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Monday, September 25, 2023

CONCERT REPORT: Neil Young w/ Crazy Horse @ Roxy Night Club, Los Angeles, CA - September 20 & 21

Then & Now: Roxy Night Club, Los Angeles, CA  
 (Click photo to enlarge)

Last week, Neil Young w/ Crazy Horse performed at the Roxy Theater in Los Angeles as benefit concerts for The Bridge School and The Painted Turtle. 

The albums Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere and  Tonight's the Night
were performed at the historic Los Angeles venue.

Here is an eyewitness report from Pail via Chris Morris on Facebook (Thanks Harold!)

The only way I can explain it is my karma must be unbelievably good right now. 

Idly looking at Facebook on a not especially wonderful morning yesterday, I was surprised by a message from a very good guy I’ve known in the music business for many years. It seems he had seen one of my posts about the Roxy, and he asked me if I’d like a ticket to see Neil Young’s 50th anniversary benefit show with Crazy Horse there Thursday night. 

What was there to say but “Hell yes!” 

A large throng of mainly upper-demo fans, each of whom held a ducat worth four figures, lined Sunset a couple hours before showtime. My friend rolled up the street, and, as he has a good deal of swing, we slid into the VIP check-in area where we instantly encountered Roxy co-founder Lou Adler, whose charity the Painted Turtle, with the Bridge School, was the evening’s recipient. 

We admired the new mural celebrating the anniversary, just painted on the side of the club this week, showing some of the biggest acts that have played in the room. By showtime we were standing in the club’s packed VIP section. 

 The show took the same form as Wednesday night’s: Young and the band played “Tonight’s the Night” and “Everybody Knows This is Nowhere” in their entirety. Billy Talbot and Ralph Molina, the rhythm section on the Roxy’s opening night in 1973, were on board. Young fans were the beneficiary of Bruce Springsteen fans’ misfortune, as Nils Lofgren, currently on leave from the E Street Band due to the Boss’s postponed dates, returned to the Santa Monica Flyers for the Roxy anniversary engagement. 

Filling out the lineup was Micah Nelson, Willie Nelson’s son, who has supported Neil regularly in Promise of the Real, the group fronted by his brother Lukas. Let me just get this out of the way: The only small club show I’ve seen that matched the thrill of this night was the one by Bob Dylan I witnessed at the El Rey Theatre in 1997. 

The night began with Young at the piano; he would alternate on the instrument with Lofgren, who doubled on guitar and played accordion on one number. At various junctures, It was difficult to tell, as he was sometimes obscured, but Nelson appeared to be playing lap steel, filling in for the late Ben Keith. Young, Lofgren, and Nelson would cluster at the center the stage, blasting away on guitar. The somber, intense, and more subdued “Tonight’s the Night” was played first, rightfully. It remains one of the more fucked-up records in the Young discography, anyone’s discography really, and its unnerving drug-bathed atmosphere can still supply a jolt. 

The coke-burn opus “Tired Eyes” raised the night’s tallest hackles. But, for this listener, the high point of the first portion of the show came with “Come On Baby Let’s Go Downtown,” which the Flyers apparently did not perform in 1973; played hard, it dropped the spirit of the late lamented Danny Whitten, whose fate inspired the album’s creation, on the Roxy stage. 

After the second version of the LP-closing title song, Young and the band left the stage, and the crowd momentarily thought a break was in store, but within perhaps two minutes they walked back out again; Neil had doffed the white jacket he wore for the first part of the show. The PA volume went up quite perceptibly, and the Horse got down to business immediately with “Cinnamon Girl.” The overall performance of “Nowhere” was if anything stronger than that of “Night.” 

The album’s lighter-weight numbers like “Round and Round,” “The Losing End,” and “Running Dry” (the latter with Nelson bowing his guitar in emulation of the late Bobby Notkoff’s violin work) all glowed. But, of course, the big, churning epics “Down By the River” and “Cowgirl in the Sand” predictably sent lightning bolts through the house. 

My ears still feel pressure-sensitive this morning. As I left the storied old venue, with my souvenir ticket in my pocket, I stopped to thank Lou Adler — who was sitting by the front door on a folding chair, as if he were courtside at a Lakers game — for the many, many unforgettable nights he has given me at his club. 

And I paused to consider how lucky I’ve been to have lived in the times that I have, to have seen the music I’ve been privileged to witness, and to have friends as good as I have. 



Thanks Paul, Chris & Harold for getting this report up and out.  So many would have loved to be there but were denied, alas.

So, Happy Anniversary Roxy! Here's to another 50.


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At 9/26/2023 10:51:00 AM, Blogger Keith E. said...

Here's an hour's worth from an angle I hadn't seen before:

At 9/27/2023 02:31:00 AM, Blogger Alan said...

Great writing & report Paul. Thank you. I am gonna check out Keith’s video link.

It figures Neil’s high ticket price @ Roxy went to a charitable foundation or 2.

Not many comments, perhaps because we are all shocked at the 2 albums played live.

I am thrilled that these 2 shows happened. And to think not long ago we were lamenting Neil’s lack of interest in touring.

Brother Alan

At 9/27/2023 07:39:00 AM, Blogger Alan said...

@ Keith : The live video you shared above is so cool, good sound quality. The vantage point is not bad for free! I am grateful this video exists! We would all prefer 6 cameras as with Rust Bucket! I’m sure we will be enjoying this performance over and over again.

All you fans that want to see some of the live Roxy shows gotta check this out!

Your Brother Alan in Seattle

At 10/01/2023 01:16:00 AM, Blogger wsanjose01 said...

This comment has been removed by the author.


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