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Monday, July 17, 2017

Bridge School Benefit Concert Memories: Neil Young & Crazy Horse's Set - 1994

Bridge School Benefit Concert on Saturday, 10/1/1994

Recently, we posted the sad news that there will be No Bridge School Benefit Concert in 2017 .

In memory of all of the Bridge School Benefit Concerts we've attended over the years, here's a posting of our thoughts on Remembering The Warmth & Love of Bridge School Concerts . So in memory of the 30 years of Bridge School Benefit Concerts, readers have been submitting favorite memories. Let us know a favorite Bridge School Benefit Concerts and we'll try and post.

Here is Neil Young & Crazy Horse's set at the 1994 Bridge School Benefit Concert on 10/1/1994 at the Shoreline Amphitheatre in Mountain View, CA. (Thanks to Syscrusher for suggestion!)

0:00:00 - My Heart
0:03:46 - Prime Of Life
0:08:56 - Driveby
0:14:22 - Sleeps With Angels
0:18:19 - My My, Hey Hey
0:23:20 - Train of Love
0:28:08 - Change Your Mind
0:46:44 - Stage Banter
0:47:44 - Piece Of Crap
0:52:30 - Outro


Bridge School Benefit Concert on Sunday, 10/2/1994

Per comments below, updated with 2nd night. Compare, contrast and discuss.

More on Bridge Benefit #8 - 10/1 & 2/94.

Also, see these other Bridge School Benefit Concert Memories:


Also, see more Bridge School Benefit Concerts Reviews.

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At 7/18/2017 09:33:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The show from the 2nd October 1994 is probably the best Bridge School performance Neil has ever done, yet another magical show with Crazy Horse.

Why specifically the 2nd October and not the 1st October? At the first show, there were persistent sound problems onstage which Neil was clearly frustrated by. Those of you who are musicians (or work with musicians) will know it is impossible to relax and perform at your best when there are unpredictable and jarring sound problems onstage. Although Neil and Crazy Horse did their best and still put on a good show, the sound problems stoppped them from staying in the zone for extended periods.

On top of that, the arrangements of the songs hadn't quite become fully formed. Everything wasn't quite clicking, the performances never quite soared in the way they were intended to.

Fortunately (and unusually at that time), there was a repeat Bridge School performance the following night. So they had a second chance. And by then, everything had settled in; the performances were better, Neil's guitar playing was now fully "in the zone", and even one of the sound problems (the howling acoustic feedback) had artfully been incorporated into the performance, turned into something that could be controlled, summoned at will. A disadvantage turned into an advantage overnight.

In short, the first night sounds like a rehearsal, promising but not quite getting out of the lower gears. The second night is the sound of the band hitting their stride, finding top gear, and then some.


At 7/18/2017 10:05:00 AM, Blogger thrasher said...

Thanks Scotsman. Good points on the difference from night #1 & #2 and agree for the most part.

We were there those nights as well and remember it pretty well also. It was our 1st Bridge so we were pretty stoked.

When we realized we were getting an acoustic Sleeps with Angels mini-set w/ Change Your Mind, the trip really became even more worthwhile.

Our recollection is that saturday was far edgier, as you state because of the uncontrolled feedback. Yes, by Sunday, they'd figured out the audio so it came across more polished. But we've always craved that anything can happen tension so palpable at Neil shows.

that's the funny thing. Of all of the what seems like 100's of shows we see each year, it seems only the Neil shows have this audience / artist tension. It's like both audience & artist are pushing and pulling in different directions. You've read it all here before. Some fans want acoustic. Some want electric, etc. Neil wants to play new songs, the audience wants the hits, etc.

That 1994 Bridge was very special tho.

We were surprised to find on YT the entire set. So if you find Sunday night, please drop a link. We'd like to re-live that night on the bay as well.

At 7/18/2017 10:39:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thrasher, here's the link to night two:

For me, this one has the edge overall; the band seem more at ease and more in sync with one another, the sound mix has been sharpened. Neil's lead guitar playing hits its groove more consistently and assuredly. The monitor problems onstage have presumably been solved overnight and the acoustic feedback only happens when Neil wants it to, rather than at random and inappropriate moments, allowing Neil to fully relax and drift off into his guitar solos. That "this could fall apart any minute" tension is still there, but it's been harnessed, turned into an advantage. Only a master of his art knows how to do this.

That's not to put night one down, it is certainly very much worth a listen as well, with some notable differences from night two (harmonica on Hey Hey, My My for instance) and some very good performances in its own right.


