Neil Young & Crazy Horse Kick Off First Proper Tour in 10 Years

Neil Young sporting a train conductor's cap, a denim shirt over a flannel shirt over a tshirt, and dark jeans, walked onto the stage of the California Credit Union Open Air Theatre in San Diego looking like he wanted to jam in front of the giant faux speakers with his gray haired buddies while his tractor got a tune up in the barn in the back.

Those pals were drummer Ralph Molina, bassist Billy Talbot, and guitarist Micah Nelson (replacing Nils Lofgren who's on tour with The Boss) aka Crazy Horse.

There's no tractor in the back, just more guitars and a whole bunch of deliciously sounding feedback and squeals.

Not to tell a 78-year-old counter culture legend, rock idol, and free spirit what to do, but those of us squares who still cling to "expectations" assumed this tour, the first proper one by Neil and the Horse in a decade, would feature tunes from his noisy as heck 1990 album Ragged Glory because a few days ago on Record Store Day, Young released Fuckin Up, a live album of those songs but with different titles.

Why different titles? To keep us on our toes, man!

So for everyone who went down to San Diego State on Wednesday and had brushed up on Ragged Glory, an album so wild and ringing of distortion and fuzz that Sonic Youth opened for Young on the '91 tour, it was all for naught.

Young and Crazy Horse only rocked one tune from Ragged Glory, the delightful "Love and Only Love" or ask he renamed it for the new live record, "A Chance On Love."

There's the "new" version of it on Fuckin Up (below) and here's what it sounded like on opening night.

Maybe it was the first night on the road and Neil didn't want to spook the horse, but Fuckin Up, recorded last year by Young and Crazy Horse - including both Nelson and Lofgren is one of the few re-recordings/re-masterings/re-imaginations the guitar-loving rockers in the stands have been waiting for.

"We made this for the Horse lovers,” Neil wrote in a statement. “I can’t stop it. The Horse is runnin’. What a ride we have. I don’t want to mess with the vibe, and I am so happy to have this to share.”

So share it!

With that said, what the crowd got on Wednesday was nothing to sneeze at, beginning with a 15-minute set opener "Cortez The Killer" with some added verses he promised recently he would add to the 1975 slog.

“Just a couple of days ago, I found the other verses,” Young told his fans on Zoom. “Just the lyrics… We may have those lost lyrics in the show, which will be fun for me.”

I floated on the water/ I ate that ocean wave/
Two weeks after the slaughter/ I was living in a cave
They came too late to get me/ But there’s no one here to set me free/
From this rocky grave/ To that snowed-out ocean wave.

“When we were recording ‘Cortez the Killer’ for the first time, the electricity went off in the control room, and the machine stopped, but we kept playing,” the bassist Talbot told American Songwriter.

“And that verse was one that had been sung in that period of time when we were playing and they weren’t recording. Then they turned the machines back on, and we were still playing. So, consequently, [when] we edited ‘Cortez the Killer’ together … that verse was missing," he said.

Many of Young's classics that we all grew up with were included in the set, from "Powderfinger" to "Cinnamon Girl," everyone had something they could sing along to in between extended guitar solos and jams.

There was even a nice trio of songs where the Horse took a break and Neil serenaded the crowd with his his acoustic guitar. That was when "Comes a Time" and "Heart of Gold" sparkled.

The last tune was "Hey Hey My My" which is what Lana rode out to the Coachella stage on weekend two.

Neil and Crazy Horse are making their way from the west to the south. They'll make an appearance at the New Orleans Jazz Fest on 5/4, they'll play doubles with two shows at Forest Hills, Canada will get to see their favorite son a few times in Toronto. In fact in July he'll play seven shows in his home country.

It'll all wrap up with a September gig at the Hollywood Bowl which is a special venue he and Crazy Horse hadn't headlined in twelve years.

Get your tickets on Neil's truly unique website.

Neil Young and Crazy Horse 2024 Tour Dates:
04/27 – Phoenix, AZ @ Talking Stick Resort Amphitheatre
05/01 – Austin, TX @ Germania Insurance Amphitheater
05/02 – Dallas, TX @ Dos Equis Pavilion
05/04 – New Orleans, LA @ Jazz Fest
05/05 – Huntsville, AL @ Orion Amphitheater
05/07 – Atlanta, GA @ Ameris Bank Amphitheatre
05/08 – Franklin, TN @ FirstBank Amphitheater
05/11 – Bristow, VA @ Jiffy Lube Live
05/12 – Camden, NJ @ Freedom Mortgage Pavilion
05/14 – Queens, NY @ Forest Hills Stadium
05/15 – Queens, NY @ Forest Hills Stadium
05/17 – Mansfield, MA @ Xfinity Center
05/18 – Bridgeport, CT @ Hartford Healthcare Amphitheater
05/20 – Toronto, ON @ Budweiser Stage
05/22 – Clarkston, MI @ Pine Knob Music Theatre
05/23 – Chicago, IL @ Huntington Bank Pavilion at Northerly Island
07/08 – Toronto, ON @ Budweiser Stage
07/11 – Ottawa, ON @ Ottawa Blues Fest
07/13 – London, ON @ Rock the Park
07/17 – Winnipeg, MB @ Blue Cross Park
07/20 – Calgary, AB @ Fort Calgary
07/22 – Burnaby, BC @ Deer Lake Park
07/23 – Burnaby, BC @ Deer Lake Park
07/25 – Bend, OR @ Hayden Homes Amphitheater
07/26 – George, WA @ The Gorge Amphitheatre
07/28 – Boise, ID @ Ford Idaho Center Amphitheater
07/29 – Salt Lake City, UT @ Utah First Credit Union Amphitheatre
09/29 – Hollywood, CA @ Hollywood Bowl

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Last updated: 14 Jul 2024, 13:45 Etc/UTC