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Saturday, June 24, 2023

34+ Minutes "Tonight's the Night" by Neil Young & The Santa Monica Flyers on November 20, 1973

"Tonight's the Night"
Neil Young & The Santa Monica Flyers 
  - November 20, 1973 
(Click photo to enlarge)


Here is a full breakdown of the song "Tonight's the Night" -- that lasted 34 minutes and 53 seconds -- by Neil Young & The Santa Monica Flyers on November 20, 1973. 

Excerpted from Recliner Notes by Scott Bunn, it's a long post, but gives an opportunity to tell the whole story of that part of Neil's career.

On November 20, 1973 at the Auditorium Theatre in Chicago, Illinois, Neil Young and his backing band The Santa Monica Flyers performed a rendition of “Tonight’s the Night” for 34 minutes and 53 seconds. That night in Chicago was the penultimate concert of the tour which had started in Toronto on October 29, moved on to Great Britain for seven performances, and then returned to the United States for five shows. The setlists for these concerts were dominated by a group of songs that Young and The Santa Monica Flyers — a band name adopted for this tour only — had recorded in Los Angeles in August and September of the same year, but which had not yet been released to the public. The centerpiece song for the tour was “Tonight’s the Night,” which was regularly performed twice and sometimes even three times a night. After hearing a batch of unfamiliar songs during this tour, restless audiences would clap enthusiastically when Young would say, “Here’s a song you know,” and then he would begin playing “Tonight’s the Night” all over again. 

On that November night in Chicago, Young and the band had already played “Tonight’s the Night” along with three other as-yet unreleased songs from the same recording sessions. The rest of the show consisted of an array of songs, ranging from his work with Crazy Horse to Buffalo Springfield to Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young (CSNY) and his solo releases. Only one song was played that night from Harvest, Young’s smash hit album from the year before. The concert was not without incident. As recounted in Shakey: Neil Young’s Biography by Jimmy McDonough, Young apparently got fed up with commentary from the audience and yelled:

“Shut up! Some of you people are fucked! You all scream out so much, why don’t you stay home and listen to yourself talk. There’s a lotta things you can say up here if you don’t have to fight your way through a buncha editors that are just yellin’ to hear their own voices.”

The final song of the evening was a reprise of “Tonight’s the Night.” Lasting nearly as long as an episode of prestige television, the performance is equal parts punk, glam, dirtbag, roadhouse, and no wave. This rendition “Tonight’s the Night” is an exhausting yet exhilarating document of an artist who produces a rejoinder to the audience members, a wake for friends who left too soon, and a celebration of simply being alive.

Full article and  34 minutes + "Tonight's the Night" on Recliner Notes by Scott Bunn.

More on Neil Young's song and album "Tonight's the Night" the tragedy of the "Ditch" trilogy and the legends of Bruce Berry and Danny Whitten.

The Ditch Trilogy

time fades away album cover tonights the night  album cover on the beach album cover

Albums by Neil Young

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