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Review: Buffalo Springfield added “Flying on the Ground Is Wrong” at Bonnaroo

At least according to this review at

Buffalo Springfield Have Their Greatest Night Ever at Bonnaroo

“We’re Buffalo Springfield . We’re from the past!” shouted singer Richie Furay at the top of his lungs, when the recently reunited band took the main stage at Bonnaroo on Saturday night. And he was right: this band has been gone for a very, very long time. Their last studio album was released in 1968. It’s been decades since their last tour. But that didn’t matter for this show. No, at this performance, it sounded like the classic rock legends had never taken a forty-plus-year break.

Playing almost exclusively from their three studio albums — ‘Buffalo Springfield,’ ‘Buffalo Springfield Again,’ and ‘Last Time Around’ — the group sounded in sync the entire night; surviving Buffalo Springfield members Furay, Neil Young and Stephen Stills showed exactly why the group was inducted into the Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame in 1997. From ‘On the Way Home’ to ‘Flying on the Ground is Wrong’ to ‘Do I Have to Come Right Out and Say It,’ they looked like they were having a blast up on stage, entertaining the tens of thousands that had come out to see them rock out.

But unfortunately, the set was not without its problems. The main complaint heard from the crowd was that the volume just wasn’t high enough. When you are pretty close to the stage at a concert for one of the more influential rock groups ever, there is no reason you should be able to have a clear and coherent conversation with your neighbor without screaming. Alas, you actually could, causing many annoyed Springfield fans to start chants of “Turn up the volume” and “Louder.” In the end, it didn’t work, and everyone had to live with what the current decibel level was at.

Yet that shouldn’t distract from the band’s overall performance. While it did lag a bit toward the middle, renditions of ‘For What It’s Worth’ (which fans didn’t immediately recognize in the beginning because it sounded a bit different) and Young’s ‘Keep on Rockin’ in the Free World,’ showed why Buffalo Springfield was a breeding ground for other iconic classic rock groups ( Crosby, Stills & Nash , Poco and Young’s many other projects and bands).

And from how Young put it at the end, it was as much an important night for Buffalo Springfield as it was for the fans: “It’s great to see you all here,” he said. “We’re lucky to be here with you. This is the greatest thing we’ve ever done.”
Thanks go to Randy S.

Concert Review: Bob Lefsetz/Santa Barbara County Bowl

Gillian Welch played “White Rabbit”.

It was that kind of night. One of memories. Most aged bands try to pretend only the audience got old. They get plastic surgery, dye their hair, try to look like it’s still the sixties or seventies when the audience has gray hair, pot bellies and bad backs. Aging is not pretty, but it’s better than the alternative. A fate that has met two of the original members of Buffalo Springfield. They’re dead.

But we’re not.

So we journeyed up into the hills of Santa Barbara to a venue built as a WPA project that eclipses all those modern buildings sponsored by raping and pillaging corporations that pull their names when they get busted or go out of business. The Bowl has legroom. It’s not that people were fatter in the thirties, quite the opposite, but back then it wasn’t solely about the money. You didn’t want to be squished in together with your brethren at an artistic event, you wanted to be able to spread out and enjoy it.

And one can enjoy even silence at the Santa Barbara County Bowl. The venue is just that spectacular. With surrounding greenery and a view of the Pacific… If all venues were this special the concert business would be flourishing.

Not that tickets were cheap. There’s been some audience resistance. Do you really want to spend two hundred bucks to see an act whose material you don’t really know? Oh, they knew the hit, they knew everything from “Retrospective”, the greatest hits compilation we all went out and bought after devouring “Crosby, Stills & Nash” and needed more, and they played “Rock and Roll Woman” and “Mr. Soul” and “Broken Arrow” and “Bluebird” but the highlight was still…

“For What It’s Worth”.

Stills can barely sing.

But he sure can play.

But when he laid into the groove and Neil added the flourish it was like a six lane highway opened from 1968 to today. You could see who you once were without forgetting who you are today.

I saw the Buffalo Springfield. In ’68. At Fordham University. With Arlo Guthrie and the Union Gap. Back when they were running on the fumes of their one hit, not long before they broke up.

History has been rewritten. At the time, Buffalo Springfield was a one hit wonder. It was only after the fact that we went back and realized how great, how meaningful their songs were.

