James’ Brand New Blog

He’s an artist, he don’t look back. Neil Young in #ldnont: Then (1973) & now (2012)

- October 7th, 2012

neil young elizabeth closeup

Neil Young in basic pose Saturday in downtown #ldnont photographed by our daughter Liz with her trusty iPhone

neil young elizabeth

Neil Young and Crazy Horse & those big amps & the big big microphone in a photograph Liz took with her iPhone

“Welcome to Miami Beach, ladies and gentlemen,” Neil Young to Alumni Hall crowd c. 1973 (sugarmtn.org has it as 1973-10-30, Alumni Hall - University Of Western Ontario, London, Ontario, Canada)

On stage: “odd paraphernelia: a wooden Indian, trophies, lots of glittery boots and a plastic palm tree.” (Joe Chertkow, Western Gazette. whose outstanding review provides 1973 details used here)

In the band: Ben Keith (steel), Nils Lofgren (gtr), Ralph Molina (drums), Billy Talbot (bass)

A few of the songs: Tonight’s the Night, Please Take My Advice, Don’t Be Denied, Flying on the Ground is Wrong, Helpless, Human Highway, Tell Me Why.

Fast forward almost 39 years to Oct. 6, 2012, Budweiser Gardens in downtown #ldnont

“I wrote it 25 minutes ago,” Neil Young to Crazy Horse (Talbot, Molina, Fred Sampedro) & 9,200 fans  about “a brand new song.” The song was about a young woman who liked “to have a good time” . . . a druggy pursuit mocked by the way the lights were used to transform that big mic out front into a giant pill . . . as in one pill makes you smaller, and one pill makes you large?

On stage: huge faux Fender amps, giant microphone out front, constant comings & goings by “weird science” guys (to quote an apparently annoyed friend’s tweet) in white lab coats, Einstein white hair wigs etc. Neil in Wonderland?  A Spinal Tap spoof with the measurements too big instead of too small? A reminder of what rock stages used to require . . . big amps, sans else?

In the band: Talbot, Molina, Fred Sampedro (gtr) plus a touring musician off to one side of stage at the front in chage of effects (?)

Set list follows but for juxtapositions how about these two: 1) the Woodstock “no rain no rain no rain” audio from the rock fest itself accompanying images of an end-of-world lightning storm followed by Neil solo Needle & The Damage Done or 2) following Ramada Inn where a middle American couple has the sun coming up every day with the young lovers of Cinnamon Girl who chase the moonlight.

Meaning what? Here’s my take: 1) all the hippie idealism giving way to junkiedom just a few years later and 2) the night time is the right to be with the one you love while the sun & the day is the time for duty and routine.

Young also sings often about other performers & being a performer/artist/entertainer   . . . Johnny Rotten, Hank Williams, Bob Dylan, Roy Orbison, The Grateful Dead were mentioned (anybody else?) . . . Mr. Soul has young Neil asking Scott (dad) “send me money, I need a second chance” . . . and the last song of the night has Neil saying farewell to Woodstock because his helicopter days are through.

There are two Neil Young & Crazy Horse albums in Rolling Stone’s Top 500. On Saturday, he did songs from both of them . . . Cinnamon Girl from 1969′s Everybody Knows This is Nowhere (the band’s debut) and My My, Hey Hey and Powderfinger from 1979′s Rust Never Sleeps.

Then (when I missed him) & now (when I did) Neil Young is an artist who at a mere 66 (if he was born in Nov. 1945) still has the Dylan & the Hawks power to anger fans who want the Neil they know & love. “Horrible” was the word from one acquaintance as she walked out.

Hmm. On Saturday,  did anyone yell “Judas” . . . just wondering.

CRAZY HORSE SET LIST (language alert etc)

Following is an unofficial set list of Saturday’s Neil Young and Crazy Horse concert at Budweiser Gardens. Corrections and more details are welcome. The Beatles’ A Day in the Life was heard over the arena sound system as the final stage preparations were made,
O Canada (recorded music, spontaneous singalong by Young and others, fans)
Love and Only Love
Powderfinger
Born in Ontario

Walk Like A Giant
The Needle and the Damage Done (solo, acoustic)
Twisted Road (solo, acoustic)
Ramada Inn

Cinnamon Girl

Fuckin’ Up
She’s Looking for a Good Time” (“brand new” song, title is just a guess)
My My, Hey Hey (Out of the Blue)
(Encore)
Mr. Soul
Roll Another Number (for the  Road)

– compiled from information via Free Press news services, Internet fan sites and fans at the concert

Categories: Entertainment

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5 comments

  1. D Williams says:

    She’s Looking for a Good Time” (“brand new” song, title is just a guess)

    This song is ‘Psychedelic Pill’ title track for his upcoming album due to be released at the end of October

  2. james.reaney says:

    Wos … thanks, D. (a different D. Williams than the fine leader of the old Pozo Seco Singers, I guess)…

    seriously, write any time & now that I check out the Psychedelic Pill track list, Neil & CHorse did a bunch of songs from that album . . . and zip from Americana. Is that right?

  3. Graham says:

    I was at the Halloween1973 Alumni Hall concert and 3/4 of that audience walked out very unhappy as well. I loved it but most were expecting After the Gold Rush and Harvest. I was humming “Bruce Berry” and “Tonight’s the Night” for the following two years before Neil finally released the album (which I still have). It was interesting to see the Wooden Indian and Palm Tree still on stage in his solo tour in 2011. Also great to hear that he has conquered the writer’s block he refers to in Waging Heavy Peace. Is he still abstaining given what he chose for his closing song (Roll Another Number) which, by the way, was also played and acted out in 1973.

  4. james.reaney says:

    Hi Graham . . . & thanks for sharing. By coincidence, I am seeing the Western Gazette reviewer for that show this week & will share your thoughts . . . as for Neil’s abstinence, well, I dunno but applaud him for making his choice as he continues to create.
    One interesting reaction to the BudG show came from a friend who is a big Neil Young fan & came away giving it 2 out of 5 stars (we agreed the star rating system isn’t a good idea but) & said he could have left & come back 20 minutes later & not missed anything. Not so. I would should have responded . . . you would likely have missed a new song, something you had (v. likely) never heard before. Like it or not, that’s the way an artist is supposed to work, isn’t it?

  5. Don Montgomery says:

    Me too – same concert at Western – big lineup – got the last 2 tickets – Neil played Helpless, with Nils Lofgren backing him up on accordian!! Amazing!!
    After the show I went around back to see our hippie friend drive away in – not a VW van, or so, but a full-blown, brand new Cadillac limo, license plate GMC 001 – some hippie!!! GREAT show !!

    Don

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