[image] Neil Young play's with a Heart of Gold 3/17/99Sacramento Auditorium
Neil Young came to Sacramento Memorial Auditorium with a quest, and I think the quest was to show everyone who attended the venue that he is truly a master in setting a stage. On the left side of stage was an upright piano, an old pump organ in the middle, on the right a grand piano. Circling the middle of the stage, were various string instruments, and a large candle burning away at center stage. I guess Neil likes candles. At the Concord Pavilion Show a couple of years ago, he set a dozen of the biggest candles ever all around the stage. There was only two low lit spots on Neil set in mood light only and when it came time for his entrance, I was surprised he didn't trip on his guitars on the way to his chair. I was only ten feet away and I had a hard time making out his facial features, he was just a dark shadow. I can only image what the people up in the balcony could see. I think the atmosphere was planned to create a kind of visual of a lone guitar player in a nightclub setting. Quite an intimate way for Neil to just play his music and have his audience relax with little or no distractions and let the Healing Begin. Before he had uttered single word, he opened with the some of his time honored favorites, "Tell Me Why" from "After the Gold Rust " from the l970's, then "Looking Forward" and "War of Man" from the Harvest Moon album and stepping over to the piano, played"Out of Control". Sipping occasionally from a bottle of ale and looking comfortable in a T- shirt, jacket and jeans, he continued the illusion of a nightclub scene. Young didn't have many words for the audience until after his fourth song, "Out of Control". Muttering "How you Doing", ''It's good to be back again", the audience responded with a cheer, I guess because he actually acknowledged they were there. Then turning around and choosing from his array of eight to ten guitars circling him, like soldiers at attention, waiting for him to evoke his magic. Neil selected one (guitar) he called "Hank" noting that it once below to Hank Williams and proceeded to play "Albuquerque" from his 1975 album "Tonight's The Night". The next song, "Don't Let it Bring You Down" was my personal favorite, and was poignant for our generation. Next came "Philadelphia", the theme from the movie, which Neil played on the piano and brought forth the feelings experienced in this moving story of a young man in the prime dying of AIDS. Though members of the audience were yelling personal requests for songs, Neil played his set, as prearranged, working his way through his stand of guitars. After playing "Daddy Went Walking", Neil Young took an intermission. When he returned, the aroma of burning incense and weed added to the ambience of a nightclub and retroed you back to the 60's. Young opened the next set with "Distant Camera", "Ambulance Blues," following with a mellow version of " Long May You Run'' on the pipe organ, a song Neil said was written for my first car and my last lady. After that, Young told a long story about his old dead dog "Old King" from "Harvest Moon". The dog's real name was Elvis, said Young, but he called him King in the song to avoid confusion. Plucking away on what looked like a banjo (guitjo), he proceeded to go on for 15 minutes about how when he stopped in the redwoods and got out to take a walk, and somehow his dog got away and got killed or something. Surprisingly, "Old King" was the best received song of the night when Neil sang the line "I've got a long way to go". There were two spectacular encores. Neil Young's legend lives on and with each thunderous applause for every song, Neil didn't let us down. ...Randy Cohen
The set list Memorial Auditorium Sacramento, California, March 17, 1999 {short description of image}
1. Tell Me Why
2. Looking Forward
3. War Of Man
4. Out Of Control (on upright piano)
5. Albuquerque 6. World On A String
7. Don't Let It Bring You Down
8. Philadelphia (on grand piano)
9. Homegrown (on banjo)
10. Daddy Went Walk-in' {Intermission}
11. Distant Camera
12. Ambulance Blues
13. Unknown Legend
14. Long May You run (on pump organ!)
15. Old King (on Banjo)
16. Harvest Moon
17. Slowpoke
18. After The Goldrush (on pump organ) Encore:
19. Good To See You
20. On The Way Home Encore 2:
21. Pocahontas

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