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Mike Cordova's Review
The Music Arcade Review
Greg Burn's Review
Matt Chambers' Review
Wayne P's backstage encounter with Neil.
The Charlotte Observer Farm Aid wrapup. (lots of photos!)
Farm Aid '96 (Columbia, South Carolina), Oct 12, 1996
Farm Aid '96 (Columbia, South Carolina), Oct 12, 1996review by Mike Cordova
Here is Farm Aid 96 (10-12-96) as I saw it. First, it was a great day for a benefit concert. The temperature was perfect and the wind was calm. I had a seat on the field, though binoculars were handy and used often.
The artists: Willie Nelson, One Fell Swoop, Marshall Chapman, Robert Earl Keen, Tim McGraw, John Conlee, Rusted Root, Jewel, Son Volt, Deana Carter, Steve Earle, Gretchen Peters, Hal Ketchum, Texas Tornadoes, Martina McBride, Beach Boys, Hootie and the BF, John Mellencamp, Neil Young. I'm not too familiar with most 'country' artists so I won't comment on most of those. I will comment on those artists that I liked the most or who have some Neil connection.
RUSTed Root - What can you say about a band with rust in its name? I liked these guys. They remind me a little of Dave Matthews. They thanked all the Farm Aid organizers, including Neil, for asking them.
Jewel - She did a set very similar to her performance at Stone Ridge and I liked it a lot. I think her next record is going to be very good.
Son Volt - These guys outclassed just about everyone at Farm Aid. They did 5 numbers from the Traces cd and they were tight. Their introduction was messed up and several people around me, seeing I was obviously into this band, asked me, "who are those guys?" I was certainly happpy to tell them.
Steve Earle - Great but short set. He had a technical problem during his Copperhead Road number ruined what might have been nice to see on TNN next week.
Beach Boys - I am not a fan. But...Neil came out and played guitar during that song that has "her daddy took the T-Bird away." I could not detect his contribution but it was nice to see him. IMO, the Beach Boys played way too long but the audience would not agree with me; they ate it up.
Hootie, et. al.: Again, I am not a fan. Something important happened here though. During that Hold My Hand song, David Crosby came out to sing harmony. It got me thinking of the possibilities for sure with Neil later. See below for how this turned out.
John Mellencamp - A good performance of mostly hits. He spiced up a couple of songs with rap, of all things, and it worked. He finished at almost 12 midnight, and Neil was the only artist left....
After Mellencamp, I could see Zeke, Larry Cragg, and Joel Bernstein setting up so I knew who was next. I was originally hoping for a country/acoustic set to contrast the performance I had seen at Stone Ridge but it was not to be. Neil even wore his baggy pajama/underwear or whatever that thing is.
All of his songs were performed with Crazy Horse except for as usual, MA. All were electric except for MA and Helpless.
HHMM - Great. Just like Stone Ridge.
Pocahontas - Ditto except he put Willie Nelson's name in there at the end.
BT - a superior version I thought. The Horse was tight tonight.
Slip Away - just like Stone Ridge.
MA - This is one of my favorite Neil Young songs period and I'm glad I got to hear him play it again. I like how he has changed 'listening to the radio' to 'talking on the telephone.'
Helpless - This was a treat. David Crosby came out an sang some harmony and played acoustic guitar. A real magic moment. Neil thanked David at the end.
LAH - Just about blasted the stadium to smithereens.
That was it. Nice to see Neil again. You Canadians be sure and take your earplugs to his shows!
Farm Aid '96 (Columbia, South Carolina), Oct 12, 1996review by Music Arcade
I managed to get in free, as a couple of my friends were the ones responsible for making the wonderful backdrops on the set. The only thing that bothered me was having to wait until 12:30 am to see Neil. Willie went on at 1:30am, & since I drove up from Atlanta after a night of seein' Chris Issac, followed by seeing a friend of mine playing a club date til 2am, I was a little beat. I arrived at the stadium just in time to see John Conlee leave, which was fine w/ me, as I'm no big country music fan. I like *some* country music, I'm just not a fan.
But I had a great time at Farm-Aid. I had never seen Rusted Root, and enjoyed their set. I thought Son Volt had a good set, although they cut it short by one song (I had managed to get a list of who was playing, in what order, and what songs they were gonna do, although 90% of the songs listed for all of the performers was that crowd favorite, TBA ) . Jewel put on a good set. I enjoyed Steve Earl's all-to-brief set -- later I found out that it was his choice, he could have played more. I can't remember the woman who followed him, but she was pretty good too. I really enjoyed Hal Ketchum's blues tinged set; I'd heard of Hal but never heard him play. I'd love to hear more.
I liked the Beach Boys about 20 years ago and was hoping NOT to hear them this time, but they put on a good show. They had several guest artists that sang lead while they did the harmonies, which brought their music into a different and more refreshing light for me. And who'da thunk they'd be joined by Neil onstage??? To see Neil singin' the chorus of Fun, Fun, Fun was a hoot!!
