More Thoughts on The Return of “Thrasher” by Neil Young After 36 Year Absence
Dolby Theatre, Los Angeles, CA, 04/02/2014
Photo by Jeff Allen
(Click photo to enlarge)
For some, the return of “Thrasher” into Neil Young's setlist after a 36 year absence rivals the rarity of the impending ‘Blood Moon’ Full Lunar Eclipse Tetrad during a Cardinal Grand Cross in The Chinese Year Of The Wood Horse .
So naturally, much chatter among Neil Young fans about the reemergence of “Thrasher” during Neil Young's solo run Dolby Theatre, Los Angeles, CA. The song “Thrasher” by Neil Young was last performed in concert 36 years ago in 1978 on the Rust Never Sleeps tour.
So why now? Was there any particular motivation of Neil to perform this rarity in 2014 in Los Angeles?
Just before performing the “Thrasher” encore on the 3rd night in Los Angeles (April 1), Neil Young said:
"This song, uh, you know, I did it, I haven't done it that much in my life, because, at a very vulnerable moment I read something about it. Just like the worst fucking review I've ever read. So, for all you reviewers, if you feel like your words don't mean anything, you're probably right. In that case.. in that case, they were damaging. So, anyway, we uh .. I think I got this uh.. I think this is the one here, I hope so.."
(Listen here: https://soundcloud.com/roel-van-dijk/bad-trasher-review-rant-neil Thanks Roel!)
So just what review from the past caused Neil to ditch “Thrasher”?
It does not appear to have been a review in a major publication at the time after surveying coverage in Rolling Stone, TIME, New York Times, etc. All reviews were very positive of the tour, album and film with none referencing “Thrasher” negatively.
From comment on Comment of the Moment: Thoughts on “Thrasher” by Pieceofcdap:
@Matthew: he might be refering to the infamous Time Magazine review of 1978, which compared Young's and Bob Dylan's shows that year. Reviewer praised Young but thrashed Dylan, then on his Elvis-inspired Budokan-tour, which seems to have upset Young very much. According to Cameron Crowe in Rolling Stone ("The Last American Hero", feb. 8, 1979) he thought it was "irresponsible journalism" and "Disco attitude". Might make sense, since he obviously never played Thrasher again, until now.Roel van Dijk on Rusties | Facebook speculates:
I think there is a good chance that review is in Archives Volume II. I suspect they came across the review while going through the material for the next Archives, and Neil decided to try the song again. Just guessing here.And since when did Neil Young ever care about reviews? We found this to be quite puzzling especially given the earlier AMBULANCE BLUES and with the lyrics “So all you critics sit alone ”.
As for the timing of "very vulnerable moment", Richard B. hypothesizes that in the summer of 1979, when both the Rust Never Sleeps album and film were released, Neil and Pegi were coming to terms with Ben's illness.
Our thoughts? Well, for us at the moment, the significance of Neil Young playing “Thrasher” for the 1st time in 36 years is that the song was directed at all of the PONO doubters out there.
So will PONO be vindicated similar to Young's solo career without CSN? In the immortal lyrics of Young's most "Dylanesque magnum opus":
But me I'm not stopping there,
Got my own row left to hoe
Just another line in the field of time
When the thrashers comes, I'll be stuck in the sun
Like the dinosaurs in shrines
But I'll know the time has come
To give what's mine.
‘Blood Moon’ Full Lunar Eclipse Tetrad during a Cardinal Grand Cross in The Chinese Year Of The Wood Horse
(Click photo to enlarge)