‘Concert Reviews’ Articles

Winnipeg show: Young to Harper: Fear Our Emotion!

With his tar sands tour, the artist, and others like him, can help us find our national voice again.

By Ian Gill, Today, TheTyee.ca

There was never really any doubt that Neil Young’s return to Winnipeg some 50 years after he left — “I added it up,” he said on Thursday night — was going to trigger a mix of nostalgia and affection from a packed house at the Centennial Concert Hall in a city that claims Young as its own.

He arrived after travelling cross-country from Toronto, where he had kicked off his deliciously and deliberately provocative “Honour the Treaties” tour, having crossed a big chunk of “beautiful, beautiful Canada,” passing through its vast forests and celebrating its clean air. He was a long way from the tar sands, clearly, but through his complaints about the “degradation of land, air, water, climate and people across North America,” he has been getting very near to an essential truth about today’s Canada.

Our national voice has been drowned out for so long that we’ve almost lost the language to express what we want our country to be. The colonization that began at contact and found its zenith in residential schools hasn’t really stopped, and it turns out the indigenous peoples of this land, who have arguably suffered the most, are far from alone. This is hurting everyone.

The colonial-industrial complex is alive and well and, just like they did in residential schools, our governments have tried to beat us or ban us from speaking, in whatever actual tongue, of a Canada that is compassionate, considerate and has a confidence rooted in a shared hope for a better world, not just on a budget balanced on the impoverishment of our environment and our cultures for the benefit of a few.

At the concert hall Thursday, David Suzuki, our environment’s rhetorician-in-chief, told me Young had elevated the dialogue and understanding of the tar sands far beyond anything he, and the environmental movement, have managed to achieve through their advocacy.

Suzuki seemed more delighted than surprised, and we should be, too.

What governments fear

Environmentalism isn’t dead, but it exists as much as to preserve ego-systems as ecosystems, to protect pieties as much as places, and in any event is simply no match for the extremism of Stephen Harper’s brand of politics. In part, that’s because environmentalists play mostly within the rules, and overwhelmingly, governments set the rules. Of course, in Harper’s case they ignore the rules that don’t serve their interests, and escape punishment except, in theory, at the polls.

Plainly put, our governments don’t fear environmentalists, even icons like David Suzuki. But governments fear emotion, which they can’t regulate, and who but our artists are capable of stirring our emotions, giving them expression, and releasing the trapped energy in our national psyche?

If the answers to our largest and most intractable social and environmental issues are cultural, not mechanical — and I passionately believe this to be the case — then it seems not just fair but vital that our artists pose the questions of our time in the ways they know best, and use their talents to liberate us from the tyranny of our abusers.

This is not a call to a collective singing of “Kumbayah,” although a sing-a-long with Neil Young playing “Ohio,” quickly followed by “Southern Man,” seemed entirely appropriate under the circumstances on Thursday. Rather, it is to recognize the long history of art as activism that has illuminated some of our world’s darkest eras, and to take comfort from the fact that Harper’s office is so tone deaf that it sought earlier in the week to write Young off as simply a “rock star” who should stick to singing songs and minding his own carbon footprint.

For those of us who believe there is a phase change afoot in Canada right now, a transition from Ottawa’s impoverished ethos of economic determinism to something less rooted in certainty, to a future more informed by openness to possibility; it is in fact a good thing that the PMO wants to shrug off Young and concert opener Diana Krall as mere minstrels. The more the prime minister and his ilk discount our singers, our writers, our poets, our painters, dancers, sculptors, filmmakers, photographers, composers and comedians as mere entertainers, the greater our capacity for surprise.

An act of witnessing

It’s true that watching and listening to Young on Thursday doesn’t exactly equate with lying down in front of a bulldozer, or a tank, or monkey wrenching the machinery in the first place. However, it was absolutely an act of witnessing, and of remembering.

What was fascinating about Young’s performance was the degree to which the nostalgia that the audience felt for Young was returned in greater measure by Young himself. He spoke a great deal more than he usually does, sitting in an orange on-stage glow surrounded by his old guitars as if at a campfire, or muttering half to himself as he creaked back and forth between his guitars and pianos and an elevated pump organ. He reminisced about the seventies when, alone or in the company of Crosby, Stills and Nash, or with other troubadours of the protest era, there was a sort of symbiosis between artist and audience.

