Let me start by simply saying this. There are concerts, and then there are concerts.
I've gotta be honest here and say I'm a little reluctant to write anything about Neil Young here in the wake of the spamming and flaming frenzy that continues to this day over at my review of Neil's controversial Living With War CD released earlier this year.
But like I said, there are concerts, and then there are concerts.
When you've gone to as many shows as I have over the years, there are a handful that really stand out. For me, one such night was when I saw Bruce Springsteen on the Darkness On The Edge Of Town tour at the Seattle Center Arena in 1978. Some five hours after I first entered the building, Bruce came out at 2 AM, with the house lights up and half the equipment already torn down, and played "Twist And Shout" for the fifty or so of us diehards who refused to leave.
It was just amazing.
Another such night was when I saw Neil Young at the Paramount here in Seattle in 1989. This was billed as a solo acoustic show and Neil was coming off a string of largely forgettable albums like Old Ways and Everybody's Rocking. Most Neil Young fans remember this as the most schizophrenic period of his career.
Many were ready to write off Neil Young entirely.
So what actually transpired that night was something I will never forget. I've seen Neil Young numerous times, both solo, with Crazy Horse, and with Crosby Stills & Nash. And it's always pretty much a guarantee you're going to get a decent show. I mean when we are talking about a guy who has written as many amazing songs over the years as Neil Young has, how can you not?
But this was something else. Let me set the stage...
Like I said, this show came at a point when Neil Young's last really great record, Rust Never Sleeps had come some ten years prior. So what those of us attending the show that night expected was nothing more than what it was actually billed as: a night of Neil Young playing an acoustic set of his greatest hits. You know? "Heart Of Gold," "Sugar Mountain," and the like.