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- What Dolly Parton taught me about 'After the Gold Rush'.
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- Neil Young News: "Look At Mother Nature On The Run In The 21st Century".
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Similar to every other artist on this bill, there's the bible material and the non-canonical scripture. Give Young credit, his latest inarguable classic came on 's Harvest Moon. The Rolling Stones's Faustian pact might allow them to remain the best live show on earth until Keith Richards finally gets tractor-beamed away by aliens to start a new species of extraterrestrial human hybrids, but their last definitive studio work came before almost anyone reading this was born.
If Young wanted to do the greatest hits thing, he could be up there for six days straight, interspersed with the occasional lecture of the benefits of electric cars, the d'evils of Monsanto, the pros of Pono, and why more millennials need to get into model trains. But his uncompromised nature means the need to keep himself challenged and engaged.
Look at Mother Nature on the run
So sprinkled among the anthems are his more recent songs, broadsides against war, xenophobia, corporations, and the Dakota Access Pipeline. For someone famously sued for not making Neil Young-type music, the problem with the new material is that they're slightly too similar to what you'd expect from Neil Young song.
They're mostly solid songs, but you're sitting there politely waiting for them to be over, hoping that he'll play "Cinnamon Girl" or "Hey Hey, My My. Neil Young isn't about to stand up there and give a bunch of journalists such an easy framework to blather about the benefits of burning out versus fading away. The truth is that Neil Young did neither. He's still here, slightly slowed by a bad back and bouts of epilepsy, but undaunted and seditious. He's still mad, cracking dad jokes at Trump's expense "Come see Roger Waters tomorrow night build a wall and make Mexico great and dad jokes about the smoke billowing from the audience "you guys must be BBQing.
There are those moments where it feels like you're about to call up everyone you've ever missed "Heart of Gold," "Out on the Weekend," "Harvest Moon".
The Story Behind The Song: Neil Young - After The Gold Rush
There is "Powderfinger," a definitive banger in the Young anthology. There is the finale, "Rockin' in the Free World," where you have to forgive Young's 80s Reaganing because he's added a new verse, subversive as ever. It's classic Neil Young, aware of the differences between progress and evolution—liberal but wary, unwilling to fall for the bullshit. He was awake when many in his generation were asleep, but far too smart to ever buy into anyone else's pre-packaged ideologies. Because this was a Neil Young performance, there are those moments that rolled back the years.
Not to or '67 or whatever, but to a place ungoverned by cellular decay, refrigerator mounted calendars, or Greenwich standard time.
At one point, he shouted to the crowd, "you'll get your 'Down By the River' when I want to. If other people play the guitar like it was gridded on a north-south and east-west axis, Young plays it like a pool hustler finding eccentric spins and angles only a master could've seen.
It stops and stutters, levitates, descends, rushes forward at frenetic speeds and stops on a dime. There is too much sauce, too much soul, opening up this weird wormhole where we'll all watching the soundtrack to a murder scene by a body of water.
The three guitarists in Promise of the Real assume center stage with Young like some prairie cavalry attack, brutal and unyielding. Sometimes the heroes were in reverse. Sometimes, there are no heroes.
As "Down the River" crested and slammed for what must have been 20 or 25 minutes, there was a young blonde woman with a flowing red dress. She was hoisting a tiny baby wearing even tinier oversized pink glasses, and floral headphones. I'd like to think that one day 40 years from now, he'll tell his daughter that she saw Neil Young before she was old enough to remember.
What Dolly Parton taught me about 'After the Gold Rush'
With Hopper was his friend Dean Stockwell, a minor child and teen star of the s and 50s, later famous for the 90s time-travel TV hit Quantum Leap. Neil was living in Topanga then too, and a copy of it somehow got to him.
And after he read this screenplay, he wrote the After The Gold Rush album in three weeks. And the film took place on the day California was supposed to go into the ocean.
Stockwell brought producers from the company Hopper was contracted to, Universal, to Topanga, introducing them to potential local cast-members such as Janis Joplin, and Young, who was keen to write the soundtrack. But the execs were having enough trouble with Hopper, and ran a mile from the chaotic hippie utopia.
Undeterred, Young went ahead with the music.