On The Rail: Neil Young & Crazy Horse Concerts - Philadelphia, PA & Fairfax, VA
Photos by thrasher & thrashette
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We're still just recovering from seeing Neil Young & Crazy Horse's 2012 Alchemy tour in Philadelphia, 11/29/12 and Fairfax, VA, 11/30/12. Trying to put into words and pictures what we experienced is often quite impossible to describe -- words fail -- even when one is literally riding the rail in all of its splendid, ragged glory.
Read the reviews.
Check the blogs.
Watch the YouTubes.
Follow the tweets.
Chat with those attending and the range of impressions of the concerts is nearly staggering. All the way from the best concert of a lifetime to the worst, depending on the setlist to the stage props to the venue's volume/acoustics and pretty much everything in between, needless to say that the universal consensus is that the tour must be doing something right in order to both thrill and piss off so many, to such extremes.
Like we sometimes say -- either you "get" Neil or you don't.
The twisted road has been a groovy psychedelic trip that at times has transcended into something so raw, so sublime, so primal, that one felt literally transported to another dimension in what Neil called his "analog time machine".
Neil Young sums up the situation with a mini rant just before launching into "Cinnamon Girl" by cursing "the doubters" and dedicating the song to "the believers."
Personally, we have seen Neil Young & Crazy Horse in the 1970's, 80's, 90's, 00's, and now 10's. For five decades now we have ridden that crazy horse, galloped along the rail, smelled the force of the Horse and it has never been such an emotionally satisfying ride. Neil, Poncho, Billy and Ralph have all hit their strides as the tour draws to a conclusion across the North American megalopolis leg from Boston, New York, Philadelphia, PA and Washington/Fairfax.
I know that some of you don't understand"
The Philadelphia and Fairfax concerts were our fourth and fifth occasions to catch Neil & The Horse this Fall for which we feel fortunate, grateful, lucky, honored, and blessed. As has been the pattern over the the years, the concerts continue to improve, tighten, focus, and transcend as the tour moves from town to town towards conclusion.
As we noted in our earlier posting Thoughts & Memories on Alchemy Tour (Cleveland and Pittsburgh), the band has fully gelled into a wondrous blitzkrieg spectacle of howling, stomping feedback in "Walk Like A Giant", beautifully gentle pin drop acoustic of "Needle and the Damage Done", the anarchy garage punk of "Fuckin Up", and the triumphantly anthemic power of "Hey Hey My My".
"Ramada Inn" continues to just totally devastate and reduce grown men and women to veritable tears. Will the song "Ramada Inn" have the staying power to be a forever Neil classic? Yes, we think so. It just that good.
He does what he needs to.
She loves him so.
She does what she needs to."
When Neil and the Boys bring us into their intimate huddles on center stage, its as if we're sucked into the vortex's zone with them. At this point, its as if there is nothing in the existing universe other than the vibe, music and love that is pouring off the stage in torrents. Time stands still. Completely.
The legendary promoter Bill Graham once called Crazy Horse "the 3rd Best Garage Band in the World". To which we say simply, these guys are the North American Rolling Stones. Period.
Let us just say that Crazy Horse's 2012 Alchemy tour, the final chapter of the Rust Trilogy, is for the ages. Our first experience was with Rust Never Sleeps in 1978, and continued with Weld in 1990, now these shows. While many things have changed indeed, the song still remains the same. As Neil has said: "Alchemy, like Rust and Weld, finds the boys at another stage of life's journey. Time has taken its toll, yet the spirit seems unstoppable."
It is magical brilliance that has brought us to this point. And we see very, very few signs that there is anything less than years ahead of us all of being on that never ending road where the music and love never stops. He definitely still hears the Muse and sees the Vista. And that makes us very happy.
peace, love and only love to all of our dear friends around the world,
thrasher & thrashette
ps - As we noted earlier, Arkansas Girls (HEART) Crazy Horse. And now, after the Fairfax concert, we have confirmation that Crazy Horse and Neil indeed do love Arkansas Girls. We'll have more of this extraordinary roadtrip tale in the near future. In the meantime, you can listen to us rave on about this on this week's Thrasher's Wheat Radio Hour Epic Road Reports Edition.
Only a dream
And it's fading now
It's only a dream
Just a memory without anywhere to stay"
(Dedicated to Neil's Old Black Guitar)
The Philly rustie rail crew "With a big red beacon, and a flag, and a man on the rail..."
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