Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Neil Young! (And Wilco)

I missed Everest. They were the band that opened for Neil Young last night at Scotiabank Place. It was too bad, but I got there late and at least made it to my seat before Wilco took the stage. I have liked Wilco for a long time, but I have never seen them live, and wow! What a show they put on in the second slot! Wailing guitar duels, quiet songs followed by hard-rocking songs followed by bonkers quiet-and-hard-rocking songs. Not only did they keep the Neil Young crowd involved throughout their whole show, they kept us on our toes as well. I was hoping to hear "I Am Trying To Break Your Heart", but no complaints really.

I was amazed at how many people weren't aware of Wilco. When I went outside between their set and Neil's, I talked to quite a few people who thought that Wilco was a great young band who had a real chance of making it! I told them that Wilco had kinda been around for a long time. Like, 15 years. They've made it, but in that indie, cult-favourite way that doesn't get much mainstream recognition. For those of you who enjoyed Wilco last night at the show, check out I Am Trying To Break Your Heart: A Film About Wilco, one of history's all-time great music movies. It was filmed during the creation of Yankee Hotel Foxtrot, which is Wilco's best album.

Then Neil hit the stage. And what a show! I expected him to talk a little bit about the American automobile industry, about the recent presidential election, about the war in Iraq, you know - about something. But instead he launched right into the tunes. One after another after another. Hits mixed with recent stuff mixed with obscure stuff and then more hits. His isn't one of the shows I attend hoping to hear a certain song. Even with Springsteen, I'm sort of hoping to hear "The River". Even with the Stones, I'm holding out some hope to hear "Ruby Tuesday". With Neil, I'm just eagerly anticipating what he's going to play next. I really don't care what song it is.

He blasted through "Love And Only Love", "Hey Hey My My", "Powderfinger", "Cinnamon Girl", "Cortez the Killer", and tons of other stuff before settling down and playing some amazing acoustic tunes, including one of my favourites, "Needle And the Damage Done", one of the highlights of the show. Then he introduced the band, and of course the biggest cheer was for his wife of many years, Peggy. After a few quiet numbers, he blasted back into full rock mode, cranking up the volume on "Heart of Gold" and "Old Man". The energy this man has at age 63 is incredible. The musicians he has with him are incredible. And the energy he brought to Scotiabank Place was fantastic. The crowd was into every song, even the ones they didn't know, and the arena was rocking the whole time.

I'm still buzzing this morning. If this review of the show seemed incoherent at times, my apologies. It is because I was pretty much unable to sleep when the show was finished, and I am running on fumes and Red Bull this morning. Neil Young is amazing!


  1. I am glad you enjoyed the show,
    it must have been a great birthday gift for you. Have a good one!

  2. hey eric, i was there last night, it was awesome!!! my buddy took me for my birthday gift too. havent seen you around rogers in a while, stop by again some time. cheers.

  3. I had chills when Niel Blasted into full red bull energy, what a man its worth every penny and more for me.I as well was there for my birthday thanks to my special girlfriend Melissa. It was my first time seeing Niel and wont be my last if he comes back anytime soon.Love that man.Us Scorpios must stick together ...

  4. Hey - it was my birthday too! Happy Birthday everyone!