Posts Tagged ‘Neil Young’

The last couple of times I’ve seen Neil live, it’s become apparent to me that certain elements of the seniors crowd get a bit miffed that he doesn’t play more of the hits. Make no mistake. If you go to see Neil live expecting to hear Harvest top to bottom – you would be sadly mistaken. This ain’t Sweet Baby James, this is f….g Crazy Horse chum – and they still cut the mustard. Last time I saw Neil, I was seated. Bad move. How can you sit down at a Neil show ? It’s a rock n roll show for f….k sake, not Elton John punching out a tired version of Crocodile Rock. So on this occasion, Mr Rockbrat and I were on the floor – only 10 punters back from the front, and immediately in front of Poncho.  It’s a quiet crowd on the floor, with the oldies too old to mosh. Suits me fine nowadays. If you are Neil die hard, you either cop his leftist leanings and his eccentricities, or you don’t. If you’ve seen some of his films you’ll know what I mean. i.e.: His road crew are dressed as construction workers and mad professors in white coats – constantly haggling about the set up of the stage. It was funny for a bit – but it went on too long. That’s OK. Neil is Neil, I can cop his eccentricities. The set is kinda like the Live Rust set – giant amps, mic, harmonica etc etc. Live opening act you say ? Well, I caught The Drones for 30 seconds, before I buzzed back outside. What a sh_t band. At 8.40, Crazy Horse venture onto the stage, Neil picks up Old Black (which he’s been using since ’69) and launch into “Love and Only Love”, followed by “Powderfinger”. Superb. “Hole In The Sky”, a new tune that was only aired on this Australian tour is a tale about how we’ve screwed the planet. An acoustic version of “Heart Of Gold” saw plenty of the older folks remove the fingers from their ears, with Neil also playing an acoustic version of “Twisted Road”, from the Psychedelic Pill album. He played a few tunes off the new album, some checking in at 20 minutes. I don’t mind that, I can listen to Crazy Horse jam all day long. Some people like Metal Machine Music. Different strokes.  The catchy  “Born In Ontario” is a good un, as are “Walk Like A Giant” and  “Ramada Inn’, all off the new album. “Ramada Inn” got the nod of approval from Mr Rockbrat, a tune that checks in at 17-minutes and is on the scale of Like a Hurricane, it surveys a long-term relationship in the wake of grown up kids.  Neil takes to the piano for another new and unreleased tune, “Singer Without a Song”. There’s a brilliant take of “F   n Up”, and great version of “Cinnamon Girl” that had em up and dancing. A superb version of Buffalo Springfield’s “Mr Soul” was a personal high point for me, and as Mr Rockbrat again pointed out to me, the riff sounds very familiar to “Jumping Jack Flash”. I reminded him that Mr. Soul was recorded in January and April 1967, Jumping Jack Flash recorded in March and April 1968, a full year apart – however, if anything, the riff in Mr Soul could be considered a straight take from “Satisfaction”. Neil did very much want to be the replacement for Brian Jones. Anyway, enough of the train spotting, were now into “My My  Hey Hey (Out of the Blue)”, another good one. Does it get ANY better being a few metres from Neil, Poncho and Billy ? I mean, really. For men all in their late 60’s, (I think Billy and Ralph Molina are both 70 this year), their playing was rock solid, and their harmony vocals on the money.  The two encores were GREAT! A surprise version of “Prisoners of Rock and Roll” (from the Life LP) was killer, a tune he hasn’t played live since 2004, and then Opera Star (from 1981’s Re-ac-tor LP). At 5 past 11, it was all over. 2 hours and 5 minutes of the best rock n roll, from one of the best rock n roll bands – you are ever likely to hear.


surely Lita is deserving of larger venues than these !

Tell you what, you could blow some serious money at the moment on the live rock circuit here in Australia. I cannot recall a time when there are so many bands announcing tours – a far cry from those days in the mid-8o’s when we had only the likes of Purple, or Queen, or Dio etc to cater for the rock hordes…..not that I mean ‘only’, I mean sheesh, I would give my right arm to see Queen or Dio nowadays, but the touring rock and metal acts who visited the Oceania region, were few and far between. It seemed like there was only one big show every few months…that’s my point….. But now ? Is the super-strong Australian dollar the reason behind so much touring activity ? I mean, I cannot remember a year where so many acts are touring downunder……here are some of the names locked in:

Deep Purple, Journey, Status Quo, Lita Ford, Joan Jett, The Darkness, Van Halen, Guns n Roses, Kiss, Thin Lizzy, Deniz Tek, Motley Crue, Ringo Starr, Aerosmith, Robert Plant, Slayer, Anthrax, Santana, Blue Oyster Cult, Flamin Groovies, Buzzcocks, Steve Miller, Neil Young, Iggy and The Stooges, Black Sabbath, ZZ Top, Rose Tattoo, Angels, Bryan Adams, Steve Stevens, Bruce Springsteen and the great Wilco.

If money is no object – you could see some great shows…..

Is there really an audience still out there for GnR ? You be the judge, but having the bearded Texans on the bill, along with the might Rosie Tatts could make me think not….me thinks Axl and his cut-outs are in danger of being wiped off the stage. Another visit from Iggy ? Sheesh, go see Deniz Tek instead….better yet, just have Tek in the Stooges !  Surely this must be the last time Kiss will be here…please – make it the last time. Take your unsold ice-blocks back with you and leave us with our 70’s memories.

Damn shame that Aerosmith are playing a large venue in Sydney like the Olympic Stadium….oh and shit like Grinspoon should bless their lucky stars they are opening the bill for legends.  My only advice is to arrive after the opening acts have done their ahem ‘thing’ and just see Boston’s finest. Joe Perry back in Australia – it will be great to have him back…..

Who doesn’t dig Neil Young ? If you don’t, it must be a lonely place in that cave. Young’s 1982 album Trans features art which is deservedly in the Rockbrat Classic Art Collection. It’s tops. Done by Barry Jackson, it kinda represents what Young is all about – and that image of the hitch hiker thumbing a lift at right resembles him a little as well. Great album with some very poignant artwork. Ahead of his time, the image at left could be where we are at now, what with every second human being battling obesity after  queuing up for a big screen TV or some new Apple device so they can waste their time on some Reality Show. Screw that – I’ll take the scene on the right any day. A simple life for simpler times. Three cheers Neil.