Thursday, March 14, 2013

I Just Got Blown Away – Neil Young & Crazy Horse at The Plenary

neil young 005

Well, I was pleased to find out that I wasn’t an old fogey who couldn’t tolerate a loud rock ‘n roll  band. In fact from the first song I knew I was going to like the show very much, and at no time did I even contemplate leaving.

It was a three hour marathon, full of sweet and gritty rock n roll. Yeah, sure there were times when I wondered how much longer the song, or rather the extended jam at the end of the song, was going to go on, but grinned and bore it. All the songs performed seemed to last at least ten minutes and in all there were 18 of them (see set list).

The sound was loud, but perfectly balanced and so scintillatingly dynamic that the thought of muffling it seemed anathema, so I ended up not inserting the ear plugs at all, or only briefly during a particularly vehement distorted jam towards the end of the show.

In all it was a great rock concert, and I am very glad I was present to witness it.

There was a brief three song acoustic interval, where Neil played Heart of Gold, Twisted Road and Singer Without A Song. During Singer Without A Song, a young woman carrying a guitar case wandered aimlessly around the stage, in some lame attempt to illustrate the lyrics. Rather corny I thought at the time and was relieved when the band got back to loud rock.

Though I haven’t kept up with Neil Young’s recordings over the past twenty years or so, the newer songs had a familiar ring to them, no doubt due to Neil Young’s unique voice and musical sensibilities. I loved the opening song Love and Only Love and enjoyed the heavy pounding rhythm of Walk Like A Giant, in fact the whole show.

My seat. I discovered was in the front row of the second tier of seating, so I wasn’t right up the front next to the stage. I had a good view and was grateful to be at a remove from the amplifiers. I took my small old Pansonic camera with me, to try and get a few photos, but was too far from the stage, so shot some from the big screens on each side of the auditorium. The photo above is one of them – not perfect, I know.

The venue itself is excellent, though rather hard to find if you’ve never been there before, hidden as it is in the bowels of the Melbourne Convention Centre. Neil Young commented on this in his sole brief engagement with the audience.

As mentioned before the concert lasted almost exactly three hours.  An extended version of Like A Hurricane was the sole encore, after which the audience rose for a standing ovation.

So all the previous reviews are correct – it was a great rock n roll concert and boo hiss to those who disagree.

As an aside, and as an example of the eccentricity of the evening, the show opened with a recording of The Beatles A Day In The Life and as the audience were filing out of the auditorium Greensleeves came wafting over the airwaves. Go figure!

 Set List

  1. Love and Only Love
  2. Powderfinger
  3. Born in Ontario
  4. Walk Like a Giant
  5. Hole in the Sky
  6. Heart of Gold
  7. Twisted Road
  8. Singer Without a Song
  9. Ramada Inn
  10. Cinnamon Girl
  11. Cortez the Killer
  12. Dangerbird
  13. Barstool Blues
  14. Prisoners of Rock 'n' Roll
  15. Opera Star
  16. My My, Hey Hey (Out of the Blue)
  17. Sedan Delivery


  1. Like a Hurricane


Something completely different today, was a charming little show performed in store at Basement Discs, by young English folk artist Seth Lakeman.

seth lakeman 

A pleasant and comely young man, he is a skilled multi instrumentalist,  singer and songwriter, possessing an affecting and passionate voice.

Playing alternately a violin and bouzouki, he entertained the lunchtime crowd with a selection of songs from his repertoire, including Blacksmith’s Prayer, The Hurlers and a wonderful ballad about the Penlee Lifeboat Disaster called Solomon Browne.

Tomorrow Grizzly Jim Lawrie, formerly of Eagle and the Worm, performs an in store, and Friday 22nd Australian Rock legend Russell Morris will grace the Basement stage.

So much to enjoy, so much to look forward to.


Amanda said...

I saw Steh Lakeman with full band at the Blkue Mountains Music Festival, it was good tho I left halfway to see Chris Smither but my 15 year old niece (her first music festival) fell totally in lurve with him ... ;-)

Amanda said...

Steh= Seth and Blkue= Blue

Anne S said...

Embarassing how mispellings occur, happens all the time.

My latest musical treat was David Onley & Sergio Webb - fantastic and unusual show, which I hope to blog about shortly.

Anne S said...

Geez, I misspelled "misspelling" - how comical is that.