Saturday, January 11, 2014

Neil Young Does Carnegie Hall



Neil Young just finished a four-night sold-out stint at the famous Carnegie Hall.  I have a bootleg CD in my rather robust Neil Young collection of his first performance there in 1970.  He was there again in 1973.  But, last week was the first time he has been back.  This return visit seems of have been a huge success both financially (you can't top four sell-outs) and critically.  My favorite review of one of his performances was from the third night as covered by Vanity Fair magazine.  Those bourgeois intellectuals attempt to parse-out and lyrically judge Neil's songs.  Yet they were all enraptured, stating that Neil "blows Carnegie Hall away."

The Economist even covered the event from the British perspective.  Of course Neil is Canadian so it sort of fits. Billboard was impressed though not enraptured with Neil, labeling the second night's solid performance as "classic performances of classic songs."  But the praise and critique that sets is the standard in rock music is always Rolling Stone which said of the first night, "Neil Young stuns with a spellbinding Carnegie Hall show."  Hard to top that level of achievement in live music.

Neil is a very picky, often short-fused guy.  He was "temperamental" with his audience according to The New York Times.  He chastised them for not being quiet.  Some criticized Neil for getting on to his audience. Eh, whatever.  I recall that he did that in Atlanta at an appearance years ago.  While the outdoor audience got drunk and talked during the performance Neil simply said something to the effect of: "I was playing an acoustic set in Vegas a couple of nights ago.  I don't know what I was thinking.  But, it's good to see a little Vegas in Atlanta tonight."  Then he brought out Crazy Horse and blasted the audience with the loud rocking stuff. 

Only at Carnegie Hall last week Neil did not have Crazy Horse to turn to.  But, he really didn't need them.  The audiences were worshipful and tame for the most part.  Neil also laughed and cut-up with his audience as the above video of Long May You Run demonstrates.  All in all this was a triumphant moment in Neil's long career, a return to his roots music-wise, performing an all-acoustic set on a variety of guitars, two different pianos and an old pump organ that I heard him perform After the Gold Rush upon in 2010.
Late Note:  Jennifer later found this on Facebook and sent it to me.

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