Tag Archives: Neil Young

Atticus Sings ‘Old Man’

May 2011: Atticus & his lifelong best friend, Puppy

What a difference a year makes! Especially to a little kid!

Last year in May, Atticus recorded this version of his favorite Neil Young song at the time, “Old Man.”

He was four at the time; his birthday’s in September, and he turned five last year.

Wow! He’s grown up a whole lot since then! Preschool summer camp, kindergarten, YMCA afterschool daycare, Bible class at church… No more staying at the babysitter’s all day. He’s in (the little kid version of) the real world now.

It’s remarkable how much his pronunciation, tone, and delivery have improved. He has a greater maturity and control over himself in so many ways in addition to his voice.

My baby’s not a baby anymore, but he’ll always be my baby to me. :)

Atticus Sings Neil Young’s ‘Ohio’

Atticus has been a bit obsessed with Neil Young for the past year or so.

Yes, it all began way back when he was only four and a half. Before his dad and I went to see Neil Young live, we downloaded and burned his awesome Live at Massey Hall album from 1971.

Well, Attie went crazy over it, wanting to hear certain songs over and over. He wanted to hold the CD cover in the car, so he could name the songs as they played and he sang along. He had me upload them to his own CD player.

And we sang along with him: Kevin, Lucas, and myself. It’s still a fun family event in the van when number 3 (“Old Man”) comes on. :P

I’d known all of the songs for forever, of course (Neil’s one of my faves <3), but I'd never known all the words to all the songs. And some of them came to me with new meaning, after having lived through so much since.

It wasn’t long before he’d memorized the songs and could even name which song was which number on the album.

We thought it was amazing.

But anything in excess can get, well, um — even though I feel like a bad mama admitting it — downright annoying … which is to say that we didn’t exactly mind when Atticus started to sway from his Neil Young obsession.

Anyway, as you can see, he didn’t turn away completely and has continued to fan the flame over the months. :P

Neil Young at DPAC

Last night, Kevin and I were fortunate enough to experience a living legend: the phenomenal Neil Young at the Durham (NC) Performing Arts Center.

I know you’re thinking that sounds like overkill. But trust me; if you’d been there, you’d just nod in agreement.

I’d never seen Neil in concert before, but I’ve loved his music for years and have heard and read so many different stories about his performances that I really didn’t know what to expect.

He started out on acoustic. After receiving a standing ovation for simply stepping onstage, he launched into a version of “My My, Hey Hey (Out Of The Blue)” that brought me to tears. Seriously. From the first strums of his guitar I was so choked up I had to grab a tissue.

Then, “Tell Me Why” and “Helpless.” Sweet! His voice was as crystal clear as ever.

Kevin: “That dude sings from a place most people have never visited.”

He moved to his black Les Paul and then to his white hollow-body Gretsch. And then, he was on upright piano and organ and back to Gibson and to the baby grand and back to acoustic. His classic dissonance and refined distortion. (His latest album is called Le Noise, after all. ;))

Neil seemed to swirl through his various musical personas, a big wooden Indian and on-and-off guitar techs his only companions onstage, all before an almost psychedelic set of four stage-height lighted window panes that altered and mixed colors based on the mood of the songs.

We could have stayed there all night listening to him perform his catalog … and it would’ve taken at least that long, as prolific as he is. I really wish I could’ve heard “Old Man” and “Heart of Gold,” especially, but he did play a whole lot of his classics, including a scalding version of “Cortez the Killer,” and all things must past…

On the way back to the parking garage, we stopped at his tour bus (above) to see whether he’d be coming around to sign autographs or speak. One of his tour guys allowed a handicapped young man to enter the bus door area, and Neil came down to meet with him. (Aww! We all applauded.)

We headed around the corner, and there he was! Tired, yes, but still smiling. And such kind eyes. :)

The picture’s terribly blurry, but given the lighting situation, the constant movement, and the other people moving about, it was the best I could do.

This is what I posted on Facebook late last night:

He was amazing!! It was just him and guitars and pianos and organ and harmonica and lights and feedback play … and sweet, sweet vocals … and vibrancy of all kinds.

I thought 20th row back was close to his genius. And then he was one foot away. I didn’t get to shake his hand, but he looked right at us when he waved goodnight, before he pulled himself up the stairs of his bus.

p.s. Thanks to the guy who gave us the picture out by the bus! So glad you got your print signed and thanks for letting me know I wasn’t the only one who cried through half the show. :)

UPDATE: Thrasher’s Wheat has a setlist, pictures, and info on the DPAC show and Twisted Road tour it opened.

UPDATE: After I tweeted about his picture from the Thrasher’s Wheat post, DanSchram tweeted me a link to the video of the DPAC show he’d uploaded to YouTube:

UPDATE: DrHGuy of Heck of a Guy excerpted this post at his site with a very nice intro. He also posted a link to a bootleg of this show!