At 7/18/2017 11:52:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I urge all readers of this blog to set aside 20 minutes and listen to the 2nd October 1994 (night two) version of Change Your Mind. It is magical.

Notice just how many gaps Neil and Crazy Horse leave in the sound. Wide open spaces.

It's sparse.

it's subtle.

It's full of DYNAMICS and inference and air.

This space is where the magic lives, where the dreaminess lives, where the spook lives.

It's what your imagination gets its teeth into and goes to town with. It's the space Neil's lead guitar playing and vocal needs to really soar without being hemmed in. And it's easily diminished by superfluous orchestras or too many musicians.

Fortunately, Crazy Horse are the absolute masters at giving this magic the sympathetic environment it needs to thrive. You can hear it on the original Cortez, you can hear it on Like A Hurricane (ONE guitar!), you can hear it on Safeway Cart, on Slip Away, on Greendale. And you can hear it on Ramada Inn. This version of Change Your Mind is just as powerful as any of them.

Apologies about the raving, but it really is good. No need to trust me, go and listen!


At 7/18/2017 12:38:00 PM, Blogger Acoustic FeedBack said...

Ha!! You said Acoustic Feedback!!!

At 7/18/2017 01:47:00 PM, Blogger thrasher said...

Thanks again Scotsman1

Updated w/ 2nd night so folks can compare, contrast and discuss. And we can see just how good our memory is 20+ years later...

ps - we did say Acoustic Feedback is back!!!

At 7/18/2017 06:34:00 PM, Blogger TopangaDaze said...

I've been sporadically viewing both shows today. Initially I'm struck with both versions of "Driveby" but think the night one version is better.

Just a quick thought, and as always,

"Take my advice
don't listen to me"

At 7/19/2017 06:27:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Topanga: The night one version of Driveby is indeed a good performance! Both gigs are well worth a watch or five.

My intention wasn't to be critical of night one but to bring some much-needed attention to the night two gig, which often gets overlooked in favour of the more widely available first night. Which is a shame, because night two features some particularly sharp and exciting performances (Prime Of Life, Train Of Love and Change Your Mind spring to mind, although most of the gig is top-class).

To my ears some of the subtleties were captured a little better in the second performance, that sympathetic connection between the musicians that is a Crazy Horse trademark. The build up in intensity during Change Your Mind is just tremendous, for instance, and the interplay between the two guitarists is beautiful throughout.

I agree with Thrasher that night one is more edgy (the performers are more "on edge", good and bad). The flipside is that it is easier to relax into night two, for both the performers and audience.

The only problem with the acoustic feedback that appears part way through night one is that it is uncontrolled; it strikes at unpredictable and inappropriate moments, breaking Neil out of his trance and cutting off his solos. Full credit to Neil for then taking the feedback problems and using them artfully, as a thrilling sound effect: even creating the sound of a train at the end of Train Of Love, night two, and a magnificent climax to one of the awesome instrumentals during Change Your Mind, also night two.

Lastly, as with Sleeps With Angels, I feel these films are best viewed as complete works, each show enjoyed in one emotional sitting. Though others may disagree of course!


At 7/19/2017 09:42:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

A couple more observations (trying to break the record number of long-winded Scotsman comments on one subject. 3,547 more to go!):

After Hey Hey My My on night one, Neil changes guitars for Train Of Love and immediately makes the sarcastic comment to his sound crew "this one is actually on!".

In other words, his main guitar (used on all the other songs) was turned down very quiet in his onstage monitor speakers, so he couldn't hear himself play. THAT is why his lead guitar playing is a bit rough sounding for most of night one, and why the band aren't quite in sync with one another: they can't even hear each other play!

It is very likely that an attempt to correct this problem is what creates the sometimes-unwelcome feedback issues during Change Your Mind on night one. You can hear Neil's guitar playing improve greatly for the rest of the show as his guitar is cranked up in his monitors during CYM (with the side-effect of more feedback, eventually used to great dramatic effect).

Finally, Ralph Molina's drumming during these shows (particularly night two, when he can properly hear what Neil is playing) is superb. He still sounds good in more recent years, if a little less reliable, but from 1990 through to about 1996 he was really at his peak; fully deserving of his reputation as Neil's "best" and most sympathetic drummer.


At 7/19/2017 01:27:00 PM, Blogger Rick said...

I went in '95 and cant find any good videos from that year. does anyone know of any??

At 7/21/2017 11:40:00 AM, Blogger Dan Swan said...

Scotsman: As always..... your observations and insight are always enjoyable. I haven't had time to experience either show in there entirety yet, but the small samples I did hear were both focused and intuitive which is what makes Neil and the Horse so undeniably powerful.

