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Buffalo Springfield Concert Review by Michael Golden: Oakland, CA, 2011-06-01|02

Nice and interesting concert review by Michael Golden – many thanks from the BNB Team.

Having grown up with Neil Young, literally, I was old enough to know and appreciate Buffalo Springfield, but too young to ever see them perform. My formative years were spent watching Neil’s solo career blossom in addition to seeing CSNY on many an occasion. When I found out that the surviving members of Buffalo Springfield were going to hit the road, I had to be there.

So last night, I make the pilgrimage to the Bay Area for the opening night of their 6 show stint in California. The Fox Theater is a great venue. There’s not a bad seat in the house. Having a 5th row seat doesn’t hurt either. I saw Neil’s shows at this venue last year, so I knew where to go, where to park, and what to expect.

Gillian Welch was the opening act. I knew that I was in for good times as her music held my attention with every note. She is a great musician, and whoever selected her to open for Buffalo Springfield is a true genius. (Probably Neil). Gillian Welch was so good that I was disappointed when her set was over. But the anticipation of what to expect going forward was compelling.

Around 9:15, the lights dimmed, and our man walked out onto the stage with Stephen Stills, Rick (the bass player) Rosas, Richie Furay, and Joe Vitale. Stephen Stills looked great. He’s lost a lot of weight, and he just had his act together. Neil was wearing a vintage leather jacket with fringes hanging off it, Buffalo Springfield era. The crowd was on our feet, and for good reason. The opening notes, and right into it with On The Way Home!

This is where things got really interesting and exciting. As a long standing fan of Neil’s, I was thinking he would be singing On The Way Home. To the contrary, Richie Furay did. If you have Buffalo Springfield’s 3 albums, which I would recommend all three, you would know that Neil wasn’t singing this song. Richie Furay was. The band was concerned about Neil’s vocals back then, so Richie Furay would from time to time sing for Neil on Neil’s songs.

The entire set was phenomenal, but so were Richie Furay, Neil, and Stephen Stills! Richie Furay impressed me the most. He was just on target, and seemed to be holding the entire show together with his vocals and rythm guitar. Throghout the entire gig, I was waiting for Neil to breakout. It never happened. That’s what made this show incredible. I saw a side of Neil Young in concert I had never seen before. He wasn’t acting as a solo artist. He was part of a band of equals. As much as I wanted Neil to break away from the band and get into one of those incredbile Neil solos, he didn’t do it. This made the performance all the better.

The coordination of their music was just impeccable. The selections were great. There was a song Richie Furay did after Clancey that I had never heard before, but aside from it, all the tunes were old Buffalo Springfield until the very end, Rockin’ In The Free World. Broken Arrow was stunning, as was A Child’s Claim to Fame, Rock n Roll Woman, and Burned. There were so many great tunes that I have never heard done live, and they were done right by Buffalo Springfield.

The crowd was a little foreign to me. I didn’t see anyone I knew, but that was OK. I wasn’t there to socialize, only to take it all in. My greatest regret was not having a ticket for this evening’s show. Had I known how good Buffalo Springfield were going to be, I would have gone both nights. My advice to anyone who has an interest in their music – do what it takes to see them perform. This is a side of Neil Young you have never seen before, and you may not see again.

Michael Golden
Truckee, California

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