Friday, November 04, 2005

Neil On Conan

This has been a fantastic week for Rusties. Neil Young made a rare television appearance with a four night stand on Late Night With Conan O'Brien. He performed a song from his new album each night(and sometimes more) and brought a truck load of soul to the stage. The interview revealed a sense of humor all his own.
Performed a very up beat "Far From Home" with Emmylou Harris, Peggi(his wife), and Astrid(his sister) on back up vocals. I can also spot old friends Spooner Oldham and Ben Keith in the backing band. One of the more original songs from the album and a great start for the week. He's seated during the performance and is wearing all black with a black flat brimmed hat. Band also has horn players and might have even had Jim Keltner on drums. Hard to tell on that one.
Dressed in a fedora and knitted sweater, he rambles through "The Painter". Not my favorite song. Not particularly catchy and the lyrics aren't anything of note. He's written better songs about friends and lovers. Same band as the night before, but the back up singers are 3 men I do not recognize. One kind of looked like Peter Wolf, but I know it wasn't him. Weakest song of the stand.
Back with his flat brimmed hat, black jacket, blue shirt, and the wonderful Emmylou Harris joining him on vocals and acoustic guitar, he plays an excellent new song "This Old Guitar". Emmylou is right up front with Neil tonight and she looks and sounds like a million bucks. Not the most original song in his catalogue, though. I've heard him say he re-writes all his songs, but the main riff sounds a little TOO much like "Harvest Moon" lick for my tastes. Nice song though. A simple ode to his musical companion the acoustic guitar. It's revealed during and interview segment that the Martin Acoustic he's been playing all week once belonged to Hank Sr in the 1940's. There's also a priceless comedy bit during the interview in which it's revealed that Neil has re-tuned all of Conan's guitars to D-modal. Neil returns and lays down a short and bittersweet solo version of "Needle And The Damage Done". It's hard for me to enjoy this song. It makes me sad. Excellent performances and a super rare interview bit.
He's the man in black again tonight. Backed by the Fisk Jubilee singers, his guys/girls are all back singing too, and best of all Spooner Oldham is wearing a bright red Knit sweater while rockin the B-3! The song is "No Wonder" and it's some kind of apocalyptic warning that doesn't strike me as being all that good. He crams the stage full of people perhaps in hopes of distracting the audience from the sub par song. But being a class act all the way, he wraps it up with the soulful poem "When God Made Me". I hate to compare it to John Lennon's "Imagine", but I feel forced to. A song full of wonderful questions and bursting at the seams with heart. A choir backs Neil at the Steinway with Spooner, his wingman, on B-3 and sweater.

This was a real treat for Neil fans. Conan O'Brien's show continues to do wonderful things with musical guests. U2 and Springsteen have also been given showcase performances on the show. Way to go, Coney!
Free Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.usFree Image Hosting at
Free Image Hosting at Free Image Hosting at
Free Image Hosting at

iPod Song of the Day: "Apeman" by The Kinks


Post a Comment

<< Home