STANDING AT THE EDGE OF NEIL YOUNG

September 24, 2008 – 4:40 am

Farm Aid 2008 is turning into a real celebration. The comradeship is warm, the performances captivating and jaws drop when Neil Young starts to play. Karen Barry Schwarz weeps with joy.

Farm Aid is a long day no matter how you slice it. But it’s all worth it when Neil Young walks out. HA! Basically for me concerts like Farm Aid are just one long wait until that moment, when all of time and space become completely irrelevant or non-existent, I can’t tell which.

But sometimes the wait is fun, like when you see your fellow Neil Young obsessed Rustie friends, for example, and can synchronize your watches to keep an accurate countdown until Neil comes out. (Just kidding! We don’t really do that. Seriously. We don’t. Uh…)

Or when Jakob Dylan really impresses you, like he did yesterday. Or when you get to witness the sort of guitar phenomenon that is Tim Reynolds? What the HELL. Unbelievably beautiful guitar playing, Tim Reynolds and Dave Matthews together. No matter whether you are pro or anti-Dave, this duo is nothing short of RIDICULOUS, in a ridiculously good kind of way, when it comes to guitar playing. Wha? You know what I mean.

Makes me want to smash all my guitars into a million teensy tiny pieces and have a really big bonfire out back. Or when you get to see Chrissie Hynde being her tough rock and roll bad-ass self right there five rows in front of you. Or when you get to talk to some of the play-ahs, like Rick Rosas (who told us he had just finished doing some recording for Jerry Lee with Ben Keith), or Steve Earle (who is really so friendly). Or when you get to rock out to the music with ZZ Top, sitting right next to you, complete with long beard and sunglasses, even in the dark.

Anyway. It all comes down to Neil Fucking Young, who is nothing short of a god in my mind. That fucking guy. First of all, he sounds exactly like he did some 30 years ago, how does he DO that. And he looked adorable in a red plaid shirt. Like some hippie farmer who just wandered in out his pick up truck with his guitar, or something.

SPEAKING of which. Neil is just so incredibly cool. EVERYONE else had been introduced to the crowd officially. And the bigger the name, the bigger the announcer. Dave Matthews? Carson Daly! John Mellencamp? Bob Costas! It was practically The Concert Olympics! Neil Young? Just fucking WALKED OUT AND STARTED PLAYING.

And I started crying, because I just do, I can’t help it. That moment just SUMMED UP WHO HE IS, at least in my mind. TOO FUCKING COOL TO DEAL WITH THE STUPID FUCKING ANNOUNCER. I can’t stand how cool he is sometimes. And I definitely can’t stand how good he is (AAAAAAAAH! THE STRINGS OFF OF OL’ BLACK! HE’S PLAYING THE GUITAR WITH THE BROKEN STRINGS AND AND AND… KLUNK. Reporter passes out.).

And I absolutely positively can’t stand it when he leaves. I always get choked up, I NEVER want him to go, and I always hear a little involuntary squeak that even though I know it is coming out of my mouth and I hear it I do not recognize it. It is coming from somewhere way way way down deep inside of me and it is always saying the same thing. First, it’s kind of loud, and anguished: “NOO!!” And then, it’s very very small, tiny even. And sad. Lonely. Sad? Lonely? Desperate. It is a very tiny sound, and it sounds kind of like this… “No.” And then “No. Please. Don’t. Please don’t go.”

Don’t go Neil, please don’t go. Please stay here, and play forever, and make me feel alive in every single moment the way I do when I am here, at the altar of you, with my hands clapped over my mouth in awe, and my eyes wide shut, and my heart in my throat, just… suspended in time and space. Watching. Listening. Laughing. Crying. Feeling. Being. Please stay here, and play forever, and make me feel the way I feel when I am here on this noisy shore, standing at the edge of you. Please Neil? Please. Don’t. Go.

Click here to download Neil Young at Farm Aid 2008.

Click here to download Dave Matthews at Farm Aid 2008.

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