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> Neil Young Concert, Perth
Ben
post Feb 8 2009, 01:34 AM
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There comes a time when young audiences in Perth at the Big Day Out Concert finally appreciate a master musician still at his peak for longer than they’ve lived. Yes, we’re talking about Neil Young, the Canadian singer, guitarist, pianist and harmonica player who proved in Perth that he still has a heart of gold.

It’s no mean feat playing at a festival with an average age of 18 when you’re 63 and much of the crowd doesn’t know you. But half an hour before Young came on at the Blue Stage, there was no standing room left.

When he stepped on stage, a quick look around revealed an older crowd had arrived and muscled into prime position among the younger ones. And when Neil Young started singing, the “young ones” quickly recognised his classics including the timeless “Heart of Gold”, “Needle and the Damage Done” and appropriately, “Old Man”.

When Young mentioned Iraq before launching into a moving rendition of “Rockin’ in the Free World” he nearly brought the house down. Neil Young still sings sweetly after all these years, and the crowd loved every moment of it. And Young loved it too, thanking the crowd as he
introduced his band, including blonde wife Pegi on backing vocals.

As the smell of fragrant cigarettes filled the air, the irony of Young’s poignant “ Hey Hey, My My” wasn’t lost, with words such as:

“Out of the blue and into the black
You pay for this, but they give you that
And once you're gone, you can't come back
When you're out of the blue and into the black.”

Sadly, about the same time, a teenage girl in Claremont Showgrounds collapsed and died later from a suspected drug overdose, the first incident at a Big Day Out concert since they started many years ago.

Promoter Ken Knight should be proud of his efforts in co-ordinating a national festival that fills stadiums Australia-wide with lovers of good music, young and old.


--------------------
Ben, Skype "Perth-", Western Australia
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