[lastfm link_type="artist_info"]Neil Young[/lastfm], who still prefers old school “Sedan Delivery“, walked on stage Friday night before a packed house at the Chicago Theatre for the first of two XRT shows holding his arms up in acclamation of the standing ovation, clapping along and sitting down where he opened with “My My, Hey Hey (Out of the Blue)”, one of the greatest rock songs about rock, along with “Tell Me Why” and “Helpless”, not a bad tripleheader to start the night. He was wearing a white Panama-style hat with a matching coat that made him look a little bit like Mark Twain.
The stage featuring several small amps, a variety of guitars, two organs and a piano, some hanging Tiffany lamps and something that resembled a cigar store Indian or a sarcophagus. The evening’s set list drew heavily from “Le Noise”, the latest album, which deals with death and the end and lent a somber tone to the evening. Classics like “Down by the River”, “Ohio”, and “Cortez the Killer” received stripped-down atmospheric arrangements with lots of big black Les Paul guitar.
The show wasn’t perfect: I couldn’t tell if Neil forgot some of the verses or if it was me and the most successful numbers of the night were those done on acoustic guitar and piano. Solo electric numbers often sound grinding after a while despite effects to simulate fullness. The encore was “Walk With Me” and Neil strolled off into the night. Opener [lastfm link_type="artist_info"]Bert Jansch[/lastfm] of [lastfm link_type="artist_info"]Pentangle[/lastfm] fame played a compelling set. masterfully turning up a different tuning on each selection.