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When, Where, How:
Saturday Show, Oct. 28, 2000
[CSNY, Tegan & Sara, Pegi & Astrid,
Dave Mathews, Woody Harrelson,
and Elinor Stills (I think)]
Sunday Show, Oct. 29, 2000
[CSNY, Pegi & Astrid]
Riding down from San Francisco with my non-Rustie buddy Nate in the pouring rain on Saturday afternoon, I was wishing I had brought along my gore-tex pants with my jacket. I was also beginning to worry that I wouldnít be able to sell my 2 extra lawn tickets that were waiting at will-call. As we headed toward the window, I heard people selling pavilion seats, and I knew I was in trouble.
I got my tickets and for the next few minutes tried to find some takers, without any luck. It was already nearly 5:00 pm and I didnít want to miss Neilís opening set. Nate basically told me to write it off, but just as I was about to give up, a young girl who needed tickets offered me $10.00. After a bit of haggling, I shoved her $30.00 in my pocket and walked in, feeling happy I had at least put a dent in my losses. Itís for a good cause anyway, I figured.
Once inside I poked a couple holes in the garbage bag an employee had given me outside the gate, and slipped my legs through. I tied the top of the bag around my waist and now I had some rain shorts. Pretty cool. This way I could sit down without getting too wet, too.
We quickly found our seats toward the back of section 202. Neil soon came out and played a nice version of Long May You Run, before introducing Tegan & Sara. They werenít bad, but I was more excited to meet some my fellow rusties like Randy (Flip). I spent most of the T & S set talking and meeting Elke, Mike Cordova, Lou and others. Sorry I donít remember all the names.
The Foo Fighters surprised me. I thought they were pretty good, even though their set was plagued by serious static coming through the PA. I thought Dave Grohlís guitar playing sounded a lot like Cobainís.
I have never been a Beck fan, but I thought his set was all right. More than anything, I noticed that he had a really good singing voice. The rain continued.
The Chili Peppersí set was one I was really looking forward to. I donít really like their hard stuff, so I thought that an acoustic set would be great. I wasnít disappointed. Californication was a real crowd pleaser, and I thought the other songs were good, too. At one point, the static came back between songs and John asked what the crackling was. Anthony said that he wouldnít hear it anymore if they started to play again. It did go away, thankfully.
Tom Petty really impressed me. I had never seen him live, yet have always liked him. The playing and singing was just rock solid. Mike Campbell is really an underrated guitar player. There seemed to be a lot of cheering for the harmonica, too. I think by then the rain had stopped for good, and you could see stars up in the sky. I pulled my hood down for the duration.
The Dave Matthews Band definitely drew the loudest response from the crowd. I liked their energy level, but I donít really find them to be that interesting. Donít get me wrong, I donít dislike them. I was glad to finally be able to see them. Without a doubt though, for me the highlight of the set was Cortez with Neil. Simply an excellent version. I even liked Daveís vocals on it. When Dave was calling Neil out to play I just figured it would be Watchtower. This was way better.
After the set I went and bought me a t-shirt, inspired by the ones that Elke had shown me.
Neilís set with Friends & Relatives was as good as I had hoped. Opening with Are You Ready For The Country seemed to be a sign of what would come. After several songs it looked like it might only be songs from Harvest and Silver & Gold. However, they closed with a magnificent piano version of Tonight's The Night. Neil was looking almost Ray Charles-like with his movements and sunglasses on.
CSNY closed it out with a great set. Only Love Can Break Your Heart really shined, and Dream For Him is just a great Crosby song with very tasty guitar from Neil. Stephenís daughter Eleanor singing on Teach Your Children was a real treat. I wish they would have introduced her. Love The One You're With closed out yet another great Saturday BSB.
As we filed out of the Shoreline I tore off my garbage bag and threw it in the trash. We made it to the car in no time flat, and within minutes we were back at our hotel room in Mountain View. I was more than satisfied with the entire day. I slept like a baby that night.
