy weekend. Being a full time lurker, I was a little hesitant about going to the Fest, thinking I'd be a bit out of place with everyone who seems to know each other. Not to worry. People made a point of introducing themselves and making us feel welcome. It was really great meeting everyone.


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