‘Concert Reviews’ Articles
Instagram photo by Galenaaa
While we wait for the reviews to come in fans on social networks are saying Neil Young’s first show at the Dolby Theater in Los Angeles was emotional. Young sand “Thrasher” for the first time in 36 years.
Some say there is a new fragility to his voice that brings a “a haunting, whispery quality to his voice.”
The show lasted close to three hours.
Dolby Theatre, Los Angeles, California, USA
1. From Hank To Hendrix
2. On The Way Home
3. Only Love Can Break Your Heart
4. Love In Mind
6. Mellow My Mind
7. Are You Ready For The Country?
11. Old Man
12. Goin’ Back
13. A Man Needs A Maid
15. Southern Man
16. Mr. Soul
17. If You Could Read My Mind
18. Harvest Moon
19. Flying On The Ground Is Wrong
20. After The Gold Rush
21. Heart Of Gold
23. Long May You Run
Thanks to Tom Hambleton at http://www.sugarmtn.org/show.php?show=201403290
REVIEW: Neil Young mesmerizes with once-in-a lifetime show
By Mike Bell, Calgary Herald January 20, 2014
It was somewhat fortuitous timing.
Earlier Sunday morning, one of the Canadian stations carried locally was playing The Simpsons Movie, a film that is, at its very core, under the guise of road trips to Alaska, subplots about the need for family, second chances and redemption, and hidden beneath spider songs about pigs named Plopper, an environmental film.
They make the statement from the outset about the direction they’re headed and the route they’ll travel when a cartoon version of punk band Green Day (redundant, possibly) is shown performing the show’s theme on a barge/stage floating on a lake in front of the enthusiastic citizens of Springfield.
“We’ve been playing for three and a half hours,” says the animated version of frontman Billie Joe Armstrong. “Now we’d like just a minute of your time to say something about the environment.”
The band are, of course, booed and bottled and met with angry calls to just shut up and sing.
Which brings us to Neil Young’s sold-out show Sunday night at the Jack Singer Concert Hall.
It follows a complete, sometimes divisive week of interviews, press conferences, pro and con op-eds, attacks, counterattacks and rhetoric as Young and his Honor the Treaties benefit tour made their way across the country to raise money and awareness for the Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation Legal Defense Fund as they get set to battle oilsands development in northern Alberta.
After a somewhat feisty press conference earlier in the day, in the petroleum-stoked belly of the beast, the evening concert, the final one of the jaunt, was, for the most part, the opportunity for the legendary artist to shut up and sing. And us to shut up and listen.
Or, to quote lines from the opening song from his performance, From Hank to Hendrix, “Here I am with this old guitar, doin’ what I do.” What he does best.
And, oh, how magically he did it for those lucky enough to find themselves among the few to make their way into the intimate, once-in-a-lifetime, solo acoustic gig.
Young was in remarkable form, in exquisite voice, in a warm, comfortable and giving mood as he sat on the Singer stage, amid a handful of guitars, pianos and other well-worn instruments, plucking from the collection, talking to them, telling some of their stories and histories, and picking tunes from his timeless, well-worn catalogue that still has all of its power intact. In fact, perhaps even more so thanks to the passage of time and effects they’ve had on the man from whence they’ve come.
For proof, all you had to hear were the opening words of Helpless or the dreamy chorus of Only Love Can Break Your Heart — both sending shivers, walking the line between beaten and beatific, haunted and heavenly, sad and sanguine.
The rest of the evening, the bottomless offering of classics saw Young walking those lines with a skill and ease which were disarming and frankly awe-inspiring.
Be it at a piano for Love In Mind, on both banjo and harmonica for Mellow My Mind, playing a pump organ for a dirty and steamy Mr. Soul or the tour-appropriate Pocahontas (which he gave an appropriate lyrical reworking), seated front and centre for Harvest, an unforgettable version of Old Man, the stark and devastating Ohio and a howling take on Southern Man, or standing for the area appropriate cover of Ian Tyson’s Four Strong Winds, it was as if he was crafting the songs for the very first time, in the moment, on this night, in this building, and in our presence.
And if you didn’t feel that, you weren’t listening.
Perhaps the only criticism of the evening could be that while Young kept his part of the bargain, there were some in the audience who had a hard time doing the same. He, for the most part, shut up and played — and when he spoke, did so about the music and his past without agenda — but there were a handful of idiots who refused to keep quiet and listen, yelling out inanities at inopportune moments, hooting and whooping, and at times killing the mood that he had so skilfully set.
But still, that’s on them, not on him. Young had done his talking and was willing to let his music say so, so much more on this night.
And when all was said and done, it was one of the best shows this city has been blessed with in recent memory.
Of this, there can be no sides, no arguments, no debates.
As for opener, Canadian contemporary jazz chanteuse Diana Krall, she, too, was aware of why she and us were gathered together, also acknowledging it during a brief introduction to Let It Rain halfway through her almost hour-long, solo set.
“This song’s all about love,” she said, sitting at one of Young’s keyboards. “So I’ll just shut up and sing.”
She did, again, with a sense of familiarity and looseness that were infused her few originals and many covers — Bob Dylan’s Simple Twist of Fate, Cole Porter’s Don’t Fence Me In, Joni Mitchell’s Black Crow, a couple of Tom Waits’s tunes including Take It With Me, and a gorgeous version of The Band’s Ophelia — and made the night something special.
Or that much more special.
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.
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.”
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
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