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‘Concert Reviews’ Articles

Buffalo: Concert Review: Oakland June 1, 2011

Buffalo Springfield Launch First Tour in 43 Years
Alternate Take
/from Rolling Stone

Stephen Stills, Richie Furay and Neil Young play on June 1st, 2011 at the Fox Theater in Oakland, CA. Photograph by Jay Blakesberg for

“Thank you, we’re Buffalo Springfield,” Neil Young announced early in the band’s June 1st show at the Fox Theater in Oakland, the opening date of the Springfield’s first tour since the spring of 1968. “We’re from the past,” Young added drily.

They were not – he could have added without fear of contradiction – stuck in it. For nearly two hours, in a performance comprised almost entirely of songs from nearly half a century ago, Buffalo Springfield’s surviving members and original vocal-songwriting front line – Young and singer-guitarists Stephen Stills and Richie Furay – played like a band genuinely reborn: thrilled to be on stage again, determined not to let their songs or legacy down. There was jubilant fraternity in the close-harmony singing, especially by Young and Furay in the soft vocal rain at the end of “On the Way Home” and their gleaming Morse-code flourishes behind Stills’ grainy tenor in “Rock and Roll Woman.”

Photos: Buffalo Springfield Kick Off Their Reunion Tour

…moar: /from Rolling Stone

Buffalo Springfield Concert Review by Michael Golden: Oakland, CA, 2011-06-01|02

Nice and interesting concert review by Michael Golden – many thanks from the BNB Team.

Having grown up with Neil Young, literally, I was old enough to know and appreciate Buffalo Springfield, but too young to ever see them perform. My formative years were spent watching Neil’s solo career blossom in addition to seeing CSNY on many an occasion. When I found out that the surviving members of Buffalo Springfield were going to hit the road, I had to be there.

So last night, I make the pilgrimage to the Bay Area for the opening night of their 6 show stint in California. The Fox Theater is a great venue. There’s not a bad seat in the house. Having a 5th row seat doesn’t hurt either. I saw Neil’s shows at this venue last year, so I knew where to go, where to park, and what to expect.

Gillian Welch was the opening act. I knew that I was in for good times as her music held my attention with every note. She is a great musician, and whoever selected her to open for Buffalo Springfield is a true genius. (Probably Neil). Gillian Welch was so good that I was disappointed when her set was over. But the anticipation of what to expect going forward was compelling.

Around 9:15, the lights dimmed, and our man walked out onto the stage with Stephen Stills, Rick (the bass player) Rosas, Richie Furay, and Joe Vitale. Stephen Stills looked great. He’s lost a lot of weight, and he just had his act together. Neil was wearing a vintage leather jacket with fringes hanging off it, Buffalo Springfield era. The crowd was on our feet, and for good reason. The opening notes, and right into it with On The Way Home!

This is where things got really interesting and exciting. As a long standing fan of Neil’s, I was thinking he would be singing On The Way Home. To the contrary, Richie Furay did. If you have Buffalo Springfield’s 3 albums, which I would recommend all three, you would know that Neil wasn’t singing this song. Richie Furay was. The band was concerned about Neil’s vocals back then, so Richie Furay would from time to time sing for Neil on Neil’s songs.

The entire set was phenomenal, but so were Richie Furay, Neil, and Stephen Stills! Richie Furay impressed me the most. He was just on target, and seemed to be holding the entire show together with his vocals and rythm guitar. Throghout the entire gig, I was waiting for Neil to breakout. It never happened. That’s what made this show incredible. I saw a side of Neil Young in concert I had never seen before. He wasn’t acting as a solo artist. He was part of a band of equals. As much as I wanted Neil to break away from the band and get into one of those incredbile Neil solos, he didn’t do it. This made the performance all the better.

The coordination of their music was just impeccable. The selections were great. There was a song Richie Furay did after Clancey that I had never heard before, but aside from it, all the tunes were old Buffalo Springfield until the very end, Rockin’ In The Free World. Broken Arrow was stunning, as was A Child’s Claim to Fame, Rock n Roll Woman, and Burned. There were so many great tunes that I have never heard done live, and they were done right by Buffalo Springfield.

The crowd was a little foreign to me. I didn’t see anyone I knew, but that was OK. I wasn’t there to socialize, only to take it all in. My greatest regret was not having a ticket for this evening’s show. Had I known how good Buffalo Springfield were going to be, I would have gone both nights. My advice to anyone who has an interest in their music – do what it takes to see them perform. This is a side of Neil Young you have never seen before, and you may not see again.

Michael Golden
Truckee, California

Review: Sharry on Massey Hall, part 2

Neil Young Massey Hall by Sharry


I previously posted about Neil’s concert at Massey Hall on Tuesday night. I also attended his show on Wednesday night.

