That Metro Gnome can be such a city snob—always flitting from some club in Belltown to a party on Capitol Hill, like if it ain't going down in the 206 area code, it ain't going down at all. Now, the Country Gnome knows that only a small percentage of you ever endeavor to travel to the outer reaches of the greater metropolitan area. "Issaquah?" you ask. "Is that in Idaho?" And that's all well and good; you city folk stay put here in the city, that way the country air stays fresh and clean and the Greenway stays relatively clear of SUVs. And as long as I can squeeze into my Metro cousin's column often enough to bend your ear with a story or two now and again, we'll all be just fine.
Saturday morning, the Country Gnome got behind the wheel of her beat-up Ford pickup and drove out yonder to see Neil Young and his all-star band perform at the Gorge Amphitheater, which was recently scooped up by the suits at House of Blues. "Free Tibet" bumper stickers and pop-top vans dotted the landscape, and the essence of patchouli, exhaled marijuana smoke, and Young's "Cinnamon Girl" wafted out of car stereos and open windows, combining mid-air to create a darn purdy potpourri of classic rock and hallucinogenic aromatherapy.
Chrissie Hynde and the Pretenders opened up the show, playing a bunch of old favorites like "Middle of the Road" and ending with a cover of Young's "Needle and the Damage Done." And wouldn't ya know it, Hynde paused to bend down and kiss the stage after her opening number, saying she was doing what she knew each of us would do if we were lucky enough to share the stage with the legendary Neil Young. Damn straight.
As Neil and his band of all-stars, including bass man Donald "Duck" Dunn of Booker T. and the MGs and nearly every R&B record made in the '60s, took the stage, the terraced backdrop disappeared into the night sky like a bottle of moonshine at a hootenanny and the crowd went wild. We county folk were treated to oldies like "Harvest Moon" and "Words," which Young expertly spun into a guitar solo-heavy 12-minute rhapsody. Sprinkling the set with warmly sentimental and timelessly rockin' songs from his recent Silver and Gold, Young did his signature sideways, bouncing two-step around the stage, obviously happy to be there, obviously still fueled by a limitless supply of lovingly honest rock and roll. He's still got it. And it seems he always will.
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