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Show Reviews
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(updated )

Opera House
Spokane, Washington, March 11, 1999

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--> Modemless Fred's report and review.
(more to come)
Also See:
--> The show details.
--> The Spokesman-Review review.


The set list

  1. Tell Me Why
  2. Looking Forward
  3. War Of Man
  4. Out Of Control   (on upright piano)
  5. Albuquerque
  6. World On A String
  7. Pocahontas   (on 12-string)
  8. Philadelphia   (on grand piano)
    Guitjo Medley:
  9.       Love Is A Rose
  10.       Homegrown
  11. Daddy Went Walkin'
     
    {Intermission}
  12. Distant Camera
  13. Ambulence Blues
  14. Unknown Legend
  15. Old King   (on guitjo)
  16. Harvest Moon
  17. Slowpoke
  18. After The Goldrush   (on pump organ)
      Encore:
  19. Good To See You
  20. Heart of Gold
      Encore 2:
  21. Cortez The Killer


Opera House
Spokane, Washington, March 11, 1999

report and review by Modemless Fred

Firstly, some timely advice, some that should be acted on immediately!

  1. Buy Golden Circle / Reception tix NOW!
  2. Important discovery: US parking meters accept Canadian coins. :)
  3. If you don't have tix to "sold out" show, don't panic, go to the site early the day of the show.
  4. If the concert is far away, make the road trip.
The REAL winners last night were Amitai and Motor City. (They made the road trip + were rewarded.)

So here's my account of Spokane. Warning regarding accuracy regarding the order of songs and Cat calls and events: I'll put it this way... If I was your airplane pilot, you may want to take out heavy insurance. :>)

Gus and I left hometown Trail, BC at 10:15am. Arrived in Spokane for lunch, then minimal shopping, arrived at the Opera House at about 3:00pm. Hungout around Neil's buses and the ticket office, made sure we didn't "get in anybody's hair". Found out there were at least 2 reception / Golden Circle tix available. The Ticket Guy was willing to take our tix at face value on a trade up to Golden Circle. Gus and I declined the offer, as we had made plans to be back home by a certain time. But we helped a new aquaintance get a golden circle ticket. This enterprising individual in turn went across the street to the Spokane Brewery on a tip that folks there had extra tix. He bravely bought a 2nd ticket for $15 less than face, then sold it for face, thus recovering $15 of his $110 expenditure.

Gus and I hung with a young couple, hoping to see Neil in the area of the buses. We gave up at about 4:50pm. But at 5:00, Neil came walking up to the bus from the river esplanade, solo. When Neil saw these 2 fans, he started walking really fast and got into the bus before they could approach him. (Don't worry, this couple was discreet, didn't try to invade Neil's privacy.) The security guard who'd been chatting with the couple (and had told them earlier "Neil's with his trainer"), went into the bus and asked Neil if he'd sign their Broken Arrow cd. Neil came to the bus door, "Can I sign anything for you?" Then big smile, back into the bus.

Thaddeus P. Thudpucker's bar and grill being the Rustie rendezvous spot, Gus and I found ourselves there an hour early. We ordered coffee and pop, I nibbled at the hors d'houvres table fairly regularly during the 1/2 hour wait for... ....Amitai and Motor City, later Bruce Berry and wife Virginia, Rusty Suzy and a few of their friends.

Happy Hour, complete with the $1 glass of beer, was about to end at 6:28pm. So I suggested we "fill the table with the $1 beers" We compromised with 1 or 2 each (my one and only imbibement for the trip -- one more than designated driver Gus :) This was a great rendezvous spot! Easy to find, a 5 minute walk to the concert, and most important the bartenders and barmaids weren't pre-occupied with ringing up the cash register. They didn't push drinks. Suffice it to say that they were tipped quite generously!

Off to the show. Nicest t-shirt is the one that's white with red and black; plain, but tasteful. The tour book is a good buy with nice photos of Neil. No hats. Very little searching of grips / bags / sacks.

