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Neil Young & Crazy Horse
with special guest Lucinda Williams

Monday, June 16, 2003

Post-Gazette Pavilion, Burgettstown, PA

Greendale 2003


Neil Young & Crazy Horse

1. Falling From Above
2. Double E
3. Devil's Sidewalk
4. Leave The Driving
5. Carmichael
6. Bandit
7. Grandpa's Interview
8. Bringin' Down Dinner
9. Sun Green
10. Be The Rain

11. Hey Hey, My My (Into The Black)
12. Sedan Delivery
13. Powderfinger

Pre-Concert News

(3/31/03) Alright folks, the news is out. Neil Young has recorded a new album with help from longtime friends and periodic backing band Crazy Horse. The album will be released this summer. Also this summer, Neil Young will be touring North America with Crazy Horse!!! Even better yet, they'll be coming to my hometown!! This will be the one event that will make up for missing that Stones concert! And with the live Zep release coming up in just under two months, this will be a summer that I will not soon forget! There must be a God up there somewhere!!!

(4/8/03) I GOT TICKETS!!! Twenty minutes ago, the fanclub presale for the Pittsburgh show on June 16 began, and I was armed with my Ticketmaster account and the presale password! I ran out of class as soon as it ended at 5 to one and I zoomed across campus back to my room, eager to get some really good tickets! I hit the link, selected my preferences, and found 4 tickets in Section 2 (center) Row H (sixth row back). Call me a coward, but I didn't wanna take chances on finding better tickets, for fear of losing the chance to have ones as good as I got on my first try. Besides, I've never had seats even that good for a concert, and the last time I was at the Post-Gazette Pavilion, I was really far away right behind the area that the roof covers (I have a terrible story about being freezing cold and soaking wet, but I like to try to forget about that). In any case, I AM VERY PLEASED WITH THE TICKETS I GOT! I AM SO EXCITED TO SEE NEIL YOUNG AND CRAZY HORSE!!! I CAN'T WAIT!!!! Wow, it was so nerve-racking going through the confirmation and billing and shipping pages, cuz at the top of the page it would say 'you have 1:00 to complete this page', or 'you have 3:00 to complete this page and then your tickets will be returned to the pool.' I was so frantic! But I got them! I got the tickets! Yahoo!!!

My Concert Review

(6/16/03) Let me start with the opening act, Lucinda Williams. Prior to this evening's performance, I had not heard Lucinda Williams at all and was not the least bit familiar with her music. However, I was impressed with the performance. I have to say it was a good choice for an opening act for Neil Young. The guitarist had more than a few shining moments where he tore it up in style. An entertaining opening act, but now on to the meat of the show!

WARNING: SPOILERS!!! From what I hear, lots of people are disappointed in the concert overall, but I believe it was one of the most spectacular concerts I've ever been to. The thing is, Neil Young didn't play very much of his older material, but instead spent the majority of his time on stage weaving the tale of Greendale, which is his latest work, to be released later this year. It certainly wasn't a greatest hits night, and that's what annoyed so many people. However, Neil Young, Crazy Horse, and an entire cast of actors and dancers (that were at least partially made up of roadies), had a grand old time performing Greendale. It was kind of like watching a play being narrated by a rock 'n roll band. In any case, it was a very impressive show, and Neil Young's all new material was a treat to hear. It was emotional, it was meaningful, and there were a lot of great jamming parts, which Neil Young and Crazy Horse specialize in. It was very exciting to see Neil Young dancing across the stage while jamming like crazy on his guitar. What a spectacle! And while the band members played the soundtrack there was a lot going on around the stage as all the pinnacle scenes in the story of Greendale were acted out. The gist of the story centers around the Green family living in a town called Greendale where an unfortunate murder takes place, and somewhat of a fight to save Mother Earth rises up through it all. A rock opera, indeed! There's really not much else I can say to describe what the experience was like. If you get to see Greendale live, you'll know for yourself. And either way, I recommend you pick up the album when it's released later this year and you can have it all to yourself!

So after Greendale finished up, Neil Young and Crazy Horse performed a few 'antiques' as promised at the beginning of the show. The video screen at the back of the stage showed footage of the famous 'Roadeyes' from the Rust Never Sleeps tour, and the band lit the show up with the classic Hey Hey, My My, fully electrified. They followed that up with Sedan Delivery and then Powderfinger, all with lots of energy and some solid jams. Then, it was over. No encore. Oh well. Greendale was the focus of the show, and by god it made for one hell of a show! Bravo, Neil Young! Congratulations for keeping things fresh and surprising, of which you are a master of doing, rather than getting stale and letting the old days take over your legacy. Neil Young is still able to shock the world in the 21st Century with all new material, and I feel very lucky to have been a part of this tour. He truly is an artist to admire!

