On Night 2 of Neilfest in Minneapolis, Neil Young was more playful, generous and finicky -- and much more talkative.
If he seemed a bit melancholy and even low-key on Saturday at the Pantages, he seemed more upbeat on Monday at the Orpheum Theatre. At the second of his four shows in four different theaters, he played much longer (105 minutes compared to 85 Saturday), responded more to shout-outs from fans and often manifested his indecision about what to play next.
"I don't have this all organized," he pointed out while looking for a harmonica.
At one point, he pulled out an acoustic guitar and talked about its history (he got it from Stephen Stills and it has a bullet hole in it). Then the rock god started "Cowgirl in the Sand," but stopped after a brief guitar intro. "I don't want to do that one," he declared. He switched to another acoustic and delivered "Like a Hurricane."
A few times during the concert, Young complained about the too-loud piano sound. "I can hear it humming," he told his sound man.
Before one number, the singer explained that he doesn't often tune his guitars because "I'm terrible at [tuning]."
At times, he displayed a subtle humor, such as the playful dog sniffles during "Old King," about an old pet.
With the concert live streaming on neilyoungarchives.com, the Rock Hall of Famer repeated 13 songs from Saturday, with "One of These Days" underscoring the opening night's theme of reflecting on life past, especially old friends. Among the new numbers on Monday were "Comes a Time," "I Am a Child," "The Needle and the Damage Done" and "Harvest Moon," the sweetest of love songs.
Once again wearing a black fedora but a different plaid shirt, Young reprised Saturday's on-going joke about the concert being sponsored by water. Except on this night he drank out of a black-and-copper container (with the price tag still on the bottom) instead of a glass liter bottle. He even sipped out of a glass of water in which he doused his harmonica. "Even harmonica water is good," he proclaimed.
The night featured a brand new song that required audience participation. Seated at his white grand piano with a set of lyrics in front of him, Young explained that the song was about eternity and a train. He asked the 2,600 fans to sing along by going "clickety clack" when he cued them. "You gotta do this," he implored. "You can't crap out on me."
The fans diligently kept the train a rolling as Young sang about eternal love like a train that never stops.
Don't know if the song is titled "Eternity," "Train of Love," "House of Love," something else or remains untitled, but it's pretty clear that love is the train that keeps Young running.
Carrie Alice Williams opened Monday's concert with a series of piano pop pieces with 1970s sensibilities. She is slated to warm up for Tuesday's gig at the State Theatre. William Prince is the scheduled opening act for Thursday's Neilfest finale at Northrop.
Monday's set list:
Last Trip to Tulsa, Mansion on the Hill, Needle and the Damage Done, Comes a Time, I Am a Child, Old King, Green Is Blue, Journey Through the Past, new song (Eternity?), One of These Days, See the Sky About to Rain, Broken Arrow, Like a Hurricane, Thrasher, Ohio, Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere, Harvest Moon, Out on the Weekend, Heart of Gold ENCORE: Tumbleweed
Saturday's set list:
Ambulance Blues, Mansion on the Hill, On Our Way Home, Old Man, Old King, Green Is Blue, Olden Days, See the Sky About to Rain, Broken Arrow, Thrasher, Rockin' in the Free World, Like a Hurricane, Journey Through the Past, Ohio, One of These Days, Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere, Heart of Gold ENCORE: Tumbleweed