The Sublime Genius of Neil, Columbia, MD - 6/25/03
I guess the first thing one does after leaving a Neil Young concert is start doing the comparisons. Was it better than the last show or tour? How did this setlist compare with that one? Was Neil into it or going through the motions?
No doubt about it, the Greendale tour ranks up there in a career with a lot of high watermarks. Does it compare with the '78 Rust Never Sleeps tour? While the encore clips from the film might draw the comparison, I don't think that Greendale will achieve the RNS level of legendary status. But still, the genius of Greendale is sublime. It is a sprawling epic of a tale whose audaciousness is only exceeded by its deceptively simple lyrics and staging.
Just returned home from Neil & Crazy Horse. Greendale, this could go down as
his best tour ever. I've been to the solo shows in the 70's,80's, & 90's. I've
seen the major tours like Rust Never Sleeps and the Garage Band tour,but to
me this show was fantastic. The electric Greendale songs blow the acoustic
versions away. The stage setup is something I've never seen before at a rock
concert, with the video screen and actors, it made it easy for someone not knowing
what Greendale was about to understand the story line,( even though a person
behind me hated the whole show and couldn't understand what Neil was doing).
Most of the audience seemed to like the new material and Neil thanked the crowd
numerous times for their support.
For the most part, fans at Starlake Amphitheater accepted the challenge by joining Neil Young on his musical trip through the fictional town of Greendale and embracing his performance of almost exclusively new, yet-unheard, and concept-based material. And the fact a 57-year-old musician was willing to challenge an audience in such a way said much about the performer. The easiest thing for Young, who was accompanied by his longtime Crazy Horse associates, would be to simply play a sing-along concert, cash his check, and move to the next town at this stage of his career.
This group is designed to discuss some of the progressive political issues pointed out in Neil Young's newest album Greendale. This group is not meant to take away from Rust. It is designed to allow more political and activist discussion then would otherwise be appropriate on Rust.
Kinda reminds me of how Human Highway got started to begin with back years ago.Good luck Greendale group!
"Despite the revolving jam sessions, this was a crowd with a long
attention span, and the festival's best stretches were when bands
just held their own for long chunks of time. Neil Young, on Friday,
performed with his three-decade-old band, Crazy Horse, under a
custardy full moon. For three hours he played expanded versions, some
of them 29 minutes long, of his best songs"Love to Burn," "Cortez
the Killer," "Cinnamon Girl" and others. He was the only soloist,
breaking to solo at length several times per song. Playing in his
ragged, stuttering phrases, he made strings of notes crumble into
noise, then recohere toward graceful endings. (The festival's
excellent concert sound made his guitar tone feel a mile thick.) It
was extraordinary, the ideal of a gnarled yet sophisticated
Q: Pearl Jam have recorded and toured with Neil Young. What have you learned from him?
A: One of the things I picked up from Neil was his writing. He was so aware of what you had to do to write the song when the spark came in. If something hits you, for just a split second, you stop everything, and you complete it. You don't just write it on a napkin and, when you have time, flesh it out. You capture that bit of mercury and solidify it right there. That explains how he can be so prolific.
That's another thing we've learned from Neil -- always push things. We went and saw Neil on one of his last tours. He had [bassist] Duck Dunn and [drummer] Jim Keltner. Jeff and I talked to them, and Jeff said, "It was really in the pocket for some of those songs, in the straight groove." And they said, "No, no, no, don't say that. Neil doesn't want it locked in. He's trying to push it around."
Neil's always pushing the music, pulling it, shoving it. We haven't gotten there yet. But I imagine that's where we're going to end up.
"Of anything that was said throughout the entire evening, the most important words spoken by anyone were the ones that didn't make it onto VH1. Some of those words came from Neil Young. The others were from keyboardist Steve Nieve of Elvis Costello and the Imposters.
Young, who was on hand to give a Lifetime Achievement Award in the Nonperformer Category to Mo Ostin, said, "'We're having a good time tonight but we're going to kill a lot of
people next week. So let's not forget about that. I don't want to
ruin this but it's too real not to mention it. And music used to be
about this. And it still is about this, it's a human thing. And
these are human beings over there and we're making a big mistake. I
feel like I'm riding in a giant gas guzzling SUV and the driver's
drunk as a fucking skunk. He's drunk on power.'"
In Steve Nieve's acceptance speech, he said, 'In a sense, we all belong to the ultimate rock 'n' roll band: the human race. And very rare are the bands that have not experienced a moment of conflict. But the solution to conflict can't be a war. War, what is it good for? Absolutely nothing. I'd love it if the decidants of our countries, particularly as they seem to be the countries of the rock 'n' roll, would listen to those words and, even better, to pay attention to the words of Elvis Costello: 'Diving for dear life when we could be diving for pearls.''"