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Calgary, Jack Singer Concert Hall


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.

Debunked: The Top 10 Stupid Arguments in Neil Young Debate

deal with it

Op-ed on anti-Neil arguments, using straw man, shoot-the-messenger, ad-hominem common logical fallacies (A List Of Fallacious Arguments here).

On Wed, 2014-01-22 DAVID VEITCH writes:

Debunked: The Top 10 Stupid Arguments in Neil Young Debate

The Honour the Treaties tour is now over and, as Neil Young presumably heads back to his California home, mission accomplished, the Canadian media — especially the Alberta media — can find another reason to hyperventilate.

It was a tough time for me, a former journalist, reading many opinion columns inspired by Young’s tour and his recent statements about the Alberta oilsands.
Not because I’m pro-oilsands.
Not because I’m anti-oilsands.
Nope, I found the op-ed pages infuriating to read because, above all else, I am anti-stupid arguments. And from what I read in Alberta newspapers, columnists made a ton of them in the days leading up to Young’s final show in Calgary.

Valid criticisms of Young’s position were difficult to find in the media — not because the musician’s provocative opinions were beyond reproach but because many op-ed writers seemingly lost touch with their critical faculties. They resorted to name-calling (“Hypocrite! Hippie! Old dude!”) and backed up their opinions with the same collection of asinine arguments.

In an exercise of possible self-loathing, I started making a list of the media’s most common stupid arguments why Canadians shouldn’t listen to what Young has to say. Read on, if you dare, but be warned these could make your brain hurt:

  1. “He’s an aging rocker.” Yes, you heard correctly. Media has uncovered the disturbing fact that the 68-year-old ages one year every Nov. 12 which, apparently, makes his opinions entirely invalid. If you want the truth about oilsands development, seek out Benjamin Button.
  2. “He’s a celebrity.” Columnists argue being famous for one thing precludes you from having knowledge about something else. Except there are approximately a gazillion examples that refute this argument. Off the top of my head: comedian Jay Leno and cars; filmmaker Woody Allen and jazz; Prime Minister Stephen Harper and hockey; singer Miley Cyrus and, um, wrecking balls.
  3. “He’s a pot-smoking hippie.” So was Steve Jobs and he wasn’t exactly a know-nothing deadbeat. Next…
  4. “He lives in the U.S., so he should get his nose out of Canada’s business.” This argument is particularly irritating when it comes from columnists who regularly chime in about U.S. policy on, say, the Obama administration’s handling of the Keystone XL Pipeline Project.
  5. “He was born in Canada but lives in the U.S. He’s not Canadian anymore.” Just to be clear: with this argument, columnists are referring to Young, not Canadian-born companies such as Nexen and Husky Energy, which are now controlled by foreign interests.
  6. “He’s using this anti-oil crusade to sell his electric car.” Oh how I laugh when columnists trot out this supposed smoking gun, as if to suggest Young has more to profit from spinning the truth about oilsands development than oil companies.
  7. “But he flies in planes, which use oil, and he sold records, which are made of oil. So he’s a hypocrite.” Of course, almost everyone on Earth uses a product derived from petroleum; this argument suggests no one has the moral authority to question the actions of Big Oil. Using the same argument, newspaper columnists should never criticize or question municipal, provincial and/or federal governments because they surely use these government services.
  8. “He compared what’s happening in Fort Mac to the human tragedy of Hiroshima — that’s an insult to the families of those who perished in the atomic bomb blast.”No, Young did not say that. (For the record, he said the region “looks like Hiroshima.”) Nor did he say he wants all oilsands workers to lose their jobs. Nor did he tell children Santa isn’t real. This straw man was No. 1 on the Logical Fallacy Charts during Honor the Treaties Week.
  9. “He should shut up and sing.” So say the columnists who’ve never bothered to listen to the lyrics of After The Goldrush (“We got Mother Nature on the run”) or Vampire Blues (“I’m a vampire, babe, suckin’ blood from the earth/Well, I’m a vampire, babe, sell you 20 barrels worth.”)
    And finally…
  10. “He’s irrelevant.” Hundreds of column inches dedicated to Young’s every word suggest otherwise.

