Neil Young Show Review

Neil Young, before he got really pissed off at Starbucks

Venue: Red Rocks Amphitheater

Location: Morrison, Colorado

Date: 07/09/15

Inebriation Level: Tasty Buzz

So seeing The Rolling Stones was number one on my list. Yet it just so happened that number two on my list was making his way to Red Rocks a couple of weeks after. Figured if I’d gone this far, no use turning around again. So I decided to bite the bullet and see Neil Young as he played a two night stint at the iconic venue in Morrison, Colorado.

My usual concert confidant Aaron and I snagged up some tickets for his second show on Thursday and I realized why I missed him on his last tour to Red Rocks. Dude was expensive. Of all the concerts I’ve been to at Red Rocks this was the most expensive one by like triple. I thought hippies didn’t believe in money?

We loaded up on some brews and food and hit the parking lot early for some good old fashioned tailgating. We met with some friends from work and as we revved our buzz level up, the clouds around us started brewing. Red Rocks is rain or shine, so rain means “Oh s**t.”


Band of Horses rocking as the rain started up

When we heard Band of Horses start to rock, it was time to make the long trek to our seats. I’d seen them at Red Rocks before opening for My Morning Jacket, and they definitely are one of those bands that sounds great in a venue like Red Rocks. The ended their ten song set with a monster rendition of “The Funeral” right as the rain started to pick up.

After awhile, the stage was setup and some chicks dressed up like farmers walked out spreading seed on the stage. I was suddenly reminded that his most recent album was one of his angry political ones, The Monsanto Years. Kind of like Living With War from a few years ago, he was touring with a purpose, because Neil Young is one pissed off old hippie. I just wished I’d seen him tour for Psychedelic Pill or something where he took all his anger out on his guitar.

Some chick spreading seed on stage. I want her job, looks way better than roadie.

The lights dropped and Neil appeared at the piano for a solo rendition of “After the Gold Rush.” Then he grabbed his acoustic for more classic numbers like “Heart of Gold” and “Long May You Run.” Seeing him play those songs with the rain pattering down in front of the stage was nothing short of epic. I mean, “Heart of Gold” was one of the biggest hits of the 70’s, so seeing him live, right in front of us, just the legendary Neil Young and an acoustic guitar, was definitely one of my greatest concert moments.

Then Neil grabbed his Gretsch and out came Promise of the Real, his backing band,  for the classic, “Hold Back the Tears.” Then they turned it up a bit for a great rendition of “Out on the Weekend.” They kept it light, with Neil grabbing the acoustic and playing one new track and a couple from Harvest Moon and Comes a Time. Promise of the Real had no problem keeping up with Neil, but then again, he wasn’t rocking out. We were just waiting for that to happen.

The full band turning it up on “Words”

Finally he grabbed his Les Paul and they launched into “Words (Between the Lines of Age)” the closing track on Harvest. Neil let it rip, and so did the boys from Promise of the Real, and finally after waiting 12 songs, he delivered. It was about as ass kicking a moment I’d seen at Red Rocks, watching Neil Young shred out to a 70’s classic. Right then he did look like the dude that invented Grunge.

He played the classic “Walk On” and then, well, it kinda went to s**t. He started playing his new stuff. Which is cool, except his new stuff is just him complaining about things. I mean, Neil Young is one pissed off dude. Here’s a shortlist of things he hates: GMO’s, Starbucks, Corporations, Monsanto, Banks, Donald Trump, Republicans, Oil Companies, MP3’s…the list goes on. I mean, I consider myself a pretty fierce Liberal, so I hear his complaints, but after awhile it was just overkill. Something about him yelling about his hate of Starbucks just made the concert take a turn for the lame. Or maybe it was the 30th mention of GMO’s. Or maybe it was the roadies in the hazmat suits that came out to “poison” the spread seeds after his acoustic set.

Confused Keanu understands.

Amidst all the Monsanto business, 8 songs in total mind you, they launched into “Down By The River.” And finally, they let it rip again. Literally as good as it gets. So why couldn’t he do that the whole time? I’ve seen other set lists, come on Neil, do what you do best and shred out!

There were some other highlights as he closed out the nearly three hour set, including the great “Everybody Knows This is Nowhere.” They came back for an encore which was the very lame “If I Don’t Know” and that was it. No “Hey Hey, My My (Into the Black)”  or “Rockin’ In the Free World.” I guess the concert ended on a low note, so we left, slightly disappointed, yet at the same time, had seen a three hour set with some of the best Red Rocks jams ever. Half the set was great, and half wasn’t. But the half that was great was definitely epic. If he’d just take his anger toward pesticides or whatever and let it all out on his Les Paul, we’d be happy people.

We got back to the car and as we crawled through traffic, we put on “Rockin’ In The Free World” and let that thing blast. Maybe next time I suppose.

4/5: Awesome

4 Records

Set List:

After the Gold Rush
Heart of Gold
Long May You Run
Old Man
Mother Earth (Natural Anthem)
Hold Back the Tears
Out on the Weekend
Unknown Legend
Peace of Mind
Field of Opportunity
Wolf Moon
Harvest Moon
Words (Between the Lines of Age)
Bad Fog of Loneliness
Walk On
A Rock Star Bucks a Coffee Shop
People Want to Hear About Love
A New Day for Love
Down by the River
Workin’ Man
Big Box
Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere
Monsanto Years
Love and Only Love

If I Don’t Know

Leave a comment


  1. Yeah, I think the man’s losing it with his never-ending rants! But I’d still like to see him play live.

    • I was glad he didn’t actually do a lot of ranting like some of his concerts, yet he instead put all of his rants in song form, so I guess it was kind of the same thing.


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