Comment of the Moment: Promise Of The Real & Crazy Horse - Never Say Never with Neil Young
July 15 - Italy, Rome, Bath of Caracalla
Photo by Roberto Winkler
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The TW Comment of the Moment is from Neil Young & Promise Of The Real concert at July 20 - Germany, Leipzig, Völkerschlachtdenkmal Open Air by the intrepid Scotsman:
For me, any one of Neil's bands that doesn't feature Poncho Sampedro is going to be somewhere short of 100%. Kind of like seeing the Rolling Stones without both Keith Richards and Ronnie Wood. It's the combination of the two that is exciting; the chemistry.Thanks Scotsman! Never Say Never... not that you did. Stay fearless and intrepid... forever.
I think Neil needs that massive punchy rhythm sound; his own lead playing falls a little flat without it. It flies, but it doesn't soar. The chemistry between Neil and Poncho's guitars (and their personalities) is world-class, and quite unique. Magic. That's what people pay to witness.
That said, POTR have a sound very different to Crazy Horse, as is evidenced on Earth. And that's why they succeed: they play by a different set of rules. Trying to out-Crazy Horse Crazy Horse can only lead to disappointment. If anything, the three-guitar combination of POTR seems a little forced; at any one time, one of the guitars is almost always redundant. 'More' is not equal to 'better'.
Worth noting too that Neil's most exciting bands have rarely been the most versatile. Crazy Horse, The Blue Notes, Lost Dogs, International Harvesters etc all had a particular niche of music they specialised in. Whereas the jack-of-all-trades bands like "Friends and Relatives" and the Trans Band were fairly dull, to be quite honest. The spark wasn't there. Self-imposed restrictions have almost always made Neil's music more powerful.
Nowadays the weak link in Crazy Horse tends to be Ralph. He's still good, but he's less reliable than he once was. Whereas Poncho still has it nailed. He's still razor sharp. Billy is unpredictable as always, which is part of what makes him great. There's a thrill to seeing Crazy Horse that isn't there with any other band. They walk a tightrope.
I think we will see another collobaration with members of CH within the next couple of years. Regardless, their legacy is established. You only have to put on a random bootleg from 1991 or 1996 to hear just how world-class they really were. Everything else sounds like mickey mouse in comparison, really. And the wonderful thing about music is that it retains it's power. The version of Like A Hurricane from L.A 1991 still gives me chills every time I hear it. Put on a bootleg from Old Princeton Landing and it might as well be happening now. Age hasn't diluted it at all. How wonderful.
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