BSB, Iíll be back...
The rain was unbelievable at the beginning of the show. I was one of the lucky ones who had a seat under the canopy that covers the stage and the first half of the lower section of seats. But damn, it came down in buckets.
It was great to see RE*AC*TOR & RE*AC*TRESS -- I hope you all have a good trip back to Florida. Jim Beller was hanging with us too, as was his niece Louise, an absolutely cool woman. We scammed Louise down to the empty seat next to me in Section 101. Now for the tunes...
If I may quote Jim, "...Michael, since the Dave Matthews Band sucks, let's hang out here outside..." Jim, good call BUT... But did you count on the Dave Matthews Band doing CORTEZ??? Yep, Dave Matthews Band backing Neil doing Cortez! Not that I am any big fan of Dave Matthews, but Cortez was hot.
Neil's set was good. Well no, great! Red Sun, Razor Love, Tonight's The Night and Are You Ready For The Country were the highlights. With Jim Keltner, Donald Dunn, Ben Keith and Spooner Oldham, and with Pegi & Astrid Young on backup vocals, I think Neil has a sound with this get-up that cannot be beat.
As always, CSNY kicked some serious ass. A lot of people thought that the show sold out because of the Dave Matthews Band. Bullshit. Most everyone there stuck it out through the rain and the mud, and the foulness for CSNY. And CSNY made it worth our while. Only Love Can Break Your Heart was tremendous!!! As was Slowpoke, After The Goldrush, and Love The One You're With. Even Our House came off great, as did Helplessly Hoping and Dream For Him.
All in all, the first night was well worth fighting the weather for. When it's a choice of staying in the house while it's raining/snowing or facing the elements to see Neil, well, the choice is clear.
...on wings of magic...
Michael (Harvest Moon)
Even though I can't stand Dave Matthews, Cortez was a real treat! I can't stop singing "He came dancing across the water." I wished Dave hadn't sung (OK, sue me) but the sax and violin (I hasten to call it a "fiddle" solo) solos added so much! I imagine that is the first ever version with those instruments. I would have to say that it was an epic version, Neil took it to a new level. I guess he likes Dave and that is OK. Missed T&S as planned, but also missed the Foo Fighters while trying to stay dry. That sucked, but I have seen them so I decided it best to stay dry & warm as long as possible. I think I made the best choice. I liked every act I saw (I also skipped DMB to hook up with Paul Tomita & Joe Hancock but didn't miss the Cortez). The true highlight of the whole shebang was hanging with Paul, Joe, Kurt & Lisa, RE*AC*TOR & RE*AC*TRESS (nice to meet y'all, even though the Gators pulled it out 8-), Jim & Els Beller, Chris Horne, and finally meeting Mike Cordova and Randy "I take my orders from fools." I know I left someone out but it was a righteous thing to meet new Rusties and reconnect with the folks I met in Portland. It was a magical night. Also, I didn't get everyone's name (namely the couple from Stockton with the cute baby girl) so I apologize for leaving anyone out that I hung with. Back to the tunes... I liked Beck much more than I did in Portland, the set seemed more alive (or maybe I was more alive than in Portland) I enjoyed the RHCP, no complaints on my part. I liked Anthony's digs at the DMB. It was all in fun, I think. I thought Petty was awesome as always, though 3 covers out of 7 songs was a surprise. Still, they were rock-solid. Last Dance with MJ was truly one of the evening's musical high points. I thought Petty's new look was bizarre -- he looked Christopher Walken crossed with Dracula. I think Petty has been sleeping in coffins. Perhaps Astrid, Mistress of the Dark, got to him somehow and seduced him over to the Dark Side. 8-) Loved the Neil set (as always, duh!) but was bummed to see that I missed Words on Sunday. What a jerk I am -- saw such a great show but still bitching about what I missed! Slap me in the face somebody! I also felt like I was punched in the gut when I saw Sunday's opening Neil setlist. I have been jonesin' hard to see Flying on the Ground. That is what I get for not being able to go both days. Neil played lots of tried & true songs but they all sounded perfect (well, except for a vocal screw up in HOG). It was great to hear Ben add so much to Old Man & HOG. At one point I thought they might just play Harvest in its entirety. The CSNY set was the same--no surprises at all but each rendition sounded great. I thought Stills came to impress, Crosby looked AWESOME, and Nash kept the cheerleading to a minimum. I met a man from Great Britain & I loved his description of Nash's songs as "twee." Couldn't have said it better myself. I truly thought that Stills' daughter (was it really his kid?) stole the show, what a cutie! She got into it and by Love The One You're With she had the charisma of a veteran. That was so awesome to hear her sing on Teach Your Children. The weather was atrocious early on, but after the RHCP it was beautiful. Still, I FEEL for those on the lawn, it looked like a warzone up there. I unconsciosuly let out a howl of joy when during Petty's set I looked up and actually saw stars. I guess you had to be there. Oh well, that's it for now.
