Sunday, July 12, 2015
In all my(indecipherable)years of concert going I have never seen Neil Young live. I've seen Crosby and Stills and Nash but Young never showed up. Well finally, the 69 year old Neil showed up 'round these parts last night and Max and I went.
Jesus H Christ, forget Max. He's a casual fan. A greatest hits young 'un. He thinks Neil is Eddie Vedder's father. Sorry kid, Neil Young is moving onward and the greatest hits tour aint happening cuz Neil is pissed off, constantly.
Young's new album is a rant against Monsanto, Citizen's United, Monsanto, Starbucks, Monsanto, dumb Americans, Monsanto, and more Monsanto. Ya see, Neil is not a happy man that corporate giants strangle working farmers and the political system. And dammit, he's gonna sing about it. For 3 hours and 20 minutes he's gonna sing about it, jam about it, and jam some more about it.
Opening act Band of Horses, of whom I am a fan, played a strong 40 minute set of indie music. A talented group of South Carolinians with a lead singer who can sound a bit like a young Neil Young at times, the political message got off to a start when they proclaimed for the first time in their lifetime, they were proud of being from South Carolina cuz ya know that treasonous loser flag got taken down the day before. And Ben Bridwell, lead singer, can't sleep cuz he has a Ghost in His House. Love that song.
Then it was time for Neil. A couple of young girls in overalls and hats, chewing on straw, came out to spread seed, water flowers, and then do it some more and more and more much to the consternation of drunken fans anxious to start rockin.
And then........After the Gold Rush........Heart of Gold.......Long May You Run.....Old Man....and Mother Earth with Neil playing an old organ. Nobody else...just him.....guitar and harmonica........like Dylan.
Then comes Promise of The Real. His band for the I Hate Monsanto tour. The Nelson boys, Lukas and Micah, not Rickey Nelson's boys, Willie Nelson's boys. A kickass bassist, Corey McCormick, a kickass drummer, Anthony Lo Gerfo and another percussionist, Tato Melgar and you have Crazy Horse Junior.
An hour of folk rock, country rock if you prefer, with only one "hit", Harvest Moon. This is gettin good......Max is yawning....
And then......hoo boy....Neil Young picks up the electric guitar and we are off to the races, my friends....
I don't even care what he played, he is a true jazz man, a jammer, you could tell the Nelson boys (geez Micah, are you old enough to be up that late?) had to improvise on numerous occasions cuz they had no idea where this was going.
Neil played his entire new album, preaching the word on Monsanto musically, while saying almost nothing between songs. Except when he said "We dont want to offend anybody, but we wont be happy till they're not happy". Amen brutha!
He covered Crazy Horse at times. The Down By The River jam took at least 20 minutes. I was in heaven cuz again, he can play whatever he wants and as long as he wants cuz he's goddamn Neil Young and he is not predictable. And that is what makes him relevant. He keeps going.
Now a lot of fans may not like that he keeps moving ahead, and there were plenty including Max, but Neil doesn't give a rat's ass what anybody thinks and if you want to come see him, come, and if you don't, don't. Period.
There were only 6,000 or so at this show, which is fine. He is a legend, but a niche' legend. Not everybody loves this guy like I do. But for chrissakes, in the middle of an acoustic set, while listening to a monster song like Heart of Gold, why in the fuck do the "Woo Girls" all start doing their thing? It wrecks beautiful moments.
Damn, I'm old.
Max may not have been enthralled by the No Greatest Hits Tour but I can still hear the jamming that went on during a new song called "Big Box". If you don't think that Big Box is good enough and as thrilling to hear as Cowgirl in the Sand well then, you need to stick with the state fair circuit. Hey, I hear Foreigner and Night Ranger and Def Leppard are coming. That oughta be just up your fuckin alley.
Rock on Godfather of Grunge!!