Neil Young and Crazy Horse
San Francisco, CA
These are the warmup shows for the superstar Rock in Rio festival.
I was living in the Bay Area at the time but was deathly ill during these shows.
In February, while waiting in line to get into the Maritime Hall for one of the four Phil Lesh and Friends, which I was taping,
I meet a guy who lived in Berkeley who wanted to set up a trade.
I received these shows as burned audio discs a few weeks later.
I dont know what equipment was used to record these shows but I seem to recall that my source said they were taped from the drink rail,
which would put the mics about 15 feet from the stage.
These are really clean and crisp recordings of Neil and the boys going at it.
Lineage: unknown master > (probably audio cd > extraction) > audio cd > extraction w/ Roxio Toast on Mac G3 > shn > aiff > shn (Note: I shnned these back in 2001. For some reason I cant get the md5's from that to run, but the files all open properly, so I decoded and then re-encoded using XACT on a mac mini running OS 10.4.3 to get a current md5.
extracted, shnned, and uploaded by John Siegel
Don't Cry No Tears
Love And Only Love
Cinammon Girl > Fuckin' Up
Cortez The Killer
Rockin' In The Free World
Come On Baby Let's Go Downtown
Hold Back The Tears
Like A Hurricane
Tonight's The Night
Neil Young and Co. Rehearse Tunes With Ragged Glory
- James Sullivan, Chronicle Pop Music Critic
Friday, January 12, 2001
For Neil Young and his occasional backing band Crazy Horse, getting reacquainted takes about as long as it does to count off the first song: 1, 2, 3, 4.
Young and the members of his Wild West garage band -- bassist Billy Talbot, guitarist Frank Sampedro, drummer Ralph Molina -- have been rehearsing this week at the Warfield for their forthcoming appearance at the superstar Rock in Rio festival. Wednesday, on very short notice, they decided to sell tickets to that night's performance. (Last night they gave another impromptu show.) Rehearsals should always sound so commanding.
Of course, the music these four make together is unpolished by design. Rough chords, imprecise tempos and wayward shards of feedback are all part of the signature Crazy Horse sound. Rehearsal is almost beside the point.
Nevertheless, the band crackled Wednesday night. From the chugging opening song, "Sedan Delivery," to the broken-bottle chords of the encore, "Hey Hey My My," it sounded more than ready to take on a stadium crowd in Brazil.
A minute after taking the Warfield stage, Young, Talbot and Sampedro faced off in one of those familiar guitar scrums of theirs. Young bent his pipe- cleaner figure over his fret board, the untucked tail of his shirt flapping like a poncho. Wearing a straw cowboy hat that angled down past the bridge of his nose, he let some Elvis ooze into his voice as he sang, "Gotta get away/ gotta get away."
This being Crazy Horse, the most frilly thing onstage was a 3-foot-tall cigar-store Indian. The curtains were pulled back to expose the theater's backstage area, giving this workmanlike band an appropriate backdrop -- peeling black paint and crates.
As plainspoken as he is unfashionable, Neil Young writes with equal experience about matters of the heart and the conscience. Two songs featured early in the show, "Love and Only Love" and "F--' Up," addressed those extremes of his lifelong searching.
The songs, both from the 1990 barn burner "Ragged Glory," were sandwiched around the deathless old stomp "Cinnamon Girl." That one brought the inevitable air-guitarists out in force.
By this time, a certain skunky smell was unmistakable throughout the old hall, and the audience was wearing one big stupefied grin. They had plenty to smile about; the first of the night's two sets ended with a half-hour excursion through two of Young's most powerful songs, "Cortez the Killer" and "Like a Hurricane."
As usual, the 13-odd-minute "Cortez" unfolded slow and ominous, like a black cloud inching its way across Big Sky country. With Sampedro pumping at a keyboard, "Hurricane" featured Young's most inspired string-strangling of the night.
It was the deluxe version of Crazy Horse, with Young's wife, Pegi, and his sister Astrid joining the group on vocals. As the bandleader squeezed prehistoric shrieks from his Gibson, the women swayed and snapped their fingers, losing themselves in the hypnotic feedback.
With so many songs stretching past the 10-minute mark, it only takes a half- dozen to make up a Crazy Horse set. The second set featured some of the band's late '70s material -- "Powderfinger," "Welfare Mothers" and the brief "Bite the Bullet."
Then it was back to long-form Crazy Horse, with a 15-minute ramble "Down by the River," one of the band's first songs. "She could drag me over the rainbow, " Young yowled, pretty and portentous as ever.
The enthusiastic crowd sang as one -- well, near enough -- on the encore. "Hey hey, my my/ Rock and roll will never die": Simple as they are, the words still mean something.
"There's more to the picture/ Than meets the eye," Young assured. With the unassuming Crazy Horse, that's always the case.
E-mail James Sullivan at email@example.com.