Saturday, January 23, 2010


It seemed like such an odd day: it was Conan O'Brien's last day as the rightful host of NBC's The Tonight Show, and while that was a bummer, the Hope for Haiti telethon put on by MTV put everything in perspective. Tom Hanks appeared at both events, as did Neil Young.

Although the telethon aired (live) before Conan, Conan taped his show before the telethon, so both Tom and Neil probably had to jet across town.  It all worked out.

Neil performed at the telethon with his fellow Farm Aid chairperson Dave Matthews.  They did a pretty stark acoustic duo version of Hank Williams' "Alone and Foresaken." On Conan, he performed one of his classics, "Long May You Run" (the title track of the lone Stills-Young Band album, released in 1976). If you saw the show, it ended with Will Ferrell dressed as the late Lynyrd Skynyrd singer Ronnie Van Zant, leading Max Weinberg and the band through "Freebird." The performance was cooler looking than sounding, because Will's voice got annoying. But when he wasn't singing, he was making out with some chick, or playing (what else?) the cowbell. But a funny point was that he was wearing the same Neil Young Tonight's The Night t-shirt that Ronnie used to wear. The band were joined by supporters Ben Harper, Billy Gibbons and Beck. And Conan actually played a pretty face-melting guitar solo himself.

Back to Neil.  What I didn't know (until I checked the great fansite Thrasher's Wheat) was that yesterday, Neil's long time film making collaborator L.A. Johnson passed away. L.A., who worked on the Woodstock film, worked with Neil as a director or producer on many of his films, including Journey Through The Past, Human Highway, Rust Never Sleeps, Weld, Year Of The Horse, Silver and Gold, and also worked on Neil's albums including Greendale and Living With War.  He also worked on the video content on the Archives box set, and was working with Neil on the Linc-Volt documentary.

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