Greendale -- The Movie
Since last year's final public performances at the Bridge School Benefit, where Neil debuted the song that's been known unofficially as Love and Affection, there have been reports that Neil was working with Billy and Pancho on a new album. There had even been newspaper articles about video shoots in Redwood City (at the Fox Theatre) and in the Halfmoon Bay area. Reports of scenes within a local jail and shots that included cheerleaders added to the mystique.
When Neil played at this year's Pebble Beach Pro-Am golf tournament, a reporter claimed that Neil had told him he was working on a "rock opera". Later reports refined that into a "musical novel". Before long the name Greendale was tied to the project.
About a month ago Billy Talbot posted to his official website's news page this news:
I've been working with Neil and Ralph on a new album. The album, which is also going to be a DVD, is finished and should be out in the next couple of months. I really love this record...Anticipation for Greendale began to grow as Neil's solo tour in Europe approached. On the tour's opening night in Stockholm, Neil fans the world-over were stunned to hear that Neil had kicked off the show with an accoustic performance of what appeared to be an entire Greendale album!
The 10 songs, which took about 90 minutes to play due to extensive banter with the audience between the songs, clearly told a story, bearing out the "musical novel" rumors. Some songs even had Neil calling out through a bull horn. For those who love the unexpected, the show was nirvana. But those that came expecting mostly Neil's Greatest Hits weren't as happy. At least one Swedish reviewer gave the concert a grade of ZERO.
Other reviewers were more kind, and the next night's performance in Oslo was very warmly received, with Neil playing the full Greendale song set again during the show.
Meanwhile, an German news website ZDF.de scored an interview with Neil that revealed that not only was Greedale a "musical novel", but that a "filmtrack" had been produced. They state "Greendale is not a soundtrack to a film, but vice versa: A filmtrack to music." The website's Neil stories include pics from the film, reproduced below.
Rusties who have attended the Europe Solo Tour shows have pieced together from the songs a possible synopsis for the story covered by Greendale. This plot, along with pictures from the film, follows...
Greendale is a small farming community in California with about 25,000 inhabitants. On the Double E Ranch a few miles outside of town, live Edith and Earl Green, with their kids Jed and Sun. Apparently they're artists, and also grow some "homegrown". Grandma and Grandpa Green live in Greendale itself but often come to visit. It's a real pastoral scene, far from the troubles of the big world outside... (Cue Love And Affection.)
Then the shit hits the fan. Jed gets pulled over by Officer Carmichael of the California Highway Patrol. Unfortunately Jed has a glovebox full of coke.
After firing Earl's shotgun at a camera crew, Grandpa delivers a
furious rant about "the right to be anonymous". But soon all the
excitement leads Grandpa to a heart attack, and thus of course he
becomes news himself.
She ends up being harrassed by the FBI and is last seen headed for Alaska in a van.
(Cue Be The Rain.)
According to the ZDF.de website, the movie will make it's debut in August at the Telluride Film Festival in Colorado. If that's true, it's probable that we won't see the DVD until after that. Hopefully the CD will be out sooner, but that remains to be seen.
Kudos to Bjorn "Internet People" Waller for most of the story synopsis, and to all the Rusties who contributed to this report.
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