Epic. That’s the first thing that comes to mind when thinking of last’s night Neil Young concert at the Susquehanna Banks Center in Camden, N.J. , which is across the Delaware River from Philly. The second? Lukas Nelson and Promise of the Real, who accompanied Neil, are the real deal. They rock like a young Crazy Horse.
Neil sauntered onto stage at about 8:45pm, after two farmers’ daughters had sprinkled and planted seeds around the stage. (At least, from my distant seat, that’s what it appeared they were doing.) He didn’t waste any time, either, sitting at the piano and opening with the classic “After the Gold Rush.”
He sang “Long May You Run” and a few sing-alongs from Harvest…
… before closing the solo portion of the night with a heartfelt “Mother Earth.” Then, Promise of the Real joined him – and, wow. Just wow. They’re a perfect fit with and foil for Neil. Here they are with another Harvest classic, “Out on the Weekend.”
And here they are with “Words.”
The piece de resistance? A near-20 minute “Down by the River.”
I should mention, the new songs flowed perfectly with the old; and the audience, by and large, got into them. It helps, I think, that his anti-GMO/anti-corporate/pro-ordinary people stance is cloaked with rough and ragged Crazy Horse-like chords. Here’s one of my favorites from The Monsanto Years, “A New Day for Love.”
And, after being on stage for two hours and 45 minutes, Neil kicked off the two-song encore with “Cortez the Killer.” A raucous “Cinnamon Girl” closed the show, which ended – by my clock – at exactly 11:58pm.
Overall, the 29-song-strong set was extraordinary. Songs from Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere, Harvest and Harvest Moon; a Buffalo Springfield gem (“Flying on the Ground is Wrong”); and guitar jams that were absolute wonders to behold.
The set: After the Gold Rush/Heart of Gold/Long May You Run/Old Man/Mother Earth/Hold Back the Tears/Out on the Weekend/Unknown Legend/Peace of Mind/From Hank to Hendrix/Harvest Moon/Wolf Moon/Words/Flying on the Ground Is Wrong/Walk On/Bad Fog of Loneliness/A Rock Star Bucks a Coffee Shop/People Want to Hear About Love/A New Day for Love/Down by the River/Workin’ Man/Big Box/Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere/Monsanto Years/If I Don’t Know/Love and Only Love///Cortez the Killer**/Cinnamon Girl**
(** = encore)