Shedding Light in the Darkness

Neil Young Rocks Maui

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On Saturday when thousands of people around the world marched against the biotech giant Monsanto and its genetically modified crops and pesticides, rock legend Neil Young celebrated the protest, igniting Charley’s in Paia with a surprise gig backed by Promise of the Real blasting out songs from his forthcoming “The Monsanto Years” album.

Over the course of two sets Young performed new songs like “Rock Starbucks,” “People Want To Hear About Love” (“don’t talk about the corporations hijacking all your rights, people want to hear about love”), “Big Box” (“corporations are taking control, democracy crushed at their feet”), “Rules of Change” (“seeds are life it can’t be owned, not even by Monsanto”), the “Monsanto Years,” and the inspiring “New Day For The Planet,” with its hopeful chorus: “It’s a new day for our planet, it’s a new day for love.”

A phenomenal guitarist, Young thrilled the packed club with a ferocious version of his classic “Down by the River.” Other older favorites included “The Loner,” “Only Love” and “Walk On,” which contains a line from which Promise of the Real took their name! Lukas and Micah Nelson and the rest of the band also seemed thrilled to be backing (and mightily rocking with) this extraordinary music icon. And Young appeared especially energized playing with the young musicians. Proceeds from the event are being donated to local Maui groups trying to halt GMO cultivation on the island.

Earlier in the day, Young joined by Daryl Hannah, participated in a community “Plant Against Monsanto” event in Lahaina, joining Maui residents planting sweet potatoes, taro, pumpkin and tomatoes.

The “Monsanto Days” album will be released in June, and Young’s tour with Promise of the Real opens in Milwaukee on July 5th.


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