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My FarmAid 2023 Experience

I’ve been a Neil Young fan for many years, but unfortunately, just never got around to seeing him in concert.

Well, this was my chance.

FarmAid 2023.

Neil is one of the founders of it, along with Willie Nelson and John Mellencamp.

This started in 1985.

Many bands/artists have played at FarmAid.

It’s all for a great cause:  to support the American family farmers.

This was a one day event.

It started shortly after 12:30 PM and ended at almost midnight.

I was there for all of it and have the sunburns to prove it (I thought I was going to be under the roof, but I was just on the edge of it, so I got a lot of sun rays.).

But anyway, it was a great event.

Great staff. Great food. And of course great music.

The show started off with Native Pride Productions and Wisdom Indian Dancers, who welcomed everyone to the show and did some great dancing.

Then shortly after that, Clayton Anderson and his band performed.  He started off the show with a country rock set.  Pretty good.

Then The Black Opry feat. Lori Rayne, Tylar Bryant and Kyshona performed. 

They were all vocals and acoustic guitars. 

Interestingly, none of them performed together, but each one would perform their own songs, while the others would wait their turn to sing/play their songs. 

Either way, they’re very good.  Good singing, good playing.

Then Particle Kid performed.  This is Micah Nelson, one of Willie Nelson’s sons. 

He did a one man show, just him and a guitar, and he was very good.

After this, The String Cheese Incident performed.  This band has been around for 30 years and are still going strong.  Really fun music.

Next, Allison Russell performed.  She and her band played a great set and Kyshona of The Black Opry and Lukas Nelson, another one of Willie’s sons, guested with her and her band at the end of their set.

After this, Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats performed.  This was my favorite act so far.  Rock and Soul that’s the best way to describe them.  Really fun and energetic.  Awesome.

Next up, Lukas Nelson & Promise Of The Real. 

Again, Lukas is one of Willie’s sons and he has had this band for several years (they even backed up Neil Young for a few years for some albums and tours). 

Lukas is a phenomenal talent.  Phenomenal singer.  Phenomenal guitarist/pianist.  And his band is solid as a rock. 

I’m glad I finally saw them. 

As it turns out, this was the second time I’d seen Lukas on this day (see above) and two more times later on (read on).

Next, Bobby Weir & Wolf Bros. feat. The Wolfpack.

Bobby Weir is one of the founders/singers/guitarists of The Grateful Dead.

This was the second time I had seen him (I saw him with Dead And Company, which is most of the surviving members of The Dead, in 2017). 

He and his band (which includes super producer Don Was on bass) played a short set, but as he does, there was some serious jamming. 

Lukas Nelson and Sturgill Simpson played guest guitars. 

Margo Price (who  performed two acts later) guested on vocals too. 

Too short a set for me, but good nonetheless.

Next was The Jim Irsay Band. 

Jim Irsay is a legitimate billionaire (owner of The Indianapolis Colts) and is quite a collector of memorabilia.  Particularly music memorabilia. 

He has the famous David Gilmour (Pink Floyd) black guitar he used for many years, has one of Ringo’s Beatles drum kits, and sooooo much more. 

So, in recent times, he has been going around with an exhibit (it’s free, it was at this event but unfortunately I did not get a chance to go see it) of some of his collection that he has bought through auctions etc. 

Also, around this, he assembles a band, featuring some known people, and does a show playing covers. 

Jim sings some and he brings other singers on too. 

On this day, he had Ann Wilson of Heart sing a song by The Who and Heart (her group), Kenny Aronoff (who has played with sooo many people, including John Mellencamp) on drums, and Kenny Wayne Shepherd was one of the guitarists. 

When the band played Pink Floyd’s Comfortably Numb, Kenny played that same David Gilmour guitar I just mentioned.  Pretty cool. 

Also, Jim and John Mellencamp himself (more on him in awhile) presented a check for 1 million dollars to the American farmers.  Again, very cool.  Fun little set.

Next was Margo Price.  This was one of the people I was not super familiar with. 

