The Neverending Dream (Godfather GR 236GR 236/237)
Velma Morrison Center, Boise, ID – October 18, 2007
Disc 1: From Hank To Hendrix, Ambulance Blues, Sad Movies, A Man Needs A Maid, No One Seems To Know, Harvest, Campaigner, Journey Through The Past, Mellow My Mind, Love Art Blues, Love Is A Rose, Heart Of Gold
Disc 2: The Loner, Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere, Dirty Old Man, Spirit Road, Bad Fog Of Loneliness, Winterlong, Oh Lonesome Me, The Believer, No Hidden Path, Cinnamon Girl, Tonight’s The Night
The Neverending Dream captures in a perfect stereo audience recording the first show from Neil Young’s late 2007 tour at the Velma Morrison Center in Boise, Idaho. Occurring only five days before the release of Chrome Dreams II, Young surprised audiences and critics by pulling out rarities and songs that haven’t been performed in many years. In a review of the Idaho show, Rolling Stone magazine wrote: “Last night, Rock Daily thought we hit the jackpot when Bruce Springsteen played “Meeting Across the River” and “Jungleland” at Madison Square Garden, but little did we know that in Boise, Idaho, Neil Young was kicking off his tour with one of the craziest setlists of his entire career. Playing no less than four songs from various unreleased mid-Seventies albums, Young also dug out super rarities “Ambulance Blues,” “Campaigner,” “Bad Fog of Loneliness” and “A Man Needs a Maid,” which he hadn’t touched in thirty-one years.
Only four songs from his forthcoming Chrome Dreams II were performed. What inspired the nostalgia-adverse Young to reach so far back? Might he be going through his mid-Seventies tapes in preparation for Archives Volume 2 – even though Volume 1 has yet to see the light of day? With this guy you never know.” Like Young’s performances from the seventies, it is divided into an opening acoustic set and closing electric set beginning with the more recent “From Hank To Hendrix.” Young stops playing thirty seven seconds in the first song and says, “oh, that’s bad” before tuning a bit and resuming. Afterwards he says, “This place is kinda like where I grew up really. I grew up north of here in a place called Winnipeg. Kinda northeast I guess. So when I see the open space out there from the hotel window I feel pretty good. Although you’d never know it from the songs I sing.”
The vocal audience continually calls out requests from the back catalogue. Before “Sad Movies” Neil jokes, “I didn’t hear anybody calling for this one. But you know, that’s okay. Nobody’s really heard it and it’s really old.” This is the first time the song has been performed since the March 28, 1976 concert in London. “A Man Needs A Maid” receives its first public performance since the November 24, 1976 late show at the Fox Theater in Atlanta and includes a “Like A Hurricane” tease on the keyboards in the beginning. Its sequel “No One Seems To Know” follows. “Campaigner” is resurrected from the day of Richard Nixon. Young introduces the song by saying, “We’ve got an election coming up. We’ve been through that before.” It is given a more contemporary spin with a mention of George Bush in the middle.
“I love you know my song titles. I’ve only been here like three times.” Someone close to the tape recorder says, “you’re in our hearts all the time.” “Journey Through The Past” could almost serve as a title for this tour, and is the rendition in this show sounds much more upbeat than before. After “Mellow My Mind” featuring Young on banjo, he plays “Love Art Blues” for the first time since November 22, 1992 show at the Orpheum Theater in Minneapolis, Minnesota. “There’s a river close by, Neil” someone shouts. “Lucky I didn’t fall into it” Young replies as he tunes up his guitar for “Love Is A Rose.” “Heart Of Gold,” with no introduction, closes the first half of the show.
It is the second part where the new material from Chrome Dreams IIis given their live debuts. He is joined onstage by Rick Rosas, Ben Keith, Ralph Molina, Anthony Crawford & his wife Pegi Young. After the two classics “The Loner” and “Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere,” two new songs are given their live debuts, “Dirty Old Man” and “Spirit Road.” Both are laden with the gorgeous feedback crunch that defines his electric sound. “Bad Fog Of Loneliness” sounds like a nod to Live At Massey Hallreleased earlier in the year. This rarity is dedicated to Roy Orbison and Gene Pitney. “Winterlong” sounds much more mellow that previously. “The Believer” from the new album is given its live debut and its bouncy, happy melody is a nice break from the gravitas of the preceding songs.
“No Hidden Path” is the final song from the new album to receive its debut. This track is more than twenty minutes in duration and contains the feedback guitar weavings that recall the great Crazy Horse jams on “Down By The River” and other. In the ensuing thirty years Young displays much more discipline and restraint as they make their way through the intricacies as this epic closes the show. The first encore is “Cinnamon Girl” and is followed by “Tonight’s The Night.” This dark number is played more slow than before with the lyrics and howls given particular emphasis. The song is stretched out for more than eight minutes with Young forcing the lyrics through all sorts of tempo changes achieving a myriad of different affects. For an opening night Young was in near mid-tour form and deliver a blistering performance. Godfather use a perfect stereo recording capturing every detail of the show and package the discs in a tri-fold cardboard gatefold sleeve.If you liked this review, buy me a cup of joe. (Suggested: $3 a shot or $7.5 for a double)