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Niklas Gustafsson's review
(more reviews coming)
The show details.
A Dagens Nyheter review (in Swedish).
A Svenska Dagbladet review (in Swedish).
An Aftonbladet review (in Swedish).
A dorky Expressen review (in Swedish).
A UNT review (in Swedish).
Neil Young walks onto the candle-lit stage, sits right down and rumbles off into a brand new unreleased song. The first of several, it turns out, as the concert almost entirely consists of new songs. "Integrity", some would say.
Young carries on in dim light, switching guitars, moving to the pump organ, telling tales from "Greendale". Grandpa Earl and Grandma Edith Greene, Jed, Sun and police officer Carmichael -- all citizens of the fictitious city.
"There's about 25,000 people in Greendale" Young tells us. "Not too many, not too few." Just enough, I suppose.
Once in a while a new songs starts off in a familiar way, making some in the audience cheer in recognition, only to go silent as he starts singing. And the truth is that quite often a melody resembles something from the past.
This is the first public performance of Young's yet to be released concept album Greendale, and many in the audience seem not to know what to think. The occasional cheering, sometimes during a harmonica solo, or the craving for well known songs like Cortez or even Harvest Moon, dies as soon as Young opens his mouth.
Neil's in a great mood, making jokes. He talks about how easy it is for him to relate to "Earl". He really responds to the audience, in a way I have never seen before.
As the concert goes on, Grandpa dies in a war against media, trying to stay anonymous. It's a proud death, Young tells the audience. Sure, I see he can relate to that.
But there's a deeper tone in the new material, no doubt some has to do with the current situation of the United States. The constant pleading for "love and affection", the screaming in a megaphone during some songs -- the message is clear: "Keep your doors and windows shut. We're here to liberate you."
After 90 minutes it's gone, all of Greendale. An announcer says that Young's gonna take a ten minute break and come back.
When Neil returns, he starts with a slow Lotta Love, then goes into a fragile, disintegrating version of Expecting to Fly at the grand piano. It's not magic, but it's totally there. At some point during the song he loses something, and doesn't catch up until the last song performed -- an absolutely stunning War of Man. Knowing how good it was might be his reason for deciding to not do an encore.
The lights go on, some people are leaving, the guitar technician is picking up the guitars, but Neil comes back for an encore after all. Beer in hand, cheering from the stage. A rather sloppy Heart Of Gold follows.
"Thank you and good night."
Integrity may be great. I just wonder if the audience understands. Not that Young gives a heck.
Was it was a great concert? Yes, I think so, maybe even awesome. But for me, the test will be if the memory stands up well when I finally get to hear the new album.
(more reviews coming...)