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Thursday, August 25, 2011

You Are Like A Hurricane, Irene

"Like a Hurricane" by Neil Young and Crazy Horse - Hammersmith Odeon, March 1976

First came the earthquake, then came the hurricane.

As hurricane Irene bears down on the U.S. east coast, a little classic video to get folks in the mood.

"Like a Hurricane" was written by Neil Young in July 1975 with friend and La Honda neighbor Taylor Phelps in the back of his car, when he was unable to sing due to an operation on his vocal cords. The song was first released on the album American Stars 'N Bars in 1977. Driven by Young's trademark fierce guitars, the song has been a concert staple over the years.

There are a number of factors which make the film extraordinary. Besides the near 10 minute length, the film/video is a single take performance filmed during a 4 night run at London's Hammersmith Odeon March 1976. This is not a lip synch performance as is now standard. Also, this was in the pre-MTV age when performance videos were virtually unheard of marketing tools.

Then, of course, there was "The Fan"...

More on "Like A Hurricane" and Neil Young at Hammersmith Odeon, March 1976.

ps - be well, stay safe. namaste

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At 8/25/2011 02:54:00 PM, Blogger Thrasher said...

Bumped comment by

One of my favorite videos for sure ...

what a classic timeless tune ...

watching this also brings me joy because it reminds me of the amazing stage presence that Neil has nowadays ...

instead of being an old fart whose past his prime and singing the same tunes of yesteryear these days Neil's stage presence is literally better than its ever been ... and for me that stage presence adds a tremendous amount to the whole live experience of a Neil concert.

And that's not to say he didn't have presence then because he surely did and its never so apparent as in this video but its also clear that his role as an elder statesman, of having weathered so much for so long, it just expresses itself in how he carries himself live today and I deeply appreciate that fact.

Its gets said often but its true -- so few performers from the 60s and 70s are literally a better live act now then they were then and I think, beyond being a Neil fanatic that's clearly biased, you can truly make a case for Neil being at a pinnacle of sorts in his live concerts over the past years ...

this video in its own right is a pure joy and a work of art and placed into the context of Neil's prolific career it also serves, at least for me, as a milepost along a clear upward journey of his developing and improving his art ...
on that note ... here's hoping he doesn't stay off the road too much longer ...

At 8/26/2011 08:42:00 AM, Blogger tuned4life said...

I am also hoping Neil hits the road soon. I think of times like this as the calm before the storm. I look forward to the next one. The "Old Black" kind of Hurricane, not the "Irene" kind . Doug S. Warsaw N.Y.

At 8/26/2011 08:52:00 PM, Blogger BIGCHIEF said...

Here we go ... I recently viewed a recent video clip of the band 'KISS' during a press conference to promote an upcoming tour of which the band's frontman, Paul Stanley, exclaimed that an audience in attendence at a KISS concert gets so much more for their ticket investment, with all of the 'theatrics' and such, compared to being ripped off by the Hippie sitting on a stool on a rug, strumming an accoustic guitar! I couldn't believe what I was hearing as it was a blatant attack on Neil Young inlight of his recent solo tour in support of the 'LeNoise' record, complete with a stool, a rug, and a collection of 'accoustic' guitars of which, as I recall, he 'strummed' rather well. Now, one might conclude that if stripped of all of their theatrical devices such as flashpots, fireworks, bombs, lazer-lights, blood-spewing, scary make-up to hide even scarier faces (as revealed during their near career destroying 'Disco Era'), and most importantly, a harness-like device which gives an illusion that Gene 'The Demon' Simmons is suddenly flying above the audience, giving them yet another opportunity to decide for themselves whether his tonque is for real or rather just another prosthetic device simular to that of his 'manhood'. Apart from these aforementioned 'theatrical crutches', most would conclude that they are an average bar band at best which in itself isn't a bad thing, however, I recall a certain 'Hippie' who entertained an audience of several million people while strumming an accoustic guitar with an Ice-Rink as his rug and with the only flash-pot available at the moment was an Olympic Torch. I can only imagine what could have been if only he had his stool.

At 8/26/2011 09:14:00 PM, Blogger BIGCHIEF said...

