March 22, 2019

Winnipeg
-2° C, Sunny

Full Forecast

Advertisement

Advertise With Us

Intimate show lets Neil Young's music speak for itself

Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 16/1/2014 (1890 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

WINNIPEG — “Give ’em hell Neil!” someone shouted from the audience as Neil Young took a seat amid his lovingly assembled collection of not-so-gently used guitars — each with their own story — surrounding him like so many old friends at a campfire.

And so he did.

Thursday’s sold-out show at the Centennial Concert Hall was the second date on Young’s week-long Honor the Treaties tour, which is raising money and awareness for Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation (ACFM)’s legal fight against oilsands expansion. Young has wracked up his share of support and criticism for the tour; at a press conference at the Concert Hall earlier in the day, he reiterated the tour’s message: Canada must honour its treaty commitments — “Canada signed a contract” — and we must prioritize the environment over the bottom line.

“In 30 years, we’re going to thank the First Nations if they’re able to stop this,” he said, adding that Alberta is going to “look like the moon” if oilsands development continues. As for the criticism that he’s ill-informed on the subject, Young was the first to admit that he’s no authority on the effects of Alberta’s oil production, but pointed out that “your profession doesn’t limit your freedom of speech,” adding “it’s OK if you want to dismiss me because I hit a power chord.”

Get the full story.
No credit card required. Cancel anytime.

Join free for 30 days

After that, pay as little as $0.99 per month for the best local news coverage in Manitoba.

 

Already a subscriber?

Log in

Join free for 30 days

 

Already a subscriber?

Log in

Subscribers Log in below to continue reading,
not a subscriber? Create an account to start a 30 day free trial.

Log in Create your account

Your free trial has come to an end.

We hope you have enjoyed your trial! To continue reading, we recommend our Read Now Pay Later membership. Simply add a form of payment and pay only 27¢ per article.

For unlimited access to the best local, national, and international news and much more, try an All Access Digital subscription:

Thank you for supporting the journalism that our community needs!

Your free trial has come to an end.

We hope you have enjoyed your trial! To continue reading, we recommend our Read Now Pay Later membership. Simply add a form of payment and pay only 27¢ per article.

For unlimited access to the best local, national, and international news and much more, try an All Access Digital subscription:

Thank you for supporting the journalism that our community needs!

We hope you have enjoyed your free trial!

To continue reading, select a plan below:

All Access Digital

Introductory pricing*

99¢

per month

  • Unlimited online reading and commenting
  • Daily newspaper replica e-Edition
  • News Break - our award-winning iOS app
  • Exclusive perks & discounts
Continue

Read Now Pay Later

Pay

27¢

per article

  • Commitment-free
  • Cancel anytime
  • Only pay for what you read
  • Refunds available
Continue

*Introductory pricing schedule for 12 month: $0.99/month plus tax for first 3 months, $5.99/month for months 4 - 6, $10.99/month for months 7 - 9, $13.99/month for months 10 - 12. Standard All Access Digital rate of $16.99/month begins after first year.

We hope you have enjoyed your free trial!

To continue reading, select a plan below:

Read Now Pay Later

Pay

27¢

per article

  • Commitment-free
  • Cancel anytime
  • Only pay for what you read
  • Refunds available
Continue

All Access Digital

Introductory pricing*

99¢

per month

  • Unlimited online reading and commenting
  • Daily newspaper replica e-Edition
  • News Break - our award-winning iOS app
  • Exclusive perks & discounts
Continue

Mon to Sat Delivery

Pay

$34.36

per month

  • Includes all benefits of All Access Digital
  • 6-day delivery of our award-winning newspaper
Continue

*Introductory pricing schedule for 12 month: $0.99/month plus tax for first 3 months, $5.99/month for months 4 - 6, $10.99/month for months 7 - 9, $13.99/month for months 10 - 12. Standard All Access Digital rate of $16.99/month begins after first year.

We hope you have enjoyed your free trial!

To continue reading, select a plan below:

All Access Digital

Introductory pricing*

99¢

per month

  • Unlimited online reading and commenting
  • Daily newspaper replica e-Edition
  • News Break - our award-winning iOS app
  • Exclusive perks & discounts
Continue

Read Now Pay Later

Pay

27¢

per article

  • Commitment-free
  • Cancel anytime
  • Only pay for what you read
  • Refunds available
Continue

*Introductory pricing schedule for 12 month: $0.99/month plus tax for first 3 months, $5.99/month for months 4 - 6, $10.99/month for months 7 - 9, $13.99/month for months 10 - 12. Standard All Access Digital rate of $16.99/month begins after first year.

We hope you have enjoyed your free trial!

To continue reading, select a plan below:

Read Now Pay Later

Pay

27¢

per article

  • Commitment-free
  • Cancel anytime
  • Only pay for what you read
  • Refunds available
Continue

All Access Digital

Introductory pricing*

99¢

per month

  • Unlimited online reading and commenting
  • Daily newspaper replica e-Edition
  • News Break - our award-winning iOS app
  • Exclusive perks & discounts
Continue

*Introductory pricing schedule for 12 month: $0.99/month plus tax for first 3 months, $5.99/month for months 4 - 6, $10.99/month for months 7 - 9, $13.99/month for months 10 - 12. Standard All Access Digital rate of $16.99/month begins after first year.

Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 16/1/2014 (1890 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

WINNIPEG — "Give ’em hell Neil!" someone shouted from the audience as Neil Young took a seat amid his lovingly assembled collection of not-so-gently used guitars — each with their own story — surrounding him like so many old friends at a campfire.

And so he did.

Neil Young rocks out for a sold-out crowd at Winnipeg's Centennial Concert Hall Thursday as part of his Honor the Treaties tour.

BORIS MINKEVICH / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS

Neil Young rocks out for a sold-out crowd at Winnipeg's Centennial Concert Hall Thursday as part of his Honor the Treaties tour.

Thursday’s sold-out show at the Centennial Concert Hall was the second date on Young’s week-long Honor the Treaties tour, which is raising money and awareness for Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation (ACFM)’s legal fight against oilsands expansion. Young has wracked up his share of support and criticism for the tour; at a press conference at the Concert Hall earlier in the day, he reiterated the tour’s message: Canada must honour its treaty commitments — "Canada signed a contract" — and we must prioritize the environment over the bottom line.

"In 30 years, we’re going to thank the First Nations if they’re able to stop this," he said, adding that Alberta is going to "look like the moon" if oilsands development continues. As for the criticism that he’s ill-informed on the subject, Young was the first to admit that he’s no authority on the effects of Alberta’s oil production, but pointed out that "your profession doesn’t limit your freedom of speech," adding "it’s OK if you want to dismiss me because I hit a power chord."

But there were only supporters in the house that night, and Young let the music speak for him in an intimate, solo-acoustic show that shone in its quietest, creakiest moments. With his face obscured by his now-iconic black hat, the Canadian icon reminded us just why he’s one of the best songwriters the world has known. He kicked it old school in a set that spent a lot of time revisiting his commercial peak of the 1970s, playing classic after classic. 

The set began strong, with From Hank to Hendrix, On The Way Home, Only Love Can Break Your Heart, his singular voice warm, raw and ragged.

Mellow's the Mind and Are You Ready for the Country were bookended by two of his most heart-rending piano ballads, Love in Mind and the emotional Someday — the latter’s lyrics perfectly summing up the reason he was here: "workin' on that great Alaska pipeline/Many men were lost in the pipe/They went to fuelin' cars/How smog might turn to stars/Someday."

He paid tribute to American protest singer Phil Ochs with a stirring cover of Changes.

Young was in good spirits, telling stories and jokes.

"This guitar is from my friend Steve Stills. We were in a band. There were four of us," he deadpanned, before revisiting 1972’s Harvest with the title track and an affecting rendition of Old Man, which was given yet more gravitas by Young’s now-weathered pipes. He returned to the piano for A Man Needs a Maid, which was hauntingly fleshed out by the pump organ sitting atop his piano. "A lot of people thought I was a male chauvinist pig for that one," he admitted.

Young followed that up with emotional version of his most famous protest song, Ohio, a reaction to the Kent State shootings of 1970.

"Things kept happening to us, but we reacted together. There was no difference between the crowd and the people on the stage. We were all just people, living," he said, before launching into Southern Man, a song that, until his four-night stand at Carnegie Hall last week, he hadn’t played live since 2005.

He moved over to the reed organ for a driving Mr. Soul and Pocahontas, during which he made the night’s first reference to the concert’s cause, ribbing Stephen Harper towards the end. The crowd-pleasing Helpless — with its comforting familiarity — elicited the night’s first (albeit timid) singalong. (Apparently, everyone heard about what happened at Carnegie Hall.)

"Now, as a special added attraction, I’m going to do my hit. I thought I’d break it out," he deadpanned before launching into the familiar harmonica riff of main set closer Heart of Gold. He closed the show with Comes A Time and Long May You Run.

Though he left here five decades years ago, Winnipeggers still like to claim Young as one of their own. "You make us all proud, Neil," a man called out somewhere towards the end of the main set.

He spoke for every last person in that room.

Indeed, this was a very special gem of a concert.

Canadian jazz chanteuse Diana Krall kicked off the evening with a loose and lively set of pop standards, including Cole Porter’s Don’t Fence Me In and Irving Berlin’s How Deep is the Ocean. She drew on a few classics from the Canadian songbook as well, including a breathy rendition of Gordon Lightfoot’s If You Could Read My Mind. Krall’s performance of Joni Mitchell’s Amelia could have been particularly gorgeous had she nailed the lyrics. No matter; it was just fun to see her wail on Neil’s piano — especially on a dusky cover of Tom Waits’ Clap Hands

Five stars out of five

jen.zoratti@freepress.mb.ca

Jen Zoratti

Jen Zoratti
Columnist

Jen Zoratti is a Winnipeg Free Press columnist and co-host of the paper's local culture podcast, Bury the Lede.

Read full biography

Advertisement

Advertise With Us

History

Updated on Thursday, January 16, 2014 at 11:06 PM CST: Adds post-concert write-thru; full setlist.

January 17, 2014 at 6:25 AM: Corrects titles of Mellow My Mind and Mr. Soul

6:30 AM: adds fact box

You can comment on most stories on The Winnipeg Free Press website. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or digital subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

Have Your Say

Have Your Say

Comments are open to The Winnipeg Free Press print or digital subscribers only. why?

Have Your Say

Comments are open to The Winnipeg Free Press Subscribers only. why?

By submitting your comment, you agree to abide by our Community Standards and Moderation Policy. These guidelines were revised effective February 27, 2019. Have a question about our comment forum? Check our frequently asked questions.

Advertisement

Advertise With Us