Fresh Wheat - 12/29/03
2003 Year in Review
Well, the Best of the Year 2003 album and concert lists are starting to roll in and Greendale is making its way onto the critics lists.
- From PopMatters by Dave Heaton:
"2. Neil Young & Crazy Horse, Greendale (Reprise)
Greendale should be a disaster: Neil Young thinking up a town and its inhabitants and then writing a 'song-cycle' about it? Sounds pretentious and silly, but it's not. Instead, we get what might be Neil's Great American Novel, disguised as some of the best Neil Young songs ever... songs which loosely but gently merge his longing to be loud and raucous with the side of him that wants to write quiet, serious songs about what the hell this world is coming to. "
- From RockyMountainNews.com music critic Mark Brown has offered his top 10 local concerts of 2003:
"3. Neil Young & Crazy Horse/Lucinda Williams, Red Rocks, July 29
His controversial Greendale show was good enough on his own, but then Young gave us a 10-song encore (the longest of the tour) that included Country Home, The Losing End and Don't Cry No Tears. "
- From Minneapolis Star Tribune critic Jon Bream:
"The most surprising arena show was Neil Young's rock-theater presentation of 'Greendale,' a sort of hippie version of 'Our Town.' The remarkably ambitious (and unadvertised) production, available two months later as a CD and DVD, demonstrated boldness, bravado and a sense of adventure -- the same qualities OutKast showed on its blockbuster album of the year. "
- From the Las Vegas Mercury's Best CDs of 2003 by Geoff Schumacher :
"10. Neil Young, Greendale. The Man does a concept album, and pulls it off. "
- From the Louisville Scene's critic Jeffrey Lee Puckett:
"2. Neil Young, 'Greendale' (Warner Bros.) While the songs, performances and characters are all excellent, this rock opera is more notable for Young's sheer glee."
- From The Press of Atlantic City's critic Vincent Jackson:
"Sept. 13: Neil Young performs in Atlantic City as a solo act for the first time in 14 years and brings his famous backing band Crazy Horse to Atlantic City for the first time in a concert at the Taj Mahal."
- From theChicago Sun-Times' Pop Music Critic JIM DEROGATIS :
"Neil Young, 'Greendale' (Reprise): After living for a while with Neil Young's new album, its accompanying 14-page booklet and the bonus DVD featuring a live performance of this 10-song rock opera (Neil's idiosyncratic version of 'Our Town,' populated by unrepentant hippies, ecoterrorists, old cranks railing against the media and Satan), I'm still not sure I understand the concept behind this absurdly ambitious album. But it couldn't bother me less: The 'godfather of grunge' hasn't written songs this melodic or inspired since 'Ragged Glory' (1990)."
- From the Top 10 Concerts of 2003 list in the Toronto Star:
"Neil Young and Crazy Horse, Air Canada Centre, June 23. For pure,
bloody-minded weirdness, the local debut of Young's "musical novel"
Greendale - featuring all-new material, droll between-song narration by Neil and a ragtag cast of "actors" culled from his family and crew pantomiming to this songs before low-rent theatrical backdrops - was truly a thing to behold. Love the curmudgeon.
- From the Top 10 Concerts of 2003 list in Australia by Patrick Donovan inThe Age:
"1. Rolling Stones at Sydney's Enmore Theatre
2. Neil Young at Myer Music Bowl
- And, a "maybe next time" for the Florida Sun-Sentinel's Sean Piccoli on a show that didn't make the cut:
"Neil Young sprang a white elephant called Greendale on a Sound Advice crowd on June 8, opening night of the U.S. tour. The new songs were effective, but the show-and-tell dramatization of modern ills made community theater look like Broadway. Thankfully, Lucinda Williams opened. "
- From washingtonpost.com's critic David Segal on Year 2003 CDs, who loved the The White Stripes, "Elephant" (like every other critic), :
"Most baffling critical swoon: Neil Young's 'Greendale'
A droning mess of a concept album inexplicably hailed as ingenious. Young says he wrote it during morning drives to the studio, an attempt to re-create the draft-it-on-the-fly work habits of his novelist father. It might have worked for Young the elder, but it failed Young the younger, who ended up with dull, meandering and overwrought songs that tell a dull, meandering and overwrought story. Yes, this emperor of rock has earned a bit of critical slack, but what if he shows up without any clothes? "
- And lastly, my favorite Greendale quote from 2003 from Jambands.com on the Concord, CA 7/20/2003 concert review by Andy Tennille:
Regardless of what anyone says about his various side trips down the slippery slopes of genres as polarizing as rockabilly and electronica, Young is a musical chameleon with the courage to try something new, or in terms of Greendale, to say something that not many people are too keen to listen to. In a time in world history where assimilation reigns supreme, Young remains the outlier, the critic, the harsh voice of reality that kicks us in the ass from time to time when we do something stupid. Rather than criticize his views as outlandish, or characterize his rock opera as a "creative stumble," we should praise the guy for having the balls to stand up in the first place and be counted.
