Neil Young in concert, Sydney, 24 January 2009

26 01 2009

24 January 2009, Sydney Entertainment Centre.

My Morning Jacket“, a young rock band from Louisville, Kentucky started their brisk 45-minute set right on time at 7:30PM (I like it when concerts start on time!). I didn’t know any of their songs, but their music was appreciated by the crowd. The lead singer has an amazing voice, with a big vocal range and some serious power.

After a 35 minute interval it was time for the main event — Neil Young. Who is not so young any more. He’s 63 now, but you would never believe it from his performance. From 8:50PM until after 10:30PM he played and sang like a man possessed, with only a slight break between the final number and the encore.  I’m not a big Neil Young fan — that’d be my husband — but I REALLY enjoyed this concert.

In the dark I tried to jot down all the songs he performed, but some of them I didn’t catch the title of, so I’ve put in a few key lyrics and hopefully my husband can fill me in on the correct titles later (he has pretty much every album and CD that Neil Young has ever released…)

  1. “Love and only love”
  2. “Sea change”
  3. “Everybody knows this is nowhere”
  4. “Spirit Road”
  5. “Cortez the Killer” (my husband’s favourite of the night)
  6. “Cinnamon Girl”
  7. “Oh Mother Earth” (on harmonica and pipe organ!)
  8. “The needle and the damage done”
  9. “Light a candle”
  10. “Four strong winds” (my favourite)
  11. “Unknown legend”
  12. “One of these days”
  13. “Get back to the country”
  14. “Words”
  15. “Just singing a song won’t change the world”
  16. “Rockin’ in the free world”

When the band came back on for the encore, they played something surprising, especially considering the tens of thousands of songs Neil Young has written. They played Lennon/McCartney’s “Day in the life”. And what a performance that was! If we thought the concert had been pretty rocky and grungy earlier (with a softer set in the middle), we were gravely mistaken. Neil Young spent an amazing 10+ minutes playing his version of this song and totally wore out a guitar in the process — literally. Unbelievable. The crowd went wild…

This guy has not lost it — his voice is as clear as ever, his guitar work is frenzied and almost demonic. If half of us had the energy that he has at 63, we’ll be doing very well indeed!

Other notes from the concert:

  • Band members: Anthony Crawford (guitar), Chad Cromwell (drums), Pegi Young (Neil’s wife, piano player, percussion, backup vocals), Rich Rosas (electric bass), Ben Keith (slide guitar)
  • There was an artist (painter) in the background working on a new canvas which ended up being of skulls. He finished that one then started another. Strange. But interesting. (A Google search has just brought up some stuff about these paintings.)
  • Official review from the Sydney Morning Herald.

So, was it worth the 6 hour drive to Perth and back, the Perth–Sydney return flights, the 4 nights accommodation (2 in Perth, 2 in Sydney), the meals out, the cost of the tickets? In a word — yep!



2 responses

16 02 2013
Ogden Fripp

mmmmm……. I left the concert feeling disappointed and ripped off, despite being a long time fan of Neil Young……… Grungy ? – yes, very. At least 15 minutes total time wasted with self indulgent noisy jamming at the end of all the rock songs. A very insular performance by Young, going through the motions and getting paid lots for it. Obviously a different perspective to our devoted Perth fan above. Goodonya. Best part of the show ? the folky songs and the last song.

16 02 2013

This was a review of the Sydney concert in 2009 — is that the same one you attended, or a more recent one?

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