Review: Neil Young at Massey Hall

20 January 2014 / by Max Morin (author)
Neil Young performing in 2009.  (photo: Flickr user Man Alive!)
Neil Young performing in 2009. / (photo: Flickr user Man Alive!)

Yeah, this lucky SOB saw Neil Young on January 12 at a packed Massey Hall.

Now that you've allowed the jealousy of the phrase to sink in it's time to talk about why you didn't miss out. Don't get me wrong, this show was better than the Girls season premiere, Golden Globes and Raptors Drake Night all wrapped into one but you didn't have to be there to truly understand what was going down. For those of you who don't know, Neil (or is it Mr. Young?) is on a short tour across Canada with every show benefiting the Athabascan Chipewyan Native judicial case against those Wolf-of-Wall-Street-esque oil executives and the oh-so-environmentally conscious Harper Government. All the proceeds of last night's gig go towards funding the legal side of this court battle, which would prevent the oil industry from procuring more native lands that were promised to these nations in Treaty 8. This gig wasn't about the music, it was about the cause. Sure, I could go on to tell you that Diana Krall (another crucial player of musical canadiana) was flawless in her short opening set, (despite the incessant squeaking coming from Neil's resonance piano pedal.) I can continue by throwing in some big time, “reviewy” adjectives to describe the unbelievable nuances of Neil's pristine abilities on the arsenal of acoustic guitars that surrounded him on stage. If I were so bold, I could even conclude by saying that his unique ability to tell stories was unequivocally present when talking about the likes of Bert Jansch (google him) and Phil Ochs (google him too). In the end, if I were to keep on talking about that kinda stuff, I'd be missing the point. I do realize that gigs and politics can sometimes go together like Toronto and Ice Storms but the I couldn't help but feel a palpable sense of understanding and, more importantly, empathy coming from the 2, 752 person crowd.  So yeah, I was lucky to see THE dude from a town in North Ontario play “Helpless”, “Old Man”, “On My Way Home”, and “Heart of Gold” on Hank William's old muse of a guitar BUT you really didn't miss out. All you have to do, according to Young and company, is tune in.


You can donate to the Athabasca Chipewyan First Nations Legal Defence Fund by clicking on the link below:


And if you're so inclined, you Neil-o-phyte, have a look at the setlist below:

  1. From Hank to Hendrix

  2. On the Way Home (Buffalo Springfield song)

  3. Helpless (Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young song)

  4. Love in Mind 

  5. Mellow My Mind 

  6. Are You Ready for the Country 

  7. Someday

  8. Changes (Phil Ochs cover)

  9. Harvest

  10. Old Man

  11. A Man Needs a Maid

  12. Ohio (Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young song)

  13. Southern Man

  14. Mr. Soul (Buffalo Springfield song)

  15. Pocahontas

  16. After the Gold Rush

  17. Journey Through the Past

  18. Needle of Death (Bert Jansch cover)

  19. Heart of Gold



  1. Comes a Time

  2. Long May You Run (The Stills-Young Band song)


The author

Max Morin

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