The Power of Neil
Saturday, December 15, 2007
I've been a huge Neil Young fan for as long as I can remember, but until last week I had only seen him once -- in a giant outdoor arena in Toronto in 1974 in the pouring rain. He was with Crosby, Stills and Nash, and I spent the concert soaked and shivering. Nonetheless, I was smitten.
I've always loved Neil's music, but I love something else about him, as well, and that is the way he has led his life, balancing fame and family and always following his creative muse even when it might make better business sense to follow more predictable paths. So when I learned he was coming to the intimate Tower Theater just outside Philadelphia, I jumped for tickets. The show sold out in minutes, and the best we managed was to nab four seats together in the lower balcony and one seat off to the side and far back on the main floor. I took the lone seat so Jenny and our three kids could be together.
We split up in the lobby, Jenny and the kids heading to their seats and me to mine. I had just sat down when dumb luck struck. A young couple approached me and asked if I were sitting alone. They had a favor to ask. They were unable to buy two seats together, and wondered if I would swap tickets so they could sit together. "Mine's actually a better seat," the man volunteered. I was leery. What if I handed over my ticket only to discover I had traded for a nosebleed seat? He must have sensed my hesitance because he offered to show me the seat. We wound through the theater together and ended up....at seventh row center. I couldn't believe it. "You must really be in love," I told the guy as I handed him my ticket. He nodded that he was, and we shook hands.
The concert was great, and, true to form, Neil was still following his muse, delivering a quirky mix of songs, ignoring the shouted requests for favorite hits. At 62, he's still rocking hard and showing no signs of slowing down...not a bad role model for the rest of us. To the guy who swapped tickets with me so he could sit with his girlfriend: Thank you. And to his girlfriend: I think you have a keeper there.
posted by John Grogan at 9:01 PM