Saturday, February 18, 2006

Tinley Park, "Southern Man", and some random thoughts

I've listened to PRAIRIE WIND several times lately, and also watched the bonus DVD that came with it. (It's pretty cool just watching Neil and the others recording in the studio.) I'll write a full post on this album soon (Monday?). Right now, I'm at work on a Saturday morning (a big project is kicking my @ss).

I just thought I'd throw out a few random thoughts. Mainly, listening to PRAIRIE WIND, I was reminded of my introduction to a couple of these songs ("When God Made Me" and "This Old Guitar"), which was at the 20th Anniversary FarmAid show at Tinley Park (southern 'burbs of Chicago) on Sunday, September 18, 2005. What an amazing day! It was warm and sunny (of course, I got burned because I was too stupid to bring sunscreen). I was totally oblivious to the fact that Neil would be releasing a new album just 2 days later. (As I've said in previous posts, I really was out of the loop for several years. I just lost track of Neil, and music in general.)

It was a looooooooooooooong day, but there was a ton of good music (Wilco, Buddy Guy, Los Lonely Boys, and MANY more). Of course, a sizable chunk of the crowd (mainly the teenyboppers and frat boys) cleared out after Dave Matthews finished. Mellencamp sounded good (It is "Mellencamp", right? You know, like "Hammer" was shortened from "MC Hammer". I mean, I know he was John Cougar. Then he was John "Cougar" Mellencamp. Then he was John Mellencamp. Did he get all the way down to just "Mellencamp"? No? Well, he should. It's easier.)

Anyway, when Neil came out, he opened with "Walking to New Orleans", complete with The Fisk University Jubilee Singers (I think that's what they were called?) on background vocals. I had seen Neil do this song on that Hurricane Katrina benefit/televised special. Typical Neil...everybody else was trying to get the hell out of New Orleans, and here he was "Walking to New Orleans". (Maybe he meant it like LL Cool J's "Going Back To Cali", which has that "Hmmmm. I don't think so" line.) Not my favorite Neil selection (no offense to Fats Domino, whose rescue from Katrina likely inspired Neil's choice, although that's just an educated guess) to be honest. But, then...

...the Earth itself was rocked off its f-cking axis, my man! Neil launched into a blistering version of "Southern Man" that was a performance for the ages. If the entire previous 12 hours had been filled with Perry Como music piped through the sound system, it wouldn't have mattered. That one song would've made the entire trip worth it in a BIG WAY! (The fact that the rest of the day had been so cool was just icing on the cake.) Neil worked out some ferocious aggression on the solos he played during "Southern Man". Awe-inspiring.

It leads me to this thought: Why doesn't "Southern Man" ever end up on any of his live albums? "Like A Hurricane", "Hey Hey, My My" and "Cortez The Killer" have been on multiple live albums. Never "Southern Man"...odd. And, before someone throws CSNY's 4 WAY STREET at me, I'll qualify myself: that was CSNY, and more importantly, it was way the f-ck back in 1971!!!

Well, I better get to work. Just thought I'd throw that out there. By the way, for a great post (by Thrasher) on Neil at FarmAid 2005, click here.


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