Neil Young - Milan 1989 (review)

     An ordinary room of work of an advertisement agent with two doors (one which opens on a garden, the other on a court), one window which opens on a street, a quay, a river another bank). A poster is on the wall reproducing "Neil Young" once on each of the four bands which forms it; two red bands with white letters inserted in between two white bands with green letters. But the audience doesnít see all of this because it is 9 PM on Tuesday December 5, 1989, and only the middle of the room is lit up and also the street which one sees by the framing of the window.

THE BLIND MAN (the voice coming from the open window)

Scene I
(Mr Adman, enters with sharp steps, begins some stretchings, sees a crown on the shelf, takes it and uses it to work out, then to have fun he puts it on his head.)
Mr ADMAN: The king is gone but heís not forgotten.

Scene II
(Miss Freedom enters, sees Mr Adman in an extravagant behaviour but doesnít pay attention to his embarrassing situation.)
MISS FREEDOM: Keep movement. You have got the good rhythm for your first night... You are really talented with your hands.
Mr ADMAN: Well... I am as clumsy with my right hand as useless with my left hand.
MISS FREEDOM: Your knees are tattered.
Mr ADMAN pacing the room: Youíll find them in the dustbin... like your baby...
MISS FREEDOM: Air and water are inaccessible nowadays.
Mr ADMAN: Is the air better close to the ground or at the top of the mountain? All that is a matter of shoes.

Scene III
Mr ADMAN: Do you remember "Prisoners exercising in Newgate yard" by Gustave Dorť?
MISS FREEDOM: Their head is low so that it didnít cut.
Mr ADMAN: They hunch their back in order to gather better their dream still marked with dew.
MISS FREEDOM: Dream laughs like a girl having known to save time.
(One door opens. It hides the person who is in fact Mr Muscleman.)
Mr MUSCLEMAN: Is Pretty Pegy here?
(A pause. The door is closed.)
Mr ADMAN: The dream is a river that breaks our leg if we dip it inside to check its temperature. By the way, are you still here?
MISS FREEDOM: And according to you, where should I be? I am at the horizon for those who donít have your luck.
Mr ADMAN: Itís necessary to have talent to know to jump at the chance.

Scene IV
Mr ADMAN looks out of the window: Look! The blind man is there.
THE BLIND MAN shouts: We love you!
MISS FREEDOM: Sit down, please. You make me dizzy!
(Mr Adman sits down at his desk, taps on his keyboard.)
Mr ADMAN: You look delightful in your black and white lady's suit. Whatís the price of petroleum on snow?
MISS FREEDOM slightly ruffled: Itís the same price than the egg descended from yin and yang.
(She comes in the darkness.)

Scene V
Mr ADMAN thoughtful, paces the room: The castles burn in the dumps. It is certainly the reason why these cards games are now fireproofed... Except the four aces that is continuously to look after... and... the queen of hearts... and... (looking out of the window)... The blind man had the revelation: he lit his candle that he was pushing in front of him like a corpse. He runs in the night. Never again the same night.

Scene VI
(Miss Pocahontas enters.)
Mr ADMAN: How are you doing?
MISS POCAHONTAS: Can I stay here for a while?
THE BLIND MAN: Shut up! Shut up! Shut up!... Shut up! Shut up!
MISS FREEDOM: The things we thought of yesterday come back now, come back now...
(Mr Adman paces the room, goes to the window.)
Mr ADMAN: An aurora borealis... This icy sky in the night...
MISS POCAHONTAS: Iím going to get some beer for you.
(Miss Pocahontas goes out.)

Scene VII
(Mr Adman paces the room walking as if he was putting his feet on a hotplate.)
Mr ADMAN: Iím really far from my home.
MISS FREEDOM: I bring a cheeseburger to you.
(Mr Adman, always standing, calms his nerves striking his tool with his hand. Miss Freedom observes him. Mr Adman takes off his black leather jacket.)
Mr ADMAN: I donít accustom myself to this underfloor heating. I canít keep my feet on the ground without stifling.
MISS FREEDOM: Do you want me to reduce the temperature of the thermostat? (She comes close to the electric heater.) Well! Goodness!
Mr ADMAN: What's the matter?
MISS FREEDOM: Nothing's the matter. (She leaves.)

Scene VIII
Mr Adman: I hear somebody approaching. It isnít the airy tread of Miss Pocahontas nor Miss Freedomís one. And then that comes from the door giving onto the garden. (He goes near this door and opens it.)
Mr ADMAN surprised: Oh! Who is there? Poncho! Frank Poncho Sampedro from Crazy Horse! How are you doing?
(Mr Sampedro smiles by way of answer.)
Mr ADMAN: Don't you want to leave the leash that you drag?
Mr SAMPEDRO: Iím less free in my movements as you can be but that suits me because Iím more introvert, less fiery than a bull in the arena.
Mr ADMAN: This leash makes you a blind dog.
Mr SAMPEDRO: I was born to serve others.
Mr ADMAN looks out of the window: Eldorado is on fire.
(Mr Sampedro doesnít move but casts his eyes the window.)
Mr SAMPEDRO: How do you know that? This hill shines with thousand glows all the time.
Mr ADMAN: The moon cries like a diamond of these shining women from Tijuana.
Mr SAMPEDRO: Your words and your melodies are palpable poetry.
Mr ADMAN: You help me a lot. Without you... (At this time, we hear a sound of castanets coming from outside.) And without this blind man...

