Concert Review of the Moment: Neil Young & Crazy Horse - Auckland, New Zealand, Mar 21, 2013
Photo by Stuart Mazz | Facebook
(Click photo to enlarge)
First, a nice photo by Stuart Mazz | Facebook:
Neil walked forward during the start of the 'Opera Star' Encore and leant against the giant mic whilst casually glancing around & checking out what was going on in the Pit -- much to our delight ;) — at Brisbane Entertainment Centre, QLD Australia.And the Concert Review of the Moment of Auckland, New Zealand - Neil Young & Crazy Horse Concert Reviews - Mar 21, 2013 by Baz Cleverley:
Thursday night, 21st March 2013. Vector Arena in Auckland.Thanks Baz! Quite a review.
First time here and I was pleasantly surprised at the venue. I think I expected a sort of tin shed where people mostly play horrible netball stuff. However, the Grounds and surrounding area, and the facilities available to you before the doors opened at 6.30, were excellent. Naturally, we were there a good few hours before we needed to be,( 4.1/2 to be precise.!)..but once the Eatery was open, we basked in glorious sunshine at an outside table where very attentative staff made sure we were happy, kept the table clear and bought drinks for those silly sods that needed them. Why seemingly sane folk would want to get tanked up on alcohol before a NEIL YOUNG concert is beyond me but I suppose this IS Auckland, a different sort of crowd to Wellington.
The Support act, The Drones, an Australian band, opened for Neil in Wellington. They were here tonight too. The Drones were earsplittingly LOUD and not at all enjoyable but probably only for that reason.. Some 'quieter moments' showed that they were melodic and accomplished so why they chose to unleash this vicious assault on the Audience is beyond me. BeCAUSE of the Wellington performance, we chose not to enter the Stadium in Auckland until 8.30, after they had left the Stage. Such a shame and they could so easilly have done themselves some real good had they toned it down. As an aside, NEIL YOUNG is 67 and a good proportion of the Audience would have been of similar age or maybe a DECADE or so YOUNGer.
Why the Promotors thought it a good idea to present the Drones to such an Audience is beyond me but maybe they would have been palatable had the volume been reduced to that which NEIL and CRAZY HORSE managed to survive with..... I might still hunt out some Drones material, just to see what we missed by BEING there.!!
And so to 8.44. The Stage was set and the Gigantic Fender 'Speakers' were unpacked. Eventually, the large gaggle of white coated boffins that were responsible (If they could stop squabling amongst themselves...) for setting up the Stage, lowered the huge HUGE Microphone and Stand, you know, the one from Rust never sleeps n that. The Boffins maintained their petulant antics much to the delight of the crowd and eventually, Order seemed to be established and to a huge roar from the Capacity Crowd, NEIL and the HORSE entered Centre Stage and stood lined up on the left side. The New Zealand flag appeared and the New Zealand National Anthem rang out. A great touch and NEIL likes to show that respect in every County he plays... Nice one Son. Out came the white coats and assisted the Band into their instuments.
Neils almost constant companion, 'Old Black, his beloved '53 but heavilly modified Gibson Les Paul, burst into LOVE and only LOVE at 8.53 and the crowd roared their approval. We were on our way and we were at one with the Master and the Horse... Some favourites, POWDERFINGER, some new, ONTARIO, heavy times with the feedback rich Walk like a GIANT (and He IS too) made sure that the excitement level never ever dropped. The HORSE were blindingly brilliant and the raport between NEIL and Poncho is something to see. The tempo slowed a wee bit at 9.39 with a beautiful version of Hole in the sky. NEIL was taking a break from the blistering pace already set.
Out came a white coat and took Old Black.... Suddenly, an Accoustic appeared and a harmonica cradle.... NEIL burst into HEART OF GOLD to a huge roar of approval from the crowd who were by now totally sold on the evening. It was a great rendition too, from a time long ago and far away. Next came TWISTED ROAD, which I 'think' was done with his Gretch white Falcon..? Somebody will correct me. From here to the beat up old piano at Stage Right. NEIL sang this beautifully, his voice over the entire night was just perfect (for an old guy.!) and it didnt let him down on this slow evokative ballad. While he was singing, a beuatiful blond girl wandered out onto the stage, carrying a beat up old guitar case. She wandered from prop to prop and to the Piano, she looked whistfully at the Speakers and the microphones, and the HORSE. She wandered here and there, stopping sometimes and staring into a space she knew but couldnt reach. The Singer without a Song.... and then she was gone..
