Monday, July 9, 2018

SOMETHING IS ROTTEN IN THE STATE OF DENMARK(or never buy concert tickets from a man named Rocky) Neil Young - January 22, 1971 Shakespeare Theater - Stratford CT



Something didn't seem quite right  from the moment I purchased four highly sought-after tickets to see Neil Young  at the very limited-capacity Shakespeare Theater in Stratford, Connecticut in the winter of 1971.
Suspicious: Neil Young was at one of his highest levels of popularity, following the release of his third solo album, After The Gold Rush, and tickets were hard to come by.
Definitely sketchy:  the person selling the tickets. Rocky (whose last name will not be revealed) was a somewhat shady character from my hometown of East Haven who approached me to inform me he had “come across” some tickets if I was interested in attending. Growing up in a town that was 95% Italian, you develop an instinctive  understanding pretty early that occasionally items fall off of trucks, and questions are never asked.
So it was that I, my girlfriend and another couple headed out on a cold January night, excited to see Neil in what would be a solo acoustic performance in an intimate theater setting. While this is now, 40 years later,  my preferred method to see the artists I love ,at that time it was a minor disappointment that Neil would not be touring with the band Crazy Horse, who had backed him up on his second solo album. As we were escorted to our seats, very close to the stage no less, I didn't really pay much attention to the police officer standing off to the side, just figuring he was routine security. But as soon as we got to our seats, we were descended upon by theater staff and the officer, demanding to see our ticket stubs.
Turns out the tickets  had been stolen, the four people who they were stolen from were in the theater, waiting to claim their seats, and we were embarrassingly dragged (well not dragged, this wasn't an episode of Cops) out of the theater into the lobby. Pleading my case, I assured them we had not stolen the tickets but had purchased them from Rocky,  (the  suddenly no longer nameless Rocky). I didn't need to be waterboarded to sing like a canary, and remarkably, not only did they believe my story, but they allowed us to stay. Amazingly enough we were seated in the side balcony, as close to the stage as possible. For the next 90 minutes, we were granted  an up  close view into the musical genius of Neil Young,  as he alternated from guitar to piano, playing songs spanning his whole career, from Buffalo Springfield to his current record After The Goldrush.  Midway through the set, we were treated to two songs from what would be his next great album, Harvest, as he played back to back “A Man Needs a Maid” and “Heart of Gold.”
What could have been disastrous turned out to be a front-row seat to see a musical legend perform. 
   I'm not sure what became of Rocky, but unsubstantiated rumors place him in a high level position at Stub Hub.

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SOMETHING IS ROTTEN IN THE STATE OF DENMARK(or never buy concert tickets from a man named Rocky) Neil Young - January 22, 1971 Shakespeare Theater - Stratford CT

Something didn't seem quite right  from the moment I purchased four highly sought-after tickets to see Neil Young  at the very limi...