And they’re frozen in time. All there is is the sixties material. Still extant bands play the new stuff and pay lip service to the old, maybe do a medley, but these ancient songs are all Buffalo Springfield’s got. So it’s either embrace ’em or don’t play ’em.

These cats played ’em.

But they did not play ’em like they did back when. They did not play them like they had something to prove. You know, you know, when the band gets on stage and assaults you, tries to evidence their importance, tries to convince you they matter, usually by turning it up to the point where you can’t even hear yourself think, never mind speak to your neighbor.

No, this was like some old friends got back together in the basement and you were lucky enough to be there. They were smiling and remembering not only when, but who they used to be.

Come on, you played in the basement. You saw the Beatles on TV and bought a guitar and an amp, maybe a drum kit, and put away the board games and after just a smidgen of practice called your buddies over to play, to form a band.

You played the Stones’ “Last Time”, because it was easy.

And you played that stinging note from “For What It’s Worth”. Because it was easy too.

But writing it was really hard.

Most people gave up playing. But some soldiered on. They came to Hollywood and formed bands. The concept that these cats could all be in the same act is mindboggling, the egos! But for a time they were.

And they tried to break through, but they just couldn’t manage it, they broke up, after the hit, after the arguments, they just gave up trying.

It killed us when our favorite acts disintegrated, but musicians are always looking for the next situation, they want to grow, they don’t want to entombed in the past.

But it can be a fun place to visit.

And at first they were a little bit rough.

But it was when Neil Young did a blistering “Mr. Soul” that everything locked into place.

And “I Am A Child” made us swoon. To be singing the words of who you once were not with shame, but irony.

And Neil was irreverent. Like we showed up at his house and it wasn’t really a show.

But what truly brought the memories back was “Bluebird”.

I prefer the version off the first James Gang album. But in any iteration, it’s a killer.

Stills wailed. Neil joined in. They were making a racket. That’s what bands used to do. If no one was telling you to turn it down, you weren’t doing it right.

Still, “For What It’s Worth” was the highlight. Because of the sound, because of the memories, because of the words.

“There’s something happening here
What it is ain’t exactly clear”

This couplet runs through my head more than any other. Seemingly every single day. There’s more happening than ever, what does it mean?

Lady GaGa is the toast of the town one week and then puts up a disastrous second week number and most of the press has moved on. Could it be that the press just doesn’t count? Or record sales don’t count? Or..?

We’ve got a political party that is all about the rich but gets the poor to align with it by pushing social issues. Huh?
We’ve got more innovation in tech than music. Steve Jobs is a bigger rock star than any musician. Musicians are just pawns in the game. Of Jimmy Iovine, Simon Cowell, Mark Burnett… Used to be musicians were only beholden to a higher power.

Not anymore.

Even the oldsters. They just want to know where to sell out.

But not Neil Young. We love him because he never did it our way, never did it any way but his own. Sure, it’s great he won’t tie up with corporations, won’t do ads, but you can’t name a single act in the history of the business who broke through on soft music and then booked an arena tour and plugged in and played all new material shattering the audience’s expectations, demolishing his mainstream career overnight.

And Richie Furay gave up. When do you do this? Buffalo Springfield, Poco, Souther/Hillman/Furay”…he was always close but never broke through, he became a minister and waited for the music to come back to him.

And Stephen Stills. Who practiced so hard and got so good that he almost didn’t need anybody else, and told us, which made him look arrogant and negatively impacted his career, but he was really that good. The first solo was a disappointment after CSNY, but listen to it today and you’ll be blown away. And that first Manassas album is an unheralded masterpiece.

And now it’s all these years later.

Nobody over fifty can have a hit.

It’s questionable if anybody over thirty can have a hit.

And what is a hit anyway?

You can chase the dream, sign a deal, make an album no one will buy, or you can retreat into the music.

Last night was about the music.

But really, it was about life.

We survived. We won. We’re a bit worse for wear. But we still smile. We still laugh. And we still pony up to go to the show.

Because we remember when it was a tribal rite. When you had to listen to the radio to know which way the wind blew. When the only way you could communicate with your brethren was to buy a ticket and go to the show.

If you’re old enough, you remember.

It was almost half a century ago. Way over forty years. In a world where you don’t even want last year’s cell phone. But back in those days music ruled the world.

Buffalo Springfield was just a little bit ahead of their time.

But now that time has come around again.