8:10pm: [Enter Neil Stage Left] (Thanks, Snagglepuss!) Big cordial wave to the crowd. (Neil does this often, as does Peter Buck, Sinnead and a few others.) 2 beers on Neil's small table + red paper cup. He looked dapper with the blueish grey blazer, jeans and boots, black tshirt with white printing. His hair is NOT short, almost shoulder length.

Tell Me Why... (Gus impressed the girl sitting next to him by predicting this.) Something, Something, Something (not the Beatle song :>)

War Of Man... (This finally sold me on the Harvest Moon album -- great lyrics about the sparrow, etc.) Note I didn't say I'll buy it though, just that I admit that it's a very good album.

Cat Call: "Where's the Horse?" And lot's of "Wooooooooo"s (I finally figured out what Neil meant by the Seagull comment. It's these "Woooooo"s.)

Neil introduced his Hank Williams guitar for Albuquerque. "I like to take it out on the road." Cat Call: "Jr. or Sr?" (I thought to myself: 200 comedians out of work on the Left Coast and we get stuck with these wannabe's... ;) Could Neil be making a statement here? Hank's guitar, Neil passed out for 3 days in Albuquerque, Hank died on the road...? Audience clapped in time to Albuquerque, as they would go on to do quite often throughout the show (eg, Old King, Love Is A Rose / Homegrown medley.)

Cat Call: "I love you Neil!" (This one was repeated often, as were requests for Cortez -- about 8 times.)

Neil: "I last played this next song, Rocking In The Free World here." (Wrong, Neil, that was the 2nd time.)
Neil: "I was here in '89 and '90." (Wrong, Neil, it was '89 and '92.)
Neil: "I played at the Gorge and the Native Americans made me feel really welcome. They gave me a gift." Pocahontas.

Grand piano Philadelphia.
Guitjo Love Is A Rose / Homegrown / Love Is A Rose medley. It's all one song. When medley over, Neil stood up with a HUGE smile on his face. Rather clever, what?

Cat call: "Bring me to tears Neil!"

Daddy Went Walking --
Includes a nice visual image: "Old man walking across the road."
Has a chorus or refrain: "Hey now Hey now" (that appears to be Native American musical influence).

Cat Call: "C'mom Old Man!"
My one and only personal catcall for the night: "Soundin' real good Neil!"
Cat Call: "Neil Young for President!"

Neil stood up. "I'll be back..."
[Exit Neil Stage Left]

{Intermission}
During the break I think I heard the often-played Little Walter harmonica blues music by Neil's roadies -- tasty!

[Enter Neil Stage Left]

After Distant Camera, "Here's a song I used to play at the Riverboat. C - N - D: C eh?, N eh? D eh?"
Cat Call: "Just think, you could've been a hockey player"
Ambulance Blues -- Everytime he sang "You're all just pissin' in the wind" there was huge applause from the audience. Neil: "That one was for you, Jack!"
Cat Call: "Everybody must get stoned."

Oh, did I mention that I was now sitting in the SECOND row from the stage, 2nd from the end, the end being only about 7 seats from center) During the intermission I had made a few arrangements that would allow me to sit in the one unsold Golden Circle seat. (One aspect of the arrangements was that I wouldn't attend the reception and that I wouldn't say anything about how I got there -- sorry folks, it's it's *top secret*.)

Unknown Legend -- Everytime Neil sings "She rides a Harley Davidson" there's huge audience applause.

Here's Neil's story about the dog -- I guess he's sticking with this version. It's actually additional information that expands on the '92 Solo account of the same event:

"I used to have a dog. He was a Blue Tick hound. Sn-ff sn-ff." (Neil in true farmer style actually making dog sounds into the mike.) "We were cruisin' in the bus, Elvis was in the front seat beside the driver, riding shotgun.

"The driver had the window open. Elvis came to the back room with me. He was smellin' real bad, like flu-flu. Must've been rolling around in some shit or something. One day he went to the foo-foo parlour. He wanted to go out. Woof Woof." (Again farmer Neil making animal sounds into the mike.)

"So we stopped and let him out. He was smellin' real bad. He'd run around in circles around the bus. Dogs do that. They continually smell to know their location. Elvis had a great nose, he'd follow it wherever it went.