Both of these concerts really meant a lot to me. My very first live Neil show was at Massey Hall in 1971 — 40 years ealier. (Here we are in the years. Yikes!) I had also attended two of his three shows at Massey Hall in 2007.

I was really into Neil’s performances. I loved all the songs from “Le Noise” and felt they were the highlight on his setlist. His encore number. “Walk With Me,” was really what it was all about in a nutshell. He was inviting audience members to “walk with him” on his musical journey. I loved the big sound and the sonic-like endings of the songs from “Le Noise.”

Massey Hall by Sharry

I must admit that I enjoyed Tuesday night’s performance more than Wednesday’s. I had a decent seat on the floor for Tuesday, but had an obstructed seat in the left balcony for Wednesday. (A pillar was directly in front of my line of vision. I had to lean over to the left or right to get a clear view of the stage.)

To add insult to injury, I had the misfortune of having two stinking drunk guys sitting right beside me. (They were much worse than the two drunk guys I had sitting next to me on Tuesday night.) I heard them walk into the left balcony area and stumble around lookng for their seats. In my mind I was thinking, “Please don’t let them be seated beside me, please don’t let them be seated beside me.”

My wishes were for naught, because they did have tickets for the seats directly on my left. The guy sitting beside would not shut up the entire evening. And it got worse as the evening progressed. He was talking loudly during Neil’s songs, shouting out requests, clapping loudly and singing, and voicing his general disapproval that Neil wasn’t playing his “greatest hits.” And this was after Jonathan Demme politely asked audience members to refrain from doing exactly what this drunk guy kept doing. He tried to engage me in his conversation, but I would only say “Sh-h-h-h!” as a response. When I did that it prompted him to say aloud, “Why is that lady saying Sh-h-h-? Whoever heard of being quiet at a Neil Young concert?” He also reeked of beer and kept leaning over towards me. I tried to disregard him the best that I could and try to focus my attention on Neil.

On the whole, I think the audience was better behaved on Wednesday night. You could hear other people saying “Sh-h-h” if someone else in the audience shouted out to Neil. Unfortunately, one of the worst offenders seemed to be sitting right beside me.

I also noticed that a lot of people around me were attempting to take photos with their cell phones. There were also a number of people who seemed to be  continuously checking their e-mail or sending text messages. It was as if they couldn’t go for five minutes without checking their e-mail. I thought that was very disrespectful and rude. The ushers were kept very busy watching out for any camera flashes or for people taking photos with their cell phones.

I was very respectful of not taking any photos and, consequently, I only took photos at the Rustfest on Wednesday and some exterior shots of Massey Hall.

I felt quite embarrassed about the crowd’s behaviour on both nights.  (Although Wednesday was generally better than Tuesday.) On Tuesday night I recall that someone yelled out loudly to Neil during one of his quiet songs and it made him lose his concentration and flub a line. (I think he repeated one of the lines or missed a line.)

I also felt very bad for Neil. It was an honour that Neil selected his two Massey Hall gigs to be filmed by Jonathan Demme. He was expecting the audience to appreciate the shows in a respectful manner and I felt that we had let him down.

It wasn’t like the Toronto audience I recall from attending his 1971 gig. I remember when I was at that show that you could hear a pin drop when Neil was singing. (I recall that this was most distinct when he was playing “Journey Through the Past.”)

I hope that Jonathan Demme is able to piece together some decent footage that isn’t marred by noisy disrespectful audience members’ call-outs, loud whistling or lame requests.


Sharry (Up in T.O. keepin’ jive alive)

Neil Young tour bus in TorontoSharry in front of Neil Young's tour bus at Massey Hall 2011 [click on all images to see them full-size]

goto Sharry‘s review, part 2.

Review: Sharry on Massey Hall, part 1

Massey Hall 2011


I had a great time at Neil’s show tonight at Massey Hall. The setlist remained the same as at his recent shows. No complaints from me since it was the first time I had seen one of his Twisted Road Tour shows.

I had a seat in Row I on the floor off to the left side.  (I was seven seats in from the extreme left aisle.) One of the cameras was set up a few rows behind us in the aisle.

Just by chance another Rustie sat next to me; Gerry Peters who also attended the Rustfest at the Pickle Barrel.  We had 12 people attend and expect about the same number tomorrow. It was great seeing everyone and I look forward to the Rustfest tomorrow. My seat is in the centre balcony area, Row J.

After the lights went off and Bert Jansch began his performance I noticed a person wearing a familiar looking white jacket with a few colourful (red, green and grey) horizontal stripes walking up the extreme left aisle. My Bob Young radar was finely attuned and I knew it was him as soon as I got a glimpse of his jacket (in the dark yet! 🙂 ). He was wearing the same jacket that he wore when he dined at the Chemong Lodge in Bridgenorth (near Peterborough) with Neil last October when he also paid a visit to the Youngtown Museum.

