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 10:34 am
Subject: Postcard from Nashville Pt 7 2nd night
6. Prairie Wind
Neil: "It sure is great to be here tonight with all of you. I know
some of us are about the same age. So this next song might mean
something special. I was thinking about my daddy and some things he
tried to tell me that I can't remember. In the last part of his life
he had dementia - some of you might know what that's like. It's
really something else to see someone living in the moment. When he
passed away we had a little service. One of my cousins, or nieces
came up to me and said: "Daddy was okay. He knew what was going on.
Once a police car pulled up behind us and he said 'Cop!'. So I know
he was okay."
Into the song, whose chorus is 'Prairie wind blowing through my
head/ Trying to remember what my daddy said'
Neil is seated for this song and his energy for it was almost
bursting out of him, with his knees really pumping up and down, his
heels banging the floor with a passion. Again you can hear Bluenotes
tinges to the guitar and horn work... loved it again.
7. Here for you
Neil is standing. "I got a beautiful young girl. Just turned 21
about to go back for her last year of college. I'd probably better
not say any more cos she'd be embarrassed, you know how they are.
There was a time I used to write these songs for girls my own age
[laughter from crowd, Neil looks at Pegi, who is standing just
behind him ready to sing harmony] I got lucky. [more laughs] This is
what you might call an empty nester song. Hey that might even be a
whole new genre of song, maybe even have its own category of radio
This is the song that I thought might be a bit too literal on the
first night. But I've changed my mind. I didn't even notice it last
night. The song has so much love in it that I think he pulls it off.
But I'm not sure what it will sound like on cd out of context and
without the background information (Proper liner notes would be
nice). But it's so sincere and loving it reels you in despite
yourself performed live.
8. This Old Guitar.
Neil: "This is such a great old place. I'm honoured to play here.
You just don't feel nervous here, just anticipation. Other gigs you
can be scared you're going to get a terrible review. It just doesn't
"My favourite guitar in the world is Willie Nelson's. I've been doin
Farm Aid for 20 years now, he's really someone to look up to. When
Hank Williams was here in 1951 he offended some people and was asked
not to come back. About 35 years ago I was lucky enough to buy
Hank's guitar from Tuck Taylor. This is Hank's guitar [he points to
the guitar]. I try to do the right thing with the guitar. You don't
want to stink with Hank's guitar. I lent it to Bob Dylan for a
while. He didn't have a tour bus so I lent him mine and I left the
guitar on the bed with a note saying Hank's guitar is back there.
[illegible] He used it for a couple of months.
I really think Hank wrote this song - well the guitar wrote it
anyway. I was out of songs and I picked up this beautiful piece of
wood and it just came out like water out of a creek."
Again my second listen made me see this song differently - it didn't
sound like a Harvest Moon retread at all. I can't really pick out
why it sounded more distinct but it did. I loved watching Emmylou
during the song. She started off stage and a minute or so into the
song she slowly walked to Neil's side and stood there like a
Guardian angel, almost motionless apart from the hand and mouth,
porcelain white skin, perfect platinum hair, hair-tingling voice.
9. He was the King.
Neil: "I wrote a song about Elvis. I called Graceland and I said I'd
written a song about Elvis. I'm a recording artist [laughter]. I'd
like to use a picture of Elvis on the record but my art director
called and you never got back to him so here I am calling you
myself. It's a nice song. It's good. Can we have the picture? It's
one of Elvis on a flat bed truck surrounded by girls with pony tails
looking at him. Can we use it?' 'We'll get back to you.'
"I waited three weeks. I called back. And I called back again. Sure
enough I got an answer. No. We don't allow photos of Elvis to be
used with other artists' albums. I guess I can understand that. They
didn't know Elvis. I wish I could have spoken to him directly. In
the end we used a picture of a pink motel with a 57 pink cadillac
parked outside. So if you see that photo you'll know the story."
This song was even better too. Really joyous and fun and enough to
send me back to Everybody's Rockin to see if I missed the point
10 When God Made Me.
Neil: "I was talking before about how this place is really a church.
In the place we recorded the record was also a church. I didn't know
it at the time but it was also a Confederate hospital and morgue.
And a church. Since then it became the studio for Monument records.
Now it's called Masterlink. Inside there are church windows and it's
really quite a place. I was writing the songs and we were almost
finished and I went in to see how they were doing. I've never
written a song like this ever, or even thought about writing a song
like this.. It's difficult for me. It's about a church, about God
and about all of us. Here it is."
As I said, even better than the first night. And at 11.17pm when the
show finished there was still plenty that could still happen in a
town like Nashville. And it probably did. But that's for postcard No
Postcards from Nashville
"John Duncan" <dunca@...>