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Molson Centre, Montreal, Nov 7, 1996
Steve Grey Rider Chant's Mini-Review
John Mansion on the Hill Reid's Review
The set list
Molson Centre, Montreal, Nov 7, 1996review by Steve Grey Rider Chant
Not being a major concert goer, I was way-psyched that Neil was coming back to the way-northeast. After having seen him in August at SPAC, tonight we got to see Neil and the Horse cook at Molson Center.
First off, thanks to Mark for getting the tix for us. Sorry I didn't get to meet you and thank you personally. All the rest of the Rusters we DID get to meet were great. Y'know there is something really special about Neil fans. For example, Mary and Mike (or, sorry, was it Mark) doing the big northeast loop to finish in Buffalo Sunday, doing the MORE BARN banner duties.
Anyway, I'm still buzzing from the show. I'll leave the set list to others, but highlights for me were Don't Cry No Tears, When You Dance, an incredible Cortez. Also, an excellent RITFW, Welfare Mothers and Hurricane.
Damned fine show! No hassles for me at the border. A great big-city dinner before the show, now to bed with the beloved Sue.
Molson Centre, Montreal, Nov 7, 1996review by John Mansion on the Hill Reid
It was Neil's 3rd to last show on the entire tour, his last show on the Canadian leg, and his tenth show in the last sixteen nights. So I wasn't expecting too much. At least not a performance similar to the intensely emotional performance in Barrie over a month earlier.
This show was being held in a huge stadium (Molson Stadium) as a opposed to the grassy outdoors in Barrie, which is more of a Neil site. I wasn't expecting much from the sellout Quebecois crowd. Quebec is not known to hold much of a Neil Young fan base. In the three years that I lived there (93-96), I'd heard relatively little about Neil Young, compared to my time in Vancouver, B.C. And there had been a huge sellout Ozzy Osbourne concert a couple of weeks earlier, which I thought might dwindle the fan excitement.
Wrong, wrong, wrong! From the getgo, Neil was playing his heart out -- and the fans were equally enthusiastic. When he broke into the opening notes of Hey Hey My My the crowd around me, all apparent strangers, began high fiving each other!
Neil looked a little more beat up and tired than he did in Barrie, but it made it that much more interesting because you could feel how much effort he was putting into it, and how much he loved playing. He also seemed to be feeding off the energy of the crowd quite a bit.
The thing I kept thinking about Neil during this show was "He's still got it -- after this long, he's still got it." He's been through so many rough times on a personal level, played thousands of shows, yet he's still got that certain life, that certain je ne sais quoi. Well, he's done it by staying real and honest with himself, his loved ones and his music. He's also done it by following his inner instincts despite what anyone else might think, and also by trusting his naturally strong creative muse. He wasn't treating this show as "just one more show", he was treating it as an occasion. One that might mean something both to the people assembled in front of him, and to himself.
Back to the show... The energy seemed to die a bit with Slip Away, as it did in Barrie. It doesn't seem to be a piece that people respond to, myself included. I really enjoyed the next selection of Don't Cry No Tears, and then he went into Big Time. From that point on, he was in cruise control. The next few songs, which included Heart of Gold, The Needle and the Damage Done, and Cinnamon Girl, kept both the crowd and Neil pumped.
At this point, I was expecting any one of the next songs to be the last song before Neil left the stage. But he just kept playing and playing...
I think part of what made this show so special was the song selection - there were a few surprise selections that were particularly pleasing to true Neil fans. Songs like When You Dance I Can Really Love, Don't Cry no Tears, Welfare Mothers, and Cortez the Killer. Both Cortez and Like a Hurricane were amazing. Both extended way longer than their album cuts and both were riveting emotional experiences. Neil broke all of the strings on his guitar during Hurricane and then "smashed" it. Afterward he took one of the lit candles from the stage he shared with Crazy Horse, and poured the wax over the stage. He then proceded to lift the candle above his head, brought it down to his mouth, and blew it out. The set was over.
A 17 song set - well worth the money. And there was still the encore to come!
After the crowd, not surprisingly, yelled for his return, Neil quite quickly returned and started This Town. I was quite pleased to hear this tune, and I was surprised that he hadn't played it in Barrie. The final song was the rocker Sedan Delivery, following which Neil said "I like playing in Quebec" ( he pronounced it Keybec). No time for a second encore, the stadium people turned the lights on immediately after he walked off the stage for some reason.
It was a great show. Very memorable, though I wish that I recorded it. (Hopefully someone did!)
(Oh yeah, the opening band was famed Canadian act Moist. Like 'em, but missed 'em.)
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