Scene IX
(The door giving onto the garden opens.)
Mr ADMAN cheerfully welcomes the newcomer: Oh! Ben Keith!
(Mr Keith sits down, puts on his knees his working gear. Heís wearing a white hat and a moustache that are suitable for a dandy.)
THE BLIND MAN: Where is Billy? Mr Adman, intrigued approaches the window and talks to the blind man.
Mr ADMAN: Who?
Mr ADMAN: Question for question: Did I go too far for him?
Mr KEITH: Yes, too far gone.
Mr SAMPEDRO: You groan like crystal pounded by a neurotic mandolin. Itís beautiful.
(Mr Adman gestures his greeting to his two companions that leaves by the way they had come.)

Scene X
(Mr Adman goes near the window.)
THE BLIND MAN: Itís all illusion anyway.
Mr ADMAN: How are you doing out there?
THE BLIND MAN: Half the time has passed away.
(Mr Adman goes to the door giving on the yard, opens it and speaks to somebody that we canít see.)
Mr ADMAN: what's going on this evening? Is there no maintenance? Do you spend some good time with the Miss Pocahontas beers?
(Mr Adman lets Miss Freedom pass and keeps on his moaning. Miss Freedom leans her bottom on his desk. She holds out a cheeseburger to Mr Adman but this one worried by strange noises doesnít notice her offer. Miss Freedom begins to eat it then.)
Mr ADMAN happy: Iíve got the real thing.
MISS FREEDOM: Would it begin with a small bowl?... (She repeats louder.) Would it begin with a small bowl?...
Mr ADMAN: What was that?
MISS FREEDOM makes a circular gesture above her head: The real thing. Yes, it begins with a small bowl and then after a sombrero isnít enough.
Mr ADMAN in dismay: That's bright.
MISS FREEDOM smiles: Yes, especially by the light of lamppost. (She leaves.)

Scene XI
Mr ADMAN: The damage is done. (He comes near the window hearing some repeated knocks.) Itís the blind man... He knocks on this cellar door as if it was an old dusty carpet. Itís touching.

Scene XII
Mr SAMPEDRO enters: Pay no attention to me. I stand apart.
Mr ADMAN, going from the window to his desk, unveils his thought to us: This blind man lives at the edge of the night. He gets giddy about that. He gropes his way. He refuses his walking stick. The plan for a liked hand isnít a crutch. Does he know that? Thatís weakling him. And the orphan of stars joined the wet nurse with his feeding bottle with her prickly teat in the garden in the black hole where the race of the sun is more vertiginous than elsewhere.
Mr SAMPEDRO: I leave.
(Mr Adman nods a greeting to him. He goes to his desk, examines his working board.)
Mr ADMAN: What is it going wrong here? OK for that one... And what about this one?
THE BLIND MAN: Half the time has passed away.

Scene XIII
Mr ADMAN, lonely, at the window: This evening, the street runs gently. Its high flood resonates like a soft oceanic hubbub. The blind man hung his roots on his bloodless pavement. One girl berths close to him. She starts dancing and wants to carry him away with her dance. He doesnít want: he lets himself sink into the grip of his freedom. He doesnít want to leave his freedom for Freedom. And then, he knows heís awkward as dancer. The girl made him smile. Now she really ensnares him. He must say to himself: "How can it be that these things also happen to me?" Yes indeed... Even if the end of the roaming arrives blowing a gale at our last breath, we should breathe it deeply. The bitterness should disappear quickly.

Scene XIV
(Miss Freedom enters.)
MISS FREEDOM: Ah! Ah! Did you talk to yourselves? Your remarks reverberated to Hollywood. I hope there was no secret for you in what you say.
Mr ADMAN: If you recorded my remarks, you can listen to the tape again. Thereís strictly no news in what I have just said. (A this moment, Ben Keith enters and settles down like previously.) Rather listen to this:
The wind getting dark whispers me
Elders dragged their steps in dust
Their night was bright
It was gold dust
Mr KEITH: Beautiful introduction. Go on! Youíll make a great hit!
Mr ADMAN turns around Mr Keith: You take my inspiration out.
Mr KEITH: I will help you. (Mr Adman turns around Mr Keith, moves away from him and heís standing in his back contemplating him.)
Mr KEITH declaims: Like this, for example:
I run across Kentucky
I've set up its sun in Nashville
The ground boomed during harvest
Before the end you told me your name
It wasnít sorrow
I'm getting old
Mr ADMAN: You bring really a magnificent personal touch! Iím very grateful to you... I am filled with admiration for you. (Mr Adman puts his hand on the Mr Keith shoulder. This one gets up. Mr Adman stays still looking at him, then suddenly he becomes impassioned in honour of Mr Keith going out.)

