Neil Young - Rock am Ring Festival  2002 - (review)


This weekend is marked by the cold, the rain and the excellent mood of many Rock Am Ring festival-goer ! ! ! This Saturday evening is one of the four evenings (finally there will be only three) mini Eurotour in whitch Neil presents his new album. One doesn’t get the impression we are in May ! I am freezing and I am not the only one ! Neil warms his fingers up, Booker T is equipped better than an eskimo, only Poncho and Smokey bear Tee-shirt. The instruments while throwing hot notes are swelling. All is dancing for a bit of  heat, a bit of love.

blow of rock'n'roll life.
gives free the freezen hands
all your senses dance

Neil thanks us and signs to the drummer to start the next one. We shouldn’t get cold.

cunning sound hole
died you can remain free
how y'a  doing

Mr Young inquires about our health. It’s OK ! ! Continue thus to heat our bodies and our hearts ! ! Neil starts the first of the new songs played this night.

your disappeared voice
your moan not singing more
my note grows weak

Its atmosphere grips my heart. I pour a tear of blood. But at once Neil knows to heal up this kind of wounds while throwing this extraordinary song which is Sleeps_With_Angels. What a pleasant surprised !

his head cracked
his star shout shakes the night
the angels snore

Neil : "Thank you. Nice to see you. I’m glad to be back in Germany again. Thanks". It is reciprocal ! ! ! Neil deleted or forgot My_Girl envisaged after Differently. Now, he goes to his very last hit which is of an extreme and adorable languor.

soul is the target
the prey sounds out the hunter
world is wavering

The sound of this band is very good. Neil found an excellent musical balance ! The women’s choruses are not in subdued voices. The piano is not in a low tone compared with the guitars. And the drums . . . But listen to them ! Look at this drummer ! What a energy ! He is fabulous !

drums on the hillock
wounds repeated in the back
skies skin is bleeding

Neil leaves his Old Black once more and has a drink of water. "We still love it. It’s not a problem for us to do it". Neil could have taked up this space with a new song. "But That’s ok. We love all songs. Hope you like it".

to live with her
pa’ sews on my moneybag
full of bored dreams

Astrid and Pegi strike hands what gives a new tonicity to this old song. Neil introduces the next one. "Another for you. A long time ago from Zuma. Hope you like this one ". Of course that we love it ! It is not allowed to have the slightest doubt about it !

galloping horse
going to proud pyramids
whitch unseat us

These haunting notes were never impressed as beauty and freedom as this evening. Neil you can be proud for it ! Does Neil has a drink and " How y'a doin’ ?". I return him his question ! Neil awaits the phone call from Pegi to start the next one. He sings with conviction.

action is sitting
bad weather looks threatening
the sand flies away

At the end, perhaps for doing in the right way to help his product, to sell his talks which often misunderstood through his cds, Neil gets excited on his Old Black during two minutes. It may be that he only tries to get free from the sandglass. Neil seems disturbed : "Thank you. How y'a doin’ ?". A guy asks him Old_Man. His guitar set out again to be tuned. Now Neil tunes it, rings it. He address to us "Perfect !". The particular sound of whitch Old Black chimed there is absolutely no doubt about the song which will be the next one.

in som’ large gusts
water breathes foreigner
that the dry land drowns

The charm of the moon, which, tonight, is close to the first quarter, works. Each member of the band lets oneself soothe by the melody, and starts together a recent and quite sad piece.

by untidy way
our magic bird is faded
he'll turn green again

At half-way, Astrid turns her back on the band while sitting down at the piano. She remains with this instrument for the song which ends Are_You_Passionnate.

my heart with scentless
my old black guitar dissects
spouse perfumes

Pegi can be happy on this song. Contrary to my neighbors, this music doesn’t fill all my heart. I could not tell you the reason. I like the harmonica and some of many riffs which strew this slow melody and which is perhaps too "Soul" for my present-day soul. Waiting for his guitar, Neil fills. The temperature continues its fall : the tuning must be frequent. Neil does his best to heat his hands. "How y'a doin’ out there ? Well I gotta few more songs for you up here. Maybe a half hour or 45 minutes or something like that. Yeah, you know how happy we are to be in Germany. Neil points Poncho out : That's what he just said to me : ‘Very happy’. Poncho raises his arms. Neil imitates him but is especially to stretch his numb limbs. A good neil joke would heat himself, one of the kind : "the next song . . . Poncho and others people name it ‘ma old song’". In fact, Neil introduces the next song mumbling something and laughs. Neil is pleased with his joke.