Twitter Hijacks #NeilYoungLies With Hilarious Results

n-NEIL-YOUNG-large570The backlash to Neil Young’s anti-oilsands crusade now has a slogan Neil Young Lies, a website and a twitter feed which savages the singer’s environmental activism, according to Huffington Post.

@NeilYoungLies launched yesterday with this tweet:

NEW SITE exposing @NeilYoungLies in his campaign of abusing celebrity status to wage a campaign of deceit & propaganda against #cdn oilsands.

But their #NeilYoungLies hashtag was quickly, and hilariously, hijacked by snarky Twitter users.

Check out the hilarious tweets at

Here’s a few:

“The Cinnamon Girl was actually nutmeg.”

“Cortez was aquitted of all charges.”

“Flying Mother Nature’s silver seed to a new home in the sun. Impossible. No one can live in the sun.”

“Rust sometimes sleeps.”

“You don’t resemble a hurricane in any way.”

“No! Not everybody knows this is nowhere!”

“‘Down by the river, I shot my baby dead.'” Neil Young has NEVER been found guilty of murder. Who is he covering for?”


The NeilYoungLies.CA initiator:



Neil & Petro Producers did not meet

B821505985Z_1_20140119135831_000_GT215KFDJ_2_Content“It is like a war zone, a disaster area from war, what’s happened up there,” Young told a news conference ahead of his Winnipeg concert. is reporting that Neil Young did not accept an invitation from a petroleum producers group to meet before his final concert to raise money for opponents of Alberta’s oilsands.

The Hamilton Spectator is located in  Hamilton, Ontario, Canada.

The Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers issued a statement today (Sunday Jan. 19)  saying it offered to “have a balanced discussion” Young and the chief of a first nation that is fighting oilsands development, according to

But a representative of Young and Athabasca Fort Chipewyan First Nation Chief Allan Adam offered an alternative that was unacceptable, CAPP said.

“Young’s representative suggested oilsands producers participate in Neil Young’s media conference today, but when CAPP requested a neutral moderator and equal representation, the organizer said this was not acceptable,” the CAPP statement said.

His tour wraps up tonight in Alberta, the province with the most at stake in the debate over the economic and environmental effects of oilsands development.

Young remained unbowed throughout the week of benefit concerts for the Athabasca Fort Chipewyan First Nation and warned on Thursday that Alberta could end up looking “like the moon” if land isn’t preserved.

Read more at:


Neil Young benefit tour inspires First Nation member

Proceeds from 4 concerts go to Athabascan Chipewyan First Nation’s fight against oilsands expansion

By Angela Sterritt, CBC News Posted: Jan 12

Lionel Lepine used to be a heavy hauler for energy giant Suncor but decided to quit his job after he began reassessing the impact that the oilsands industry had on his First Nations community and the environment.

Lionel Lepinesays watching Neil Young from his front row seats at the Conexus Arts Centre in Regina next Friday will be a dream come true.

The Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation member and aspiring guitar player is on his way to Regina to see the rock legend perform on Jan. 17. The concert is part of Young’s Honour the Treaties tour, the proceeds of which will go toward the First Nation’s legal battle against the expansion of the Jackpine Mine oilsands project. Neil Young is holding four concerts to benefit the legal fight against oilsands development affecting the Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation.

“For him to do this concert for my people, well not many other musicians would do a show like this, but he sees that there’s a big problem going on down there in the tarsands,” Lepine said.

Young visited the oilsands just outside of Fort McMurray last year, and after being shocked by the image of the vast crater-like impact of the oilsands on the land — an image he compared to the landscape of Hiroshima after it was hit by a nuclear bomb in 1945 — he decided to take action.

The Canadian rocker is now holding four benefit concerts in support of the Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation (ACFN) and its fight against further oilsands development. The expansion of Shell Canada’s Jackpine Mine was approved by regulators last month.

A difficult decision

Lepine says he hopes concertgoers will get the message the First Nation is trying to send out. “Look at industry and what all the companies have done so far, which is only about 10 per cent of what they are going to do,” he said. “Some call it the smell of money, but I call it the smell of death. This is what’s killing the environment, but it’s also killing us as human beings, and Neil Young noticed that right away.”

read all:

Random Quote

You just never know what kind of wreckage there is when something happens.
by -- n young; Copenhagen, 4/27/03.

Neil Young on Tour

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