The flip side to stumbling upon a great cover of a song you love is the amazing version of a lame, stinky song that made the bile rise into your mouth. John Travolta and Olivia Newton John singing You’re The One That I Want from Grease is enough to make me chuck. Angus and Julia Stone performing the same thing spreads a grin from ear to ear – go figure.
I was fortunate enough to attend a Neil Young concert last night. More than a few things got me pondering……
The first thing to strike me was the audience. Unlike so many shows I’ve attended by performers of Neil’s era, the audience was not what I expected. Rather than ageing hippies, lawyers, and accountants I was met by fresh young faces. A new generation of followers every bit as expectant as I was.
A young girl beside me exclaimed “oh my God, Grandpa hands” when a close up of Neil’s hands playing the piano was shown. A few minutes later she was weeping as he sang Needle and the Damage Done. Quite remarkable.
Neil Young turned 67 yesterday. In my opinion the greatest artist Canada has ever produced. Those “Grandpa hands” were exquisite, they spoke to the heart in ways no words could define.. It was beautiful. He appeared to be enjoying himself. Rather than churning out an old hit list Neil simply kicked ass. He played what he wanted, how he wanted, and for as long as he wanted. His guitar still rings in my ears.
So here I am pondering – what is that one quality that separates musical legends from the pack? I don’t even care about the answer – it doesn’t matter. In many ways that is the answer. The only thing I can say for certain is that Neil Young still has it. At 67 he filled a stadium with generations of fans. Not too shabby for an old man.