Speaking of Hoots... Hootie & the Blowfish were.... well, they were Hootie & the Blowfish. I thought they were fine, although by this time I was WAY ready to see Neil. I did enjoy seeing David Crosby join them for Hold My Hand or whatever the name of their 1st big hit is.
I also enjoyed Mellencamp's set, but was dissapointed that I hadn't seen him in 5 years and all I heard was one different/new song. Jeez, I saw Neil only 2 months ago and it was the same ratio. Maybe I was one of only a few of the people that liked Human Wheels and Dance Naked? I felt by not playing ANYTHING from these albums Mellencamp had decided that the critics were right, and so he ignored the past 3 years of his songwriting.
I was so happy Neil didn't do the abbreviated *greatest hits* set, and it was a treat to see him sing Helpless with David Crosby onstage.
Now there were definitely some acts I didn't care for, but, hey, if you didn't like them, they were gone in about a half hour, and using that time allotment , you could to go to the bathroom, or pick up more beers, or, if you had a pass, get your FREE food backstage.
Farm Aid '96 (Columbia, South Carolina), Oct 12, 1996review by Greg Burns
Okay, I thought mood code would post a good review, but he must be tired because he drove the whole way to Columbia while I slept (ha, ha). Anyway, the show was good except for the 8 hours of country crap that we had to sit through to finally hear Neil. His setlist:
(see above)This was my first Neil show (had to be in Colorado while he was on the east coast) so for me, it really was worth it. I couldn't believe how intensely he played. Never seen anything like it. When he started with HHMM, I was just in awe, I couldn't move. Neil was by far the loudest of the acts, he definitely was louder than the Beach Boys (who he played a song with). Crosby also sang a song with Hootie, and Willie was everywhere -- but he was too stoned to know who he was playing with and what he should be doing on stage.
Jewel and Son Volt were as impressive as always. If anyone has a chance to see either of these bands in a small club, you should go. They are much more interesting, especially Jewel, who I saw a while back at the 9:30 Club in Washington.
Also, Rusted Root had cool percussion, but that is about it in my opinion. Overall, this trip was worth it (6 hours in the car each way) but unless Farm Aid comes to Charlottesville in the future, I think this will have been my last.
Oh yeah, almost forgot to say that Aaron (oh sorry, mood code) and I saw some kids (about age 13, I'd say) with MORE BARN! written on posterboard. We went up to them, mc showed him his MB shirt and we asked them about how they knew about MORE BARN! They said they learned about it on HyperRust. They really didn't know what we were talking about when we started asking them questions about their internet usage and whether they were on Rust or not, but that is okay. I thought it was pretty cool.
Farm Aid '96 (Columbia, South Carolina), Oct 12, 1996review by Matt Chambers
I would like to make a few comments about Farm Aid `96. Although not quite as a review. More of rustie attendance and my first experiences with Rusties. My name is Matthew Chambers, and I was the kid holding the signs saying, MORE BARN! Actually, my friend Randy (with the glasses) was the one holding the sign. I was the one educating all the non-Rusties about what MORE BARN! meant, and also the one doing most of the talking with all the rusties.
At the time I had just sent away my for my subscription to the Rust List and hadn't recieved a reply yet (though when I came back I had recieved it). I also returned to find reviews of Farm Aid. So I figured maybe I can also send in something since I was there.
Anyway I just got on the internet and I'm still learning and exploring with it, so I would really appreciate it if the Rusties I met there would try to understand why I didn't understand much of what they were talking about as far as handles and such. I would like to say in return to Greg Burns that I am 15 and I'll be 16 in a few months. Although it was cool to see that someone was writing about me and my friend on the internet.
I would also like to say that the only reason I went to Farm Aid was because of Neil Young. And that's pretty far, considering it's a 10 hour drive from PA. As far as the concert went, I thought it was great!!! This was my third time seeing Neil (this year and anytime). I also saw him in Camden (Philly) and with the H.O.R.D.E tour at Hershey. Those shows were also excellent.
I went to the concert at 10 am and stayed there till 4 am. Which brings up a comment that I would like to make that I haven't yet seen from the other Rusties. Willie Nelson stayed on stage till 4 am. The stadium people were obviously getting annoyed because they started taking down the field chairs and they turned on the stadium lights in order to get Willie off. I believe he would've played all night if they wouldn't have dragged him offstage!
While Willie played, Neil and the Horse and the lead singer of Rusted Root stayed and watched him play from the sidelines. A few other people too, but I couldn't tell you who (country singers). And for the last song everyone came out to do the last number which I thought was pretty cool. I forget what the song was though.
One more thing I would like to point out is that as soon as Willie went off Neil's bus was the first to leave. Nothing special about that but I just thout it was an interesting fact. Pocahontas is an awesome bus!!!!!! Anyway I guess I'll catch you guys later.
Please e-mail me with any response, info, or anything!! I'd love to get some mail.