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Neil Young

By John Lappen

Bottom line: Young's "Greendale" is a nice place to visit, but you wouldn't want to live there.

Shrine Auditorium,

Los Angeles Tuesday, Feb. 24

Neil Young is a soul man who plays music from the soul. It's not the type of Motown soul that finds one dancing in the streets, it's a convergence of talent, passion and intellect that finds itself erupting in Young's soul time and time again. And while the "Greendale" tour isn't perfect, it's still a serious reflection of Young's soul.

Back on the road -- or is it still on the road? -- with his "Greendale" tour, centered on a grandiose concept album and featuring a large-scale production with a set, actors, dancers, singers and Neil and the Crazy Horse band, Young's magnum opus has garnered mixed reviews since debuting last year. In a nutshell, the story revolves around an extended family that lives in the fictitious town of Greendale, Calif. The family is torn apart by a murder, but the gist of the story is a metaphor for corporate greed, political corruption, media distrust and environmental issues.

If it sounds like a lot to swallow at one sitting, it is. Not that it's a complicated narrative -- Young talks the audience through the story between songs -- but without dwelling too much on the story itself, it just isn't that compelling. While Young's intentions regarding "Greendale" are honorable and just, and the fact that he's willing to continue to push his career envelope after all these years is very cool, but it's very easy to strip away the narrative and the amateurish play acting and get down to the core of business, which is, of course, the music.

Otherwise, Young's guitar pyrotechnics were kept mostly under wraps during the 90 minutes that "Greendale" was performed. That's not to say he didn't get off some ambitious and amazing licks, it was just more subdued than the hell-bent-for-leather second set. Here and there, he spiced his melodic rock and blues guitar workouts with some tasty harp blowing and kept the pace mostly relaxed until the anthemic finale that saw the whole cast singing onstage as Young and Crazy Horse stretched out on a lengthy garage-band stomp.

The hourlong second set saw Young and the band in their finest loud guitar mode. They tore through wonderfully ragged versions of "Hey Hey, My My (Into the Black)" and "Rockin' in the Free World" punctuated by a country-flavored "Roll Another Number (For the Road)" that had the crowd on its feet. Throughout both sets, Young bounced around the stage as he grinded away, hunched close to his bandmates. An apt sight as this was a night about family, in more ways than one.


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  • 1 month later...

Neil Young tour powered by vegetable oil


his comments about the film "greendale", see, it is possible to stick to the plot :rolleyes:

old man take a look at my life

"You can read about it in any paper; it's happening right now," Young said. "They're real people. And they're being affected by what's going on."

Emblematic of that is the character of Grandpa, the outspoken patriarch of the Green family. Cutting to the heart of the matter with folksy and incisive observations, he's struck a chord with American concert audiences.

"He's having a rough time," Young said. "The whole thing that he believed in is breaking down." Young senses that, like Grandpa, his U.S. audiences "don't like America to not be free. They don't like all of this behind-the-scenes stuff," he added, referring to the Patriot Act, a controversial tool in the U.S. government's war on terror.

Young said he supported the act until he saw how it was being implemented. "It gives people who are shown to be untrustworthy -- and unworthy of having power -- way too much power."

But for all the bleak issues that "Greendale" confronts, it's not hopelessness that prevails but a powerful sense of renewal, with 18-year-old protagonist Sun Green (Sarah White) finding her voice as an artist and protester.

"I believe in youth," Young said. "It's eternally going to wash away all of the sins and start over again. It is the great thing that happens."

Young, whose four-decade career has been characterized by faithfulness to his muse rather than slavishness to audience expectations, didn't set out to create a self-described "musical novel."

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  • 3 weeks later...

I've heard mixed things about this experiment. Anyone hear it yet? Whatdiduthink?

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