PIECE OF CRAP
We drove by in the pouring rain and watched hundreds of people walking to the show under ponchos, raincoats and tarps. It seemed premature at that moment to go in and find a place on the lawn. We drove by the scalpers wondering if anyone would buy scalped tickets when it was raining so hard. In fact we had been talking about our strategy for surviving the rainy show all day. In what would prove to be a wise move, our group decided not to go in the pavilion but rather eat dinner and shoot pool while it was dumping rain. And as luck would have it, the rain subsided by the time we finished an hour of pool. We stayed a little drier but we did miss Neil's opening song, Tegan & Sara, Foo Fighters, and Robin Williams.
We entered Shoreline and climbed the slippery, muddy slope to the very top during Beck's mariachi version of Burro. We were wondering how long we would last under these soggy conditions. As we found our little piece of real estate in the crowd, Beck was crooning Nobody's Fault. I'd like to see him again, I enjoyed what little I heard.
The Chili Peppers' singer was flat and the guitar player was out of tune. The drummer chain smoked in front of the kids and the lyrics had cussing. Did anyone else hear this? I did enjoy their version of Beverly Hills by the Circle Jerks and felt that it would of been perfect for them to cover Fear's There's Too Many of Us. A member of our group sang along with their version of Cat Stevens' Trouble.
The rain started up again and a guy in front of us began banging wooden stakes in the lawn and soon erected a small tarp-tent. The absurdity of our crowded, wet situation made one member of our group yell out a loud "YEE" in a low bass-laden voice. He said he felt better so I tried it. Yelling YEE also made me feel better about being wet and uncomfortable. The rain started to subside just in time for Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers.
Tom Petty and band turned in the best set of the night. Their covers of Baby Please Don't Go by Muddy Waters and Willie Dixon's Little Red Rooster really rocked. I liked when Tom said he wouldn't give George W the rights to use I Won't Back Down. I enjoyed every song they performed. The whole hillside sang along with Breakdown. The night sky stopped raining and the stars came out!
For those of us on the upper hill, the Bridge Concert was like a large outdoor public pay-per-view event. We watched the whole show on the giant TV. We threw our candy wrappers at a guy blocking the view but managed to miss every time.
The Dave Mathews Band music seemed mediocre to me. I can tell they feel a lot of passion for what they do but I just don't get it. I did like Cortez the Killer, and Neil and Dave danced across the water for a long time.
Neil sounded good and I liked his set. He's surrounded himself with players that really give new life to the old tunes. I liked the hurdy gurdy. It was great to hear Tonight's the Night.
I felt that CSNY was a sort of self parody. To me, Neil is really the only passionate one in the group. I liked Neil on the pipe organ during After the Gold Rush. I walked down the muddy hillside during their set and noticed that people were watching me to see if I slipped in the mud.
When the show was over I couldn't believe all the tarps that people left behind. The lawn area was littered with hundreds of tarps of all colors. It was quite a surreal site. A contractor friend in our group said he was tempted to start folding them up to use later.
