HOME SOUNDcheck GOhear GOview GOread GOplaces DOmore


  » Contact Us
  » Advertise With Us

  » Classifieds
  » Newspaper Ads

Concert Reviews:
Neil Young goes it alone at the Fox

of the Oakland Press

Posted: Thursday, May 5, 2011

» See more SOUND CHECK

DETROIT -- Neil Young has proclaimed membership in Detroit's growing booster club.

Early in his solo show on Wednesday night (May 4) at the Fox Theatre, Young -- who first came to town in 1965 to record at Motown with his band the Mynah Birds -- altered the lyrics of "My My, Hey Hey (Out of the Blue)" to sing that "Detroit city," just like rock 'n' roll, "will never die," to an appropriate roar from the sell-out crowd of 5,000. He also managed to sneak a Red Wings reference into "You Never Call," although given the results of Wednesday's game at Joe Louis Arena we may want to ask him to sing about the San Jose Sharks when he plays Friday night (May 6) in Chicago.

He even called the Fox "the most beautiful theater in the United States of America."

Young certainly curried favor with those touches, but it's not like he had to. He was in decidedly friendly environs for his 17-song, nearly 100-minute concert, and Young -- sporting a white jacket, matching fedora, black T-shirt and jeans -- used that predisposition to present a typically intriguing and chance-taking kind of performance.

It's not that he hasn't played by himself before, of course; in fact, the Fox has been the site of some truly memorable solo performances. But this year's wrinkle was that Young spent most of the set with an electric guitar strapped over his shoulder, a delicate endeavor that brings into play tones and dynamics far different from a typical acoustic show. As on his latest album, 2010's "Le Noise," Young hit more than he missed -- an indulgent, groove-less "Cortez the Killer" was the only complete flop of the night -- and he was careful enough include enough familiar favorites to keep the fans engaged even as he pushed the proverbial envelope and challenged their loyalty a bit.

Flanked by pianos on a stage that looked like a home parlor or music room, Young eased into the evening with acoustic versions of "My My, Hey Hey (Out of the Blue)," "Tell Me Why" and the Crosby, Stills Nash & Young favorite "Helpless" before plugging in for "You Never Call" and then charging into the "Le Noise" material. He pulled out six of that album's eight songs, scoring best with the autobiographical tracks "Love and War" and "Hitchhiker."

Young strategically dropped the oldies amidst the "Noise," and "Down By the River," "Ohio," "Cinnamon Girl" and "After the Gold Rush," the latter played on pump organ, all worked well in the solo setting. And the unreleased "Leia" -- which Young dedicated to "all the little people" who were "too small" to be at the show, to "grandpa" and to his former Lionel Trains partner Richard Kughn -- was a gentle delight.

You never know what permutation Young might adopt for his next trip through town, but a warm impression will certainly linger -- from both his music and his Detroit-friendly references -- until we see him again.

Send your thoughts and comments to Gary Graff


GO & DO Michigan, an Entertainment Portal
This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without the written permission of the copyright holder.

© Copyright MediaNews Group, Inc. | Terms of Use | Privacy Policy | Cookie Policy | Arbitration