The last couple of times I’ve seen Neil live, it’s become apparent to me that certain elements of the seniors crowd get a bit miffed that he doesn’t play more of the hits. Make no mistake. If you go to see Neil live expecting to hear Harvest top to bottom – you would be sadly mistaken. This ain’t Sweet Baby James, this is f….g Crazy Horse chum – and they still cut the mustard. Last time I saw Neil, I was seated. Bad move. How can you sit down at a Neil show ? It’s a rock n roll show for f….k sake, not Elton John punching out a tired version of Crocodile Rock. So on this occasion, Mr Rockbrat and I were on the floor – only 10 punters back from the front, and immediately in front of Poncho.  It’s a quiet crowd on the floor, with the oldies too old to mosh. Suits me fine nowadays. If you are Neil die hard, you either cop his leftist leanings and his eccentricities, or you don’t. If you’ve seen some of his films you’ll know what I mean. i.e.: His road crew are dressed as construction workers and mad professors in white coats – constantly haggling about the set up of the stage. It was funny for a bit – but it went on too long. That’s OK. Neil is Neil, I can cop his eccentricities. The set is kinda like the Live Rust set – giant amps, mic, harmonica etc etc. Live opening act you say ? Well, I caught The Drones for 30 seconds, before I buzzed back outside. What a sh_t band. At 8.40, Crazy Horse venture onto the stage, Neil picks up Old Black (which he’s been using since ’69) and launch into “Love and Only Love”, followed by “Powderfinger”. Superb. “Hole In The Sky”, a new tune that was only aired on this Australian tour is a tale about how we’ve screwed the planet. An acoustic version of “Heart Of Gold” saw plenty of the older folks remove the fingers from their ears, with Neil also playing an acoustic version of “Twisted Road”, from the Psychedelic Pill album. He played a few tunes off the new album, some checking in at 20 minutes. I don’t mind that, I can listen to Crazy Horse jam all day long. Some people like Metal Machine Music. Different strokes.  The catchy  “Born In Ontario” is a good un, as are “Walk Like A Giant” and  “Ramada Inn’, all off the new album. “Ramada Inn” got the nod of approval from Mr Rockbrat, a tune that checks in at 17-minutes and is on the scale of Like a Hurricane, it surveys a long-term relationship in the wake of grown up kids.  Neil takes to the piano for another new and unreleased tune, “Singer Without a Song”. There’s a brilliant take of “F   n Up”, and great version of “Cinnamon Girl” that had em up and dancing. A superb version of Buffalo Springfield’s “Mr Soul” was a personal high point for me, and as Mr Rockbrat again pointed out to me, the riff sounds very familiar to “Jumping Jack Flash”. I reminded him that Mr. Soul was recorded in January and April 1967, Jumping Jack Flash recorded in March and April 1968, a full year apart – however, if anything, the riff in Mr Soul could be considered a straight take from “Satisfaction”. Neil did very much want to be the replacement for Brian Jones. Anyway, enough of the train spotting, were now into “My My  Hey Hey (Out of the Blue)”, another good one. Does it get ANY better being a few metres from Neil, Poncho and Billy ? I mean, really. For men all in their late 60’s, (I think Billy and Ralph Molina are both 70 this year), their playing was rock solid, and their harmony vocals on the money.  The two encores were GREAT! A surprise version of “Prisoners of Rock and Roll” (from the Life LP) was killer, a tune he hasn’t played live since 2004, and then Opera Star (from 1981’s Re-ac-tor LP). At 5 past 11, it was all over. 2 hours and 5 minutes of the best rock n roll, from one of the best rock n roll bands – you are ever likely to hear.

One thought on “Rockbrat Live Review: NEIL YOUNG & CRAZY HORSE, SYDNEY ENTERTAINMENT CENTRE 10 MARCH, 2013

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