Cork, Ireland: Highlights of Neil Young & Crazy Horse Concert - July 10, 2014
Cork, Ireland - July 10, 2014
Photo by Paul Docker | Facebook
(Click photo to enlarge)
By all measures, the Neil Young & Crazy Horse Europe tour is off to a very promising start.
Here's a comment on Cork, Ireland concert by Minke Toer:
Dear Youngsters,Thanks Minke! Excellent assessment.
Allow me to share a thought with you.
The ongoing tour of Neil Young and Crazy Horse has been marked by Billy Talbot’s unfortunate health accident. There has been a discussion about whether a Horse without Billy Talbot is Crazy enough. Interestingly, the inclusion of the wonderful bass player Rick Rosas draws attention to the role of Billy Talbot in the regular Horse lineup. Listening to the recordings of the first concerts of the present tour we can hear – as far as YouTube allows – marked differences in sound and approach in comparison to the performances of the Alchemy Tour of 2013. There is a different handling of rhythm in the ‘new’ Horse constellation. Yes, the alchemy is different. They’re cooking things differently than last year. And why should it be otherwise, when you change one pivotal player in a team of four, you bet the band will sound differently. Apparently, Rick Rosas has a more sparing, laid back, lighter tone than the fat and heavy, stomping style of Billy Talbot. And with that, he influences the sound of the entire band.
This – admittedly very superficial – observation made me think about a listening sensation. Over the last 25 years, I noticed that Crazy Horse has developed a rough, stomping style of playing that presents a perfect carpet for Young to perform his guitar solos. But the Horse’s sound has become less agile, less flexible over time. It probably started around 1990, with Ragged Glory (the Live album still had a greater variety in rhythm and sound). Now Ragged Glory contains more than a few wonderful songs and it is a spectacular example of how the Horse inspires Neil Young’s guitar playing. However, I seldom play the entire album in one go; it is too much, and too much of the same. Psychedelic Pill has the same effect, even to an extreme. It is like listening to all Anton Bruckner’s symphonies in one day. If I had to characterize it, I’d call it a typically white elderly male stomp, an elephants’ stampede in slow motion. I’ve often thought that the sound originated in the band members putting on weight, becoming more sluggish and heavy. One too easily gets the impression is that – indeed – it’s all one song. There is a heaviness, a monotony of pulse, which to my ears stymies Neil Young’s versatility. Needless to say, I have always preferred the more funkier, punkier, speedier Neil Young (or the lyrical one, of course). (Perhaps a good example is the Eldorado album – with Rick Rosas on bass – which is an often neglected highlight of Neil Young’s oeuvre.)
This may sound as a severe judgement, and perhaps it will enflame some big NY fans. But let’s not forget that appreciation is also – and preferably – critical appreciation. We’re taking this artist seriously, after all. Of course there is an enormous space for disagreement here (please do!), as many may particularly like the fat stomping sound of the post-1990 Horse. But that’s a matter of taste. The real point of discussion is whether we indeed hear this happening, and whether the Horse, and Billy Talbot in particular, has heavily influenced Neil Young’s sound over the last decades. We tend to see Young as a master choosing his comrades according to his inner voice, but have we really thought about the fact that influences also go the other way?
And now we’re in the midst of the Alchemy Tour #2. It’s fascinating to see what’s happening.
As I said, just a thought.
Cheers from Europe
Neil Young & Crazy Horse - Don't Cry No Tears Live at The Marquee Cork Ireland 2014
Thanks EyesOfRust! More videos in EyesOfRust playlist.
Photo by Roy Clarke | Facebook
Also, see Neil Young & Crazy Horse 2014 Concert Tour Dates for reviews, photos, videos and more.