“Things kept happening to us, but we reacted together. There was no difference between the crowd and the people on the stage. We were all just people, living, feeling the fragility of our times.”
As wistful as that might sound, there was nothing the slightest bit sentimental about Young’s articulation of the issues that have driven him to mount his tour in support of the Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation’s legal defence fund.
Young has been to the tar sands — attracting a great deal of controversy for equating the environmental damage there with the bombing of Hiroshima in Japan — but what worried him even more on seeing the place was the realization of the abuse being wrought on local First Nations.
“I went up there to find out about CO2. What I found was a bunch of people who were being persecuted and lied to and misled,” he told the CBC’s Jian Ghomeshi ahead of his opening concert in Toronto. Asked about comments he’d previously made that “musicians should stay out of politics,” Young said his role is to “raise enough attention so you people would come hear what’s going on…. My job is to bring light to the situation through my celebrity.”

On stage, Young made little reference to the purpose of his tour other than to let people know that the proceeds would go to the legal fight against the tar sands. There was a wonderful moment, however, when he slipped in a reference to Harper in the song “Pocahontas“:

Maybe Stephen Harper / Will be there by the fire /
Talking about Ottawa / And the people there for hire/
Stephen Harper, broken treaties and me/
Stephen Harper, Pocahontas and me.

But for the most part, he let his celebrity do the talking, just like the artists who rallied in the ’80s to help save the Stein Valley, the Carmanah Valley and Gwaii Haanas in British Columbia, or the writers and photographers who elevated the Great Bear Rainforest and the Sacred Headwaters in the imagination of a public who for the most part will never go there, but somehow understand that in the fate of those places lies the fate of us all.

Demand inspiration

As important as those accomplishments were, given the pace of industrialization today and the sheer scope of development projects and especially energy projects (with the tar sands as evidence) — to so radically and irrevocably alter our landscapes and our climate, our activism can no longer be just about special places.
Or if it is, then it’s about one special place. Canada.

We have a country that has been built on two centuries of broken treaties — not just with First Nations, but latterly with other nations and here at home with all Canadian people.
We cannot stand idly by, and we have a moral obligation to look beyond our politicians for answers, because they don’t have them. We need to find answers in the knowledge and courage and hope and, yes, emotions of Canadians, and we should demand of our artists that they do everything within their remarkable powers to provide us with the inspiration that our polity is so utterly incapable of delivering.

Building successful societies is an art, yet for too long we’ve left the task to engineers.

While Neil Young isn’t the voice of Canadians, at least not all of them, he absolutely can help us find our national voice again. Maybe, in order for us to reclaim the country we are in danger of losing, for us to see our future not as the sum of our failures but of our possibilities, we need a new protest song.

And maybe Neil Young will write it. Certainly, I won’t. Sure, I string a few words together from time to time, but I’m no artist, and I’m not about to start writing songs. Be thankful for that small mercy.

But I will take a crack at writing a line that someone else might slip into a song someplace, a line that I offer up as one small refrain in the anthem that our fragile age demands.

And I’ll keep it simple.

“We want our country back.”

http://thetyee.ca/Opinion/2014/01/18/Neil-Young-Stephen-Harper/

Please donate..
http://www.honourtheacfn.ca/

Rolling Stone review of Carnegie first night

Neil Young Stuns With a Spellbinding Carnegie Hall Show
The marathon set featured a wealth of Seventies classics

Neil Young performs at Carnegie Hall in New York City.

By Andy Greene
January 7, 2014 11:30 AM ET

When Neil Young walked onstage for the first of his four-night stand at Carnegie Hall, nobody in the audience had any idea what sort of show he was about to present. His previous theater tour in 2010 was a bizarre (and ultimately unsatisfying) mixture of solo acoustic and solo electric tunes, concentrating on hits and selections from his then-unreleased LP Le Noise. The last time he launched a solo acoustic tour was eleven years ago in Europe, and those crowds heard a complete performance of his rock opera Greendale, which wouldn’t hit shelves for another four months. More recently, he played a set at Farm Aid last year that consisted almost entirely of other people’s songs. If the man’s anything, he’s unpredictable.

