Neil Young – Continental Tour In Berlin (Godfather GR 263/264)

Continental Tour In Berlin (Godfather GR 263/264)

ICC Berlin, Saal 1, Berlin, Germany – February 26th, 2008

Disc 1:  From Hank To Hendrix, Ambulance Blues, Sad Movies, A Man Needs A Maid, No One Seems To Know, Harvest, After The Gold Rush, Mellow My Mind, Love Art Blues, Love Is A Rose, Out On The Weekend, Mr. Soul, Dirty Old Man

Disc 2:  Spirit Road, Down By The River, Hey Hey My My, Too Far Gone, Oh Lonesome Me, Winterlong, Powerderfinger, No Hidden Path, Rockin’ In The Free World

Continental Tour In Berlin is the second Godfather release from Neil Young’s Chrome Dreams II tour and the first from Europe.  This is a spectacular sounding audience recording full of detail taped from the Internationales Congress Centrum Berlin (ICC Berlin), Hall 1 with a sold out capacity of five thousand.  This was also the only show in Germany while Young toured Europe.  The show is divided into acoustic and electric sets and begins with an announcer telling the audience to turn off their cell phones and that video equipment are not allowed in the hall. The acoustic set is wonderfully performed, but it’s obvious that the Berliners aren’t familiar with On The Beach or Archives.  He plays the rarity “Ambulance Blues” and the audience do not react as other audiences do.  Other rare songs in the first set include “Sad Movies” and “No One Seems To Know.” 

“After The Goldrush” is updated to “mother nature on the run in the twentieth century.”  Before “Mellow My Mind” he says:  “Whenever I come to Germany I always think of my old friend David Briggs, because he was a German.  He was born somewhere in the mid-west of America but he was a German.  He always said he was born on the February 29th.  And that would account for some of his behaviours, since he was only about 8 years old.  But he always loved Germany and he always loved this album that I wanna do this next song here.”  The final song of the acoustic set is “Out On The Weekend.”  In a review published in Die Welt titled “Neil Young spielt in Berlin leise – und laut” (Neil Young plays in Berlin soft – and loud), the reviewer makes the bizarre observation that both a German flag and pirate pennant blows around Molina’s drums.  “Und auch das hat sicher etwas zu bedeuten.”

After a break (edited in this recording) the whole band come onstage after the same announcer from the beginning makes the same announcement.  “Mr. Soul,” “Dirty Old Man,” and “Spirit Road” are the first three electric songs, but the audience are very quiet and reserved.  They pick up with the more familiar numbers beginning with “Down By The River.”  This ten minute version recalls the classic renditions with Crazy Horse in the early seventies.  Young and Keith’s duel is gilded with apocalyptic overtones that shake the rafters of the hall.  There is a similar effect with Hey Hey, My My” and the final song of the set “No Hidden Path.”  The only encore is “Rockin’ In The Free World.”  Continental Tour In Berlin is packaged in a trifold cardboard gatefold sleeve with several photos from the gig (and on the back the two flags by the drum kit mentioned by Die Welt are visible).  This is one of the best silvers to emerge from Neil Young’s last tour.   

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