Promoter defends Neil Young concert
Peter Aiken says Saturday night’s show was never meant to be a greatest hits one
Neil Young and Crazy Horse pictured performing in The RDS, Dublin on Saturday night. Photograph: Aidan Crawley
The promoter of Saturday’s Neil Young concert said he flagged up weeks in advance that the artist was not going to play a greatest hits set.
Young’s concert with Crazy Horse at the RDS provoked a lot of disgruntlement from fans who agreed with the analysis of Irish Times reviewer Kevin Courtney that they had expected more from the singer-songwriter.
Courtney wrote: “Neil Young can be stubbornly self-indulgent at the best of times, yet fans still held out hope that he might dust off a few of his best-known tunes on this tour, with his long-standing band, Crazy Horse.
“But instead of Heart of Gold, The Needle & the Damage Done and Rockin’ in the Free World, the crowd got 20-minute-long guitar jams and only a handful of songs that you could consider classics.”
Peter Aiken said the setlists for his tour were all posted on Aiken Promotions website in advance. He pointed out the fourth song on the set, Walk Like a Giant from the new album Psychedelic Pill, which provoked criticisms because of its length, was the fourth song in every set he has done on the tour.
“Crazy Horse was billed as much as Neil Young. He’s done 38 albums. He’s not a greatest hits artist. Everybody wants to pigeon-hole everybody nowadays, but he’s done every kind of album,” he said.
“When we did three shows with Neil Young in Vicar Street, we had the same complaints. We were bombarded with people saying they didn’t like this or that, but it was flagged as a Greendale (album released in 2003) show, that’s what he was doing and he played the whole album.”
There were also reports that Young was booed. Many agreed with Courtney’s analysis with one fan describing the extended guitar feedback section, which was clocked by another fan at 14 minutes, as “aural sodomy”.
Another said Young lost most of the audience after the first two songs “I have never looked forward to a concert so much and been so disappointed by it as Saturday,” the fan wrote. One wrote they would not be coming back as much as they love his music. Still more criticised the sound with one describing it as akin to “listening in a car radio stuck in traffic”.
Others though defended Young pointing out that it was never billed as a solo show and his unpredictability was part of his stage shows over the years.
There was also criticism of the absence of screens in the outdoor arena, poor sound quality and 40 minutes queues for the beer.
Mr Aiken revealed that Young had big screens, but they malfunctioned because of the high winds which also played havoc with the sound, both of which are the artist’s responsibility.
“In good conditions, they would have been perfect. There was a lot of (guitar) feedback and there was sunshine, downpour and wind. It was a very difficult day for the sound people,” he said.
He also said it was the RDS that ran the bars at the concert and he had observed no queues for beer.