My Followup Review

(7/1/03) First, let me tell you how I ended up with tickets to this show. I became a fan of Neil Young rather recently, after hearing Down By The River on the radio and then borrowing the album Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere from my dad's collection (he's been a fan of Neil Young for a looong time). I was hooked instantly, and after hearing Like A Hurricane on the radio shortly after, I became a dedicated fan. When my brother and dad went to a CSN concert in Pittsburgh this spring (I couldn't go cuz I was away at college), they came back and told me they heard rumours of Neil Young coming to Pittsburgh this summer, with Crazy Horse! That got my attention and I went online and searched for information for a couple days before I came across the rustlist and got all the infomration I needed. I purchased tickets to the Pittsburgh show as soon as they came up on fanclub presale, so I got really good seats not more than five or six rows behind the pit! What a score! I was so excited to see Neil Young and Crazy Horse for my first time!!!

You might think I'd be disappointed with the show after getting my excitement up so high, but let me tell you, that night was the best concert I've ever been to. I haven't been to a whole lot, but I have seen the likes of Robert Plant, The Who, and The Doors (21st Century), and the NYCH concert is by far my favorite.

As for Neil's new material, I want to applaud him for pulling off Greendale. Neil Young has always been an innovator and an artist, never willing to sacrifice his own dreams and creativity due to someone else's desire or control, which is probably the reason that Buffalo Springfield and CSNY didn't stay together for too long. Neil has put out a number of concept albums in the past, but Greendale exceeds that label. I would even go so far as to call Greendale a Rock Opera, but in Neil's mind anyhow, it is no less than a story. And Neil Young had the ambition to tell the story, complete with actors and dancers and props covering the stage surrounding the band as they played the music. And that's exactly how the show went. Coming into the concert, I didn't quite know what to expect, outside of the fact that Neil Young and Crazy Horse would be on the stage, but I knew that something big was going to happen. I was quite impressed with the Greendale material. The story unfolded on stage and I followed it closely, and much of the audience seemed to as well. The acoustic number (Bandit) was heartfelt, the jams on songs like Carmichael were reminiscent of Neil and Crazy Horse's earlier material from the seventies (I immediately thought of Cortez The Killer), the death of Grandpa in Grandpa's Interview brought tears to my eyes, and the all-cast high-energy groove of Be The Rain was the perfect ending to the incredible story.

In complete honesty, if Neil had walked off the stage after performing only the Greendale material, I would have still been satisfied. The "antiques", as Neil called them, were bonuses. And great bonuses, at that! They started off with Hey Hey, My My (Into The Black) which just blew my mind. They must have spent a full five minutes just in that ending jam that lasts not more than a few seconds in the Weld version of this live song. It was out of this world. They then continued on to Sedan Delivery, which was hypnotic with its fast and slow spells. Finally, the band performed Powderfinger, a beautiful song that grows on me more and more since I heard it live that night. The only regret of the night is of course that there was no encore, but even without it, as I have said, I was entirely satisfied with the show. And not only that, I was ecstatic. What a great show it was! Not your typical rock n roll concert, but for what it's worth, it was one hell of an evening!!!

By the way, there is a large possibility that the reason Neil Young played only three antiques with no encore could be because of curfew issues for the Post-Gazette Pavilion. Ask Deja Vu about it, he did some research into the matter I believe, cuz he was so disappointed about the lack of encore. Also, at the 21st Century Doors concert a week later, there were a couple omissions from the regular setlist and only one encore despite an enthusiastic crowd and a band that was really having fun, again I believe due to curfew issues.

P.S. I just want to mention how much I enjoyed that little walk that Neil Young did across the stage during the most jammiest parts of the Greendale performance. I don't even know how to describe it, but it added a whole new dimension to the jam and I wish I could learn how to walk like that while playing guitar!!!

Post-Concert News

(8/29/03) Greendale the album is now for sale at a store near you, with bonus DVD of Neil Young performing Greendale solo and acoustic live in Dublin, Ireland. Here is a review I posted on Classic Rock Forums for Greendale:

Now, I've long considered Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere to be the greatest Neil Young album, in fact it's got my favorite Neil Young songs and it was the album that got me into Neil Young! However, I can now say that Greendale is my favorite Neil Young album.

I saw it live. Neil Young & Crazy Horse toured North America with a crew of dancers and actors and stage props to present to the continent his story of Greendale! And it was excellent. The story itself is moving and politically and socially important, plus it has a lot of layers and characters you can really learn to care about. Greendale definitely is something you have to listen to more than once. Each time you hear it, you pick something new out of the story. And I consider myself extremely lucky to have seen Greendale performed live in front of me (and I had great seats too)!

This album is a must-have for Neil Young fans, at least. The music is catchy and rocking. It's not heavy jamming like Ragged Glory or electric Rust Never Sleeps, but the power of the album comes from the actual story. However, there is a good number of memorable riffs, tear-jerking melodies, and extended jamming that makes this a great Crazy Horse album. People who'll tell you it doesn't sound like Crazy Horse have a good point, because it's not mindless power-driven Crazy Horse like Ragged Glory, this is a more mature Crazy Horse, focused on the music and story more than the volume and the feedback. Look at it from that angle.

