Neil Young kicked off his four-show Minneapolis run Saturday at the Pantages. / Aaron Lavinsky, Star Tribune

Neil Young kicked off his four-show Minneapolis run Saturday at the Pantages. / Aaron Lavinsky, Star Tribune

Last but not least – although this one offered the least amount of hit songs -- Neil Young moved over to Northrop Auditorium on Thursday night for the fourth and final show in his nearly weeklong stay in Minneapolis. The dangerously numbing weather that shut down much of the city during his time here did nothing to slow down the Canadian legend, and in fact his fingers sounded extra nimble on closing night.

Two songs early in Thursday’s set, “Dreaming Man” and “War of Man” – both off 1992’s “Harvest Moon” album – Young pulled off his most dazzling and demanding guitar work of the entire run. He must have felt pretty good about his picking skills afterward, too, because he went on to spend more time on guitar Thursday than he did at any of the other three shows. He even ignored the pump-organ altogether this time out, and only played one song apiece on each of his three pianos.

Other songs new to the set list versus the first three nights included the opener “Cowgirl in the Sand” (which he briefly strummed but aborted Monday), the Buffalo Springfield oldie “Flying on the Ground Is Wrong” on black grand piano (subbed for “Broken Arrow” from the prior shows), “Alabama” and “Cortez the Killer.” He also dropped in another new song on acoustic guitar apparently titled "Truth Kills," a rather ornery-sounding one which featured what sounded like a very anti-Trump/MAGA refrain: “I don’t want to be great again / The first time was good enough.”

Young, 73, seemed the most relaxed and focused in this closing show, although he did get a little discombobulated a couple times. Most noticeably, he strapped on the wrong harmonica for “Thrasher” – but he didn’t realize it until he got to the harmonica solo. He humorously played the song all the way through, switched harps, and then went back and blew out the solo; and nailed it.

Perhaps thanks to the dude walking the Northrop hallway pre-show with a sign admonishing the talkers from prior nights (see here or below), there was a little less hooting-and-hollering from the 2,700 fans for the final show. And Young was a little more playful with his responses when someone did butt in. Like when a guy yelled “Old Man!,” he self-deprecatingly retorted, “Hey, what do you mean?!” And when another yelled, “Take your time!” as Young sorted through his gear between songs, he simply replied, “Oh, I am.”

He took his time, all right, and it turned into a four-show run for the ages. Look for a full wrap-up of the four-night run online later Friday or in Saturday’s paper. Here are recaps of Night 1 at the Pantages, Night 2 at the Orpheum and Night 3 at the State. And here’s the full set list from Northrop:

  • Cowgirl in the Sand
  • Don’t Be Denied
  • Thrasher
  • Long May You Run
  • Dreaming Man
  • War of Man
  • Old King
  • Green Is Blue
  • Flying on the Ground Is Wrong
  • Mansion on the Hill
  • Pocahontas
  • Running Dry (Requiem for the Rockets)
  • new song: Truth Kills (?)
  • Journey Through the Past
  • Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere
  • Truth Kills
  • Journey Through the Past
  • Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere
  • Alabama
  • Ohio
  • Cortez the Killer
  • Out on the Weekend
  • Heart of Gold
  • ENCORE: Tumbleweed

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