Overall, a fine concert experience. We avoided some of the rain and got to hear some great music. Next year look for us in the seats under the tent! YEE!
Of course I had to get in before 5pm in anticipation of Neil's opening number, which turned out to be a sweet version of Long may You Run. I was a little bummed that he didn't stay for another song or two like he ended up doing Sunday, but I was cool with one. It's a long show and they needed to get the show rolling.
Tegan and Sara were fine. They sound like they might have some good potential but they were in a tough spot. Being the first group on stage, having sound system challenges and tweaks made it tougher for them to settle in. Their songs were genuine and sung with potential. I was very surprised later on to discover that Tegan and Sara were still teenagers. Great start ladies.
Battling the same "water in the main pipe" syndrome that plagued the first act, the Foo Fighters played through some crackling and won the audience over with an inspired set of tunes. I have to admit to not knowing their music as extensively as some of the true blue fans of the band did, but I was impressed. These guys were working in a medium (with acoustic guitars) that was unfamiliar, and where some bands have failed they shined. I thought Dave Grohl sounded great. The band's energy was up and I admired Grohl for the his courage and energy.
Robin Williams was fine but he was searching for material at times. I think he is the most brilliant comedian of our time, but I've seen better improv from him. Beck was much better than the last time he played the Bridge (solo opener, in '95). For one thing, he had great accompaniment this time, and he fed off the inspired play of his band. I was happy for him. Pretty subdued if you ask me, but every artist is going for their own place in a show. I can't say I know enough of his stuff to tell you if the live versions were better than the studio, but it all sounded good to me. Having said that, I have to be honest and say that at this point of the show I was getting pretty cranked up to se the final four acts of the evening.
Having had the benefit of reading numerous reviews of the shows by now, I must not have appreciated the Red Hot Chili Peppers like most reviewers did. I thought they were one of the weaker acts of the night. They felt out of sync and a little intimated by the fact that they couldn't plug-in. Nonetheless they tried hard, had some good numbers and definitely pleased their devotees. I was a little taken back by them performing Californication in front of the kids, but I have a feeling Neil doesn't issue a compliance order on song selections. "Century City" was done proud by their energy and enthusiasm.
I thought Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers broke the show wide open. They came on and it was obvious from the first song, Baby, Please Don't Go, that they were here to flex their collective muscle and show what being on the scene for a long time can do for a live performance. Their sound was bigger than everything else we had heard to that point -- it was big in a good way. Loved their version of Willie Dixon's Little Red Rooster. Bluesy, funky and soulful.
I wasn't sure what to expect out of the Dave Mathews Band, but they rocked. Their set was strong and tight. I had headed up to hill/lawn country to visit with some friends (who had driven all the way up from LA for their inaugural Bridge gig) near the end of the DMB set and was just heading back to my seat when I heard the familiar first notes of Cortez. Being one of my favorite Neil tunes, I raced back to my seat to enjoy the sweetest version of the song I have ever heard. That song was the pinnacle of the show for this Youngster, and I would love to hear that one again. Great pairing of guitarists and haunting version of that great tune.
When Neil came out to thunderous applause for his set with Friends and Relatives, I was ready. He opened with a spirited Are You Ready for the Country?, and then obligatory but good versions of Old Man and Heart of Gold. Neil then launched into a song off Silver and Gold that I wasn't that fond of, but that I thought he treated well during this show: Razor Love. It was his best love song in some time -- smooth. Neil was incredible, laying down some wicked guitar licks and then reigning it all back in. That's something Neil does with the best.
The gem of his set was a snarly, funky version of Tonight's The Night. The Friends & Relatives band was in excellent form and they have gotten continuously better through their tour. Playing some of Neil's early material, they made it sound refreshingly new.
