photos by Expecting To Fly
Neil Young News
The following page is one of a series of posts to the Neil Young mailing list Rust on the amazing August 2005 concerts at the original Grand Ol Opry historic Ryman Auditorium in Nashville, Tennessee. The series reveals the pure ethic of a Neil Young fan: "Don't Be Denied!" Here are Rustie John Duncan's exhaustive tales from Nashville in 10 parts.
Postcard from Nashville Part 1 Postcards from Nashville From:
"John Duncan" <dunca@...>
A Concert Odyssey by John Duncan
Date: Sat Aug 20, 2005 4:24 pm
Subject: Postcard from Nashville Pt 10 The happiest ending possible
Okay, I said wonderful things could still happen and they just did.
I had a bit of a secret mission on this trip. Some of you will
remember that my daughter was born a couple of days after Neil's
third date at the Hammersmith Odeon in May 2003. My wife came with
me despite imminent childbirth and I think I posted at the time that
she kicked her hard during Be The Rain, as if she was trying to
Well, my wife and I both want our daughter to feel the same
connection to Neil as we both have, and want to have something for
her to grow up with that will always remind her of her first contact
with Neil. So I brought a photo of my daughter with me to Nashville
and carried it everywhere in the hope that I might meet Neil on a
street corner or in a bar, tell him the story and ask him to sign
this picture of my daughter so we can frame it and put it on her
wall for her childhood.
I had a halfhearted go last night but it just didn't feel like the
right time with record company people swarming all over him. As I
said in one of the posts the idea suddenly seemed selfish and
But this morning was much quieter and I knew Neil was at the hotel
today doing interviews for selected press people from Europe (they
went with the Sunday Times rather than the Observer. Go figure.). So
I've kind of hung out at the door a bit, chatted to the drivers and
smoked more cigarettes than I should in the hope that I might get
blessed with a private moment to tell my little story to Neil.
I had almost given up. I toyed with the idea of writing a letter to
Neil and leaving it at reception. I wrote it out. But I didn't mail
it at reception.
Ten minutes ago I went outside again to call my daughter and sing
her a bedtime song and spoke to my wife who encouraged me not to
give up. I finished the call outside the hotel where a black Caddy
and a fleet of Lincolns and a minibus were parked. I finished the
call, put out my cigarette and walked into the hotel and as I walked
in, hiding round the back of the door was Neil, talking to "Jed"
from Greendale. So I took a deep breath (not deep enough, I started
shaking almost immediately)
"Excuse me Neil. I don't want to intrude and if I am I will leave
He looked at me and hesitated.
"Well, er, it depends what er, what er..."
"My two year old daughter was born three days after Hammerssmith and
she came to see you in her mothers womb. She kicked the hell out of
my wife during Be The Rain."
"This is a picture of her" I fumbled and fumbled and shook but
eventually I got it out of its envelope.
"Oh wow. Look at her," He gestured to "Jed" who came over and cooed
at the picture too.
"This little girl was at Hammersmith before she was born and kicked
hard during Be The Rain." said Neil to Jed.
"Erm, it would mean so much to me if you would sign the photo for me
Neil. If you could sign it To Isabella..."
"And if you could sign it To Isabella, Be the rain, Neil Young that
would be so perfect."
And he signed it. And I shook his hand and he strolled away to the
Caddy talking to Jed.
I had a little joyful sniffle and rang my wife just before I posted
I can't describe how I'm feeling right now. But if there's a group
of people in the world who would know it's you lot.
Postcards from Nashville
"John Duncan" <dunca@...>