The album comes with a bonus DVD of one of Neil's solo acoustic performances of Greendale in Europe. This is an excellent addition to the album, not only because it's a great performance to watch and listen to, but also because it shows you another dimension of Greendale. Softer, acoustic numbers with extended story-telling by Neil in between songs. It's really personal, and I think that is very important because Greendale is a personal story that Neil Young wanted to communicate with the world, and that's the impression that the acoustic DVD gives off. The performance itself is very excellent, and the acoustic renditions of the songs are never less than beautiful. As I said, it lets you see Greendale from a new perspective which helps you to understand the dynamics of the story even better.

Greendale is not yet complete, however. I am anticipating two more pieces of the puzzle to come in the near future. One of them is the movie that Neil mentioned which I thought was gonna come with the album. It hasn't been released yet, but I am still looking forward to seeing it as soon as I can. The other piece would be a DVD of one of Neil's North American shows, complete with Crazy Horse and the full-scale Greendale production. I am not certain that there are any plans for such a DVD to be released, but I am hoping on it because that would be totally cool and add yet another dimension to Greendale, especially for those who were not fortunate enough to have the foresight to go and see Greendale live.

All in all, if you're a Neil Young fan, you have to own Greendale. I believe this is the biggest album Neil Young has ever released. Even bigger than Rust Never Sleeps, the tour for which produced the infamous DVD with crazy antics, giant harmonicas, and scampering road-eyes (roadies in jawa disguise). Greendale is bigger than most albums anybody has ever released, and I consider it to be a true rock opera, along the lines of The Wall and Tommy, not quite in rocking-ness, but in production and ambition and even more so in activism and awareness of society (which Neil Young covers so well).

I would even recommend Greendale to non-Neil Young fans. It's a story that anybody could connect with. And even the people who don't like to listen to rock n roll can watch the softer, acoustic DVD instead. Greendale is a must-have for any fan of music, stories, or important societal issues. My only question to you is, why do you not have Greendale by now?

(4/29/04) It is another important time for Greendale fans! Greendale: 2nd Edition is now available in stores.

Greendale: 2nd Edition

I've figured out why there has been so little talk about Greendale around, even on the RustList. It's no coincidence. Neil Young intends it to be a secretive matter, for his own reasons, I'm sure.

Think about it, the tour came up out of the blue, and we were lucky to have just happened to hear an inside tip so that we could keep our eyes open and get tickets early.

And then the album came out pretty abruptly, earlier than we expected, if I remember correctly. And it came with the bonus dvd of the acoustic show, which was a nice treat.

Word has gone around about the Greendale movie, and it's clear that the movie is finished and that certain people have seen parts or all of it, and yet it has not been released to the public just yet.

I heard a brief rumour many months ago that the movie would be released this spring, so I have been waiting patiently and expectantly. The movie is still not out yet, but all of a sudden this Greendale 2nd Edition comes out of nowhere.

If you haven't heard of Greendale 2nd Edition, let me describe to you what it is, since I found it by chance browsing through earlier in the week, ordered it, and I just at this moment finished watching it.

Greendale 2nd Edition is exactly like the original release of Greendale except for a couple details. The art itself, although the same, has the colors inversed (you know, the tan/black theme), and it actually looks pretty cool sitting next to the original Greendale. The CD itself is just the original studio album just like the one that comes with the original release of Greendale. 2nd Edition also comes with a bonus DVD, but it's not the same DVD as the original Greendale release. This one is a Making of Greendale kind of documentary.

Not so much a documentary, but rather a splicing of scenes from the Greendale movie (offering us yet more of a look at what we are all waiting for, to whet our appetites even further), combined with footage of Neil Young and Crazy Horse in the studio recording the songs for the album, with some alternate takes from what's on the studio album.

In the end, you might complain that you're buying Greendale again just for the new DVD, but that's not the point. I think maybe Neil's idea is that Greendale fans will buy the 2nd Edition, keep the DVD, then pass on the extra copy of the album (a legal paid-for version with nice artwork) to a friend to get them hooked on Greendale. Maybe. In any case, I'm such a huge fan of Greendale, I'll buy it as many times as necessary just to have all the different versions, even if it's just a new album cover design or something small like that. Just to support Neil Young and let him know that there are enough fans dedicated to Greendale to convince him that releasing more new material from Greendale (namely, the movie and hopefully live footage from the electric US tour) is a very good idea.

Speaking of that, I'm still very hopeful that Neil will eventually release a live DVD from the electric US tour. That's what I want most. But I want the movie, too. I can't wait to get it and see it in full. Seeing a lot of it in this new DVD is great, but I want the actual movie, I want to see it all!!!

Oh, and a lot of questions about Greendale are answered in the movie, just by watching the scenes. Not all the questions, though. And some of the situations Neil described between songs on the acoustic DVD but that aren't in the actual lyrics to the songs (like Sun's little hay-bale design in the middle of the large hill), are depicted in the movie, which adds that element back into the story, making it feel even more complete and clearing up a little confusion about various details (like the scene of the FBI man putting a bag of pot in Sun's bedroom drawer - suddenly it all makes sense!).

In any case, if you're a fan of Greendale, then pick up the 2nd Edition. Don't even think about it, just pick it up. And if you're not a fan of Greendale yet, now is as good a time as any to give it a listen.

Neil Young is so awesome. And Greendale rocks.

Greendale: 2nd Edition

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