Nowlan Park – Kilkenny ’19 (Golden Eggs EGG 109/110)
Nowlan Park, Kilkenny, Ireland – July 14, 2019
Disc 1 (54:11) Like An Inca, Mansion On The Hill, Over And Over, Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere, Love To Burn, Throw Your Hatred Down
Disc 2 (61:23) From Hank To Hendrix, Heart Of Gold, Human Highway, Old Man, Fuckin’ Up, Cortez The Killer, Piece Of Crap, Hey Hey My My (Into The Black), Rockin’ In The Free World
Neil Young’s performance at Nowland Park in Kilkenny, Ireland in the summer was a bitter sweet appearance for the Music Icon. He would be sharing a bill with another Icon, Bob Dylan, on the last date of a European tour, the first without longtime friend and manager Elliot Roberts. In a press statement for the gig, Neil would praise Roberts as “A truly wonderful man” and would dedicate the performance to his memory. Like many of Neil’s concerts, he would have a live stream via his website, NeilYoungArchives.com and is the origin of this recording and subsequently, this title from the folks at Golden Eggs.
Soundboard captured from the live stream is as expected, a perfectly balanced recording and sounds like an official release save for the audience being a tad low in the mix. For this UK tour Neil was backed by Promise Of The Real, a band fronted by Lukas Nelson, son of another Music Icon, Willie Nelson. The five piece Promise Of The Real are the near perfect backing band for Neil, I say near perfect as I reserve perfect for Crazy Horse. They honor Neil’s music while bringing their own flair to it. Once again Neil plays an eclectic set of well known songs and deep cuts, the opening song is Like An Inca from his 1982 experimental album Trans. This version is a bit heavier with more percussion similar in vein to what we would expect to early Santana yet loses none of its original feel. Mansion on the Hill gets gritty with some nice fuzzed out guitar tones ala Crazy Horse, Psychedelic music feeling our ears. The band stick with Ragged Glory for the next number, Over And Over and is played almost non stop with the title track to his second solo album Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere. The Promise do a great job on this song, their harmony vocals are spot on and Neil reminiscent and the playing of drummer Anthony Logerfo is very solid and hard hitting when it needs to be. Love To Burn clocks in at just over 11 minutes and is more close to the Ragged Glory original, how could they improve on the epic 17 minute version played in Belgium?
The second half of the concert features more of the Neil hits, the band go acoustic for a four song block starting From Hank To Hendrix to a wonderful melancholy Heart Of Gold, the Comes A Time classic Human Highway and finishing with Old Man. Fuckin’ Up charges up the amplification and they need it for a fuzzed out dreamlike version of Cortez The Killer, the Promise add small nuances to the song like wind chimes and another great guitar duel Neil and Lukas, so good. The best Neil Young music is the one where he marries music with lyric, he goes for the throat on Piece of Crap, I find the lyrics even more relevant today with one of the world epidemics of plastic pollution. Hey Hey My My (Into The Black) is stoner punk rock and the set is finished proper with a universal message…Rockin’ In The Free World.
The packaging is typical Golden Eggs, a fold open gatefold sleeve with pictures of the tour and actual event. The interior features a musician’s roster and liner notes which curiously mention the fact that Neil played with Dylan during his set playing the old Carter Family classic Will The Circle Be Unbroken. While Golden Eggs did release this song as a bonus track on their Bob Dylan title British Summer Time ’19 (Golden Eggs EGG 104/105), it would have been nice to have it here as well. Golden Eggs is one of the few labels releasing Neil Young titles, I for one am glad they are.