Sir, – On June 15th I attended a concert in the RDS by Neil Young and Crazy Horse. My wife and I decided to shell out the ticket price of €76 each (plus the unavoidable Ticketmaster add-on of €6 each approximately). We did this because one of the musical tastes we share is a love of Young’s well-crafted and moving country rock songs as exemplified by the albums After the Gold Rush, Harvest, Comes a Time and Harvest Moon.
I am well aware that Mr Young also has an amount of material in his repertoire that diverges considerably from the style of the above albums, and I fully expected the concert would include some such material. However, nothing could have prepared me for the exhibition of narcissistic self-indulgence that constituted Saturday night’s performance.
To give an idea of what transpired, imagine your neighbourhood wannabe garage grunge band were given the RDS stage and a full set of electronic pedal effects to play with. Imagine also that this group of youngsters had no discernible musical talent, but sure knew how to make some noise. One could possibly make a case for spending a tenner to listen to such a group, on the grounds that youth must be encouraged and that there might be some hidden talent there to be discovered. However, when you are paying out a considerable sum to hear one of rock music’s so-called legends, it is surely reasonable to expect said legend will make some effort to entertain his audience, and perform a representative selection from his repertoire.
If Neil Young wants to see how performers ought to behave towards an audience, he could do worse than to sit in on the set played by one of his support acts, The Waterboys. Here was entertainment that anyone could enjoy in terms of musicianship and audience interaction, even someone not familiar with the Waterboys’ repertoire.
I want to call publicly on Aiken Promotions and Neil Young to refund my money for this event. It’s about time that rock music performers and promoters realised that they are privileged to still have access to the audience that made them wealthy in the first place, and not vice versa. – Yours, etc,
Sir, – The “smell of disappointment” which Kevin Courtney accurately identifies as the general response to Neil Young and Crazy Horse’s set last Saturday at the RDS (Home News, June 17th) is comparable to the person who chooses to dine at McDonald’s and then complain about the obesity garnered from the unhealthy food: they haven’t been paying attention to literally decades of evidence.
Indeed, the furious disappointment seems especially strange considering the show followed the classic NY & CH format that has exisited since the mid 1980s: consistent live staples (Hey Hey, My My), songs from their latest record (Walk Like a Giant) and classic Young hits (Cortez the Killer; Cinnamon Girl). Those who complained about Young’s “self indulgent” attacks on his guitar are simply not fans of Neil Young In Concert, with his loud, abrasive solos having formed and forged most of his live reputation since the 1960s (even stranger are those fans who whined for Down by the River or Like a Hurricane despite their reliance on the aforementioned loud, abrasive solos).
In a venue with such distinguished links to equestrian competition, the old adage of “don’t spook the horse” is often abided by, but on Saturday it seems like Neil and the Horse were certainly the ones who spooked Dublin. – Yours, etc,
Watson Drive ,
Killiney, Co Dublin.