Monday, June 30, 2008
This was my first time seeing Neil live and so it was a huge thrill to finally see him play. This was tempered however by the set that he played and also the awful sound. First off, the set.
Opening with an approx 10min version of Love and Only Love is not exactly the opener I was expecting but since I love that song I was delighted to hear it. However, as the first few songs continued it was very obvious that this concert was going to be hard work for even the most dedicated fan, let alone the casual fan, of whom there were of course plenty in an outdoor gig. The extended jams would have worked in a smaller venue but outdoor, they were largely lost on the audience.
Things definitely took a turn for the better with Hey Hey, My My followed by a fantastic stretch of Too Far Gone, Oh Lonesome Me, Needle and The Damage Done, Unknown Legend and Old Man. Following this stretch he went back into extended jam mode with Words. Then came the song that unfortunately most people will remember most about the gig. A 27 minute version of No Hidden Path would have been extremely tough going in somewhere like Vicar Street. Personally, in Malahide Castle it turned laughable.
Ending the main set with that, he came back out and played a cover of A Day in The Life and then walked off stage. It certainly wasn't the best way to end it but probably appropriate for the concert that preceded it.
It must be mentioned that it wasn't helped by the terrible sound. The music was extremely muffled and Neil's vocals weren't very strong either. It did slightly improve as the gig went on but since a lot of the songs involved extensive jamming, not being able to hear the guitars properly is obviously a major problem.
Neil didn't say much during the concert, a few generic 'glad to be here' type comments. Overall, I would sum it up as could have been better. I'm all for artists like Young not turning into a glorified jukebox and testing the crowd. A balance has to be struck though in a concert the size of last night and I don't think that balance was found. When Young is facing his guitarists for long stretches, with his back to the audience you couldn't help but feel outside of the whole event.
Maybe because after seeing Springsteen two days before, my expectation of what a show should be like were too big but I was definitely hoping for a bit more last night. That being said, there was a fantastic stretch of songs that were great to see and for that 45 mins or so it was one of the best concerts I've seen in a while. If this had been in the Olympia or Vicar Street, it would have been significantly better. On the way home on the Dart, a few people broke into singing 'Only Love Can Break Your Heart'. It summed up the night pretty well for me, the fans were there but Neil didn't make it easy for us.
Love And Only Love
I've Been Waiting For You
Hey Hey, My My
Too Far Gone
Oh, Lonesome Me
The Needle And The Damage Done
Get Back To The Country
No Hidden Path
A Day In The Life
Hey Hey, My My
Posted by Neil at 12:30 PM