Neil Young brought his full-on stage show of Greendale to the Verizon Wireless Arena last night. I was impressed. I'm not a big fan of musical theatre, concept albums, rock operas, etc. But somehow this was different. Neil Young always gets cut a fair amount of slack in my book because he's willing to take so many chances, even when there's more than a tiny chance of a 'faceplant'.
Neil Young & Crazy Horse were surrounded by a tall stage and video screen, Greendale Jail to the left, the Green family Double-E house to the right (complete with smoking chimney). As the music progressed the actors lip-synced some of the lines, acted out others. It was surprisingly cool. Sometimes funny, sometimes not (death isn't funny in my book). The slowed down, dirgy song material reinforced the seriousness of the plot. As tunes like "Leave The Driving" grind on and on, that ominous feeling is torqued up to a new level.
Funniest moment of the show: the video screen shows the billboard that sits out near the Greendale town line...the center message, in huge neon red/orange letters says "Support Our War"...but the top of board, in smaller lettering: "Clear Channel".
After they played Greendale in its entirety, there was a short break during which they played some old Rust Never Sleeps footage on the video screen (which must have pleased the morons who sat in front of us and yacked during all of the Greendale segment), then Neil and The Horse came back out to play an absolutely crushing rendition of "Hey Hey, My My (Into The Black)". For an old rock geezer, the guy can lay it down heavy. The rest of the short 'regular' set consisted of: "Sedan Delivery" and "Cowgirl In The Sand". The show closed with "Cinnamon Girl" followed by "Cortez The Killer".
(First posted on Mark Is Cranky)