Looking forward to watching and recording both nights.

Yet another reason I love this site. Thanks Thrasher, and everyone else here for confirming for me that I'm not alone in my passion for Neil's music.

At 7/21/2017 06:25:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks Dan. Have fun! There's not all that much Neil music from 1994, but what there is of it (from Philadelphia to Sleeps With Angels, from Farm Aid to Bridge School to the Verde Valley benefit) is all really good. He's a bit talented this Neil Young fellow, isn't he?!



At 7/22/2017 11:18:00 AM, Blogger TopangaDaze said...

1994 was a good year for Neil, but in my opinion, "Philadelphia" is a candidate for "worst good" Neil Young song ever, or "best bad" song of his career. I understand it is relatively popular due to the movie and its placement in it at a touching moment, but the song itself is terrible!

Lyrically and vocally it's abysmal. Not only are the lyrics bad, they're obscured in a terrible song arrangement/mix, and Neil's singing voice is at his most annoyingly high register that's out of his range. I love his high singing voice (After the Goldrush, etc..), but on "Philadelphia" it's simply way too high while also being irritatingly buried in the mix under the music.

Hey, I know we all have our opinions, but this song just never did it for me. At times I "almost" like the piano melody, but that's about the only positive aspect of the song I can think of. I want to like it, and year by year I keep thinking it will grow on me, but It's one of the few Neil songs that over time just keeps getting worse to my ears...

"Take my advice
don't listen to me"

At 7/22/2017 06:18:00 PM, Blogger Richie Cruz said...

I don't know, I've always thought "Philadelphia" was a beautiful song, and it's placement in that movie is just a stunning punch in the gut. If you can get through that scene without tearing up at least a little bit, you're pretty jaded.

As far as the Crazy Horse 94 Bridge shows go, I agree with everything that's already been said. Probably Neil's greatest performance at a Bridge show, though the 2010 Buffalo Springfield reunion comes close.

At 7/22/2017 07:59:00 PM, Blogger TopangaDaze said...

Yea Richard, I think the movie saved the song. Virtually anything playing over that scene would have emotional impact, but the lyrics are brutally bad:

Sometimes I think that I know
What love's all about
And when I see the light
I know I'll be all right.

I've got my friends in the world,
I had my friends
When we were boys and girls
And the secrets came unfurled.

City of brotherly love
Place I call home
Don't turn your back on me
I don't want to be alone
Love lasts forever.

Someone is talking to me,
Calling my name
Tell me I'm not to blame
I won't be ashamed of love.

City of brotherly love.
Brotherly love.

Sometimes I think that I know
What love's all about
And when I see the light
I know I'll be all right.

And the vocal? It's always made me physically wince--I have a negative visceral reaction to it, and my eyes, ears and face uncontrollably "squint" trying to understand what I'm hearing. I still don't understand it....

I'm happy a lot of people like the song, but to me it just always missed the mark in every way.

"Take my advice
don't listen to me"

At 7/23/2017 08:52:00 PM, Blogger Richie Cruz said...

Yea Topanga, I hear you about the vocals on "Philadelphia", it sounds like Neil is singing from a dark hole or something. I just love the piano sound on that tune, though.

That's one of my funny quirks as a Neil fan, I really love his piano songs. Although obviously would rather hear him melt down on Ol'Black with the Horse, there's something about his piano songs that has always thrilled me. I know it sounds kooky, but I think Neil has a real unique piano sound, like the instant you hear it, you know it's Neil tickling the ivories.

That could be a fun topic in the future for Thrasher to tackle, what's everyone's favorite Neil piano song. I'm sure "After The Goldrush" would be most folks choice, but how about songs like "Journey Through The Past", "Speaking Out", "No One Seems To Know", "Stringman"??? Could lead to an interesting discussion.

At 7/23/2017 10:08:00 PM, Blogger TopangaDaze said...

I agree completely about Neil's piano songs.

I'll add:

"Love in Mind" and "The Bridge" to your list. God, Time Fades Away is such a great album!

"Take my advice
don't listen to me"

At 7/23/2017 11:05:00 PM, Blogger TOM said...

Cripple Creek Ferry
When the Morning Comes

At 7/23/2017 11:06:00 PM, Blogger TOM said...

Borrowed Tune
Heart of Gold/Maid piano version

At 7/23/2017 11:11:00 PM, Blogger TOM said...

Sweet Joni

At 7/23/2017 11:20:00 PM, Blogger TOM said...

Country Girl


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