"So I called Elvis, he knew this was his chance to leave. His circles kept getting bigger and bigger, 50 yards, 100 yards, 300 yards, til he was way out of sight. Could barely hear him." (Neil's whispering now, whispers a very soft "woof woof" because Elvis is so far away in the mountains.)

"E L V I S !" yells Neil into the mic. "We eventually had to leave for the show. We ended up 1/2 hour late as it was. So I left a plaid shirt, a bone and a bowl for Elvis. Knew he'd come back eventually. Later we sent Joe out to get Elvis. The show was in a small club, low ceiling, lots of smoke. After the show, there was Joe and Elvis in the yellow truck."

And continue with Old King, on guitjo, audience clapping in time.

Harvest Moon -- Orange moon on blue background displayed on stage drop, curtain lowered to cover this image except during this song. (Neil always has nice stage effects.) The sage that burned behind the pump organ smelled very nice (one of the few incense smells that I actually enjoy -- normally incense smoke bothers me mainly because of breathing the smoke, but this didn't bother me at all.) The whole stage area was constantly THICK with smoke all night.

Later it was "Thank you very much..." and Neil stands and walks across the front of the stage, a big cordial wave to the audience.

[Exit Neil STAGE LEFT]
HUGE applause, foot stomping...
[Enter Neil STAGE LEFT]

Good To See You -- At one point Neil gestures a very long look out into the audience, a hint that this song could be about his fans.

By the way, sitting up close, I noticed that Neil (like a lot of rock n rollers) has a fairly frequent John Lennon sneer on his face -- kind of cool!

Cat Call: "Heart Of Gold!" Within less than 10 seconds of this request, Neil played Heart Of Gold.

Neil stands up, "Thank you." The big cordial wave.

[Exit Neil Stage Left] (Thanks again, Snagglepuss!)
HUGE audience applause, insanity, foot stomping, bedlam, grins.
[Enter Neil Stage Left]

Neil looked very confused, didn't know at all what to do. Looked at his guitars. Sat down. Started into what I thought was a repeat of Albuquerque. (Gus later informed me that it was likely Natural Beauty), then the song all of a sudden became... ...Cortez the Killer. The hands-down most-often requested song of the night! Wow!

I may be wrong, but I think Neil actually played 90 - 100% of all the songs requested.

Neil stands up, walks across the front of the stage with the big wave. The dude next to me was so impressed by Neil that he walked right up to Neil at stage front, simply wanting to express his appreciation with applause. He's a big, tall man, red beard, and kind of startled Neil and Neil momentarily stepped back one step. I mean the guy was literally about 5 or 6 feet away from Neil by then. False alarm, everything was cool.

HUGE audience applause and hysteria.
[Exit Neil Stage Left]

The lights came on immediately. Neil was totally drained, exhausted. He would've done any NHL hockey player proud. This was a performance of a lifetime! Definitely in the top 4 concerts I've ever attended.

Ratings:
Neil Young the Musician: ****
Neil Young the Comedian: ****
Opera House security staff: ****
The Audience: ****
My comments about the cat callers: A lady was complaining during the intermission about the cat callers. She memtioned that Neil seemed irritated by them at one or two points. It's a legitimate complaint. On the other hand, I detected that after Neil played Albuquerque about 1/2 hour into the show, he seemed to really mellow out. He had seemed a bit apprehensive at the start. He actually seemed to enjoy the cat callers to a point. He's very capable of dealing with them.

I mentioned to the lady that my take is that these "Wooooo"s result when the fan is so appreciative of the music that he or she wants to express feelings, and this is how it comes out. They don't mean to disturb anybody. Obviously, if one is sitting close to a taper, some self control would be a nice touch.

Also, the song requests this night for the most part seemed to add to the show. A lot of them may sound like they were insults, but I think they were meant as light-hearted humour. The "Where's the horse?" cat call may be an exception. I did notice that a lot of these folks REALLY like Crazy Horse!. Perhaps this was plug for the boys...

On with the tour! Good health to you!

Modemless


(more reviews to be added soon... --RE*AC*TOR)