Review of the Moment: Boston: Neil Young & Crazy Horse Concert Reviews - 11/26/12
Neil Young & Crazy Horse
Boston Concert Reviews - 11/26/12
The Concert Review of the Moment is from Neil Young & Crazy Horse in Boston concert on 11/26/12 by our friend Mr Henry:
Oh God I Fell For YouThanks so much for the great report Mr Henry! Glad you had a great evening with Neil and the Horse. Sounds like a fine evening. We get another round later this week ourselves and very much looking for another couple of nights riding the rails!
Everything that you've been reading is true, and yet it still doesn't begin to describe what's going on right now with Neil Young and Crazy Horse. There's never been music like this before and there will never be music like this again. I've been telling people for almost thirty years now that "Neil Young is the King of Rock and Roll"; most of the time I believed it; now I'm absolutely sure of it. This is the most intense, in-the-moment music that I've ever heard. Rock and Roll has never had music like this before...if you haven't been to a show during this tour and there's any chance that you can get to one, then do everything you can to be there. It's like Miles and his Agharta era band somehow combined Hendrix and Link Wray into a delicious music stew that played everything from King Oliver to Sun Ra, forgot everything they thought they knew and then remembered everything else. But that doesn't describe it either, not really.
It starts right away. Love and Only Love has never sounded like this before, never felt like this before. The familiar is no longer so; flows shift and groove as Neil brings his message right away: Love and Only Love Will Endure. He really, truly, totally means it and he makes it true and direct and constant. With the greatest music, you never want it to end once it starts; actually you don't think about it ending because in some ways it never does. All great music lives inside of you.
Powderfinger is always great, even when it's a short one. This flowed perfectly from Love and Only Love, then perfectly again into Born In Ontario, giving Neil and the Horse a chance to cruise a bit after the all out speed skating of the first two numbers. Walk Like A Giant was everything that I'd hoped for and more. When it seemed like the song was ending, I turned to my son and said "They might want to hold off on the clapping; this is gonna go on for awhile". I loved the extended ending--it's a whole lot more than just "Neil sounding like a giant's footsteps". It's a love letter to the beauty and the majesty of pure sound, what it can do, how it can make us feel.
Middle portion of the show was connected with three songs. Needle and the Damage Done was raw, beautiful and immediate. I was thinking of the performance on Johnny Cash's show over forty years ago, and thinking how Neil makes this song mean so much on so many different levels. Twisted Road marries the past and present in a way that's so simple, smart and seamless that you can hardly believe it. Then Singer Without A Song, which gave me chills and maybe was my favorite moment in a performance that was all favorite moments. But the next was even better.
I can't say enough about Ramada Inn and what this song becomes when it's played live. The crowd was hear-a-pin-drop focused as the beauty came ringing through. The Herald review says that Neil's solo was perhaps his best ever, and he could be right. I began to meditate without even realizing that's what I was doing, sitting in the heaven of sound that was the back balcony. Maybe this is about Neil, maybe it's about everyone who lives in a world of joy and sorrow, finding love and life, doing what you have to and doing what you need to.
Great intro to Cinnamon Girl, with Neil talking about "the believers" and "the fucking doubters". Crowd was singing along with the chorus, amazing guitar, everyone happy. Then an extended Fuckin' Up to throw a curve into the mix. Last time I'd heard this was also in Boston, during an hour long encore after a Greendale performance. That one had everyone singing along to the chorus, especially interesting since it was outdoors and could be heard by the passing Ferry boats and waterfront diners. This one had folks pinned to their seats.
Mr. Soul went back further in the time machine; seemed like many in the audience weren't even familiar with this song, or maybe they were just stunned and/or blissfully happy at that point. The set ended with an Out of the Black that was transcendent and raw at the same time. It is my son's favorite Neil song, and hearing it at his favorite Neil concert made it even better. Farmer John was a great closer, taking garage rock to places that it's never been before. The band looked totally happy, exhausted after leaving it all on the ice. Speaking of that, during the show Neil said it was great to be back in Boston "where you have everything...except Hockey"! Actually there's still lots of great hockey going on here, just not the NHL. So if you have some free time Neil, let me know and I'd love to bring you to a Beanpot or Super 8 for a truly unique sports experience.
The older that I get, the more that I love Patti Smith. If you haven't seen her perform before, the opening set was the perfect introduction. If like me you've seen her many times before, this was Patti in a new yet familiar way. I'd never seen her play to such a large crowd and was a bit concerned that it wouldn't be the same; glad to say that it wasn't, it was even better. In less than forty minutes, she played eight songs which included three from her new album Banga along with five others that stand at the top of the American Punk Songbook. She opened with Dancing Barefoot and it was majestic, drawing in the crowd almost immediately. I saw Patti a number of times when she started her comeback, and the first time was in a small church in Lowell during the Kerouac Festival. Just her and Lenny then, at least until Thurston Moore showed up on stage. At that show, she started out with Piss Factory (the original Punk record) and then took off her boots and did Dancing Barefoot. There's a video out from last year with First Aid Kit performing this song while Patti sits listening in the front row. Check that out sometime and see Patti as the emotion and joy takes over; it's like she lives her life for these moments.
April Fool was my favorite of the new songs, but all were excellent. She has the same fearlessness that Neil brings to each performance, and she is a true peer and kindred spirit. Before her fourth song, she talked about how much she admires Neil, how she's "listened to him since the 60's". She inspired the crowd and then launched into People Have The Power, a great performance that was followed by Southern Cross, which is from Gone Again, her comeback album from back in '95. I believe this was a very thoughtful choice for Patti: People Have The Power started when her husband Fred gave her the title and then said "go write a song, the world needs it"; Southern Cross is about carrying on after he's gone.
Because The Night followed and was a joy, then another song from Banga (I urge Neil fans to get a copy and listen to this great record). Finally the opening piano with its signal that Gloria was coming. Wonderful version from Patti and her band. I've seen many great performers open for Neil; Patti was the best and this was the best Neil Young concert that I've even been to.
It's cold this morning and some snowflakes are drifting down, swirling around the bare November trees. By now Neil and the Horse, Patti and her Band, and all the tour members are probably up and getting ready to head for NYC. I would love to be there tonight and I will be there in spirit. Can't wait to read Comments from those who attend. It really is a unique and wonderful thing that goes on here at Thrashers Wheat; nothing else quite like it. Go ride the music....
"What goes on inside is just too fast and huge and all interconnected for words to do more than barely sketch the outlines of at most one tiny little part of it at any given instant."
--David Foster Wallace
We'll tramp through the mire
When our souls feel dead
With laughter we'll inspire
Then back to life again
This review is dedicated to the memory of Randy Zapakin and to his loving wife and children. Randy was a Neil fan of the highest order. He was struck by a car earlier this month while taking his dog Mya for an evening walk. She was not injured in the accident, and he may have been protecting her when this tragedy occurred. Unfortunately I never met Randy but he was a really great guy, generous and kind in spirit and in action. My daughter is a friend of the family and enjoyed their hospitality on a number of occasions. When I first started posting on Thrashers Wheat, she would share my Comments with Randy's son and I'd hear back how much they enjoyed reading TW and what a great Neil fan his dad was. I thought of Randy often during last night's show; I'm sure he would have loved it and would be at tonight's MSG concert if he could.
Life can pass by in an instant. When we share music, joy and laughter with those around us we create moments that remain forever. Love and only love will endure!
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