Neil Young Concert Review

Clarkston, MI


Cream Magazine December 1978

Neil Young News

---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Wed, 27 Nov 1996 11:06:04 -0600
From: Kenny Hoeppner <khoeppne@City.Winnipeg.MB.CA>
Subject: Rust Never Sleeps Concert Review 1978 - Detroit

With American Thanksgiving coming up and all the talk about Dolly Parton.
I thought I'd post this review from Cream Magazine December 1978 by
Susan Whitall. I'll send it in 2 parts. I hope you enjoy her gonzo style

Have a Happy Thanksgiving, Peace, Sultan


Clarkston, MI (Outside Detroit, MI): The sign outside the open air theatre said "RUST NEVER
companion mumbled something about him being "at it again, sending his
signals." The crowd waiting outside were getting a mite restless, drinking
and throwing their debris under the car of yours truly, which was
already smoking. (don't ask). Was this a Led Zeppelin concert really?
Answers were to follow. As we sat down the roadies were going about
their duty dressed as Star War's Sand People; every placement of a
guitar pick suddenly invested with deep, forbidden, meaning.. Then the
next signal; The roadies work song, The Beatles, "A Day In The Life",
faded down to the last big crescendo.... the top of one of the gigantic
packing cases began to rise, to reveal the wolf himself, dressed in white
, curled up in a fetal position(ahhh) next to his acoustic guitar. He got up
and sniffed around, turning the scarier portions of his profile , left then
right... couldn't tell if the world checked out with him ok or not. Some
preliminary thumps on the guitars he woke up the " Sugar Mountain" sung
on his knees ("You can't be twen-tee on Sugar Mountain') then "I Am A

Dolly Parton was dropped from the show because Neil wanted to do a
longer set, half acoustic, half electric, with Crazy Horse. And a good
thing:the thought of those long red fingernails twangin that banjo amidst
all oft this would have been to much to bear. Young paced the stage
hungrily in long wolf strides, sometimes coming dangerously close to
row J (" Who needs to be this close my companion whined. You want to
scare yourself with your eyes or something? "What's he going to do? I
retorted, Lunge over the crowd for us? He doesn't know where the
press tickets are.")

Between songs he hoists a sign spelling "DEVO" and flashes it to the
crowd with a weary wolf grin. Have you got it yet? His hippie fans
shake their ponytails and stoke their pipes, pondering... Several men in
lab smocks roam the stage, musing and taking notes. Have they seen
Neil? Two wizard cone head types sit at the control board: the standing
one, as it turns out, is a wooden Indian. At least we hope so when Neil
shakes his hand (heyyy) then knocks his head off (whoaaaa).

Just when my companion decides its time to check the stash for
disturbing, possibly hallucinogenic particles. Neil lies down in a long flat
sleeping bag type thing, back to the fetal position and is carried off by the
Sand People. "Time for a break", says the voice over the speakers, who
goes on in Woodstock talk (stuff about medic tents, your wifes having a
baby, etc). " He's bummed that he wasn't in CSN when they played
Woodstock" is the theory proffered by the cowboy hat in front of us.

Second part of the show is Electric Neil and Crazy Horse- my co-editor
down the row scoffs that he is hiding behind all of his wah
pedal/feedback stuff so he won't really have to play guitar, and be sure
it's a powerful, sonic reducer set of ear destroying power chords ( "
Tonights The Night" as heavy metal thunder), but I demur. Why, he can
play walking down his ladder. Even the most painful moments of his
guitar solo in " Like A Hurricane"- and it was intense ( fellow in front of
us was whimpering) -were pleasureful. ( To be sure, an audience
exposed to that kind of metallurgic bombast was transformed into a
beast that screamed "Smash it!" when Mr. Young's guitar went nuts, and
kind of wailed as they trailed out into the parking lot. Over the broken
bottles, and scattered groups of hopheads and drunk juveniles, this wail
would be picked up by the wind, float through the pine woods
surrounding the arena, die for a while, then start up again.)

I must admit that he played the Ballad Of Johnny Rotten twice:
acoustically, then electrically. If it was only good to prompt a flannel
shirted man of the Michigan woods to croon on the way out, " he is gone
but not forgotten, this is the story of Johnny Rotten" to his titian-haired
tundra princess, it was a thing worth doing.

But answers. . . we sought answers ( from our illicities supplier as
well). Then, in the midst of " Like A Hurricane"... hair flapping in the
breeze of a fan operated by a foot-stomping Sand Person. Neil changes
the words. " I am just a dreamer, and YOU are just a dream..." he drones
out at Row J. A dreamer counting sheep flopping across a fence... wait!
He's chasing them- no, they're lambs! Now we get it... Susan Whitall



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