August 19: Neil Young and Crazy Horse released Greendale in 2003


Greendale is the name of an album, movie and graphic novel by Neil Young. As the twenty-seventh album by Neil Young, Young and Crazy Horse’s Greendale, a 10-song rock opera, is set in a fictional California seaside town. Based on the saga of the Green family, the “audio novel” has been compared to the literary classics of Thornton Wilder’s Our Town and Sherwood Anderson’s Winesburg, Ohio for its complexity and emotional depth in exploring a small town in America.

Greendale combines many themes on corruption, environmentalism and mass media consolidation. The album, concert, film and DVDs have produced a vast divergence of critical opinion ranging from being called “amateur” to being voted as one of the best albums of 2003 by Rolling Stone magazine music critics.

Falling from above:

The CD was originally released with a DVD of live “Neil-only” acoustic performance of the Greendale material from Vicar Street, Dublin, Ireland. In 2004, the CD was released with a new DVD containing a live performance of Neil Young and Crazy Horse. A DVD-Audio version was also released, with both Advanced Resolution Stereo and 5.1 Surround sound mixes, and a video of “Devil’s Sidewalk” from the film. In late 2004, the feature-length DVD with actors lip-synching the material was released.

“There’s a charge in doing all these new songs at once, all in a row. It’s a big rebirth for me. I was apprehensive introducing this much new material at once, but it’s something I looked forward to, because it’s a challenge. A challenge for me, and a challenge for the audience: It’s really one long song, and to get your money’s worth, you have to pay attention.”
– Neil Young (Chicago Tribune, 2003)

This show from Portland, Oregon, 20 February 2004 (with Crazy Horse) is the album played from start to finish + an encore of some great songs:

Set list:

Falling From Above
Double E
Devil’s Sidewalk
Leave the Driving
Grandpa’s Interview
Bringin’ Down Dinner
Sun Green
Be the Rain
All Along the Watchtower
(Bob Dylan cover)
Hey Hey, My My (Into the Black)
Encore 2:
Don’t Cry No Tears
Rockin’ in the Free World

We include two albums from Spotify, the original Greendale and an official Greendale live album.

I never understood the harsh critique of the album when it came out, I always liked it and even more today than I did in 2003. It really holds up, it is an impressive realization of Neil Young’s artistic vision. From music, to film, to concerts, to website and to graphic novel. This is a concept album in the broadest sense. I prefer the live acoustic solo album version.


Bandit (from the Greendale film):

Greendale, Live at St. Vicar (acoustic):

– Hallgeir

Sources: Wikipedia, BBC,, Chicago Tribune