This website is the only fanlisting listed at TheFanlistings.org for the musician Neil Young (as well as his alter-ego in the film industry under the pseudonym Bernard Shakey), and aims to create the biggest listing of fans of this beautifully enigmatic, dynamic, witty, passionately driven and introspective artist - equally active in politics, the environmental world, the music and film industry - and who clearly cannot stop the flow of creativity.my love for neil young
I began to listen to Neil Young when I was 15, generally seeking something to stimulate me and give me a sense of place and meaning. That was a very enlightening period, when, earlier that year, I had discovered my other main influences, Bob Dylan and Bruce Springsteen. I was seeking out some Dylan in a music store, then came across the huge Neil Young section, thinking, in a rather shallow sense at the time, that "this section is as big as the Dylan and Springsteen ones!" Little did I know. All I know is that the first Neil song I heard was "Unknown Legend", a song that didn’t relate to my life at all, but swept me away in a gentle swoon of softly pocketed music and romanticism, and with a soft, harvesting tale that carried me throughout the whole winter in a magical daze.
More specifically, it was through Dylan that Neil came into my life. And now, at 20 years of age (just leaving Sugar Mountain), to ask what Young means to me is the equivalent of asking me to read my diary to you. Here he was trying to capture a unique spontaneanity and naturalness in music. Neil always says that he doesn’t understand how someone can feel like his songs were actually written specifically for them: and I agree, because it’s impossible to match two very personal sitations. But with Neil’s insightful style of song - the style that seems to fall from the dusk sky in utmost grace and land in your lap like those words were always meant to lay together; his profound appreciation of nature and everyman, and his fragile voice that trudges through valleys of depth and gently blows golden candles away, you cannot help but feel completely swallowed and romanticised in his world, and feel as if you are a solid part of his music and the intricate world it paints.
I once wrote in my diary, that Neil’s music is like candle music: at night he illuminates a thickly velvet sky with his buttery words, silky breezes for chords, darkness his partner. Gentle oranges burning deep aromas to celebrate the quite intensity of his music. Then I turned more practical and said that actually, his music is more "mystical warmth music", that folds and pockets itself right into your life and finds its soul partner there. I think I was trying to explain the accuracy of his songwriting, and the beautiful melodies of his sometimes very simple music, that can touch you deeply for that very simplicity and sincerity, and that can sometimes be so hard to achieve. In content, his work is incredibly wide-ranging and seminal: he can discuss politics, Ordinary People, relationships, lies and truth, independence, philosophy, religion, time, transport... introduce you to the world through glowing melodies and wit.
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For some reason, I found Neil’s acoustic music before his more electrically fused music. So when I suddenly heard him singing about how "Welfare mothers make better lovers - divorceee!" - and thrashing out on Old Black with screaming guitar riffs, hair spinning in musical ecstasy and body doing the crazy back-jamming dance on stage with the Crazy Horses - I melted in confusion first, then excitement, because when I heard those same poetic words and truths hiding within those grinding guitar riffs again, I knew that here was a musician with the same principles, but who was not afraid to experiment with different styles. It’s like a creative passion gone wild with opportunity.
So he can be the intense lover with deep-set eyes, dramatic long hair, a suggestive walk and a natural madness and wit enveloped in mouth-curling mellow melting honesty, cheeky youth smiles and country checked shirts, guitar wrapped delicately in his arms, to the "Godfather of Grunge", rockin’ in the free world, letting heavy words shape his mouth, sweat gliding off his forehead, every fibre of his being wrapped up in a solid note, fudged and fuzzed with techniques that surpasses comprehension, thrashing around on Old Black until the guitar solos become not only a performance, but a pure manner of existence in the story of the song. Sing about surreal society in "The Last Trip To Tulsa", then cry you back to reality and truth and politics with "Ordinary People". Either way, the personality insists and remains the same, just maturing and developing in a golden way when exposed to new experiences. So, here was some (strange) continuity in my life: I was guaranteed principle, discovery, passion and warmth in every song. Here was an artist and performer I could hold a very unusual, but welcome, trust in.
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So when Neil finally came here to perform and I had the money, I bought three tickets to three shows and had the best three nights of my life (everything should be done in three’s, was my justifying. Read my reviews of those shows here: part 1, part 2, and part 3). I had wanted to meet enigmatic, idiosyncratic, mad, intrinsical people who felt the mintgreen chords of "A Man Needs A Maid" like I did, and happily found a friendly crowd of fans there, exuding a different knowledge about music - something more unspoken than the Dylan and Springsteen crowds. Neil hasn’t suffered the same exhausting analysis that Dylan (and to some extent) Springsteen does in British media: the wild intensity of his songs give more space for a very authentic individual analysis; something that not everyone can always relate to and agree on. And I like that Canadian-style ambiguity and wit, where the canvas is always open.
Neil is an incredible performer, and this tour was really something else. There were elements of every decade of his performance thrown in the setlist. He really was in a new prime: still forever young. At one point, I could see Neil talking to his bandmates at the back of the stage, very casual and half-smiled in the Neil Young kinda way, and it make me think of his early 1970’s and mid-1990’s days - where there was an air of informality and earthiness, fused with the other-worldly, electric fuzziness and discovery that only Neil’s performances and Old Black could evoke.
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And so goes the story of this particular Neil Young fan. My personal discovery of his music has transformed me, exploding my creative energies and thoughts into all sorts of odd and familiar directions. It’s focused my perspective of changing themes throughout my own life, and of the things around me; but I know it’s less an obsession than an integral, personal path in my growing life. He happened to be there when I suddenly realised he was all I wanted and needed. So, to say the least, I enjoy his music, concepts, styles and outlets immensely: I’ve fallen into a zany sort of love, and it is always a very fulfilling, adventurous, creative and often humourous ride. And most importantly for me, I've developed a very instrinsic trust in Neil’s work.
But I didn’t listen to Harvest when it was newly released in 1972. I didn’t go to that intimate 1971 concert in the BBC. I wasn’t at Woodstock. I haven’t been a fan for 40 years. I certainly haven’t bought every original copy of a vinyl record Neil has ever released, divulging in the album covers and the sincerity of that medium of music. All these things I very much wish I did, but the practical truth is that I was born a few decades too late. But his "forever young" effect lives on, even into my generation, where through my personal journey through Neil’s music, his honesty and talent as a musician remains undisputed and, and listening to his falsetto voice - high as the clouds, then deep as the valleys - climbing in and out of caves, sharing his poetic treasures with all of us - makes me smile and take an adventure through life every morning, afternoon, and evening.
Extensively rambled by Raine, the website owner