neil young & crazy horse
the warfield
san francisco, california

it sure is great to live in the bay area

This was a "stealth" show, rumored only the day before. Tickets went on sale at 4pm the day of the show. Turns out it was a warm-up gig before a huge stadium gig at a festival in Rio. It was relatively easy to get the low-cost tickets in the afternoon and stroll into the show before 8pm. They played two hour-long sets and tore the place up with lots of classic songs. The one odd thing was wife Pegi and sister Astrid singing backing vocals with Crazy Horse (on songs like Welfare Mothers, no less).

The guy may be an acquired taste and I know many people can't tolerate his music, but it can't be denied that he knows how to rock and has maintained a high level of integrity over the years. (Okay, I was a bit disturbed by his recent radio single, Let's Roll, an anti-terrorist anthem based on the events on United Flight 93 -- "Goin' after Satan, On the wings of a dove"? I guess he's still trying to make us forget he's Canadian. . .)

In late April there were rumors of another warm-up gig at the Warfield, and those of us who got to see him in January wanted to repeat the experience, but it was not to be. Apparently, Neil was indeed rehearsing there again, but decided not to do a public performance in the evening so that he could go to the Sharks playoff game in San Jose (you forgot he was Canadian, right?).




ben goldberg and adam lane
meridian gallery
san francisco, california

john tchai was slated to play with adam but he precipitously packed up after 9/11 and moved himself and his family back to europe.

So in blinking abandonment, and with barely any time to feel well or ill about it, or John, or the Meridian, an astonishing duet resulted.

Alternating Monk tunes with new work by Lane (in a tiny gallery that forced you to do the Cage thing and accept raucous street noise from its open windows while breathing or go the way of the canary while hearing the performers with gallery windows closed) this was an intense co-mingling of clarinet and bass.

This performance was at times so sparse the sound of the finger leaving the string and the click of the horn pad were part of the poetry, other times mournfully pastoral, and, according to a sonic tide table not fully known even by the musicians, the drenching, ascendent sounds that eroded the place, and us.