She is also one of the FarmAid board members and played a very good set. 

However personally, by this point, I was wearing down, and was ready for the last 4 acts. 

Aside from Willie (more on him in a bit), I think she played the longest set of the day. 

Again, very good, but I was ready to move on at this point.

And move on we did.

Next up was Dave Matthews and Tim Reynolds. 

Dave is especially known as the singer/guitarist/songwriter of The Dave Matthews Band. 

However, he also does albums/tours with guitarist extraordinaire Tim Reynolds. 

Tim is PHENOMENAL on guitar.  Dave sings and plays rhythm acoustic, while Tim plays lead acoustic.  Wow!! 

Dave still sings great and the two of them are a PHENOMENAL duo. 

I’ve been a fan of Dave for many years, but somehow, just never saw him until this event.  I’m glad I finally did.

Then, Dave came back out a little while later and introduced the next performer:  the one and only John Mellencamp!! 

I was supposed to see Mellencamp in May of this year, but unfortunately, I was sick and was not able to go. 

That changed on this night. 

He and his band played a great, although not super long, set of hits.  I’m glad I finally saw him.  He’s still great.

Then the MAIN reason why I went to this came up next:  Neil Young!!!!  John Mellencamp introduced him, and Neil came out and played (just him singing/playing acoustic guitar and harmonica) for 4 songs. 

The only reason why I think he only played 4 songs (he was scheduled for 40 minutes, according to the event app) was because at some point in the day, the turnaround time between each act got behind. 

The turnaround was still pretty fast all day and night, but nevertheless, it seemingly got behind and the set times definitely fluctuated. 

So, I think Neil played a much shorter set to try to somewhat get things back on time, even though that didn’t really happen. 

Maybe I’m wrong but that’s what I think happened.

I’m disappointed that I waited this long to see Neil and he only got to play 4 songs, but having said that, I’m glad I saw him. 

He sounded great, and I love seeing/hearing him do his one man show. 

But it would have been nice to get a few, or a lot more songs. 

Maybe someday I’ll see just his show, but if not, I’m still glad I got what I got. 

He was a HUGE bucket list concert for me, and I can scratch that off now. 

I’ll forever respect Neil and love his massive discography.

Thank you Neil!!!!

Then, a SURPRISE happened.  This act was not officially scheduled to play at all.  But to everyone’s surprise, instead of Willie Nelson coming on next, Bob Dylan came on next!!!! 

And with some of The Heartbreakers (Tom Petty’s band, featuring guitarist Mike Campbell, keyboardist Benmont Tench and drummer Steve Ferrone) playing with him no less.  It was just 3 songs, but wow, what an awesome surprise. 

This was my 3rd time seeing Bob. 

He’s not for everyone, but I love him.  I consider him a national treasure. And I saw him play guitar, which doesn’t sound out of the ordinary, but in my case, when I’d seen him before, he just sang and played piano.  No guitar or harmonica, which he’s known for.  Either way, WOW!!!

Then, Willie Nelson & Family (his sons Lukas and Micah were highly featured) perform.  Willie, at 90 years old, is still the best at what he does, in my opinion. 

He’s also a national treasure that should always be revered. 

Most of the day’s performers came out at the end of the set and joined in on the last few songs of the night. 

I could say more, but this was quite the day, and aside from getting sunburned and taking a little while to get out at the end, it was a great day.

And again, even though Neil’s set was short, I’m still very happy that I FINALLY saw him.

Everyone sang and played great.

Oh and I almost forgot:  I cannot say enough how AMAZING the backdrops were behind the acts during each set. 

They were all PHENOMENAL stills of farms, land, houses, small towns, nature, berries, just beautiful photography.

I had never gone to FarmAid, but I’m glad I went to this one.

Thank you everyone for the great experience.

I have included most of the set lists, as well as many pictures and some video I took (sorry for the quality).