CSNY was good but I still don't feel that CSN has weathered the years nearly as well as Neil. They can't always hit their notes, and their harmonies were challenging at times -- but beautiful and reminiscent at others. Neil's guitar work was in prime form during Crosby's Dream For Him, and having Stills to trade licks with once gain brought out the best in both. It was evident that Neil was enjoying this Bridge show, and that he was basking in the glow of having pulled off two separate tours since the beginning of the year with two great bands.
The grand finale was a bit of a surprise for me because of the absence of some of the night's performers, most notably Tom Petty. Oh well, we had Woody Harrellson (???) filling in for the others. I've seen better closers in earlier years, but by that time I was already in Neil heaven and very thankful for all the treats.
For those of you living far away from California and following Neil through HyperRust, get hip to the webcast of the Bridge concert. The picture may not be everything you desire, but the music is live and it sounds great on the web. I spent my final weekend hours on Sunday night at my office listening to Neil & Friends on a fast connection, and was happy for the second chance to hear more.
San Rafael, CA
When my wife's son moved from Indianapolis to Oakland in May, I knew I had to coincide our first visit with the Bridge show. Figuring out the right date was fairly easy based on the Shoreline schedule, but the official announcement was long in coming. We fortunately got $200 airfare after that, but the concert tickets went on sale at the worst possible time -- I was attending the US Grand Prix (Formula One). It was up to my wife to obtain the Holy Grail tickets, and after 90 minutes of trying she obtained three lawn tickets for Saturday. I wasn't overjoyed, but still happy to be there at all.
October 28th, Day 9 of our 10 day vacation, arrived grey and wet and we stopped at the big Long's Drug store in Oakland to buy raingear; several other concertgoers were doing the same. The drive down was not too bad after a brief detour off 880 north of Milpitas (you people that live and drive in the Bay Area, you are crazy) to hit the San Mateo Bridge. Using the Bridge Guide, I took the second exit, which was beautifully uncrowded; and we parked on a side street and headed in.
We missed the opening Neil tune, and put our tarp down near the speaker and large video screen. I actually sat down a couple times early on, before the tarp and water were tracking muddy.
Here are some observations I don't think have been made by others:
An audiophile once told me a question asked among them is "Can an audiophile enjoy music?" The analogous question for a Rustie is "Can a Rustie enjoy a Neil Young concert?", or do you become like the comic store owner on the Simpsons standing there sarcastically saying "Worst Heart of Gold ever!" ??? No, the Rustie reviews are excellent, very positive, and never get into the sarcastic critic land, which makes it enjoyable for the majority of us lurkers out here to read. I have seen Neil 8 times now since the Trans tour, and never fail to be impressed.
This year was a banner year, with the CSNY2K tour, the Music In Head tour, and now the Bridge shows. I wish I had paid better attention to the Music In Head tour, but soon the CD and DVD will be out to relive that experience. I liked the Bridge show a lot, and would like to go again, but I'm also thankful I live in the midwest and can go to a Neil show with little hassle and great audiences.
So we left our new blue tarp behind at Shoreline, along with a few hundred other lawn people. My stepson said they probably take all these tarps, clean them up, repackage and sell them to you again. If so, then maybe down the road sometime I'll be buying my tarp back at Long's Drugs to go to another Bridge show...
After seeing both shows for the past two years, it was great to see a better variety in setlists between the days among the artists this year (except for Tom Petty, Beck and T&S). Obviously, the weather was much better Sunday. I hit a shower on the drive to the show, but the next raindrop was as I was walking across the parking lot following the show. Because most of you saw the webcast or have seen reviews reflecting the rain problems, I won't go into further detail.
A quick rundown act by act:
Tegan & Sara: They weren't at the LA Music In Head Tour shows that I got to, so this was my first chance to hear them. I was impressed. There can be obvious comparisons to the Indigo Girls. They had a couple of forgettable songs, but also some that I was getting in to.
