I am hoping that just by virtue of this title , songs came to mind. Maybe it was “I Am A Child” or “Like a Hurricane”. Perhaps some of you prefer deeper cuts like “Powderfinger” or “ Cortez the Killer” . For others “Ohio”, or “Southern Man” might do it. There is a reason why Neil Young has an article about him in Rolling Stone simply entitled “ 100 Greatest Neil Young Songs”- the man is a musical genius, and it is a toss up as to whether his writing or his playing is better as both are phenomenal.
Which is why I can’t stand him.
Let me explain.
In the summer of 2003, at the age of 33, I found out that Neil young was coming to Merriweather Post Pavillion in nearby Maryland. I immediately called some friends and we all secured tickets, breathless with anticipation of seeing a living legend. On the day of the show, we will piled into my Jeep and blared “Live Rust” during the hour long trip to the venue, air- guitaring all the way and feeling just awesome!
Everything was great! We had beer, we had food , the weather was awesome, and we were gonna see one of our idols!
Then, the show started.
Kubler- Ross identified the first stage of grief as shock and denial, and I think both those emotions permeated the entire audience as Neil played about 5 songs that nobody had ever, ever heard.
Collectively, the crowd skipped pain and guilt as Neil continued to crank out unidentifiable songs and went straight to anger. Slowly but surely, the boos began. I didn’t want to piss Neil off, and I figured that he would eventually play some hits, but no. Ten songs went by, twelve…someone yelled “Play Neil Young” , the boos became a tempest, projectiles were launched at the stage nearly hitting the high school kids Neil evidently hired to act out his lousy concert. And man, did it ever suck!
Young had decided to go on tour to promote his new, horrible rock opera called “Greendale”, but he neglected to tell his fans that they would be essentially paying for him to experiment. We were pissed off guinea pigs who felt cheated into watching this cacophonous fiasco!
Nobody knew the story, nobody WANTED to know the story, and people began leaving the venue as though Young was the antithesis of the Pied Piper.
On our way out, one of the employees of Merriweather looked at us and said , “Sorry guys, maybe your next concert here won’t suck”.
I never found out. It was like the venue had a curse on it for me. I don’t mind artists experimenting, but I feel they should at least be honest with their fans.
It pains me to say that Neil Young was the worst concert I have ever seen, but he was. But, I guess only love can break your heart ,