That’s what happens if you don’t shave edges, if you don’t play by the man’s rules, but your own. Neil Young still has his credibility. And on that basis we give Stephen Stills a pass, we invite him back into the club and are joyful at giving Richie Furay his due.

All these years later this music still matters.

We know this, but last night Buffalo Springfield reminded us.

bh racontez: — Visit the archive: etc/

Buffalo Springfield – 01.06.11 Konzertreview

Peter from Belgium reports from the field:

Where to start!

I came over to San Francisco with tickets for tonights show in Oakland, and Saturdays show at The Wiltern in LA… Wednesday morning it was raining so I stayed a bit longer on the internet… and stumbled across a site selling off some tickets for the show that evening!

As some of you who follow me on Facebook will already know, I was able to purchase a seat for $17, plus charges! OK, I was up in the nose bleeds, but I was there!

The entertainment started at the pre-show meet, attended by around 30 Rusties and Shorers, amongst them ‘Lost Dog’ who I met for the first (and only) time, at the Neil Young show in Gent, Belgium in 2001!

After a few beers and some food, we headed of to The Fox Theatre, what a beautiful venue! Gillian Weich open the show, accompanied as ever by Dave Rawlings. She did a great job, but anticipation was already building for the main event!

What made this so unique, for me at least, was the knowledge that no one had any idea what songs they would play, and of course no idea of what order either! Unlike recent C&N, CS&N, CSN&Y and NY shows, where it has become fairly predictable at times. So it was fair to assume we’d get some of the songs Stills and Young have been singing in recent years, such as Rock and Roll Woman, Bluebird, Mr.Sould, Expecting to Fly and FWIW. We weren’t disaappointed, although Expecting to Fly didn’t appear in the set, the other 4 did!

The stage set up was interesting too, from where I was sat it appeared that Richie Furay’s mic stand was clearly in front of those for Stills and Young. Indeed one of my impressions from the evening was Young standing back a little and letting his two old buddies have the limelight, Young of course had the last word, but I’ll come to that in a minute!

So they opened, surprisingly in my opinion, with ‘On The Way Home’, with Furay out front on lead vocals… then they moved into what I thought they’d open with, Stills, ‘Rock and Roll Woman…’ done this time in the ‘Buffalo Springfield’ style and finishing in about 4 minutes, unlike the Stills solo version with the extended guitar break. I’m not even going to try and remember the whole set list, you’ll find hat elswhere I’m sure!

They played just about every well known Springfield song, Young was in fine form, cracking jokes on stage… such as “we’re the Buffalo Springfield, we’re from the past!” and a comment, which I didn’t catch all of but was along the lines “we haven’t worked for 43 years… can you believe that? 43 years!”.

My personal highlights, ‘R & R Woman’, ‘Nowdays Clancy can’t even sing’, a really rocking version of ‘Mr Soul’, and too many others to recall, everyone a gem though! They completed the set with an extended rocking version of ‘Bluebird’.

Then came for me, the not only the surprise of the evening, but the undoubted highlight!

The first song of the encore was a stunning rendition of ‘Broken Arrow’…

This was the song that first brought NY to my notice, guess I never thought I’d see it played live! Even with the idiots in the audience screaming through the quiet parts, this song still moved me! Then we had ‘For what it’s worth’, finally shutting up the stupid woman behind me who’d been screaming for it since the start of the concert! They ended a 90+ minute set with the great Buffalo Springfield song (not), ‘Rocking in the free world’!

A strange choice and sadly out of place here, but as I said in the beginning, NY likes to have the last word! What was interesting on this version was that Young let Stills take lead… so during one of the extended guitar breaks that puntuated the 7+ minute version, we had Stills at the very front of the stage in the spotlight, giving it his all, whilst Young and Furay stayed back neat the drum riser, seemingly content to let Stills loose!

After around 95 minutes and three encores, they left to a standing ovation, well deserved in my opinion… a really original show, with the slight exception of ‘Rocking in the free world’ at the end… I think I’d have preferred it if they’d squeezed a couple of other Springfield tunes in the middle of the set, and maybe finished with Mr Soul… but hey for $17, who am I to complain!!!

Tonight it’s more of the same, but from my expensive seat near the stage… will try to write in again tomorrow if there’s any significant changes to the set.

All in all a great evening, made more so by the Rusties and Shorers at the
pre-show! Will try to upload some photos later, there are a few on my Facebook page for those of you who are friends of mine there!


