Neil Young is one of those artists that amazes me each time I see him and he did it again when I saw him at the Nokia Live Theater in Los Angeles on Tuesday night. The structure of the show revealed the both sides of him that have always appealed to me.
The first set was just Neil alone with his acoustic guitars, banjos and pianos. Selecting a diverse set-list from his vast collections of songs, he connected with his audience who were paying close attention to every note he played. Sometimes you could hear a pin drop.
The second set saw a four piece band with Neil plugged in and ready to rock. Once again choosing songs scattered throughout his career. Late into this set he launched into "No Hidden Path" from his newly released CD "Chrome Dreams II" and I looked around to see everyones head bobbing in time with the groove. As his shimmering watery guitar started to follow the groove and work its way into every little nook and cranny I watched the crowd one-by-one, including myself slowly rise to their feet. He does it to me every time.
On the last song of the night he sat in front of the piano and was having some problems with his monitor. He finally said "Bruce Berry would have this fucking speaker fixed" and with that he started playing "Tonight's The Night". At the end of the song, as he laid on top of his piano in exhaustion singing "tonight's the night", we all knew it was.