Last week I had the chance to see the Los Angeles return of Neil Young at the world famous Hollywood Bowl. It was a sold out crowd attending a wonderful warm evening anticipating that Young would perform all his classic music from Buffalo Springfield and on. The show started with the lights turned off and playing of our Nation Anthem behind a backdrop of the American flag. Neil, band and crew sang it with sincere reverence along with a bewildered audience. Rock Bands of L.A. com though bewildered at first but when the audience tipped their hat and sang along you felt Young’s reverence to America.
Neil Young Performing “A Day In The Life”
When Neil Young with Crazy Horse finally started to play they subjected the crowd to many of the new songs from their forthcoming album, “Psychedelic Pill”, which is scheduled to be released at the end of October and lesser known material from his last couple of releases.
The greatness of Neil Young is undoubtedly his incorrigible persona and an “I don’t give a F*Ck” attitude; but his signature style of playing guitar. There’s never a cold ending to a Neil Young song! They are festooned with grunge, feedback and cacophony. It’s a cataclysmic nightmare for those who suffer from tinnitus (ringing in the ears). In fact I’ve heard that Young has this affliction along with epilepsy. His daughter, Amber Jean also has epilepsy while his two sons, Zeke and Ben have been diagnosed with cerebral palsy. Neil Young supports an annual charity concert in Northern CA., The Bridge School Benefit which aids children with learning disabilities.
It wasn’t until he played “Hey, Hey , My My” did the audience fall into its comfort zone. I’ve always thought that, if God forbid, Neil passes, that this should be printed on his grave stone. By the way, Neil Young is now 66 years young.
When the concert came to a close Young kindly thanked the audience and really showed his age by telling them how “far out” they were. I, like the rest of the crowd wanted more and when he returned for his encore he talked about playing a song that was “really really old and no one would remember”. It was Mr. Soul! Young claimed he hadn’t played at the Bowl since he was 22.
Neil Young has been a major influence to rock bands throughout his life. You go back to Buffalo Springfield to now he had been the cornerstone for rock music history, regardless of genre. From Roxy Music to Pearl Jam, Young’s signature had the fortitude to maintain relevance and dignity. His vocals have never been one of his virtues but he can still play an amazing guitar.