Concert Review: USA Today, June 2, 2011

By Marco R. della Cava, USA Today, June 2, 2011

OAKLAND, Calif. — His imposing frame cloaked in a fringed leather jacket and wispy hair secured under a Panama hat, Neil Young smirked at the microphone as he summarized the vibe. “We’re Buffalo Springfield,” he announced to the packed Fox Theater crowd, “and we’re from the past.”

But Young wasn’t entirely correct. Wednesday’s concert, which kicked off the band’s first tour since it disbanded in 1968, proved to be far more than a mere greatest hits revival as it showcased the musical journeys of its three surviving members through a tight, 18-song set that ranged from mellow to monstrous. Meanwhile, the smell of marijuana wafted through the ornate 1920s theater with golden walls and large statues that look like cat Buddhas.

The tour continues to Los Angeles and Santa Barbara before hitting the Bonnaroo Music Festival June 11.

Opening with a compelling “On The Way Home,” one of the songs that defines this short-lived ’60s hit machine with its lilting harmonies and punchy pop sound, Young, Stephen Stills and Richie Furay (ably backed by drummer Joe Vitale and bass player Rick Rosas, who replaced the late Dewey Martin and Bruce Palmer) showed that a successful regrouping at last fall’s Bridge School benefit concert was no fluke.

Stills’ high lonesome voice anchored “Rock and Roll Woman,” while Young’s distinctive cry lit up “Burned.” But Furay, who stood center stage, reminded everyone he was the linchpin, his plaintive tone painting songs such as “Kind Woman,” “Do I Have to Come Right Out and Say It” and “Sad Memory” with a soulful brush that had women in the largely Baby Boomer crowd doe-eyed.

“We grew up with their music, so to hear it live is just amazing,” said Sheri Barschi, 53, of New York, who convinced her childhood friend Jodi Coren, 54, to leave Miami and rendezvous with her in the Bay Area for this show. “Look at her, she’s dancing like she’s 12.”

Coren stopped long enough to point out she was wearing the same embroidered jeans she sported against her parents’ wishes as a teen. “I wouldn’t have missed this for anything,” she said.

On stage, the motif was far simpler. Beneath a sign bearing the band’s name, Young and company had assembled a few vintage Fender amplifiers and a scruffy upright piano that shone beneath a Tiffany-style lamp. The only nod to extravagance was the trio’s many guitar changes, which included Fender Stratocasters and Flying Vs (Stills), a black Gibson Les Paul (Young’s weapon of choice) and a vast assortment of electrified acoustic guitars (for all three).

One of the most interesting byproducts of seeing Buffalo Springfield in concert is being able to instantly hear why they could not last. Any Furay tune announces his soft-rock future in Poco. Hear Young sing “I Am A Child” and you sense the inevitability of his solo career. And when Stills blasts out “Bluebird,” you know that his melding with David Crosby and Graham Nash (and later Young) was pre-ordained. But mostly, one is amazed at the sheer quality of music from a bunch of guys in their 20s who, for the most part, were in their first band.

Indeed, much of Buffalo Springfield’s success four decades back can be attributed to catchy harmonizing atop astutely constructed chord progressions. But that pop music formula was occasionally chased from the room Wednesday, never more so than when Young thundered through “Mr. Soul,” stomping across the stage like a T. rex who missed dinner. Dueling with Stills while Furay looked on amazed, these men seemed more like boys, grinning wildly as they pushed each other to the sonic edge.

Fun ruled the night, from the frequent smiles to the impromptu quips. Taking his time introducing “Do I Have To,” Young seemed like he was stalling. He smiled, then joked, “Hey, we only know about 10 songs, so we have to really stretch things out.”

The 90-minute show wrapped with a three-song encore featuring Young’s mixed-tempo “Broken Arrow,” Stills’ iconic “For What It’s Worth” and closing with Young’s anthemic post-Springfield tune, “Rockin’ In The Free World.”

Afterward, backstage, a joyful Furay said the show was nothing short of a time machine.
“I felt I was back at (Los Angeles’) Whiskey-a-Go-Go forty-odd years ago, singing to my wife,” he said. “What amazes me is that the songs still hold up so many years later.”
Furay said the trio rehearsed “for a solid week.” For Stills, that was enough. “At a certain point we all felt like, let’s just get out there and do it,” he said.

There were no Whiskey flashbacks for Stills, though. “Nah, back then we were young and small and we just hoped people wouldn’t leave the show,” he said with a laugh.

