Neil Young and Crazy Horse live in NZ
Man am I excited! I mean I'm really excited about this. A bucket-list gig, if you will. I'd love to see Prince - and probably missed my chance earlier in the year when he played Australia (or earlier in the millennium when he was still really good) but I've always wanted to see Neil Young and Crazy Horse live. And by always I mean since 1990. So that's close enough to always, given that it's more than 20 years ago.
I already wrote, briefly, about being excited to see Neil Young & Crazy Horse after the two New Zealand shows were announced last week.
Discovering Neil Young was something quite mind-blowing for me. The don't-give-a-f**k attitude, the incredible playing, the mix of acoustic and electric. I told you all, last year, about how I was a card-carrying member of the Neil Young Fanclub. I even flew to Auckland and attended one of the last efforts in the day-long texting convention that used to be known as the Big Day Out. I only went because of Neil Young. And hey hey, my my, it was good. But it was also Neil Young with a band doing as close as he will ever get to a greatest hits set. Strangely, this meant that it missed the mark as much as it hit it.
I loved the chance to see Neil Young - but it was too clean, too close to trying-to-be-perfect. Plus it was at the Big Day Out. It didn't quite cut it. Adding to that frustration, I was on the job so that meant running off midway through the set to report on the Big Day Out. The internet died and I had to read my review down a phone line for dictation. It meant the one thing I wanted to see at the Big Day Out was cut short; I saw half of what I wanted to see so I could report back to the reader about my dismay for having to leave Neil Young early.
And, anyway, what I really wanted to see was Neil Young & Crazy Horse. Something I figured I'd never see.
The new album is good, in that it's a reminder of what Neil does when he's with the Horse. Read the memoir, it'll tell you that Neil needs the Horse, needs to get back on the horse (and on with the Horse) when he's suffering his version of a writer's block. Check out the opening track from Psychedelic Pill, all 27 minutes of Driftin' Back. That'll tell you all you need to know about why Neil keeps going back to Crazy Horse.
He never sounds as good without them. They anchor him. In the best possible way.
Neil Young's guitar spirals off course and often (way) out of control - and I love it. It's far more interesting (and endearing) than the clipped-folkie routine. I love almost everything Neil Young has done; the albums people tell you they hate - I like them too. But my vision of a great Neil Young concert is him with Crazy Horse.
And finally I will get to see that. That was the best news I've heard in a long time.