Scene XV
(Mr Adman takes off his shirt.)
MISS FREEDOM: You had a good scissors to cut out the sleeves of your T-shirt thus.
Mr ADMAN: Itís necessary to have the pirate standard embroidered on the heart to be appeared like me on TV... It was on BBC and on one USA TV...
(Mr Adman grabs one guitar. His strap is wide and black and it ends in fringes.)
MISS FREEDOM: I didnít notice your guitar yet.
Mr ADMAN: That's the last straw! It seldom leaves me. Itís an integral part of myself. It helps me to find ideas, to improve my work. Where are you?
MISS FREEDOM: In Ohio. Iím the smile of Allison, Jeffrey, Sandra and William in Kent State University. The car park of Prentice Hall becomes Cambodia. Iím in May 4, 1970.
Mr ADMAN goes to the window: Look! The blind man is always there... This song is for me... This song is for you... Four dead in Ohio.
(Mr Adman stops his guitar playing.)
THE BLIND MAN: Four dead in Ohio! Four dead in Ohio! Four dead in Ohio! Four dead in Ohio! Four dead in Ohio!
Mr ADMAN embarrassed: I think that is good! Everyone understood! Four dead in Ohio...

Scene XVI
(Mr Adman becomes eccentric wriggling vigorously in concentric circles.)
MISS FREEDOM: Do you think your gesticulation makes more dynamic your rosette?
Mr ADMAN: My message is more powerful filling all the available space. Itís the most elementary requirement of the job.
MISS FREEDOM: And what is your message?
Mr ADMAN: My message is yours: keep on rocking in the free world!
THE BLIND MAN: Keep on rockin' in the free world!
THE BLIND MAN, Mr ADMAN: Keep on rockin' in the free world! Keep on rockin' in the free world! Keep on rockin' in the free world! Keep on rockin' in the free world! Keep on rockin' in the free world!
(Mr Adman jumps out of the window and comes close to the blind man who tries to envelop him in his affection with his arms but the surprise and the emotion caused by this type of event makes coarse his gestures. Miss Freedom utters a little cry of astonishment. Mr Muscleman enters running in the room of work, sees the situation then he intervenes bringing vigorously back Mr Adman in his place. Mr Adman looks displeased as much with the blind man that of Mr Muscleman.)
MR MUSCLEMAN: You are not serious! That could have finished more badly!
Mr ADMAN severe: With whom?
(Mr Muscleman leaves. Miss Freedom is absorbed in thought close to the dustbin. Mr Adman gets over the event wearing a broad smile. He leaves.)

Scene XVII
(Mr Adman enters precipitately running towards the window. The blind man applauds "his friend". Siren rings giving the blind man a start.)
MISS FREEDOM: Itís just a boat berthing.
THE BLIND MAN: I donít feel easy in my mind... I see it will bring the darkness in the country.
Mr ADMAN: ... It gets already dark...
THE BLIND MAN: It could well be... But night or day, it will be a night with loneliness stinking of powder.
Mr ADMAN: You are strange, you, blind men.
THE BLIND MAN: People often think our hands are our eyes but they only act as guide. Our heart is our true eye.
Mr ADMAN: I understand. Itís the same thing for everyone, but we sometimes to forget that since our eyes are lit... And when our heart burns by love, in which kind of darkness do we sink?
MISS FREEDOM: A quite dry and rugged darkness at the end of this combustion in the so brilliant light...
Mr ADMAN: Yes... Darkness doesnít mean without light. The room where we are will be switched off but our heart will remain illuminated.
(Mr Adman and Miss Freedom leave. The room of work is in darkness now.)

The end

Denis Between The Rusty Words
(July 01, 2005)

Note: In French, the abbreviation of "Mister" is "M". The visual effect is more comical before ADMAN.
© IDDN 2005

My original piece (poem) 

Setlist from this show : 12-05-1989, Teatro Smeraldo, Milan, Italy

My My, Hey Hey / Rockin' In The Free World / The Old Laughing Lady / Don't Let It Bring You Down / Someday / Pocahontas / Crime In The City / Eldorado / Too Far Gone / This Note's For You / The Needle And The Damage Done / No More / Hanging On A Limb / Heart Of Gold / Ohio / Rockin' In The Free World / Powderfinger
Band :

Neil Young: vocals, guitar, banjo, keyboards, harmonica
Frank Sampedro: guitar. mandolin, vocals
Ben Keith - dobro, keyboards, vocals