Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Neil Young and Crazy Horse: Tulsa, Ok 10/14/12

In case you are wondering, Neil Young still has it.

He played the Tulsa Convention Center this past Sunday night, along with two California bands, Los Lobos from East LA and another from the San Fernando Valley called Infantree. While each of these bands were very good in their own right, together, and possibly even with a hundred other bands playing along with them, they couldn't match the intensity and excitement that Neil Young and Crazy Horse brought.

The stage after the show. Notice the giant Fender speakers.
(I had no luck getting a good shot with my camera phone from our seats.)
I kind of expected Neil to get political between songs and go off on rants about our American political system being so close to the election. But by the third number of the night, it was very clear that he was here to do one thing, and that was to rock and roll our faces off... Which he did. Along with guitarist Poncho Sampredo, bassist Billy Talbot, and drummer Ralph Molina, he played one of the tightest and most electrically-elaborated sets I have witnessed in a very long time.

He opened with Ragged Glory's, "Love and Only Love," which was a pretty good example of what the night was about to bring. While Neil is known for his distortion and electrifying power chords, it seemed that he was enjoying the reverb just a bit more than usual on this night, holding notes seemingly forever. He was backed by four giant Fender amps that stood well over twelve feet tall, and he used them for all they were worth, eeking out as much feedback as he could by holding his guitar up close to them. His band and he formed a triangle in motion as they beat their instrumental effects off of each other, looking like they were having the time of their lives.

The concert was a display of tracks from Psychedelic Pill, his newest album that's set to be released on October 30th. It's safe to say that these cuts lived up to the album's namesake. Other songs came from deep in his career, such as "Cinnamon Girl," "My My Hey Hey (Into the Black)," "Mr. Soul," and his encore, "Tonight's the Night."

Another one, "Singer Without a Song" comes from the Unreleased file.

As he often does, he had plenty of onstage shenanigans accompanying his music. Several men dressed as doctors and/or mad scientist would come out, sometimes mid-song, and make evaluations and changes to the stage set-up. After one of his new tracks,"Walk Like a Giant," he implored the effect of a thunderstorm with flashing lights simulating lightning and faux rain. The doctors were onstage in raincoats scampering around covering up the monitors and speakers, and anything else that lay exposed. While they did this, a recording played of Neil's famous Woodstock rant where he says, "If we all think real hard, maybe we can stop this rain!... No rain! No rain! No rain!" Of course, after it had all calmed down, he stood onstage alone and played "The Needle and the Damage Done."

When it was all said and done, Neil Young proved once again why he is the living king of rock and roll. Nobody plays with the fire and intensity he does, whether they are 25 or as in his case, 66. He and his old friends in Crazy Horse are obviously having a blast on this tour, and after their encore, their presence onstage lasted about five minutes as they bowed and saluted the estactic crowd. It was a night to remember; one of those special rock and roll engagements that you encounter once or twice in a lifetime.

This video was taken in Tulsa (not by us) and features the first song of the night:

Notes and honorable mentions:
  • Infantree was a good young band that showed a lot of promise. They have a couple of amazing guitar players in their own right.
  • Los Lobos was fun. Surprisingly, they played "Bertha" a Grateful Dead cover that they featured on a early 90's tribute album.
  • Los Lobos drummer, Buzz is one bad Mama-Jama. Damn that guy can play!
  • The show wasn't quite a sell-out. I would estimate that 5500 people were there. Not too bad for a Sunday night.
  • When Neil played "Singer Without a Song" in Tulsa, it was only the 2nd time it had been played live. It remains unreleased.  
Set List:
Love and Only Love
Born in Ontario
Walk Like a Giant
The Needle and the Damage Done
Twisted Road
Singer Without a Song
Ramada Inn
Cinnamon Girl
Fuckin' Up
Mr. Soul
Hey Hey My My (Into the Black)

Tonight's the Night



1 comment:

Unknown said...

I was at this concert, 16 years old at the time. The dude sitting next to me lit up a joint. I was already feeling high from the 'Psychedelic Pill' music. Great show and glad I can say I got to see Neil Young and Crazy Horse