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Review of Dolby Show by Michael Thomas

Michael ThomasA true Neil Young fan, Michael Thomas sends a review of last night’s Dolby Show in LA.

Neil plays again tonight, and Tuesday, April 1, and Wednesday April, 2.

Wow. Just came back from seeing Neil Young do “Thrasher” for the first time in 36 years. His greatest song in my opinion. (though I’m awfully fond of ‘Will to Love’, which he’s never performed!)

I was at the first public performance of that song at the Boarding House, as well as the last, during the final “Rust Never Sleeps” show at the LA Forum.

A master class in the poetics of song lyrics it tells me more about friendship, about death, and the commitment to life that we must make in the wake of loss than any work of art I know. And it reminded me of so many friends gone that Neil & I both shared…Larry Johnson, Jack Nitzsche, Bruce Palmer…

And the rest of the concert was damn powerful too, “Here’s a song I wrote while I was living two blocks from here,” he prefaced a gorgeous rendition of the Buffalo Springfield ballad, “Flying on the Ground is Wrong.” And an evocative performance of his Oscar nominated title song for “Philadelphia”  brought the house down as did a surprisingly effective cover of Gordon Lightfoot’s “If You Could Read My Mind.”

But it was “Thrasher” that reduced me to tears, I recall it was the day we buried my grandfather when I flew to San Francisco to hear it performed for the first time. It was first time I ever met Neil, he came out and sat in the audience after the second show. “I liked that song about Elvis,” I told him, referring to the debut of “Out of the Blue.”

It would take me awhile to absorb the vast sprawling canvas of “Thrasher,” a far more complex song. It reminded me of Terrence Malick’s “Days of Heaven,” which would have made a great alternative title. I performed once in public with my late pal, Steve Esmedina, at the Spirit Club in San Diego. The poetry of the lyrics, and the life-lesson it teaches, is truly sublime.

Nowhere else I’d rather be than at the Dolby Theater in Hollywood last night. It was a religious experience, balm for the soul.

Random Quote

Oh, hello Mr. Soul, I dropped by to pick up a reason.
by -- Neil Young

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