... 'Similar', Dammit!

At 8/27/2011 10:28:00 AM, Blogger Thrasher said...

@BIGCHIEF - Interesting comparison.

In a way the KISS comment sums it all up nicely.

Some are into the shock & awe for the sheer entertainment value.

Others are more concerned with the craft & art form & respect to the music. The message. The vibe. Making an impact & difference.

making you think.

other bands? not so much.

At 8/27/2011 10:20:00 PM, Blogger Mr Henry said...

Random thoughts while continuing to batten down ye olde hatches:

Does Paul Stanley do film criticism as well? I'd just love to hear his insights and opinions on Tree of Life!!

I think it would take Don Corleone and Luca Brasi to get me to watch a Kiss press conference...or maybe Gene Simmons and Shannon Tweed.

As my parents used to tell me, "consider the source".

They've been playing baseball off-and-on all day at Fenway, trying to get in two games. There was another long rain delay during the nightcap, and the ownership announced that anyone in the area could now get into the game free. Looks like maybe a thousand or so folks are there, and it's probably a blast, even though it's raining pretty heavy throughout. I'd love to be there, but by the time that I get into the city there would either be another delay or the game will be over. If this was a Kiss concert going on, it could be the most beautiful night in the history of the world, with a limo picking me up and paying me to go to the show...I'd still say thanks but NFW.

But that Neil Young just keeps getting better and better!!! And I can still vividly remember the first time that I saw this what was the name again of that funny band with all the weird makeup on?

At 8/28/2011 07:28:00 AM, Blogger Mr Henry said...

Back in the good old days (1993), The Velvet Underground had a brief reunion. I recall reading an interview with Maureen Tucker where they asked her how they would compete with today's groups. After all, these bands have so much more technology and theatrics at their disposal...why some of them even use fireworks!

Mo Tucker's response was something like this:

"Fireworks?! We don't need any fireworks--Sister Ray IS our fireworks!"

A sentiment that I'm sure Neil, Big Chief and many, many others would also agree with.

Not that I don't love fireworks, mind you....

Anyway, how are things going with everyone out there? Sounds like Irene is right round TW right now; hope you guys are doing okay.

At 8/28/2011 10:51:00 AM, Blogger Thrasher said...

@Mr H - "As my parents used to tell me, "consider the source"."

Good parental advice. :)

We're doing fine. Lots of wind & rain here @ TW. Lost power for awhile but back now.

Looks like most dodged a bullet on Irene.

There was calm in her eye afterall....

At 8/28/2011 01:51:00 PM, Blogger BIGCHIEF said...

Nothing wrong with using theatrics to enhance the performance. The 'Man upstairs' himself has always been one for taking full advantage of their effects during some of his more famous performances. To some degree I concur with Mr Stanley for using whatever resources available to give the audience the most 'bang' for their buck. To anyone who has ever been to a KISS Concert, they do put on a pretty spectacular show. However, as a band they have been running on fumes for several years now. They exemplify many bands from their era who are nothing more than an 'oldies act'. Although they may still release new material from time to time, their audience still thrives on their music from the days that used to be and they are milking it for all its worth. Based on those facts alone, It was pretty bold for Mr Stanley to make those comments when theres a stool with his name on it in the not too distant future. How long will they be able to 'Rock-N-Roll All Night And Party Everyday'? They have painted themselves into a corner with their dependence of their theatrics and stage props and are becoming less convincing of having any integrity with each passing tour. With Gene Simmons, it is only an ongoing business venture. As for Neil'the hippie on a stool'Young, he has convinced us long ago that artistic freedom and integrity top his list and the 'business' part will fall where it may. He has aged gracefully before our very eyes without the reliance of facelifts, hairdye and transplants, and fancy wardrobes. His music has reflected real life experiences and the same day to day aging process on the road to maturity that we all can relate to, along with the occasional 'Dylan-esque' poetic journeys that give us cause to dream for a while. So, I pity you, Paul Stanley. You view the 'stool' as an end to a lucrative career while Neil knows the stool as a comfortable place where he can continue to connect with his audience in a career that isn't defined or limited by age.

At 8/28/2011 03:13:00 PM, Blogger Thrasher said...

