It was September 1984, and I remember standing outside Charlie Starr in Springfield, Ohio, with a friend and a thousand other Neil Young fans. Charlie Starr was a nightclub with a honky-tonk theme and a parking lot that stretched forever—or long enough that if you were at the end of the ticket line that was moving at a glacial pace, you might wonder if you were going to walk in as Young was playing his final encore.
“I sure hope they have a ticket left,” I said from the end of the line. “After all, I drove here all the way from Cincinnati to see this, and I’d hate to drive back knowing I wasted my time.”
After a long silence, a half dozen people looked at each other with concerned faces and a young man finally broke the news to me. “Buddy, I hate to tell you this,” he said in a grave voice, “but this show’s been sold out for a long, long time.”
“You’re kidding,” I squeaked, hoping my face looked pale.
When my friend laughed, the charade was over—even I knew that if Neil Young is playing a bar (a very large bar, but still) tickets will evaporate immediately. Charlie Starr seated about 3,000 people, an unusual venue for him to play, but the choice made sense. Since the mid-1800s International Harvester produced farm machinery in Springfield, but the factory was in lay-off mode, as so many factories were in the mid-1980s. By bringing his International Harvesters to a smaller venue in the city, Young was showing some solidarity. And I ended up getting into that show.
That same spirit shines through on A Treasure, the latest release from Young’s vaults.