Neil Young Surprises Pearl Jam at Toronto Concert With 15-Minute ‘Keep on Rockin’
While many were speculating that either Chris Cornell or U2′s Bono would join Pearl Jam onstage during their Sept. 11 in Toronto as both rockers were in town for TIFF festivities, it was Canadian crooner Neil Young who surprised the stadium-sized crowd by taking the Air Canada Centre stage with the Seattle group.
Pearl Jam — in town to kick off their latest Canadian tour as well as premiere their ‘Pearl Jam Twenty’ documentary at TIFF — were closing their 26-song, 150-minute set with a cover of Young’s ‘Rockin’ in the Free World’ when the iconic singer came onstage to help bring the track home. Young would make the most of the cameo, extending the song well into what seemed like the 15-minute range. The response from the sold-out audience was nothing short of deafening.
“Uncle Neil,” as Eddie Vedder called him, then harmonized with Pearl Jam’s frontman — who actually seemed quite surprised by Young’s appearance — on one microphone before rounding things out with a huge finish and hugging it out with the band, who played on his 1995 album, ‘Mirror Ball.’
Tomorrow, Monday 12 Sept, the new movie by Jonathan Demme about 2011 Massey Hall shows will screen at the Toronto film festival TIFF. Location: “Princess of Wales” – nice name. More info on NeilYoungTimes/news. Our special reporter Sharry is on scene.
We all wish that Sharry, who has tix for the show, will take notes on pen and papers, in particular the Neil/Demme conversation, but also the movie in itself.
TIFF: Jonathan Demme Talks Neil Young and Katrina Docs, Exclusive Clip — Thompson on Hollywood
New York filmmaker Jonathan Demme is heading for the Toronto Fest with the latest film in his Neil Young concert trilogy, Neil Young Journeys [formerly known as "Neil Young Life"], which follows 2006’s Heart of Gold and Neil Young Trunk Show in 2009.
And Demme’s love of Neil Young goes back to the start of his music-making in the late 60s. Young wrote the end-title song for Philadelphia; Demme met the musician soon after, who told him he’d love him to shoot a music video someday. “Then I saw Greendale,” says Demme, and contacted Young, who called him again six months later. He wanted to turn Greendale into a film, but Demme was already in pre-production on The Manchurian Candidate.
Later Young called Demme and told him he was finishing his album “Prairie Wind,” which became the basis of their moving Nashville concert movie Heart of Gold. “That show was never performed anywhere else, only the two nights,” says Demme. “The whole thing was hand-crafted. It was just magic.” The costumes and backdrops in the show were custom-made.
Demme also shot four shows of the 40-city Chrome Dreams world tour for Trunk Show. Warners has yet to release the DVD. “It’s frustrating,” Demme says.
This past May, Neil Young brought his solo tour to Toronto’s Massey Hall, an iconic venue in the city of his birth. Jonathan Demme was on hand to capture the two nights, which highlighted new songs from the album Le Noise, produced by Daniel Lanois, mixed with classics like “Ohio” and “I Believe in You.” At sixty-five, Young retains a youthful vitality and musical curiosity that balances his wisdom and experience.
It’s no wonder he’s been an inspiration to the likes of Pearl Jam and Sonic Youth. In Neil Young Journeys, Demme intersperses the Massey Hall concert footage with brief scenes from a road trip through Ontario.
Driving a 1956 Ford Crown Victoria, Young visits the rural town of Omemee, where he spent a key part of his formative years, and reminisces about his former neighbours and their daughters. As he drives past bulldozers transforming the landscape, he remarks, “It’s all gone… it’s still in my head.”