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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 12:16 pm
Subject: Postcard from Nashville Part 8 After the ticket rush
So my friend from Warners mentioned that there was likely to be an
aftershow at the hotel but he didn't know how many people he could get
in. Maybe he could get Mike in. Maybe.
We hung around the Ryman for a bit in the lobby because there was a
rumour flying about an additional song being played for an invited
audience that didn't include even the people with VIP passes (q: how
many rusties does it take to start a rumour about a Neil gig? A: Four.
One to start the rumour, one to listen to it, one to suggest theories
about the rumour, and one to fantasise about what unplayed-since-1967
gem the rumour should centre around). I don't know if this extra song
was fantasy or not, though they did leave the external film crew
lights on and were still therefore filming when we walked away at
11.45pm. The theory was that maybe they would do Payola Blues....
So I wandered with Mike and Karen and Sara up to the hotel expecting
to face the ultimate moral dilemme. If I could only get myself in
would I be able to leave the others outside on the red carpet or would
I refuse as a matter of principle to leave comrades in the field.
Happily I will never know because the party was devoid of what you
might technically call a door. And after about 10 minutes all of our
friends from the list were in too. Phew. I grabbed a JD (the whiskey
rather than an imaginary alter ego) and scouted the room. Rick Rosas
was there early though in the space of three hours he changed his
shirt three times. Maybe people kept spilling drinks on him. Ben Keith
was there looking much more relaxed than before the show. Meryl Streep
looking lovely (though she's quite short in real life - sorry, there's
a bit of Hello magazine in everyone). And Sarah something something
something, but not Jessica Parker. She's on TV.
Mike and I wandered over to talk to Jonathan Demme. I have a friend
who used to trade mix tapes of Haitian music and British punk with him
and I passed on his regards. He was very polite to us but plainly had
a 'fixed-grin-meet-and-greet-these-are-the-record-company-people' face
on and wasn't going to drop it for a couple of slightly tired and
emotional rusties. We asked how he was going to project the music. And
he stonewalled us. "Dreamlike, like the music," he eventually said.
And then gave us a polished but polite end signal and we were gone.
Neil turned up late, about 12.30am maybe and was instantly in the
middle of a record company people scrum at the bottom of the stairs.
This must be Neil's idea of hell. Suddenly my idea of asking Neil to
sign a picture of my daughter "To Isabella, Be the rain, Neil Young"
seemed quite trashy and selfish. I guess I'll have to wait for a
quieter moment. [I have to say I find the "is it fair to bother Neil
for an autograph" dilemma really tough. I want the connection, I want
to say thanks even if he doesn't really hear how much I mean it. But I
want to respect his space too. And I don't want to get sucked into
blind celebrity worship. But I want to be able to explain to my
daughter why Neil Young wrote Be The Rain on a picture of her as a two
year old too. I really really don't know what I think. .
Eventually his people "situated" Neil on a sofa at one end of the long
thin room where the party was going on and put a security guard in
front of the space. Ben Young came in soon after. Pegi was there too.
After 40 minutes or so he was escorted out of the party and the whole
thing relaxed a bit. I stayed up talking to rustie Rick and rustie Sue
in the basement bar until every other person in the party had left and
the place had been returned to normal. What a wonderful night. I;m
going for a coffee and a think. Which reminds me. We were sitting
outside Tootsies and a grey van pulls up at the Ryman stage door - the
grey van that was transporting the band and film people from the
hotel. They were unloading supplies. And out walked three guys
carrying tray after tray of Starbucks coffee. Rock and roll man, I
gotta whole latte love, I'm a Clash City mocha!
Part 9 follows later and then I'm going to see a bit of Nashville....
Postcards from Nashville
"John Duncan" <dunca@...>