Neil Young Concert Review - Cleveland Coliseum

The Beacon Journal (Akron OH), 8/22/85

Neil Young News - Fresh

Subject: He said Rock and Roll is Here to Stay

Rusted Ones,

Bearing in mind that the Concert for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame is only four days off, I looked up some of Neil's early quotes for which we who live near Cleveland are eternally grateful -- because he, along with Michael Jackson, Tina Turner, Hall & Oates, Gladys Knight, B.B. King, Pat Benatar, Sting, the Everly Brothers, Frankie Avalon, Joe Walsh, Foreigner, and a few other artists, were the earliest supporters of building the Hall of Fame in Cleveland, when the issue came up back in 1985.

As the following excerpts reprinted without permission from an archival copy of Neil's Blossom Music Center shows( International Harvesters Tour) concert review in the Akron Beacon Journal, Neil was THE MOST VOCAL backer of having the Hall of Fame here. (BTW, if you want to, let me know and I will get permission to include excerpts from this review to the Hyperrust catalogue, Jason, or whoever the concert reviews agent for Rust is now.)


AUG. 22, 1985

By Bob Dyer

Beacon Journal


For the first two-thirds of Wednesday night's show at the Coliseum, it appeared that Neil Young had retired to the country.

He and his backup band, the International Harvesters, were picking and fiddling their way through songs that could have originated in Nashville. Low-key is not an adequate description. It was more like Young -- wearing a leather vest, boots, faded jeans and a floppy hat -- had rounded up the farm hands after the chores and decided to make some music on the porch. But the 40-year-old Canadian is a human chameleon. Just about the time you have him pegged, he changes color.

A couple of years ago, he came to Blossom Music Center with slicked-back hair, white shoes and a `50s repertoire. A couple of years earlier, he had a bunch of Star Wars characters running around the Coliseum stage. He's also flirted with pop and New Wave.

Wednesday, he seemed locked in his country-western mode. But then he decided to take off his hat, and it was as if Clark Kent was removing his glasses. "JUST IN CASE YOU DON'T THINK CLEVELAND IS THE HOME OF ROCK 'N' ROLL," he said, 'LISTEN TO THIS." And he unleashed an astonishing, driving, megawatt version of Down By the River.

It may have been Young's most powerful live performance on any song, ever.

His always fine guitar work was razor sharp, his whiny tenor was powerful and urgent. It was a transcendent effort on what could have been a tired old tune.

A few songs earlier Young had received his longest ovation while introducing Helpless.

"This is a song I used to do with my old buddies (Crosby, Stills and Nash), and I USED TO PLAY IT A LONG TIME AGO IN LA CAVE, A LITTLE PLACE IN DOWNTOWN CLEVELAND."

The crowd shrieked, as it does anytime a visiting performer mentions the home city. But then he added: "I TELL YOU, I THINK THEY OUGHT TO PUT THAT ROCK 'N' ROLL HALL OF FAME RIGHT HERE."

The 10,000 patrons stuffed into the Coliseum's "theater" set-up responded as if the Cavs had just edged the Celtics in overtime.

Once Young started rocking, he was on fire. He closed with two other zingers, Old Man and Powderfinger. Encores have become standard operating procedure,but this one was special.

When he returned, he said, "My old friend David Allen Coe (who opened the show) just asked why I didn't do 'Ohio', since this is his hometown. We don't do it that often, but this is for you people."

After a moving solo version of the Kent State anthem, Coe walked on stage and embraced Young.


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