Thankfully, Neil Young had no such surprises for the capacity crowd at Carnegie Hall. Instead, he treated them to an absolutely jaw-dropping two hour and 20-minute show that focused largely on his golden period of 1966 to 1978. He only deviated from that era for two songs from 1992’s Harvest Moon, the 1989 obscurity “Someday” and a pair of covers by Phil Ochs and Bert Jansch. The opening notes of classics “Harvest,” “A Man Needs a Maid” and “On the Way Home” sent shockwaves of recognition and joy through the crowd, who then listened to them in near silence. It was, without a doubt, one of the greatest Neil Young shows of the past decade, at least when he wasn’t playing with Crazy Horse.

Read more: http://www.rollingstone.com/music/news/neil-young-stuns-with-a-spellbinding-carnegie-hall-show-20140107

Billboard review: Carnegie Hall

Neil Young at Carnegie Hall: Live Review
By Caryn Rose, New York | January 08, 2014 10:30 AM EST

Neil’s voice has changed with the years but still maintains its essential power, which was blissfully well-served by the famous Carnegie Hall acoustics. You wouldn’t think one man and a banjo could fill that cavernous space, but Young had no problem with doing so throughout the entire set. Unlike the audience the previous evening, which by all reports had to be admonished for unnecessary boisterousness, tonight the crowd was content to sit and listen. That might sound like a bad thing for a rock and roll show, but the quiet wasn’t detached; it was engaged and participatory, an audience sitting on the edge of their seat and engulfed in the performance.

(Don’t worry, there were still plenty of “I LOVE YOU, NEIL” yelps throughout the show, and the guys who invoked Neil’s ire on night one by yelling for “Don’t Be Denied” did get at least one bellow in.)

You expect Neil Young to play great guitar, but tonight many of the best moments were on keyboards. “Are You Ready For The Country” was one of those moments: performed on the stand-up piano, it has a loose, honky-tonk feel, but that deliberately casual style hid the precision that was driving the performance. The keyboards were where Neil could experiment a little bit, offering an interesting, 80’s-tinged synthesizer accompaniment to the grand piano for “A Man Needs A Maid” and the quasi-goth pump organ rendition of “Mr. Soul.”

Read the whole article: billboard.com/articles/events/live/5862604/neil-young-at-carnegie-hall-live-review

 

NYT Review: Familiar Yet Distant, With Songs and an Edge

Neil Young was just a few bars into an indignant old song at Carnegie Hall on Monday night, chugging a terse intro on an acoustic guitar, when he abruptly threw the emergency brake.

“Wrong!” he barked, waving one hand, as if to cut off a rehearsal band. Part of the audience had started clapping to the beat — but not quite on the beat, as Mr. Young complained. His tone was even, his exasperation clear.

“It’s something that you probably don’t know,” he said, peering into the house from the stage, “but there’s a hell of a distance between you and me.”

read more:

www.nytimes.com/…/arts/music/temperamental-neil-young-starts-run-at-carnegie-hall

BSB Review: Rolling Stone

Tom Waits Triumphs at Bridge School Benefit
Other highlights include My Morning Jacket’s all-star tribute to Lou Reed

By Andy Greene
October 28, 2013 12:10 PM ET

The crowd was a little restless by the time Tom Waitstook the stage at the second night of the Bridge School Benefit. Temperatures were frigid throughout the entire day, but the winds picked up after the sun went down, leaving many folks shivering under their blankets. (They should really think about having this thing about a month earlier.) The Shoreline Ampitheater wasn’t equipped for a crowd of this size, and the food lines seemed like scenes straight out of the Soviet Union circa 1985. Making matters worse, the wait times between sets seemed to grow as the night went on, taking upwards of twenty-five minutes.

But all these issues seemed to vanish the second the lights dimmed and Tom Waits walked onstage. Despite releasing the stellar LP Bad as Me in 2011, he hasn’t played a single concert in over five years. His fans were hungry for a show and he wasn’t going to disappoint. Backed by a killer band featuring Les Claypool on standup bass and David Hidalgo on guitar and accordion, Waits ran through ten songs over a fifty minute set, touching on most every era of his long career.

