Here’s the Milwaukee Journal’s review of Neil Young’s performance Sunday night, July 5 at the Marcus Amphitheater on the Summerfest grounds along Lake Michigan in Milwaukee. The tour is backed by Lukas Nelson & Promise of the Real.
Written by music critic Piet Levy, with photos by Rick Wood, Piet said while the crowd may have been braced for a lecture, they did not receive one.
“The first sight on stage may have confirmed some fears, as two people dressed as farmers tossed seeds onto the stage and watered sunflowers. But it was actually a ruse to distract the audience as Young sneaked behind a battered piano for “After the Gold Rush,” from the 1970 album of the same name. That, too, is a song with a message — ‘Look at mother nature on the run’ he sings — but the surreal words are captivating.
“So was the presence of the hunched-over rocker, dressed in black — including a wide-brimmed hat that concealed his face — as a lone spotlight beamed down from above him. It was a simple image, but powerful; the most striking visual I saw during all of Summerfest, or at any concert this year. It suggested Young wasn’t going to be a lecturer; he was going to be a showman.
“That he was, performing “Heart of Gold” and “Old Man” within the first few minutes on acoustic guitar. Watching him perform the latter with quiet anguish — his face visible for the first time Sunday as he lifted his head, veins snaking across the back of his wrinkled left hand as he strummed the guitar — took on greater resonance.
“After performing a mesmerizing “Mother Earth (Natural Anthem)” on organ, men in hazmat suits appeared, spraying the stage with “pesticide.” But again, the show wasn’t making a statement so much as preparing the stage for Real’s entrance (along with Lukas’ brother Micah).”
The only thing Neil said to the audience the first 75 minutes was, “How are ya?” And when Young did play two of “Monsanto”‘s preachiest tracks, “People Want to Hear About Love” and “A New Day for Love,” people just wanted to hear Young sing, no matter what it was he was singing about.
Print deadlines prevented a full review of Young’s set. The show ran about two hours and 45 minutes.
2015-07-05 Marcus Amphitheatre, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA Summerfest w/ Promise Of The Real
01. After The Gold Rush (solo) 02. Heart Of Gold (solo) 03. Long May You Run (solo) 04. Old Man (solo) 05. Mother Earth (solo) 06. Hold Back The Tears 07. Out On The Weekend 08. Unknown Legend 09. Peace Of Mind 10. Field Of Opportunity 11. Wolf Moon 12. Harvest Moon 13. Words 14. Flying On The Ground Is Wrong 15. Walk On 16. People Want To Hear About Love 17. A New Day For Love 18. Down By The River 19. Big Box 20. A Rock Star Bucks A Coffee Shop 21. White Line 22. Workin’ Man 23. Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere 24. Monsanto Years 25. If I Don’t Know 26. Love And Only Love — 27. Don’t Be Denied 28. Double E
Tour: 2015 Rebel Content Tour Band: Promise Of The Real
Neil Young 2014-04-21 Chicago Theatre, Chicago, Illinois, USA
01. From Hank To Hendrix
02. On The Way Home
03. Only Love Can Break Your Heart
04. Love In Mind
05. Mellow My Mind
06. Reason to Believe
10. Old Man —
the second set opened with some sort of spoken “Hippy Beatnik” poem by Neil
12. Cortez The Killer
13. A Man Needs A Maid
15. Southern Man
16. Mr. Soul
17. Harvest Moon
18. If You Could Read My Mind
19. After The Gold Rush
20. Heart Of Gold
Tour: 2014 Solo Tour
Neil Young – vocals, acoustic guitar, 12 string acoustic guitar, piano, pump organ, harmonica
WOW. Thrasher’s Wheat had the honor of publishing the best Neil Young concert review ever by Bucks Burnett, who attended the April, 18, 2014 solo acoustic show at the Meyerson Symphony Center in Dallas, Texas.
To read journalism like this is to be in the presence of greatness. WOW again.
Sit back and enjoy the read of your life.
It’s titled: “Why I’m Not Here Anymore.”
“Last night was not a concert. It was a congregation being blessed by snake oil from a traveling salesman. But this guy carries the real stuff because we are healed from our earthly concerns. This was a very rare example of paying $200 for a four million dollar show. He took us away and we are not coming back. I do not want to hear music today or talk to people today. Or be seen. I want to be alone with this vibration in my soul.”
Neil Young played a two-set solo acoustic show in Dallas April 17, 2014 and towards the middle of the second set Young was telling the story behind his Martin D-28 guitar when an audience member cut him off by repeatedly yelling “Play it!”
“I don’t think I’m going to play it,” Neil said. “I’m trying to remember the last time I did what somebody told me to do.” Neil continued to get into it with the fans, exclaiming “what is this, a job?” and “How about you talk, and I’ll listen?” He then offered a biting take on “Harvest Moon” after which he noted, “Funny — that song is not supposed to be angry, You get what you demand.”
What the fuck is wrong with these people attending Neil Young’s solo acoustic shows?
Dallas Morning News music reviewer Robert Wilonsky attending Thursday night’s first of two shows in Dallas as had this to say: (Neil plays again Friday night)
I would love to share with you the story Neil Young told Thursday night about his Martin D-28, which once belonged to Hank Williams and shared the Morton H. Meyerson Symphony Center stage with him on what was for the most part a very special night. But I can’t, because Young wasn’t allowed the opportunity to share the tale. He tried. He held “Hank” in his hands and began recalling that trip to Nashville, when, from the balcony, to Young’s left, a man began shouting: “Play it! Play it!” At which point the 68-year-old who’s been making music since high school reminded the crowd that no one tells Neil Young what to do.
“I don’t think I’m gonna play it,” he said. Beneath his black wide-brimmed hat, he grinned a little. But you could tell: He was not pleased. The heckling continued, because this is just what some people do: spend hundreds of dollars to see their heroes, only to steal their spotlight.
“What, do I work?” Young said, the good humor now completely gone from his voice. “Is this a job? I’m trying to recall the last time I did something expressly because someone told me to do it.” The rest of the crowd cheered, almost as though it were trying to distract Young or jolt him back into the jovial mood he’d been in moments earlier, following a version of “Mr. Soul” played on a pump organ. Instead he just played the next song: “Harvest Moon,” one of the more beautiful entries in a canon filled with tenderhearted melodies. But Young strummed the guitar a little harder than usual, and didn’t so much sing its simple, sentimental lyrics (“When we were lovers/I loved you with all my heart”) as he did spit them out.