@BIGCHIEF - "artistic freedom and integrity top his list and the 'business' part will fall where it may. He has aged gracefully before our very eyes without the reliance of facelifts, hairdye and transplants, and fancy wardrobes. His music has reflected real life experiences and the same day to day aging process on the road to maturity that we all can relate to, along with the occasional 'Dylan-esque' poetic journeys that give us cause to dream for a while. "

Good summation BC. nice.

Might have to make this a Comment of the Moment. But don't want to incur the wrath of KISS ARMY, ya know. ;)

At 8/28/2011 04:47:00 PM, Blogger Jill said...

It sounds to me like Paul Stanley feels the need to justify himself by explaining to Kiss fans that they get more value for their money because of all the theatrics etc in their act. He is certainly aware of what the `hippie on a stool` is up to, and appears to be feeling insecure about his own position.

Whereas Neil on the other hand, who is still growing and moving forward creatively, quite rightly doesn`t feel the need to explain a thing….who is the dinosaur here?? It`s actually quite laughable…

At 8/28/2011 04:49:00 PM, Blogger Mr Henry said...

Good to hear! Seems like the Kiss Army might have already found me: we had two vehicles damaged earlier when a branch came down and smashed one windshield, then took out the side window on a van. Otherwise seems okay and it could have been worse...I was out driving when this all happened or might not have anything that's road worthy. So I take it all back, and I just wanna rock and roll all night!

But really, I have no problem with theatrics etc when it comes to music. Just need to keep things in perspective and know your audience. I did like Kiss a lot more before they became such a big deal again, but that's just one person's humble opinion.

Lots of trees down here, not just in my driveway. Heavy waves coming in when I was over by the beach earlier, and tonight's high tide should be a big test. Before I got home earlier, stopped at a local restaurant that was open even though they had no power! There was an Irish Seisiun finishing up, so I stopped to have a Guiness and listen for a few minutes.

There were three musicians playing: acoustic guitar, accordion and fiddle. Wrapping up their set, they did a beautiful instrumental version of Tennessee Waltz, which happened to be one of my mom's favorite songs. Then they finished their day with (what else) Goodnight Irene, with the dozen or so folks there (including me) all happily singing along to the chorus...very cool. Never know when or where the music will take you.

At 8/28/2011 08:04:00 PM, Blogger BIGCHIEF said...

Ironically, I recall that famous photo of Neil inside of an edition of 'Creem' Magazine with the 'cream pie' covering his face with the caption "Neil Young .. The new member of KISS"!

At 8/28/2011 09:13:00 PM, Blogger BIGCHIEF said...

As we all know, Neil himself is no stranger to the use of theatrics in some of his more memorable concerts. The 'Rust Never Sleeps' Tour relied heavily on props and costumed charactors as did the 'Greendale' Tour. The 'Rusted Out Garage' Tour borrowed a similar theme as the R.N.S's Tour. And how can we forget the 'Trans' Solo Tour with the props as well as the annoying Dan Clear? A Neil Young concert is a theatrical event whether he uses a lazer light show or a single spot and a 40 watt bulb. Case in point, the 'Tonight's The Night' Tour. The sparse lighting and choice of stage props gave the performance a 'black & white' feel, as suggested by the album cover itself. Neil's stage presence and the choice of songs conveyed a sense of 'doom & gloom' which was the intended effect. As a big fan of Alice Cooper, I watched as he evolved from the Glam/Shock rocker of his early days, into the vaudvillian, horror master of his later years of his career. The similarities of Alices and Neil's careers don't end where they share the same record companies. Before Alice became famously sober, his onstage personna was that of a stumbling drunk, while Neil was the poster boy for the epitome of the laid-back, stoner hippie that just couldn't say no to the sixties, as if he was perpetually stuck in the 'summer of love'. Well, a legendary rumor has it that at the 'Homegrown' listening party, Alice Cooper was among guests when after the Homegrown album played through, it just so happened that 'Tonight's The Night' was on the same reel and after the 'guests' listened to it play through in it's entirety, Rick Danko famously suggested that the latter be released instead of the intended 'Homegrown'. The listeners reaction to the record must have gotten the attention of the industry types at Reprise since they shelved the project two years earlier. Heres where irony wasn't lost on me. Later in the same year of 1975, Alice Cooper released 'Welcome To My Nightmare'. It's obvious that Alice had the melody to Tonight's The Night on the brain when he penned the title song to his record that same year. Even more so than George Harrison had 'He's So Fine' when he wrote 'My Sweet Lord'. Anybody else recognize the similarities?

