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Thursday, September 15, 2022

Photo of the Moment: Neil Young's "Walk Like A Giant" is So HUGE

"Walk Like A Giant"
Neil Young & Crazy Horse

Philadelphia, 11/29/12
Photos by thrasher
(Click photos to enlarge)

As folks here know, we've seen Neil Young in concert quite a few times over the decades.

Nearly consistent with every single concert, we came away with some new found respect for what Neil Young does every night.  He somehow manages to keep each night fresh.  Even if virtually the same setlist, same venue and same circumstances.

Such was the case during the 2012 Alchemy Tour of Neil Young & Crazy Horse.

Video camera inside Neil's Amp
Photo by Falko | Flickr 

The pure genius of placing a camera inside the giant fender amps so that the audience could see Neil twirl knobs up on a big screen while he gyrated with his back to the audience was inspired, to say the least.

On the 2012 tour and the subsequent Summer 2013 Europe Tour, "Walk Like A Giant" evolved every night.  WLAG became some sort of grunge feedback anthem to be made even more giant and more messy than when the tours started.  By the end of the tours, WLAG was a huge molten blob of sludgy feedback that would literally make folks head for the concessions.  

"Walk Like A Giant" is just so huge. Too big for words. See for yourself.

Neil Young and Jon Stewart
The Daily Show - Nov 28, 2012

Neil Young foreshadowed the likelihood of unhappy casual fans at the Philly show in this exchange with Jon Stewart the night before on the Daily Show.


Stewart: Please welcome a rock legend, Mr. Neil Young.

enthusiastic applause

Stewart and Young shake hands and sit down at table with copy of Waging Heavy Peace in the middle of table.

Stewart: Thank you for coming.

Young: Thank you for inviting me.

Stewart: Before we talk about your new book, I wanted to quickly talk about Walk Like a Giant, which is a new song on your new CD with Crazy Horse. One of the younger guys who works for me showed me some video of the song from your show the other night in Ottawa. He also said that a lot of folks are reported to get up and leave during the song, which includes several minutes of feedback. So my question is, what the fuck are you doing. These folks paid $200 bucks....

Young: "Its all part of my master plan, Jon. You see, for me, the ultimate concert would see everyone in the audience get up and leave.

Then I know that I would truly have reached the source. My former producer, the late David Briggs, always talked about getting closer to the source. A lot of my new songs, such as Walk like a Giant, are based on two simple chords. I am working on some songs now that would pull it back to one chord as I try to get even closer to the source. It might be E minor on one song, A minor on another, and G on another. I would not use the same chord on the entire CD, at least not to start."

Stewart: Your kidding right? We'll be right back.

More on Neil Young & Crazy Horse Alchemy Tour concert in Philadelphia, 11/29/12.

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At 9/15/2022 01:09:00 PM, Blogger Dan Swan said...

More evidence of exactly why I admire Neil Young so much. He is unashamedly true to his gift, and unconcerned with any concept of fame. Not to mention his sense of humor. If only there were more artists willing to be so authentic.

Peace 🙏

P. S. I loved the extended feedback on ‘Walk Like a Giant’ when I saw them at Red Rocks. They were pushing the boundaries of what was considered appropriate, and I think they definitely succeeded in offending a few expectations that night. I on the other hand, felt it lasted exactly as long as was necessary, but I could see it made some people uncomfortable.

At 9/15/2022 04:43:00 PM, Blogger Richie Cruz said...

'Walk Like a Giant' and 'Ramada Inn' are the 2 greatest songs Neil has released in the 2000's. End of story, end of discussion.

I do have a friend, however, who has shut off 'Walk Like a Giant' when the feedback starts. He told me he can normally hang with Crazy Horse feedback nightmares but 'WLAG' gets to be a bit much.

At 9/15/2022 06:10:00 PM, Blogger Abner Snopes said...

Richie, I'm with you on Ramada Inn. For me, "No Hidden Path" rivals WLAG.

At 9/15/2022 07:40:00 PM, Blogger Richie Cruz said...

Abner, "No Hidden Path" is a good choice as well. I also feel "It's A Dream" off of Prarie Wind is near the top. He's had quite a few good ones since 2000, but those 2 big ones off Psychedelic Pill take the cake for me.

At 9/16/2022 07:28:00 AM, Blogger ViP said...

I witnessed full-on WLAG in Vienne, France during the 2013 European tour. It was not a second too long.

At 9/16/2022 08:13:00 AM, Blogger Alan said...

I agree with Dan, Richie, Abner, Thrasher, and all….

Ramada Inn is Epic, heartfelt. Real. A mini movie and the main character has a huge drink, or is it his wife who has the drink?

