I must say this is one of the more interesting threads RUST has come up with since I signed on. Certainly the most personal. But I think this is what makes Neil such a great artist: his music touches folks in a unique and deeply personal way.
Unlike a lot of popular music today which lacks true emotion, Neil's music is full of richness, beauty, emotion and feeling. Although some folks find Harvest Moon's "Such a Woman" to be a little corny, can anyone tell me of any other artist who could perform such a personal song about their wife and/or lover and not be laughed out of town? Not to trash the music giants of the 90's like Pearl Jam or Nirvana (which I like), but their music, while highly energetic and spirited, lacks the true depth of an artist making music from the soul.
But I digress. As for demographics, I'm at the end of the boom - 1960. I had my start with Neil with 4 Way St. which was my first album purchase. Hard to believe that today it is not very highly regarded since everyone seemed to have it and play it at the time of its release. First time I saw Neil was with CSNY in '74 at Foreman Field, Norfolk, VA. It was my first concert and I was 13 years old. Pretty unforgettable at such an impressionable age. Huge outdoor stadium concert and it was 95 degrees out. People taking off their clothes and groovin to CSNY. Way far out. My first encounter with combustibles, also. And I'll never forget Neil playing Ohio and everyone in the crowd singing "4 dead in Ohio" and realizing that the song was about Kent State.
So I've been keeping up with Neil ever since. The next greatest show I saw was the Rust Never Sleeps tour at William & Mary College in Williamsburg, Virginia on October 7, 1978 (Set List). A brilliantly executed concept show, right down to the Woodstock stage announcements. Many folks (not just Neil fans) consider this tour to be one of the greatest of all time. Certainly the loudest concert I've ever attended - ears rang for days afterward.
Like many, sort of dropped off the Neil band wagon during early eighties during the TRANS/Everybody's Rockin/etc. detours. However, I came back to Neil's music during some unusual personal circumstances. Had one of those crash and burn breakups with a girlfriend and was really down. Went through a period of listening to Tonight's the Night at loud volumes and drinking heavily. I hadn't played TTN in years, but for some perverse reason, TTN would cheer me up. Probably because I thought, now here's someone who's even more bummed out and miserable than I am. Anyway after repeated listenings at 2 am while consuming mass quantities of Cuervo Gold Tequila I slowly branched back out into all of Neil's other albums.
Now, when I hear TTN, I sort of get transported back to that rough period of my life and recall its rejuvenating powers. It is sort of a revelation to play 10 or so of Neil's albums back to back and re-discover how uniquely different so much of his music is. Which is the primary reason why I enjoy Neil's music: the only thing that is consistent is his inconsistency. Keeping his music fresh and different, yet nearly always drawing on such basic emotional themes as love found and love lost, Neil's music is viable, vital and practically timeless.
"This means nothing to you. You don't know these people."
TTN liner notes
"But me I'm not stopping there, got my own row left to
Just another line in the field of time
When the Thrasher comes and I'm stuck in the sun like dinosaurs in shrines
Then I'll know the time has come to give what's mine."