At first it sounded like Waits has been gargling from same battery acid Bob Dylan has been using recently, but he quickly cleared up and demonstrated surprising range, from his signature growl on the Rain Dogs classic “Singapore” to a gentle rasp on “Lucky Day” to the aching plea of “Tom Traubert’s Blues.” The latter song was particularly devastating, bringing the entire crowd to a hushed silence.
Waits also showed why nobody tops him when it comes to stage banter. “I volunteered to come here,” he said midway through his set. “Long story. Back in the 1970s I borrowed a lot of money from Neil. For me, it was the days of long hair and short money. He loaned it to me so I could start a restaurant. I lost a lot of money on that restaurant. Let me rephrase that, I lost a lot of Neil’s money. And you don’t wanna see Neil mad. Anyway, it was a small, little restaurant, sort of a specialized place. We were gonna have eel and donuts and fish scales, just fish scales, sauteed and all gluten free. But it went under, so Neil said, ‘Listen, you owe me a lot of money, so I have three ideas for you: Jail time or you can come work in my yard, or you can do the Bridge School.'”

He wrapped up with powerful renditions of “Cemetery Polka” from Rain Dogs and “Come On Up to the House” from Mule Variations. The fifty minutes seemed to vanish in an instant, leaving Queens of the Stone Age with an almost impossible act to follow. It’s a tragedy that Tom Waits doesn’t tour more often. Nobody does what he does, and he’s doing it almost better than ever. Why assemble a band this great and rehearse a show this magnificent, only to do it once?

The Tom Waits set was the clear highlight of the night, but My Morning Jacket gave him a good fight. They revived their note-perfect duet with Neil Young on “Harvest Moon” from night one, and followed it up with the Velvet Underground’s “Oh! Sweet Nuthin”” as a tribute to Lou Reed. Neil Young, Elvis Costello, Jenny Lewis and other performers from the night came onstage for this, leading to a massive campfire-like sing along on the Loaded classic. Surprisingly, they were the only act the entire night to acknowledge Reed’s passing.
Most of the other performers made slight changes to their set from night one. Jenny Lewis ended with a gorgeous solo asouctic rendition of Rilo Kiley’s “Silver Lining,” and Heart brought out Neil Young for a raucous duet on the Harvest Moon deep cut “War of Man.” Fun. had the entire crowd singing along to Queen’s “Somebody to Love,” while Diana Krall returned to the Bob Dylan catalog for a tender take on “Simple Twist of Fate.”

Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young played the exact same set from the first night, but this time they seemed more on their game. Nash sang his ass off on “Just a Song Before I Go” and “Suite: Judy Blue Eyes” hadn’t sounded so fresh and alive in years. The brand new Stills track “Don’t Want Lies” is actually light years better than Young’s maudlin “Singer Without a Song,” though Crosby and Nash did everything they could to save that one with pristine back-up vocals.

They once again closed out the night by bringing everybody out for “Teach Your Children.” It’s sad to think that could be the last song that CSNY ever sing together, but it’s an unlikely bet. People have been thinking that every since they broke up in 1971, but against all odds this foursome seems to persevere, even as they begin to enter their 70s. Besides, even if Neil never agrees to another tour, there are always more Bridge School Benefits in then future.

Read more:   rollingstone.com/music/news/tom-waits-triumphs-at-bridge-school-benefit-20131028

Page 3 of 1512345...10...Last »

Random Quote

Danger bird, he flies alone And he rides the wind back to his home.
by -- Neil Young

Neil Young on Tour

  • Neil Young on Tour

Sugar Mountain setlists

Tom Hambleton provides BNB with setlists, thankfully. His website is the most comprehensive searchable archives on the Internets about anything Neil Young related setlists. Goto Sugar Mountain.

Other Neil News

  • Neil Young News

Rust Radio

  • http://www.rustradio.org/

HH-Radio + NY Info

  • http://www.neil-young.info/
  • NY-Info-Radio

Human Highway

  • http://www.human-highway.org/

Oh My Darling Clementine

BNB has 1106707 Guests, from the new start