(See Bob Young wearing the same jacket below.)

at the

Bob Young was seated a row or two behind where I was sitting, but more towards the middle of the audience. (Note: Greg Keelor of Blue Rodeo was sitting nearby and I saw him chatting with Bob Young. At Neil’s last shows at Massey Hall in November 2007 I saw Jim Cuddy of Blue Rodeo in the audience and spoke with him for a few minutes and got his autograph.)

I decided to go up to him after Bert Jansch’s set and thank him for his work as one of the Executive Producers, along with Jan Haust, on “This Wheel’s On Fire.” I got his attention, introduced myself, informed him that we had met previously, and thanked him for his efforts as the Executive Producer and told him that I really enjoyed “This Wheel’s On Fire.” I then shook his hand, smiled and left to use the washroom facilities and get a fresh bottle of water.

Back to Neil… He came on-stage at about 9:10 p.m. He seemed really engaged with the audience and was very gracious with his waves, smiles and hand gestures. (He made the Namaste gesture where he bowed a bit and held his hands together in the inverted “V” shape after playing “Cinnamon Girl.”)

He made some really amusing comments while introducing “Leia,” which he said was for all the “Little People.”

His references to Ontario and Toronto went over very well and received a lot of enthusiastic applause. (“There is a house in North Ontario” and “You didn’t see me in Tarawna when I first tried out some hash.”) There were numerous shout-outs by audience members of “Welcome home, Neil!” and the like.

There were also some boorish audience members who shouted out requests, whistled and hollered during inapproriate moments and talked when Neil was playing. I had a few of them sitting beside me to my left and they were really irritating. They had obviously had one too many beers and one of them got up at least three times to exit the hall and then return, making everyone stand up to let him get back to his seat.

I noticed that Neil was really into using the “Le Noise” sonics at the end of this songs and I thought it was very cool. “Hitchhiker” was really powerful and amazing. I also really enjoyed “Love and War,” “You Never Call,” and “Peaceful Valley.”

I didn’t take a camera along because I thought Massy Hall might be really strict about allowing people to bring in cameras because of the filming. That turned out not to be the case. It appeared that they weren’t checking very thoroughly at all. I plan to bring my camera tomorrow. (I won’t use it during the show — just at the Rustfest and for some exterior photos of Massey Hall, Neil’s bus, etc.)

I discovered that cold bottles of water were also being sold at the Coat Check downstairs. (Instead of having to line up at the crowded bar downstairs.)

After the show I went downstairs to the merchandise table and purchased the Le Noise Flip Book and a black baseball back for Bob. I showed it to Bob when I got home and he really liked it.

I’m looking forward to the Rustfest and Neil’s concert tomorrow night.

Sharry (Up in T.O. keepin’ jive alive)

Sharry at Toronto










goto Sharry‘s review, part 2.

Concert Review: Neil Young Comes Home Again. Again. – The Torontoist

Neil Young Toronto 2011

Neil Young Comes Home Again. Again.
By John Semley on May 12, 2011, The Torontoist.

J. Hoberman, film critic for the Village Voice, summed up Canadian filmmaker Guy Maddin as “the most eccentric of mainstream filmmakers (or the most accessible of avant-gardists).” It’s a handy turn of phrase that rings true as it is perfectly pithy, and captures the in-between status of Maddin and his work. It can also be, with slight rejigging, applied rather usefully to another slightly off-kilter Canadian artist (and erstwhile Winnipegger), Neil Young. Because Young’s work, even the cottage-rock classics of the late ‘60s and ‘70s, has always existed in a fuzzy intermediary state. At the risk of ripping off Hoberman, Neil Young may well be the most mainstream of outsider artists.

Like a lot of outsider musicians, Young projects that sense of frailty that emboldens audience members at concerts to shout out, “I LOVE YOU NEIL!” not just because they want to express enthusiasm for his music (or, maybe, because they actually love him love him), but because something about him makes them think that he actually needs the encouragement. In his nearly 50 years as a musician, Young’s persona has shifted and flipped around so many times—from shy-seeming singer-songwriter to cokey grunge-rocker, to weird-wacko-whoknowswhat who directed a little-seen movie called Human Highway (starring Devo and Dennis Hopper), to veteran environmentalist, humanitarian, and certified (twice, in the Rock And Roll Hall of Fame) rock sage.

Other highlights: An as-yet unreleased song called “Leia,” a beautiful little lullaby to “the little people” performed on upright piano [extra for Randy!]; an absolutely show-stopping rendition of “Cortez the Killer,” one of those long songs that can never be long enough; Jonathan Demme seeming like a really genuinely nice guy.

–> moar on:
[with great photos by Nancy Paiva ! This photo here, also by Nancy Paiva, who did this wonderful series of Neil photos]

Random Quote

\"It\'s all one song!\"
by -- by Neil Young

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