Going to a Neil Young concert is similar to buying a new Neil Young album. Unpredictable! You may or may not get what you expect. After attending one of his concerts this week I can say I mostly got what I thought I would get. It rocked OK!
Most people love music, but a small percentage will travel far and wide and, these days, pay large sums to see specific artists in concert.
My love for live performances developed when I lived for a while in a commune on a small farm in the northwest of Johannesburg, South Africa, when places like Honeydew and Randpark Ridge were still sparsely populated and a place like the White Horse Inn was an out-of-the-way but very cool joint to spend Saturday afternoons listening to one-man bands in the bar.
Palace Theatre entrance. Check on the right who's coming in September.
Louisville Palace Theatre foyer
Louisville Palace Theatre lobby with its sculptured ceiling of historical figures
Inside the theatre with painted nighttime ceiling and many ornate features
Neil Young started off the evening on the acoustic guitar with the oldies My My Hey Hey, Tell Me Why and Helpless. Thereafter it was electric all the way and he changed instruments as regular as Lady Gaga changed outfits. One of the t-shirts for the Twisted Road Tour summed it up perfectly:
I said solo…They said acoustic
He launched into a trio of new and unreleased tunes I never heard but very much enjoyed with heavy bass pedal effects, especially Peaceful Valley, before he picked up Ol’ Black, his trusted Gibson Les Paul guitar for Hitch Hiker, Ohio and a few other tunes. Then he switched to the upright piano for Leia, to the pump organ for After The Gold Rush and to the grand piano for I Believe In You. Then it was back to electric for some more oldies like Cinnamon Girl and Cortez The Killer. For the encore he performed another new song Walk With Me. All-in-all a fascinating and thoroughly enjoyable evening. Now Mr. Young, keep on rocking and don't you dare retire next year to draw social security.
Neil Young on stage with wooden Indian decoration as solitary company
(Picture by Tracy Woodward)If I can level some criticism then it is about the length of the show, or rather how short it was. Only 90 minutes and less than 20 songs. I see on blogs some people are complaining about the ticket cost and at $175 a ticket it was an expensive night out on the town, but both M and I really wanted to see Neil Young live. Cost was never really a consideration. And hey, the place was packed to the rafters, or rather to the blue painted ceiling.
Another check on the Bucket list!
Although several videos about his current tour are already available on Youtube, including some of the new material, I'll leave you with a 1971 classic, one of my favorites and some brilliant acoustic guitar playing.