Neil Young and Crazy Horse- Birmingham LG Centre

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Neil Young and Crazy Horse Birmingham LG Centre.j
© Words – Chris Madden

The last stand? If this is it (as rumours suggest) and they‘re calling time on the NY&CH adventure then it’s a genuinely fitting eulogy; one borne out of a new found sobriety (Young stopped smoking pot a couple of years back, after an adulthood spent in its mist. I wondered if his playing was a product of his drug use? The answer- a resounding NO!), but more importantly, this is a celebration of the connection between the four players on stage and their audience. Perhaps the tour being titled ‘Alchemy’ is the magic they conjure together?

From the start, with a stage set harking back to classic ‘Rust’ era (think monolith sized amps and road crew adorned as mad lab technicians to the bands alchemists), this is Young drinking from a fountain of youthful energy, imbued with a mature humour that hasn’t always been this clear, yet with a mission of relevance to complete. At 68, he is still pushing to create something extraordinary right now, in the moment. I mean, of his contemporaries, who would begin the first hour of a show with (arguably) lesser known songs from their cannon? The Stones? Please! At best they are a very good cabaret attraction in comparison.

In a two and a half hour set spanning the 60’s through two newies, Neil Young and Crazy Horse journey into the heart of noise, playing in a language that comes only from a 40-odd year bond. Indeed, the love that connects him to his brothers is a joy to both listen and watch. Last year’s double set return to form ‘Psychedelic Pill’ features heavily yet so do many of his centrepieces; a stunning ‘Cortez’, joyous ‘Powderfinger’ and victorious ‘My My, Hey Hey’, each stretching for reinvention. There’s something for everyone; for the initiate there are sublime acoustic renditions of ‘Heart of Gold’ and Dylan’s ‘Blowing in the wind’, for the adept there is a ritualistic ‘Walk Like A Giant/Hole in the Sky’ thunderstorm featuring  ‘Woodstock’ dialogue warnings to ‘keep away from the towers’ which blows the roof off the LG.

So if this really is it, it’s a finale made from Love; for himself, his Crazy Horse brothers, his newfound sobriety and, most of all, for the love of the sheer enjoyment of pushing the veil further and further. Neil had a good time. We had a good time. Hail Neil Young and Crazy Horse.
Read 3762 times Last modified on Friday, 08 May 2015 15:12
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