review of 9/14/96 concert at the gorge, oregon

[contributed by Don Adair]

Yes, her set was far too short, but I'll always cherish the memory of it as crystalline nugget, a perfect little moment in time.

The set was drawn almost entirely from Gone Again, with (as I recall) the only exceptions being the spoken version of "People Have the Power" and, of course, the set-closer, "Not Fade Away." REM-er Peter Buck joined in on the latter on guitar, and Tony Shanahan sang a verse.

Verlaine was present and stunning. What a marvelous array of guitar sounds this band makes, and very few of them orthodox. Beautiful little phrases and runs that tilt this way and that, sometimes against the grain of Patti's vocals, sometimes complementing them in the most inventive--and sometimes startling--ways. But then you guys already knew that.

Patti opened with a babel-rap and an acoustic version of "Southern Cross," did a spitting version of "Wicked Messenger" and an elegiac one of "About A Boy." "Gone Again" was, for me one of two highlights (the other being "Wing"), and she opened it with same rap as the Irvine show. I agree that "Gone Again" is the strongest candidate for a single on the record; the Neil Young fans around me clearly got into it.

I would have loved to have seen Patti play longer--I think the Gorge crowd would have given her an encore had the house lights not come up--but Neil Young clearly had an agenda for this show, and I don't mean that in a malicious way. He is playing a very long set on this tour--by my reckoning, he was onstage from 9:10 to 11:40 last night--and the show was filmed, so he may be working on another of his rock 'n' roll documentary thingies. With an opening act, there wasn't really room for more than a 40-minute-plus set from Patti.

Patti was very gracious, twice thanking Neil and Crazy Horse for the opportunity to play with them, and I think the net effect was very good for her. People around me were very favorably impressed. I think she won lots of new fans with this show; I know because I was sandwiched between two of them.

Copyright © Don Adair 1996

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