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Neil Young solo 09/15/2004


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Neil Young

Berkeley Community Theatre\

September 15, 2004

Solo set


Harvest Moon

On The Way Home (on grand piano)

Journey Through The Past (on grand piano)

Cowgirl In The Sand

Don't Let It Bring You Down

Birds (on grand piano)

Human Highway (w/ Pegi Young on vocals)

Goin' Back (w/ Pegi Young on vocals)

Old King (on banjo, w/ Pegi Young on vocals)

Four Strong Winds (w/ Pegi Young on vocals)

1st Encore

Field Of Opportunity (w/ Pegi Young on vocals)

Comes A Time (w/ Pegi Young on vocals)

2nd Encore

Heart Of Gold

"Journey Through The Past" would have blown my mind! I wish I lived in the Bay area, at least until Neil Young passes away.

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wow that sounds awesome. who's paul? i love neil. i really really need to see another acoustic neil show soon. the last one was close to a religious experience i think... where you get goosebumps and shivers and you almost wanna cry.... for every song... ahhhhhh

he's doing that show in drunken tomorrow i think.

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Hey Swan, I went to the Bridge School Benefits in '98,'99 and '00 and they were easily some of the best shows I've seen in my life.

Unfortunately I haven't been back since '00 and I can't make it this year. I hope for your sake and the 24,999 other people that will be in attendance that Neil and Paul perform together. I think the Landmine Benefit on October 15, will be a good precursor to what will happen at the Bridge.

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Man... i've seen neil quite a few times but never solo acoustic!!! rrrrrr... Vancouver Island is going to be INSANE... i would quickly travel back in time and refund my Coventry ticket for that one if i could... great set list from the 15th show... journey through the past, birds, on th way home, field of opportunity!!!!!!!!, gotta stop there or i'll just list the whole damn set again. I've got lots of good quality solo neil shows/comps, but seeing him in person would be unreal. have a good time on the island.

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With his frail voice and acoustic instruments, Neil Young rocks the house as only he can

- Joel Selvin, Chronicle Senior Pop Music Critic

Friday, September 17, 2004

Nobody gets more low-key than Neil Young.

Surrounded by a spray of acoustic guitars in their stands, both knees poking through his blue jeans, a hat pulled down over his head, Young ambled through a baker's dozen acoustic numbers at a sold-out benefit at the Berkeley Community Theater on Wednesday.

He never looked up. He shuffled between the guitars and piano. He muttered a few, almost random asides to the devoted audience between numbers. He may have had some plan originally, but by the time he returned for an encore, he was fumbling, trying to think of something to play, properly craggy and rustic, like a stoner Gary Cooper.

But when his fingers started lovingly stroking those strings and he leaned his frail voice into those weather-beaten songs, his spell was instantly cast. He etched each number with exquisite detail, twisting his whispery voice or decorating the melody on guitar.

With appearances pending with Paul McCartney next month at both Young's annual Bridge benefit concert and McCartney's anti-land-mine fund-raiser in Los Angeles, Young took another evening to raise money for an Oakland youth anti-violence program, a Bay Area youth program for Native Americans, and a Canadian "conscious radio" network.

He could have showed up in a pickup truck with a beat-up guitar and played all night by himself, but with Neil Young, nothing is ever as simple as it seems. Instead, Young made the evening something of an acoustic music festival, presenting three fabulous acoustic acts before him. Each was astonishing in his or her own way, although they could hardly have been more different.

Jonathan Richman, who has been polishing that faux naivete since his Modern Lovers were Boston's top Velvet Underground impersonators, uses impish charm and his obvious love of old rock 'n' roll to fashion broadly ironic, modern vignettes.

The wonderful singer-songwriter Joanne Newsom, a 22-year-old San Francisco harpist, rattled off intensely detailed lyrics in a squeaky baby voice to the playing of her rich, tuneful harp, an instrument she used more like a piano.

Wearing a headphone mike and playing searing, slicing lap-style bottleneck guitar, Tuscarona tribe descendant PuraFé blended world beat rhythms with Southern blues and her own powerful vocals.

In 1978, Young -- at the height of his rock stardom, the dizzying success of Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young and the heady triumph of his dark, sullen solo albums -- did a week of acoustic performances at the long- defunct Boarding House on Bush Street, nothing less than a daring feat of legerdemain in that era of high-decibel electric rock. But his folk roots, those chord progressions, the guitar style, have always been at the center of whatever crazy musical experiments Young was running at the time.

He started his Bridge School benefit concerts at Mountain View's Shoreline Amphitheatre as an acoustic music event 18 years ago, way before MTV coined the term "Unplugged" (if it did). Young long ago established himself as an acoustic performer, even while he was having Top 40 hits or playing long, ragged, feedback-laden electric guitar solos.

His performance Wednesday in Berkeley was typical. He made the masterful guitar playing, highly nuanced and subtly flavored as it was, sound utterly effortless, almost offhand. His fragile voice skipped across the tricky precipices of his songs' melodies with sure-footed ease.

The program, somewhat surprisingly, leaned on old favorites. Young himself even joked about it, calling "Harvest Moon," the title track to a 1992 album, "a new one." He played a powerful "Journey Through the Past" on piano. He switched back to guitar for "Cowgirl in the Sand" and a moving "Don't Let It Bring You Down." He brought out the banjo for "Old King" and was joined by his wife, Pegi Young, who sang harmonies on a few songs. He closed the night with "Heart of Gold."

Whenever Neil Young wants to do this, he can be immensely effective. He connects with his slightly rowdy audience at these acoustic performances on more intimate, warm terms. His music is so deeply rooted in his unique personal expression, all he needs to do is be himself -- with a full band or alone with only a handful of acoustic guitars and some harmonicas.

E-mail Joel Selvin at jselvin@sfchronicle.com.

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I do have the unreleased movie "Journey Through The Past" on VHS though...

I wish I lived in the Bay area, at least until Neil Young passes away.

Bite your tongue.

Hey Esau, We all have to die sometime. Maybe I should say I wish to live in the Bay area until Neil stops performing more gigs there than anywhere else.

I too have "Journey Through the Past" on tape, the first of many great? Neil Young films. I just always wanted to here a song from "Time Fades Away" which the song "Journey Through the Past" appears. Also it mentions Canada in it which always gives me the chills.

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