From Live Review - Greek Theatre, Los Angeles, California, 7/22/2003, by Gabriel Sheffer:
"Young and Crazy Horse played out the story's soundtrack with music that was epic, propulsive, and loose, while the characters onstage acted out each song in overdramatic fashion. Grandpa waved his cane with exaggerated disgust; protesters lunged into each other in animated undulations.
And surprisingly, the fans went for it all. Between songs, some actually shushed each other to hear Young's spoken narration. The music, too, was grand and dynamic. When Grandpa dies, Crazy Horse provides a steadfast groove behind Young's ragged, melancholy guitar lines. The show ends with a climactic finale that puts 'Les Miserables' to shame. "
From Jambands.com - Chronicle Pavillion, Concord, CA - 7/20/2003 by Andy Tennille:
"Which leaves us with the question we started with: why does Young feel compelled to test the limits of his own creativity in this the twilight of his career? Well, we know he doesn't do it for the money name another artist who refuses to allow albums to be released, despite widespread public demand, because he or she doesn't think CD technology would do them justice. You'll be hard pressed to fine one. And he doesn't do it for the fame, because he's a notorious recluse with no real desire for the national spotlight.
Neil Young continues to push the limits of his music now more than ever because he is compelled to do so, and its unclear whether he cares if anyone "gets it." The confused reviews that have dogged this Greendale tour since its opening night would be a swift kick to the pride of anyone concerned with public acceptance. But as Young once told an interviewer, the success of Harvest's monster single Heart of Gold, "put me in the middle of the road; travelling there soon became a bore, so I headed for the ditch."
Regardless of what anyone says about his various side trips down the slippery slopes of genres as polarizing as rockabilly and electronica, Young is a musical chameleon with the courage to try something new, or in terms of Greendale, to say something that not many people are too keen to listen to. In a time in world history where assimilation reigns supreme, Young remains the outlier, the critic, the harsh voice of reality that kicks us in the ass from time to time when we do something stupid. Rather than criticize his views as outlandish, or characterize his rock opera as a "creative stumble," we should praise the guy for having the balls to stand up in the first place and be counted.
"It's amazing that Neil holds this together with the audience sitting transfixed, listening attentively, and I only spotted a handful of people sloping off as it's evident that Neil's agenda doesn't include any 'greatest hits'."
"The Greendale stuff reminds me of the Talking Heads film, True Stories. Not in its sound, but in its atmosphere. In True Stories David Byrne takes us on a trip through a small fictional town, introducing us to various quirky characters. Each song telling a slight story about a different character and, whilst there's no real plot to it, there's a wonderful atmosphere, full of a very pleasant and heart warming air. Despite its flimsy structure and its many faults True Stories is a delightful film and a great little album that warrants a regular watch/listen. From the songs presented here in Berlin, I get the impression that Neil's forthcoming album and hopefully the film to accompany it, will hold as many pleasant surprises for us. "