Nearby, Young, nursing a cold beer, grinned. “Sometimes,” he said, “it’s good to be from the past.”

Concert Review: Oakland Tribune

Review: Buffalo Springfield rides into Oakland

By Jim Harrington
Oakland Tribune
Posted: 06/02/2011 02:55:27 AM PDT

Buffalo Springfield June 1 2011

Don’t tell me you didn’t see this coming.

Buffalo Springfield’s long-awaited reunion at the 24th annual Bridge School Benefit at Shoreline Amphitheatre in Mountain View back in October — which marked the legendary 1960s group’s first public performances in 42 years — was simply too good to be a one-off event.

So it really wasn’t that big a surprise when Buffalo Springfield announced earlier this year it was planning to tour for the first time since the band split up in 1968.

Surely the promise of a big payday — a headlining set at Tennessee’s mammoth Bonnaroo festival on June 11 — factored into the decision to fire up the tour buses. But, perhaps naively, I’d like to think it also had something to do with this how meaningful the Buffalo Springfield songbook is to both the musicians and the fans.

That’s the impression I got watching the reunited Springfield — which features original members Stephen Stills, Richie Furay and the Bay Area’s own Neil Young — at the Bridge School. And I got an even stronger sense of that during the group’s performance Wednesday night at Oakland’s Fox Theater, the kickoff of a six-date California tour designed to properly prep Buffalo Springfield for its Bonnaroo set.

Wednesday’s sold-out concert — the first half of a two-night stand at the venue — was superior in many ways to what was witnessed nearly eight months ago at Shoreline. Topping the list, however, was that the band was able to “plug in” at the Fox, instead of having to adhere to the “acoustic only” Bridge School format.

As expected, that change paid huge dividends, providing Stills and Young — both of whom made Rolling Stone magazine’s much-discussed list of “100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time” — with ample opportunities to light up the frets. Watching these two studs lock horns on the live stage — be it with Buffalo Springfield or with their other signature band, Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young — never fails to impress.

The group, which also features Crosby, Stills and Nash drummer Joe Vitale in place of the late Dewey Martin and Young’s regular bassist Rick Rosas filling in for the late Bruce Palmer, sounded quite convincing as it filled the 90-minute show with selections from Buffalo Springfield’s three-album-strong songbook.

The quintet opened with “On the Way Home,” immediately followed with “Rock & Roll Woman,” and then proceeded to play just about every Buffalo Springfield song that a fan would want to hear, as well as a few that could’ve been easily trimmed from the set list.

The voices have changed over the last four decades, with Still’s suffering the most drastic weathering, but that couldn’t stop the wave of nostalgia that swept over the audience, a good portion of which was probably old enough to remember buying 1967’s “Buffalo Springfield Again” when it first came out.

Those seeing Buffalo Springfield for the first time might’ve been shocked to learn that it’s anything but Neil Young and a backing band. Fans, especially those living in the Bay Area, are used to seeing the Wizard of Woodside run the show. But Young, Furay and Stills come across as equals during a Buffalo Springfield concert, which is a very different vibe than what you get when you see Young perform with Crosby, Stills and Nash.

That factors into the reason why Buffalo Springfield is so interesting. The three co-leaders are dynamically different, and they each pull the band in their own directions. Furay, who would go on to form Poco after leaving Buffalo Springfield, favors smooth, sleek country-pop sounds, while Young prefers some rough edges and Stills is just looking for any excuse to blaze.

Buffalo Springfield changes its sound so drastically, moving from Furay softly crooning “Do I Have to Come Right Out and Say It” to Young and Stills trading hot licks on “Mr. Soul,” that it’s hard to believe it’s all coming from the same band.

One might wish for more Young — and, indeed, his numbers were the highlights of this show — and a little less Furay. But that would defeat the whole purpose of this reunion, which is to remember what made Buffalo Springfield so intriguing in the first place.

And, boy, did the encore ever serve as a potent reminder. It opened with the fan-favorite “Broken Arrow,” included the all-time great protest anthem “For What It’s Worth,” and ended with a stellar version of Young’s “Keep on Rocking in the Free World.”

One can only hope that the reunited Buffalo Springfield decides to take that last song’s message to heart.

thanks go to randy s.

Random Quote

I was in and out of consciousness, high on morphine. I was so sick I was hallucinating - I remember thinking I was floating around the hospital.
by -- Neil Young

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