Foo Fighters: Dave Grohl is something. He goes from being one of the best drummers in rock with Nirvana to being a singer / songwrite r/ lead guitarist of this band. I couldn't quite tell today, but Saturday, he sang every song while chewing gum and never missing a note. Their sound converted well to the acoustic setting. I think only two songs were the same from day to day (solo Everlong and Learn to Fly, so they obviously spent some time in preparation.
Beck: Never much cared for him or particurarly paid any attention to any of his songs previously. So to some degree I can appreciate the "boring set" thought I sometimes hear. But, I was very impressed by his voice. I had no idea it was that deep and powerful at times. I also liked the Spanish mariachi version of Jackass, apparently now called Burro. And I think I may have "Nobody's fault but my own..." in my head for a while.
Red Hot Chili Peppers: Again, I was surprised at how well they went acoustic. Their Saturday set was better in my opinion, because it included Breaking the Girl and Power of Equality. I don't think it was just song selection though -- their timing seemed a bit off today. The crowd really enjoyed the Californication songs, as did I for both days. As a side note, I think their new album is one of the better ones put out rock wise in the past year.
Tom Petty: A solid professional. No real set changes between days. Other than the omission of one song today it was a virtual repeat of Saturday. The Heartbreakers as well are a great group of musicians. While I liked the covers and overall set, it was probably the most disappointing set of these shows to me. I consider myself a fan and I think TP met my expectations -- but the rest exceeded them.
DMB: A crowd favorite, and I thought Saturday's set was good, enjoyable, but nothing to write home about until Neil came out for Cortez. But tonight they turned it up a notch. For much of the general crowd this was the highlight (as you could see a few start to leave following them). Entirely different set list today. It seemed to carry more emotion through the band. Tripping Billies in particular stood out. Again Neil and Cortez were a whole new level. The band may have just been more relaxed today, because I saw some of the free form jamming they are supposed to be know for today that wasn't there Saturday.
Neil: Personally I am disappointed we didn't get any new songs. I enjoyed the solo opening today with Flying on the Ground, Clancy, and Mr. Soul because the first two are ones I hadn't seen him do live previously. But, was this an ad for the Archives?
For the main set not much change except for swapping Are You Ready For The Country with Words. Red Sun was the only one that wasn't played extensively on the Music In Head Tour, and personally I don't think I need to hear Daddy Went Walkin' too many more times. Performance-wise though, Neil was as into it as ever. I think it helped that he came out following the amazing Cortez with DMB, he was well warmed-up and in a groove. He seemed to often extend the guitar riffs through several songs (including with CSN) almost as if he was out to prove something. All in all, he is the reason we are here and keep coming back, so what more can be said other than some superlatives that I am sure others will show.
CSNY: Saturday was much of the standard acoustic set from the last tour, noticeable that song-distribution-wise Neil won with three. Well done and enjoyable. Always great to hear them together. Sunday, nice changes to the set list. Following the problems with Still's guitar during Marrekesh Express, I am pretty sure I heard Neil and Crosby say to each other "that was awful." Suite: JBE had a rough spot or two, but was a real crowd favorite. It was a first for me so I enjoyed it. Stills seemed to take a couple extra moments of silence between guitar parts, maybe attempts to "one up" previous guitar playing. I got a kick out of the mock "wiping his brow" when he almost hit the high notes.
For a closer each night: Love the One You're With. Saturday had a better turnout of musicians who stuck around. Tonight only had Pegi and Astrid come out to sing, and TP's drummer play tambourine. Very good song and a great chorus for a sing-a-long, but what happened to I Shall Be Released? In terms of sentiment and/or meaning there is no comparison. It was just kind of weird walking out of this type of benefit with that type of sentiment represented in song. Yeah, I am just taking it too literally, but, that's my thoughts.
All in all, another great weekend of music. Tough to compare the classics of last year's show (The Who, Brian Wilson) to the "newer" artists of this weekend. Much will be to the individual tastes. But, I have walked out of all of these shows amazed at many things, especially how fast 8 to 9 hours of music can pass.