Tuesday, November 27, 2012
Neil Young and Crazy Horse 11/26/12 at Boston Garden
Neil Young was evidently on my buddy's bucket list and he asked me to go to the show some six months ago when tickets went on sale. I told him I would accompany him but mentioned that selling tickets that far in advance for a performer who has never looked that healthy to begin with, let alone now at age 67 was taking a leap of faith.
Nevertheless, Neil made it to the show last night and so did we. Stopping in Fanueil Hall for dinner at Hillstone (formerly Houston's) for some eats and early drinks. Burgers for both of us (a real one for me and a veggie burger for my friend) and a Whale's Tale pale ale for him and a vodka tonic for me. Bartender is confused for a bit thinking her increased traffic was due to the Neil DIAMOND concert...
Informing her that we would not be caught dead at a Neil Diamond concert she may have been a tad bit confused as I don't believe she knew who Neil Young was and likely only knew Neil Diamond from "Sweet Caroline" at Fenway...the younger generation...there you go...
Anywho, a couple burgers (VERY yummy by the way) and a couple drinks and we were off to the Garden a five minute walk away.
The lighting on the Garden itself was turned a tie dye color for the supposed 60's loving crowd. Certainly this was the first concert I've been to in a LOONG time where I was actually younger than the median age of the attendees. Lots of aging men with no hair on top and long hair in the back on one hand and well to do ex-hippies coming into the city from their million dollar homes in Weston or Wellesley. The women weren't prizes either as hippies don't generally age well.
Which is precisely what we had for an opening act in Patti Smith. When I told my friend that she had been married to John Mcenroe at one time he didn't believe me and said that he would not have stooped to marry such a hag. I'm blaming in on copious amounts of '70s and '80s cocaine. Regardless, I do wish I had brought a tennis racket to the concert and yelled out "You CANNOT BE SERIOUS?!?!" but decided that even hippies have their tipping point. I did get a chuckle out of her rantings to the crowd "People can change the fucking world!!!" and "The earth is screaming out for help!!" My good gracious...
[edit to add] come to find out that Patti Smith is a different individual from Patty Smyth!! It is Smyth with a "y" that is married to John Mcenroe (both are relatively accomplished singer/songwriters making this all ver confusing) and is actually attractive vs. Smith with an "i" who is a virtual disgrace to the softer sex. This doesn't make the tennis jokes any less funny nor her wailing any less painful...
Neil came on (thank god) after about 45 minutes of caterwauling by Patti and proceeded to put on a hell of a show. For a 67 year old, Neil rocks and rocks hard. The music is loud and hard only occasionally interspersed with acoustic stuff like "The Needle and the Damage Done" to keep the hippies in line. In truth I love songs like "Needle" but I don't think Neil's heart is in playing such stuff anymore and when performed feels flat and lifeless when it should be heart rendingly painful. The setlist was as follows:
1.Love and Only Love
3.Born in Ontario
4.Walk Like a Giant
5.The Needle and the Damage Done
7.Singer Without a Song
12.Hey Hey, My My (Into the Black)
at over two hours these songs sometimes became extend riffing and feedback with my personal favorite on the night "Walk Like a Giant" extending well past the 15 minute mark. The smell of cannabis wafted throughout the Garden this evening though not to near the extent I would have expected and the general admission crowd on the floor was as well behaved as any group of aging Boomers can be expected to be. We spent about 50% of the time on our feet, similar to the behavior around us and no one gave us a hard time about it.
Young's influence on many of my favorite bands (Pearl Jam in particular) cannot be overstated. He has crossed back and forth between many genres over the years but given he has nothing left to prove and can play whatever and in whatever style he wants, it is cool to see he doesn't pander to those who want him to play CSN&Y stuff over and over and that the loud, electric guitar heavy works of his past remain his favorites. Neil wasn't on my bucket list of performers to see before last night (as he was on my ticketmate's) but I'm damn glad I saw this icon before he to leaves us to the garbage that most frequently fills our ears these days.
Labels: 000 obama election, neil young crazy horse boston garden 11/26/12 review patti smith concert setlist