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Christian Lie's review
(more reviews coming)
The show details.
A VG Nett review (in Norwegian).
With all the critisism of Neil's first show by the Swedish press in the back of my head, I prepared myself to attend a live solo acoustic concert by my musical hero. In my mind I couldn't understand why some of the Swedes disliked the fact that Neil chose to present mainly new material. I feel this is a sign of a creative and vigouros artist who has the guts to do something other than what is expected. Therefore I had a good feeling about what was to come...
Neil entered the stage wearing the usual "Neil-fashion". He started out by saying that he was going to take us on a little trip tonight, and "if you just bear with me, everything will be alright." This was of course a way of telling the crowd that we were about to hear something different than the standard "greatest hits" collection.
Then he presented the theme for the new material: The town of "Greendale" and the family "The Greens". Neil talked us into the first song Falling From Above, and as I heard the first chords I had a feeling we were about to witness something great.
The new songs have some kind of bluesy feel to them, and although some of the songs were long and somewhat monotonous, they were distinctly Neil with a message to tell. Because of the storyline, Neil talked a lot between songs. I think this aspect was very entertaining. The story itself is not "funny" , but the way Neil talks us through it made me laugh. He is quite a comedian at times. His talking also made me feel that I got to know the mind of Neil Young a little bit better...
The new material is good, at times excellent. But what contributed greatly to the experience was his guitar playing. As an aspiring acoustic guitarist myself, I must admit I have never, not on record or live, heard Neil exploring his Martins in such a way. Playing licks and really displaying a technique worthy of a master. In some songs he tuned deep down low and made the low E ring out through the crowd. The "acoustic guitarist Neil" was really impressive!
As I said, Neil talked quite a lot, and not all was related to Greendale. In fact he mentioned the internet on several occations. First he made a indirect refferal to the previous concert in Stockholm, which had been "slaughtered" in the press, and said: "For all you internet guys, this is not like last night". Later on he talked himself into the internet-subject once more, and this time said something like: "I used to hate it, but now I've kind of found a way to harmonize with it".
He also said during a song-break, that it really was a pleasure for him to play music in such a place and that he for sure had seen some shit-holes in his time. Several times he said that he appreciated the cheering of the crowd, and that he would be nowhere were it not for us.
NY, in my mind, showed himself as a artist grateful to his audience.
After about 90 minutes the lights went on and there was a 10 minute intermission. When he came back he slowly started on Lotta Love, with a "familiarity-cheer" from the crowd. Knowing that this was the start of the part with the old classics, I was almost dissapointed at first. It had really been a treat to hear the new songs, and hearing him express himself on his guitar. Lotta Love isn't my favourite either. But when he played the intro chords of Don't Let It Bring You Down, I was in awe again.
Following that he played, among others, a magnificent Expecting To Fly on the grand piano, and a slow Old Man on his Gibson acoustic. After he played After The Gold Rush on the piano and War Of Man, the lights whent on an Neil went off.
The crowd stood clapping their hands for about five minutes, and the lights were brought down again. He sat down and started playing what I first thought was Slowpoke, but of course was Heart of Gold. And then it was over.
Yelled from the crowd: "Long may you run!"
Neil: "Thank You!"
No doubt in my mind this was a mind blowing experience, and my love for the man and the music has yet again reached another level. His voice was superb -- much better than on Are you Passionate. His talents as a songwriter and guitarist were impeccable, and he showed himself as a true entertainer with respect for his fans.
Now my hopes are high that there wil be a DVD release of this tour. Then I can spend the next ten years trying to learn his guitar technique!
(more reviews coming...)