potbellies swells up
and low-fat stomaches squeak
with the market wind

The steam comes out of the mouthe in big cloud. Everyone gesticulates on this furious version where Booker T manages more than honourably. Yeah ! ! ! Neil turns round towards Smokey "Minute" and tunes and listened to his fetish guitar. "Yeah ! Two_Old_Friends", he calls out in an irritated tone to one of his guy. Poncho takes his acoustic guitar.

speedy and right way
makes really filthy our ears
rain purifies them

It emanates from this song a very Greendale side by a disillusioned analysis of the world today with a blues which predicts much his saga which will be realized a few months later. I'm not imagining it : this night love and music is everywhere. My shouted "How y'a doin’ ?" is also repeated by another one. Neil, of his test, gradually launches his famous song of Buffalo Springfield !

right way or it's not
our eyebrows are disturbed
I'm already far

On this rhythm, everyone is warmed up and especially Neil who excels himself in his guitar playing ! Magical ! One "Thank you" between two tunings. Neil works much with his sharp ear this evening between songs. That gives him thirst, he drinks even a mouthful while flowing down the river !

new reached shores
your disturbed skin resists
sink yourself in me

A record ! Twenty seven minutes ! And we never at any time listen wearily ! What a real delight ! An extraordinary performance ! Astrid chokes herself and Booker T is speechless. Poncho laughs and throws mischievousness glances to Duck who fell into a deep trance. Neil answers by a great sensitivity to the bewitching notes of Poncho then to those of Booker T. Pegi and Smockey are admiring. Neil seems delighted, thanks us ("Thank you everybody"), and leaves the stage ! We howl. We applauds. Ah ! The band comes back. A curtain call was well envisaged on the original setlist. Lastly, that was to be Helpless ! But Neil directs us towards a wild rock'n'roll full of revolt.

forbidden fruit
your garden is my basket
and I crunch you hard

Neil launches a mocking laugh in the song which bring a smile to our faces. Neil dances with Poncho, then gets worked up on insane and repeated riffs ad infinitum which amuse the band and the audience. The song ends in a jolt ! "You are so good we’ll play another one". Neil slips Old Black to Larry to tune it again for a last time by miming us that his technician is excellent. Small waiting. Then, Neil makes some light tunings. Larry comes back to put the chain with its harmonica around the Neil neck. This one takes off his hat to facilitate the Larry task. Neil takes advantage of that to greet us with his cow-boy hat. Neil adjusts his horn with free reeds and rocks us in a blue light.

cherished pillow
where my dream snuggles up
in our fragile eyes

Astrid protects her glance by appropriate glasses. Blue. The air vibrates by the blue of the strings and the metal strips. We leave with the traveller. At the piano, Poncho has an eye on the rearview mirror and thus doesn’t catch out by the end of the trip. Neil greets us, gets rid of his guitar and abandons us, and there were we are still in our dream.

(January 4, 2004)
Denis Between The Rusty Words

I must thank Passenger, nypassionate and Marilyn for their efforts of comprehension when Neil introduces All_Along_The_Watchtower.  It seems that that will remain a good joke (if this one is really a joke!!!) which will remain in the darkness.
I want to put what nypassionate indicated to me about the Neil joke when he introduces All_Along_The_Watchtower :
"It's next Poncho('s) song. He would like to play . . .
. . . no song (1)
. . . old song (2)
. . . cold songs (3)"
Version 1 : This guy (Poncho) is a top lazybones, and he would prefer to remain to fart around backstage without to touch them. Moreover I’ll invent a new concept, the Crazy Horse with only Billy and Ralf, and I’ll call that Greendale . . .
Version 2 : This guy (Poncho) is a top reactionary. I break the balls doing new songs (Are_You_Passionate had just been released) and he always comes back to the old things, on top of that it isn’t from me.
Version 3 : This guy (Poncho) is nuts : to play wearing Tee-shirt with this freezing cold ! It’s sure I (Neil) will fall ill and we won’t be able to finish the tour (Brixton day 2). Well, we will be warm up ourselves with that . . .
And Passenger remember this fabulous Brixton day 2 show ! !
He was there ! ! ;-))

© IDDN 2005

My original text 

My haikus are inspired from the song played this night (05-18-2002) :
When You Dance, I Can Really Love / The Loner / Differently / Sleeps With Angels / Are You Passionate? / Goin' Home / Cinnamon Girl / Cortez The Killer / Let's Roll / Powderfinger / Quit (Don't Say You Love Me) / She's A Healer / All Along The Watchtower / Two Old Friends / Mr. Soul / Down By The River // Fuckin' Up / Helpless