Monday, December 15, 2008

Neil Young, Wilco @ DCU Center

Saturday night's Neil Young show at the DCU Center quite possibly ranks as the best concert I've ever attended that I didn't know I was going to until a couple hours prior to its start. It also ranks as one of the best Christmas gifts--presentation included--I've ever received.

My new lady friend pulled off quite the feat in getting me to head out towards Worcester with her on a late Saturday afternoon. The plan was that we were heading to dinner at an old favorite of hers, a family chain of restaurants prevalent out west, but of which there are few locations back east, none closer than a 45-minute drive from Boston. After that, we were going to check out some Christmas village to get a taste of the holiday season. Or, so I thought.

While at dinner, she said she had an early gift for me. I opened the box she handed me, and was almost speechless to find an e-mail confirmation of tickets to the show, with the words "WANT TO GO?" written on it. Do I want to go? If you don't know the answer to that question, you only have to read this to find out.

I had originally decided not to go to this show because most of my friends balked at the venue and the ticket prices, and I regretted this decision a little more each time I received an email reminder from Ticketmaster or Live Nation. So, to find out I was going to the show less than two hours prior to its start was pretty incredible.

Wilco's set was solid, as they played mostly material from Sky Blue Sky and A Ghost is Born, but the highlights were "I'm the Man Who Loves You" and "Jesus, Etc." from Yankee Hotel Foxtrot. Somehow, it didn't feel quite right not having them close the show with "Misunderstood", and with Jeff Tweedy belting out repeatedly, "I'd like to thank you all for nothing at all", at the end of the song. But, he probably figured that wouldn't be as well received from a crowd that probably wasn't there to see his band.

Neil started out strongly, putting the place on notice that he was there to rock, with show opening renditions of "Love and Only Love" and "Hey Hey, My My (Into the Black)", before transitioning to one of my personal favorites, "Everybody Knows This is Nowhere". Speaking of which, the set also included my two favorite guitar anthems, "Cortez the Killer" and "Cowgirl in the Sand", the latter being a little less than spectacular with no Danny Whitten or Poncho Sampredo to dual it out with him.

An extended string of a couple songs from last year's Chrome Dreams II and a few from what I could only assume is a forthcoming release lost my interest briefly, but the show ended the way it started, with an audience-rousing version of "Rockin' in the Free World". An encore of "A Day in the Life" wouldn't have been my choice, but overall Neil proved himself to be as vital as ever at age 63.


  1. That is such a kick ass gift. She sounds like an absolute keeper!

  2. That 'new lady friend' is a keeper.

  3. I'm sure she'll be happy to have your approval. Thanks guys.

  4. I knew there was a reason I bagged.

  5. That is so sweet! This new lady friend sounds awesome.