At 8/29/2011 04:46:00 AM, Blogger Jill said...

That`s really interesting Big Chief, and actually I was reading recently how George Harrison was sued for plagiarism over My Sweet Lord. Apparently the dispute ran on for 23 years and involved countless legal hearings.

And you are so on the mark where theatrics are concerned - Neil has always known how to create an on-stage atmosphere and hold an audience. Take the Twisted Road Tour for example which has been described as an `opera` by many people. No need for chats with the audience or flashy effects, just Neil, his instruments and his music. That`s all he needs. That and what I saw described recently as his `exquisite spook`.

Greendale too. I was listening to him Live @ Vicar Street again recenty and was struck once more by his ability to hold the audience spellbound while he told the Greendale story. Pure magic!

At 8/29/2011 08:23:00 AM, Blogger Jonathan said...

Paul Stanley is a Toolbag

At 8/29/2011 09:10:00 AM, Blogger Thrasher said...

This thread certainly has taken an interesting turn. ;)

Thanks to all.

Funny how the original quote "Hippie sitting on a stool on a rug, strumming an acoustic guitar" evolved.

BC, as mentioned above, if you'd like to summarize this into a post, we'd be glad to publish.

The gauntlet has been thrown down...

At 8/29/2011 04:53:00 PM, Blogger BIGCHIEF said...

The 'Gauntlet' didn't happen to be covered in glitter, did it? Was M.J. big on theatrics? He did have a powerful stage presence, however ...

At 8/29/2011 05:47:00 PM, Blogger BIGCHIEF said...

Thrasher, My comments were randomly conceived with the intent to not deviate from the original theme of your post as I interpreted it. With the exception of Mr Stanley, I believe were all in agreement that few artists have as powerful of a stage presence as Neil does, to be able to command the attention of an audience as he has done throughout his career, exemplified by his spectacular performance at the closing of the Olympics. How could anyone top that? I'm not sure what the numbers were of viewers outside of the arena, but I'm certain it was in the millions. The producers couldn't have made a better choice for an elder statesman to represent Canada, or the world for that matter. To witness 'our' Neil perform that night was the pinnacle of being a fan of Neil Young. As for how the thread evolved from 'the hippie on a stool on a rug' to my accusation of Alice Cooper plagiarizing Neil's 'Tonight's The Night' into his 'Welcome To My Nightmare' (my final thought, I believe) is beyond my pay grade to figure out. However, in this case I believe it was just an excessive use of a keyboard.

At 8/29/2011 08:45:00 PM, Blogger Thrasher said...

BC - didn't mean for the challenge to come across wrong there. Sincerely, this is a great discussion.
Just suggesting if we could come up with something here to share more broadly.

Anyways, exactly.

Closing ceremonies at the Olympics seems to be the ultimate spectacle. Yet the man walks on with an old acoustic car, singing about a hearse before the millions on TeeVee.


At 8/29/2011 09:35:00 PM, Blogger BIGCHIEF said...

Thrasher - Nothing wrong with your 'challenge', It's just that I'm found lacking as an editor while it appears to be your forte ... work your magic! ( I believe it was flunking English that resulted in my sentencing to summer school)

At 8/30/2011 01:49:00 AM, Blogger Mr Henry said...

Since we're on the subject of rock theatrics, have you guys ever seen Los Straitjackets perform live? Incredibly entertaining show while you are also rocking your ass off. I saw them a couple years ago at The Iron Horse for my birthday and it was truly a great, great show.

And speaking of that, get well wishes for a speedy and full recovery to the amazing Danny Amis, aka Daddy-O Grande...the Segovia of surf guitar. If Dick Dale can beat the big C, then I've got faith in you! Que te mejores pronto....


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