Sunday, December 28, 2008


This photo, as many of my Neil photos, comes from the great Neil-centric site Thrasher's Wheat.

Yes, I'm a bit behind in my blogging, sorry about that.

Anyway, so I went to the Neil Young/Wilco concert at Madison Square Garden (night one only) and it was a really good show.

Wilco was great. I'm not the hugest fan, so I actually enjoyed seeing an abridged version of their show. I saw them a few years ago at Radio City Music Hall, and felt they were a bit overindulgent (just my take, and clearly I was in the minority, excuse the pun), but I really enjoyed thier set at MSG, even though half of it was taken by "Spiders (Kidsmoke)." Which is cool, I love that song.

Neil opened with seven rocking songs, six of which were by Crazy Horse, which made me wonder why he doesn't just tour with The Horse again. I mean, "Cinnamon Girl" and even "Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere" work for lots of Neil's bands, but "Love And Only Love" and "Hey Hey My My (Into The Black)" seem like songs he should reserve for The Horse. Neil's band was pretty much the same one he used last year: Ben Keith on steel guitar, guitar and keyboards and Rick "The Bass Player" Rosas on bass, and they were occasionally joined by Neil's wife Pegi Young on vocals and piano and Anthony Crawford on vocals and guitar. The only change was Crazy Horse drummer Ralph Molina was replaced by Chad Cromwell, who has played on most of Neil's recent albums anyway.

Anyway, the band did a great job on the Crazy Horse stuff, and were probably better suited to some of the more acoustic stuff, like "Oh, Lonesome Me" and the Harvest material.

But I wouldn't rate the show as classic, and I'm sorry to say that that's mainly because of the fact that he played eight new songs. I don't mean eight songs from his latest album, last year's Chrome Dreams II (which I liked), eight songs from his upcoming album. And I was excited going into the show hearing that he would be debuting lots of new material. But like "Let's Roll" and the Living With War album (and "Ohio," for that matter), these songs were inspired by recent events and have an immediacy to them. But I just didn't think that they were great songs. After playing about four new ones, he told the audience that he was "auditioning" for the record company, "So cheer for the new songs even if you don't like them." I'm sure lots of readers of Thrasher's Wheat would disagree with me, but I just wasn't feeling most of the songs. Still, I will pick up the album the day it comes out, and I hope after a few listens, I change my mind.

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