Liberty Stage’s trilogy of classic albums performed by New Zealand’s finest came to a stunning conclusion Saturday night for the love of Neil.
Live Rust was first performed in August 2019 but is now back again due to popular acclaim and to sit alongside Brothers in Arms and Abbey Road.
And as usual an extra deep dive into Neil Young’s catalogue which comprises the first half of the show. I saw this show last time but it doesn’t matter, it’s still fresh and surprising and tear jerky as the familiar unfolds and the great man’s talent is unwrapped. From the outset a familiar song which the audience will know but maybe struggle to identify as “Expecting to Fly”, a beautiful Buffalo Springfield song, with Liam Finn, Dianne Swann and SJD sharing sweet voice. A false intro into "Mr Soul" then segues into “Broken Arrow” with SJD, then Liam Finn, then Samuel Flynn Scott. We stay with Buffalo Springfield and Delaney Davidson delivers the real “Mr Soul”
Brett Adams, Michael Barker, Delaney Davidson, Sean Donnelly (SJD), Liam Finn, Matthias Jordan, Jol Mulholland (Musical Director), Mel Parsons, Samuel Flynn Scott, Dianne Swann, Jon Toogood in alphabetical order are the musicians who share out the heart of gold nuggets, supported during the first set by a four piece chamber quartet which includes Dave Kahn.
Brett Adams provides the core guitar leads, but Delaney also jumps in on lead and lap steel and harmonica (which is not a guitar). Jol Mulholland also plays mean guitar as well as broom (which is also not a guitar), as does Sam Scott, but Liam Finn is the wildest and craziest horse on the paddock and rounds out a feast, if he’s not giving Michael Barker a rest on drums, or tinkering on the piano or harvest mooning on bass. SJD plays bass, Matthias Jordan is effervescent on the keys, and Mel and Dianne sing solos but once or twice it’s The Bads as Dianne and Brett do “When You Dance” followed by “The Loner”.
‘Down By The River” and “Cowgirl In The Sand” moisten the eyes as firstly Sam Scott and Liam Finn stretch out the solos which are trademark Young. But “Cortez the Killer” still knocks you dead as Brett reverberates and sings his perfect Neil soprano.
Live Rust is set two and it never sleeps, and whether it’s acoustic folk or ramshackle punk or southern man rock, Neil Young is awesome, and it’s just a privilege to be able to listen to “Sugar Mountain” as played live in 1971, and to hear (on that album) the high pitched 25 year old explain how he wrote this song when he was 19 and it had 146 verses. He was “Expecting to Fly” way back then and has influenced our lives “Like a Hurricane”
‘Powderfinger” is one of the most hauntingly evocative songs ever written and like most of these songs, ageless. Neil Young is still writing, even though the muse occasionally slips in a drivelish way we forgive him his old age grumpiness and rejoice in our status as the luckiest generation to have lived our lives with his.
There’s no song 32 in the set-list as “Rockin’ In The Free World” doesn’t make tonight’s cut. That sneaky little phenomenon Liam Finn popped an extra one into set 1 with “A Man Needs A Maid”. He’ll have some explaining to do………
My My Hey Hey Simone Williams and the Liberty Stage Crew along with the support teams Richard and team at Western Audio, Deen and team at Oceania NorWest, Snapper at the GreenRoom, what an awesome night.
Setlist – One
- Expecting to Fly
- Broken Arrow
- Mr Soul
- Don’t Let It Bring You Down
- A Man Needs a Maid
- Down by The River
- Revolution Blues
- Old Man
- Harvest Moon
- Cowgirl in The Sand
- Southern Man
Setlist – Two
- Sugar Mountain
- I am a Child
- Comes a Time
- After the Goldrush
- My My, Hey Hey (Out of the Blue)
- When You Dance
- The Loner
- The Needle and the Damage Done
- Lotta Love
- Sedan Delivery
- Cortez the Killer
- Cinnamon Girl
- Like a Hurricane
- Hey Hey My My (Into the Black)
- Tonight’s the Night
- Heart of Gold
Radio 13 thanks and credits Garry Thomas for all the images in this review.