It was now 9.57 and after donning Old Black again.... The unmistakable Chords for RAMADA INN rang out.. A Great long version too and quickly followed by a strange elongated funky, rap, whispered, howled, chastising, humourous, pleading, oh, you name it, every emotion, FU#*#n' up. A marvellous concoction of words and riffs that rattled back and forth between Ralph and Billy and Frank and NEIL, any spaces neatly filled by the audiences noisy participation...14 minutes saw some good humoured banter between all present although I was beginning to think that some of the 'older' members of the Audience might be getting uncomfortable with THAT word.. (which came out about 150 times.?? )
Suddenly we were into the Mighty CINNAMON GIRL at 10.27. There had been no breaks in the performance, no waffle or setting up etc.. Just hard and fast performances all round.10.32 saw a strange piece of theatre. NEIL talked long about his Analogue Time machine, and 'demonstrated it on the Les Paul, scratching the wire wound 'low E' string down its length producing the comb tooth effect, all the while letting us know what era we were now in, mentioning various albums and times. The Time machine went too far and NEIL exclaimed that this was no good because he hadnt MET the HORSE yet... so he cranked it upstream a bit.
Suddenly, and with much storm effect sound all through this theatre, we arrive at Woodstock. Rain appeared across the stage and side screens. Loud thunder and lightning and NEIL began shouting out those immortal words that we know and love...."Hey, maybe if we think real hard, we can stop this rain..... No rain, No rain, No rain... Keep off those Towers, we dont need any more weight on 'em..." .A great skit and I was half expecting him to break into I'm driftin' back but instead, Neil announced that they were going to do a 'new one' because thay stand a good chance of messin it up as they didnt usually do it.... They launched into a great version of SURFER JOE, such a suprise to hear this rare performance tonight...I must have been good in a past life.... This great song was closely followed by MR SOUL ., an 18 minute version that got us all warm n comfortable in our NEILship, and got us going again....The set finished with MY MY, HEY HEY..... Brilliant. This is of course the new 'old'.
The band did an extended version and the Audience joined in too. NEIL and CRAZY HORSE left the stage at 10.58. NEIL had been on stage since 8.44 without a break and without even a drink of water. Astounding stamina and he looked to be enjoying this, the last Show of a 31 venue Tour that has lasted for over a year. Incredible. Much stamping and whistling and shouting as the White coat brigade went about tasks on stage.. They looked busy but were doing very little of course...lowering the huge Speaker crates to within an inch of the Speakers and then stopping and argueing amongst themselves... All great fun. The head 'Coat' began whipping up the crowd out front to lift their game and make more noise. The response was instant and wonderful and from our seat we could see NEIL and the HORSE coming back.. There was rapturous applause and noise as NEIL entered the Stage area again, followed by the greatest Rock n Roll band EVER. It was 11.02 a mere 4 minutes had passed since they had left NEIL struck up a fantastic entry to DANGER BIRD. Stroking the strings with three fingers in a sawing action, producing that unidentifiable (until now) sound we hear on the Vinyl. He used his thumb and first finger to pluck out the action, all the while maintaining the sawing motion... My ears were tingling as was the hair on the back of my neck... It built and built into a beuatiful version of Danger Bird. 19 minutes too. SEDAN DELIVERY followed at 11.20 and at 11.26 NEIL sang... 'Hard to say goodbye' bringing us back to earth as we realised that the time was ticking down and this was quite possibly the close of the Show.
He burst into ROLL ANOTHER NUMBER (for the Road...). I must add that the camera work onto the big screens was supurb all night but with these last two or three songs we were given special intimate close up shots of NEILS playing. As Roll another Number played out, the camera lads swivelled into the standing Audience showing some rapturous faces and a crowd that was game to stay there for aNOTHer three hours. Neil though had done his thing. He had been, seen and conquered this wonderful crowd of NEIL enthusiasts. Auckland crowds can often be hard and unruly but THIS lot had seen the MASTER at work and behaved impacably. Suddenly, it was time to go, NEIL and the BAND fronted the stage and to be honest, apart from the screen shots, this was the first and only time a lot of us had SEEN Ralph the Drummer. His station was set well back between the huge 'speakers'.
I guess we had been spoiled a bit at the Wellington Concert two days earlier as we had had fabulous seating stage centre and not very far back. Eventually, of course, they all left the stage and we sat there noisilly just in case, as this was the last show on this huge tour, that HE would appear again for just a few more.... Of course, he was totally spent and had given his all for 3 solid hours. It was 11.42 when the lights went up and we knew in our Hearts of Gold that this was all there was. A fabulous fabulous Concert and we all filed out slowly, most with not too much to say as she was a hard act to follow.. I have woken up every morning since the Wellington Show with a NEIL song on my mind.. It is with me all day too but I am gradually becoming aware that there is a great sadness creeping in on me that I cant shake. Me and HE are not as YOUNG as we were... The chances of me every seeing the MAN up this close and personal again are about zero unless he comes to see us in New Zealand again and the possibility of that is pretty remote...
However, I AM left with a few scratchy pictures from my camera, a head full of the two Concerts and my deep and abiding LOVE for NEIL and the many many MANY years of joy and love that we have shared. "Pardon my Heart, if I show that I care.....For I love you more than moments, we have or have not shared"
Thanks NEIL. Thank CRAZY HORSE. NEIL YOUNG, FRANK SEMPEDRO, BILLY TALBOT, RALPH MOLINA