Photos and words By Jim Lyons

“I am having a fucking blast,” laughed Lukas Nelson when asked for a quote on his thoughts of his band The Promise of the Real backing Neil NeilYoung-6Young on this Tour. This is day two of the tour in support of The Monsanto Years Release they recorded with Neil.
This little tour requires 5 tour buses and four semis to make it all happen. Of the buses two are very well known. Neil’s custom Silver Eagle retro masterpiece, and Lukas’ Dad (Willie Nelson) bus immortalized in the movie Honeysuckle Rose. I asked Corey McCormick, bass player for POTR if this used to be Willie’s bus. He smiled and answered, “Yes.” Then he grins and says “It still is!”
The Arena was packed with a diverse, but unified crowd awaiting one of the legends of Rock, Roll, Folk and Americana music to take the stage to play his hits.
NeilYoung-2Neil did not disappoint.
The lights went down as two young girls in bonnets came out spreading seeds of corn lovingly all over the stage.
The sounds of Neil solo on the piano filled the Arena with the sounds of After the Gold Rush…”Look at Mother Nature on the run in the 21st Century.” Neil ended to thunderous applause and walked over and strapped on Hank Williams’ original Martin, and Neil’s familiar harmonica holder.
“I wanna live, I wanna give….I’ve been a miner for a Heart of Gold.” The whole crowd sang with him and continued through Comes a Time and Old Man. Neil then started playing his now famous pump organ.

Neil stood up and grabbed his black Les Paul. Four guys came out in white Haz Mat suits spraying steam all over the corn seeds that had beenNeilYoung-5 carefully planted by the girls earlier.
Lukas Nelson and The Promise of the Real walked onstage and plugged in. It was evident within seconds why Neil pegged them to record The Monsanto Years, and to back him for this tour. This band is tight in every sense of the word.
From the strong rhythm section of Corey McCormick’s thundering basslines to the steady drums of Anthony Logerfo, percussion of Tato Malgar, this house was rocking. Both Lucas and Micah Nelson NeilYoung-3provided solid rhythm guitar withtasteful leads. Micah played several instruments and on several tunes played rhythm guitar with a violin bow.
Neil smiled the whole time.
“He just loves these kids so much,” said longtime friend of Neil, ‘Snowball.’ “ He has known them since they were just little kids running around at the first Farm Aid shows with Neil’s close pal Willie Nelson,” he continued. “They can sing and play.”
Neil took the crowd through a musical journey that was a weaving of his hits and the new album. The Monsanto Years has the vintage Neil Young sound all over it. He beautifully makes the points that corporations have no business owning our farms, nor genetically altering our food. He did this through his gifts of music and storytelling. He was not on a soapbox. He is the soapbox.
His music has always echoed what is right and what is wrong in this world.
The 2 ½ hour show was fluid and fun. The crowd was on its feet for a blazing Cowgirl in the Sand, Love and only Love, and Powderfinger as an encore which left everyone there smiling.
I couldn’t help but think how much Lukas and I have in common while leaving thinking to myself…”I am having a fucking blast!”
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