A review of his show at White River Amphitheatre in Seattle, WA July 16, 2003.
By Melody Alderman

If you showed up at the White River Amphitheatre hoping to see an ordinary, typical concert then you have definitely come to the wrong artist. Neil Young is anything but ordinary or typical. His groundbreaking, innovative performance created strong emotions on both sides: you either loved it, or you hated it.

Neil stepped onto the stage with his band Crazy Horse. After the first song began, two girls ran across the stage behind Neil. Security did not try to stop them. Strange... Then, on the next song, a group of people came out and began acting out the storyline of what Neil was singing about. This continued throughout the first set. As Neil Young and Crazy Horse played songs from the upcoming album Greendale, the underlying story unfolded on a platform behind the band with Neil as the narrator.

The story followed a family living in a small town outside of Greendale. It told of their political involvements (with real news footage being shown on screens around the amphitheatre), as well as the everyday trials of the regular American family. As the play unfolded, Neil was very clear that it was his intent to understate his performance, while choosing instead to concentrate on the importance of the story that was being told. What a refreshing experience to be a part of. Unlike the vast majority of concerts which serve to feed the ego of the musician onstage while the crowd happily obliges, here was a legendary artist willing to forego his own ego to feed the message he was wanting to share with anyone who cared to hear it.

After the Greendale album was performed, Neil Young & Crazy Horse returned to the stage for a good, fun rock 'n roll set. This showed that while Neil is intent on providing more through his art than just entertainment, he is also able to let loose and just enjoy himself. Fan favorites such as "Down By The River" were performed, giving the evening a festival like quality.

In the end, after all of the understandable political and environmental concerns Neil expressed throughout the show, the image that ended the Greendale story was that of the American flag being raised. A very powerful expression of Neil's love for his country. This proved that patriotism is not about complete support and belief in government. Patriotism is instead about loving your country so immensely that you are actively involved and concerned by what happens to it.

"Love lost
such a cost
Give me things
that don't get lost
Like a coin that won't get tossed
Rolling home to you"

Song * Old Man
Album * Harvest
"Sing a song for freedom
Sing a song for love
Sing a song for depressed angels
Falling from above"

Song * Falling From Above
Album * Greendale
"Love is a rose
but you better not pick it
It only grows
when it's on the vine
A handful of thorns and
you'll know you've missed it
You lose your love
when you say the word mine"

Song * Love is A Rose
Album * Decade