Willie Nelson & Family Set List:

  1. Whiskey River
  2. Bloody Mary Morning
  3. I Never Cared For You
  4. Texas Flood (Lukas Nelson on Lead Vocals)
  5. Help Me Make It Through The Night (w/Waylon Payne)
  6. Die When I’m High (Halfway To Heaven) (Micah Nelson on Lead Vocals)
  7. Mamas Don’t Let Your Babies Grow Up To Be Cowboys
  8. Angel Flying Too Close To The Ground
  9. On The Road Again
  10. Always On My Mind
  11. Just Outside Of Austin (Lukas on Lead Vocals)
  12. Good Hearted Woman
  13. I Been To Georgia On A Fast Train
  14. Everything is Bullshit (Micah on Lead Vocals)
  15. Roll Me Up And Smoke Me When I Die
  16. Write Your Own Songs
  17. Will The Circle Be Unbroken/I’ll Fly Away (with most of the acts of the day on stage)
  18. It’s Hard To Be Humble (with most of the acts of the day on stage)

Bob Dylan Set List:

  1. Maggie’s Farm
  2. Positively 4th Street
  3. Ballad Of A Thin Man

Neil Young Set List:

  1. Comes A Time
  2. Are There Any More Real Cowboys?
  3. Love Earth
  4. Heart Of Gold

John Mellencamp Set List:

  1. John Cockers
  2. Paper In Fire
  3. Small Town
  4. Jack & Diane (solo acoustic and he let the audience sing most of it)
  5. Rain On The Scarecrow
  6. Lonely Of Night
  7. Crumblin’ Down/Gloria
  8. Pink Houses

Dave Matthews And Tim Reynolds Set List:

  1. Rye Whiskey
  2. Satellite
  3. So Damn Lucky
  4. Virginia In The Rain
  5. Lie In Our Graves
  6. Monsters
  7. Crush

Margo Price Set List:

  1. Been To The Mountain
  2. Four Years Of Chances
  3. Shelter Me
  4. Change Of Heart
  5. Life Of Sin (w/Sturgill Simpson)
  6. Marry Jane’s Last Dance (w/Sturgill Simpson)
  7. Paper Cowboy (w/Sturgill Simpson)
  8. Hurtin’ (On The Bottle (w/Sturgill Simpson)

The Jim Irsay Band Set List:

  1. Lawyers, Guns And Money
  2. Comfortably Numb (w/Kenny Wayne Shepherd playing David Gilmour’s black Stratocaster)
  3. Love Reign O’er Me (w/Ann Wilson on Lead Vocals)
  4. Barracuda (w/Ann Wilson on Lead Vocals)

Bobby Weir & Wolf Bros. feat. The Wolf Pack Set List:

  1. Truckin’
  2. Dark Star
  3. Not Fade Away

Lukas Nelson & Promise Of The Real Set List:

  1. Sticks And Stones
  2. Icarus
  3. If I Didn’t Love You
  4. Giving You Away
  5. All Four Winds
  6. Ladder Of Love
  7. Find Yourself

Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats Set List:

  1. Suffer Me
  2. Intro
  3. I Need Never Get Old
  4. Heartless
  5. Dancing In The Dark
  6. Trying So Hard Not To Know
  7. Time Makes Fools
  8. Love Don’t

Alison Russell Set List:

  1. Springtime
  2. The Returner
  3. Eve Was Black
  4. Stay Right Here
  5. Requiem (w/Kyshona of The Black Opry and Lukas Nelson)

The String Cheese Incident Set List:

  1. Can’t Wait Another Day
  2. Lend Me A Hand
  3. Colorado Bluebird Sky
  4. Shine

Particle Kid Set List:

  1. Bleed
  2. Someone Else’s Dream
  3. Even The Birds 
  4. Everything Is Bullshit

Clayton Anderson Set List:

  1. Better By The Day
  2. Right Where We Belong
  3. Indiana
  4. Made In The USA
  5. Only To Borrow

Photo Gallery (click on thumbnail to view larger image)

Video Gallery (click on thumbnail to play video)

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