Neil Young mixes things up at the Wang

, Managing Editor

With an impressive collection of songs both acoustic and electric, Neil Young is no stranger to mixing styles. He’s also done several of these solo tours, like the “Twisted Road” trek he is currently embarking on. However, unlike in years past where Young would captivate theaters with his acoustic ballads, this time around the legendary guitarist is out to rock theaters all by himself.

The show began in classic fashion (aka the Jimmy Fallon way) as Young strode onto the dimly-lit stage in his hat and coat, to sit on a stool hunched over his acoustic guitar as he blew into his harmonica for songs like “My My, Hey Hey (Out Of The Blue)” and “Helpless”. The acoustic session didn’t last long though, as Young plugged in for “You Never Call”, the first of many new songs to appear throughout the set.

Young would play the majority of his most recent release, the critically acclaimed Le Noise. Fans playfully cheered the line about “smokin’ grass” in “Hitchhiker”, which wasn’t surprising considering it was the high holiday of 4/20. Young showed he could still earn cheers for better reasons as well, when the line “Politicians gathered for a summit/And came away with nothing to decide” from “Pleasant Valley Boulevard” won the audience’s favor.

Although he’s best known for his work with six strings, the prettiest moments of the night came with Young’s fingers at the keys. He dedicated “Leia” to “all the little people” and then followed it with the much adored “After the Goldrush”, which he gently played with organ and harmonica from the back of the stage.

The electric solo idea turned out to be as intriguing as it sounds. Neil Young certainly has the chops on his instrument to carry a show by himself, but the idea seems like it would work best in small doses. After a solid sampling of this approach the songs seemed to feel a little incomplete, leaving the audience wanting more sound. Still, Young’s fretwork on the combination of “Cortez the Killer” and “Cinnamon Girl” to close the show was something to admire, whether the songs sounded full or not.

Neil Young has never been an artist who’s satisfied with doing the same old thing. That’ll happen when you’ve been playing music for over 50 years. This tour may not be his finest achievement, but like everything Neil Young does, somebody‘s bound to love it.

Leave a Reply