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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.”

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Random Quote

Like Bob Dylan, with whom he is most comparable, Young periodically falls in and out of favor with public taste, but at no point in the past has that stunted his ambition.
by Mark Guarino, Chicago Daily Herald, 29 Aug 2003.

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