More on Greendale commentary and criticism, reviews, and controversy.
Fresh Wheat - 12/18/03
So what's going on around the Neil Internet community now that we're in the between the tour lull? As always, lots of good stuff to chat about.
- Over on Rusted Highway Rusted Sister posted links to the Greendale videos. I hadn't had a chance to catch them when they sneak previewed on Neil's Garage earlier this year. Check'em out, pretty cool. Can't wait for the official release.
Be The Rain: www.warnerreprise.com/asx..._100-v.asx
Sun Green: www.warnerreprise.com/asx..._100-v.asx
See Rusted Highway for complete list. And Passengers Ridin' the Highway are still chatting about Being the Rain.
- Over on Rust, Mark poses the question "Why Watchtower?". This has provoked an interesting discussion on why Neil has played Bob Dylan's All Along the Watchtower for encores in Australia rather than some of his own classics.
Well Bob & Neil go back aways. Way before the BobFest. Maybe there's some sort of musical dialogue between the two masters similar to Dylan's homage to Neil on Highlands and Neil's reference to Dylan in Bandit ?
Talkin About Everything
- And over on Human Highway well, they're talking about capturing Saddam, WMD's, global warming and lots of other political stuff on current affairs relating to the themes of Greendale.
You know, if the Internet had been around when Neil wrote the lyrics to Ohio , I wonder what he would have thought if someone had said we can't talk about Nixon and the war in Vietnam? Politics and music have always been a major force in the culture wars, particularly the music of Bob Dylan, The Beatles, and Rolling Stones.
Greendale's "Sun Green" is to the ' 00's what "Ohio" was to the '70's.
- And over on one of our favorites sites of late suitelorraine.com lots of good stuff as always. Including a cool advertisement that appears in the
VILLAGE VOICE for Greendale 2004 on Broadway. Thanks Lorraine!
And that What's Going Down!
Fresh Wheat - 12/9/03
On The Road Again!
- It looks like Neil is hitting the road again early in 2004. Here are dates that have been announced:
Feb 19: Vancouver (Queen Elizabeth Theatre)
Feb 20: Portland, OR (Theatre of the Clouds)
Feb 24: Los Angeles (Shrine Theater)
Feb 28: Albuquerque (Tingley Coliseum)
Feb 29: Colorado Springs (World Arena)
Mar 4: Chicago (Rosemont Theater)
Mar 17: New York (Radio City Music Hall)
Mar 18: New York (Radio City Music Hall)
Word is that this will be a continuation of the full Greendale stage production with Crazy Horse. Thanks Reactor!
Greendale Stands the Test of Time
- A great album functions as a self-contained universe. USATODAY.com's music critic Edna Gundersen salutes 40 albums that stand as cohesive bodies of work - not just fine collections of songs - that will stand the test of time.
The list includes such classics as The Beatles, Revolver (1966), The Beach Boys, Pet Sounds (1966), Jimi Hendrix, Are You Experienced? (1967), and The Who, The Who Sell Out (1967).
The number 40 selection is Neil Young's Greendale (2003). "The latest in Young's long series of daring concept albums spins a cinematic yarn about a small-town family coping with a murder."
Fresh Wheat - 12/6/03
Broken Arrow #92
The latest issue of Broken Arrow magazine from the Neil Young Appreciation Society is out now. Another great issue featuring lots of Greendale reviews and photos. Pretty interesting comments from Society members and not everyone is impressed with the Greendale effort.
Lots of great photos from the tour along with reviews from the Santa Ynez Festival and the Bridge School Benefit concerts. A great cover shot with Neil wearing a Greendale High t-shirt and playing his acoustic Martin guitar. Also, reports from the Toronto Film Festival premiere of Greendale. Reports of CSN shows, Stephen Stills lecture in Florida, the NYAS convention, a look back at the Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young Wembley show in 1974 and tons more stuff.
Another great issue Surfer Joe!
Fresh Wheat - 12/3/03
Melbourne, Australia 22 Nov 2003, Photo by Ron "DownUnder" Debeen
Melbourne Australia Greendale Photos
A bunch of great Melbourne photos posted on Rusted Highway Photo Gallery. Check'em out and Thanks Rusted Sister!