The laid-back Zealots were out in full force to see Neil Young last night. (That sounds like an oxymoron, but I promise you, it's not.) Every old, washed out hippie––and young wannabe one––just happened to be there in full force, and the crowd was as friendly and rabidly enthusiastic a group as you'll ever want to meet. Was I one of them? Almost! But the smell of cannabis, while nostalgic, never was my favorite...and the guy directly behind us was smoking up a storm. He even invited Ryan to join him by passing a bowl under the arm of his chair, but many of you will be glad to know Ryan passed on the offer. Don't worry, I was careful not to inhale, which was difficult considering that the air was replete (at various times) with weed.
Having said that, it was a wonderful, memorable evening. My two favorite songs of the night were "Helpless" from the acoustic set and "Ohio" from the electric set. The latter anthem from my youth had me and more than a few others feeling all the angst, anger, and wonder that was part of that time. And what the guy can do with a guitar and harmonica...to say nothing of his alternately haunting and raucous (always riveting) voice, is nothing short of amazing. At 68, he just seems to get better.
One of my favorite moments of the show was when he went to the piano, sat down, and played a touching tribute to his granddaughter, Leah. The tenderness in his voice as he crooned her name in the chorus almost brought me to tears. And so did a song that was more like an experience...or a several-act play...where he began his musical saga with Indians and wagon trains (you could seriously hear both on his guitar) and continued all the way to you, me, oil, and global warming...finally coming full circle to lament the journey (again via incredible guitar sounds o' magic) as a wise and saddened Indian. I may not be entirely on board with the guy's politics, but as an artist I am awed by the way he uses his instrument to express himself. Seriously. I just sat there and marveled. And after the spill in the gulf, I have to say that I was feelin' him on this one.
It was a stellar night, and I had such a good time with Ryan. We began the adventure with a drive through some of our favorite areas of San Francisco, then headed over to a yummy little Vietnamese restaurant where I had green papaya salad, spring rolls, and yellow vegetable tofu curry that is still making my mouth water this morning. Absolute heaven. We even met Dave (the hubby) at Union Square before dinner to pick out and purchase a new suit. And wowza, does he look drop-dead gorgeous in it. Sharp and sizzin'. After that, we hopped the Bay Bridge and made our way to the Fox Theater and the best part of Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young. (I admit that's a closely contested race!)
What can I say? The night was all that and more. And I'll be remembering it for a long time to come...
Take a bow, Neil. You rocked it.