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Saturday, July 23, 2016

Comment of the Moment: Promise Of The Real & Crazy Horse - Never Say Never with Neil Young

Neil Young
July 15 - Italy, Rome, Bath of Caracalla
Photo by Roberto Winkler
(Click photo to enlarge)

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.

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.

Thanks Scotsman! Never Say Never... not that you did. Stay fearless and intrepid... forever.

More on July 20 - Germany, Leipzig, Völkerschlachtdenkmal Open Air and Neil Young & Promise Of The Real 2016 Europe concert tour reviews and commentary.

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At 7/23/2016 11:19:00 AM, Blogger Robert said...

Crazy horse is the past. They were a great band for Neil but the future is for Neil with bands like POTR. The setlist variations are a huge positive both for fans and Neil. And POTR will get better, their rhythm section is excellent, Micah provides depth and colour (he reminds me of Nils Lofgren). Lukas is probably the weakest link, his lead playing is not great so he provides some rhythm and basic lead swapping with Neil. Another highlight from POTR is their voices and harmonies. They really add to the overall sound. I love the constant showing of emotions on stage, laughing, smiling, interacting with all the band members. Great to see

At 7/23/2016 03:10:00 PM, Blogger Roberto Winkler said...

I full support comment on Micah. His being on the stage is brilliant and he may become very innovative in playing..but I dont play guitar so i better shut up :)
What's sure is that i love this Neil combo and the appear - are -a happy band together!

Hey thanks for posting a pic of mine😊

At 7/23/2016 03:11:00 PM, Blogger Roberto Winkler said...

I full support comment on Micah. His being on the stage is brilliant and he may become very innovative in playing..but I dont play guitar so i better shut up :)
What's sure is that i love this Neil combo and the appear - are -a happy band together!

Hey thanks for posting a pic of mine😊

At 7/23/2016 03:49:00 PM, Blogger John Afro said...

I was at this show and whilst I would always prefer to see Neil Young with Crazy Horse I can tell you this was an incredible show.Really awesome vibe for the whole 3 hours.I've seen six shows this summer and this was the best although the others were superb.The set list was great,I had never seen don't be denied live and I can tell you it was excellent.
The combo of change your mind/like a hurricane and love and only love almost floored me-love and only love must have lasted over 30mins. So many other high points in the set Neil looked like he was having a great time and POTR were excellent although I could do without the bongo player.A very special night.Berlin was also a great show in a very nice venue.

At 7/26/2016 06:05:00 PM, Blogger Paul Debakker said...

Robert said: "Lukas is probably the weakest link, his lead playing is not great so he provides some rhythm and basic lead swapping with Neil." I completely disagree. I'm a guitarist myself. And I think Lukas plays wonderfull. And he surely does a lot more than playing some rhythm. On the contrary: Neil allows him to take the lead at some times. No so many guitarists had that opportunity when they supported Neil. During Down the River they're dueling like it were the Buffalo Springfield-times.I remember the great Steve Cropper, he got clearly less space standing beside Neil. Only prominent during Separate Ways and Dock of the Bay.
Paul, Maybe a Red Man

At 7/26/2016 06:05:00 PM, Blogger Paul Debakker said...

This comment has been removed by the author.


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