Identities are swapped perhaps.

Soot and ash falling on ice fields, the White got stained…. now the ice melts…. Fossil fuels.

Then we skipped the rails, and started to fail, we were folding up… and it’s not enough. To think of how close we came.

The world, we could have saved it, but we didn’t. The results are as violent as a train wreck, on this train wreck of a planet.

Excuse me, I am off to listen to Human Race again.

Your brother Alan in Seattle

At 9/16/2022 02:57:00 PM, Blogger Abner Snopes said...

Richie, I agree on "It's A Dream." Neil is capable of toying with nostalgia without falling into it. He pulls the best elements from memory, he balances the emotions of recollection with aesthetic standards. Such a song can easily be an embarrassment.

Alan, it is the husband who "pours himself another tall one"

I know that story pretty well.

At 9/16/2022 04:19:00 PM, Blogger Richie Cruz said...

There's a few others from the 2000's I could toss in the mix. "Falling From Above" and "Carmichael" from Greendale, "Families" from Living With War, "Peace Trail", "People Want To Talk About Love", and my personal choice for most underrated 2000's Neil songs, "Falling Off the Face of the Earth". Short, but very sweet.

At 9/17/2022 05:26:00 AM, Blogger Dionys said...

Somebody said It's all One Song and so I've come to think in cords, skeins, strands, veins, currents turbulences or series of songs all being part of a mighty river. So "Ramada Inn" to me very much is asocciated with "Glass Accident" (Peace Trail) and Toasts "Goin' Home" of course.

At 9/17/2022 02:37:00 PM, Blogger Abner Snopes said...

Richie-how about Bandit? Another song where Neil redeems us. My nephew died of an overdose in 2004 and Bandit was my theme song through that grief. You have made me think more about Neil's 2000- songs, many many great ones. I think after a run like 69-79 and 89-95, we might tend to overlook some of the more recent work.

At 9/17/2022 02:39:00 PM, Blogger Abner Snopes said...

Everyone says "Living with War" is "dated" or "stuck in time." Not for me. Families and Roger and Out are as good as it gets for this genre of song. Falling of the Face of the Earth is a song I hear my wife humming from time to time... that song will never be anything but relevant.

At 9/17/2022 02:39:00 PM, Blogger Abner Snopes said...


At 9/17/2022 04:21:00 PM, Blogger Richie Cruz said...

Abner, great call on 'Roger and Out', I'd forgotten about that one, a touching song. 'Bandit' is another fine choice, maybe Neil's best acoustic tune of the 2000's. Really, anything off of Greendale is acceptable. How bout "Sun Green' or 'Be the Rain'? Can't go wrong. Another one I love that doesn't get mentioned enough is "She's Always Dancing" off of PP, I always felt that in some ways it sounded like how Neil should have sounded in the 80's, it's got that vibe to me.

At 9/17/2022 07:45:00 PM, Blogger Thomas said...

Now that we have Toast in our possession and Homegrown was finally set free I think Alchemy moves to the top of the list for forthcoming archives releases for me

I have very clear memories standing at the front of stage in Melbourne when NYCH launched into Walk Like a Giant (fourth song in) which seemed to morph into some overdriven white heat outtake from the Dead Man score - after 20mins of ‘scorched earth feedback guitar freakout bliss’ I was left stunned - it was like they were attacking the crowd, attacking the convention of ‘ageing rock star comes to town and plays the hits’, pushing everyone in that arena room to the limits

A few songs later when the rest of the band exited Heart of Gold provides the absolute joyful acoustic relief many were craving but for me with the ringing in my ears, the blood still bubbling in my veins and the earth flattened around me it only served to further illustrate through juxtaposition the kill or be killed force that was taking place that night between Neil, Ralph, Billy and Poncho

At 9/18/2022 11:35:00 AM, Blogger thrasher said...

@ Everyone - thanks for all the comments.

@ Thomas - Thanks so much for our TW Comment of the Moment!

Now that is some vivid writing of a memory well over a decade ago. To say that WLAG leaves an impression -- negative or positive would be yet another vast understatement in a sea of under stated-ness.

At 9/18/2022 01:53:00 PM, Blogger Abner Snopes said...

Richie- I thought what you said also has comment of the moment type status. I mean your idea about how Neil should have sounded like in the 80's- this resonated with me. Maybe there is a sense in which Neil squandered the 80's, even though many of us like those albums. It is an interesting idea to think about what he could have done..... this is not meant as a criticism. I think about this a lot in relation to my own life.. "I could have done x." Sometimes such thoughts are creative and lead to new ventures.


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