Monday, July 14, 2008

A Lucky Man Who Made The Grade

Hot on the heels of my birthday tribute to Ringo Starr, I learned that Neil Young has recently been playing a stunning version of the Beatles' "A Day in the Life" as an encore.

As the towering masterwork of popular song in the 20th century, "A Day in the Life" is most intimidating, but it's amazing how naturally it fits into Neil's sonic wheelhouse: the plaintive homespun melody and open chords of the first two verses gives way to the raging cacophony of the bridge and final coda with a little mid-tempo bit in the middle.

It's as if he merged "After the Gold Rush" with Arc, his 1991 feedback/noise collage, and threw in a verse of "Everybody Knows This is Nowhere" to hold it all together.

Neil, of course, replaces the London Symphony Orchestra's part - and the crashing final piano E chord - with the howling feedback of Big Black, his trusty Les Paul.

As the clip below from the Rock in Rio festival demonstrates, Mr. Bernard Shakey has brilliantly, angrily recast the ultimate 60s freak-out for the 21st century - the "holes in Blackburn Lancashire" might as well be bodies in Bagdhad.

Neil Young, "A Day in the Life" Rock in Rio Festival, Madrid, 27 June 2008

1 comment:

  1. You have a nice site. Lovge the scrolling blog posts and B%W design.


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