Neil Young News
NEIL YOUNG ROCKS THE LOCAL HONKY-TONK
We "borrowed" this flyer, which we found in one of Young's equipment trucks out behind the club.
Addicted To Noise Editor Michael Goldberg reports: If you live in Half Moon Bay (south of San Francisco), and you headed over to the local roadhouse last night (Thurs., Mar. 22) to get drunk, find a girl (or guy) and maybe rock a little to the local garage band, you were in for quite a surprise. Performing under the pseudonym, The Echos, was Neil Young and Crazy Horse. The bar/honky-tonk was comfortably filled with 150 diehard Young fans (including a few old friends and business associates), mostly longhaired locals in plaid shirts who don't know that the '60s ever ended. At one point the whole place seemed to be singin' along as Young and company delivered his ode to the ganja, "Homegrown."
At ten minutes after nine, Young, rhythm guitarist Frank Sampedro, bassist Billy Talbot and drummer Ralph Molino made their way to the stage, plugged in and careened into a raw, loud, rockin' version of "Country Home," the song that opened Young's grand Ragged Glory album. Candles set on top of amps and just a couple of low-power spotlights kept this show feeling like the band was just part of the environment, not the center of attention. Still, they were the center of attention, and right in front of the stage fans crowed up against each other to get as close as possible.
I stood against the bar that runs the length of the place, less than ten feet from Young, as he bobbed back and forth, improvising extended solos around the melodies of his songs. Young has been playing off and on with Crazy Horse since the '60s, and the intuitive way the group interacts musically is quite amazing. They're like a funky old locomotive, or one of those old luxury cars that Young collects. Reliable. I've seen Young perform dozens of times over the years, and last night's performed was a keeper. Wearing a red and black plaid shirt, often seeming oblivious to his surroundings, eyes closed, leaning over his guitar, pulling off riff after riff, the grand old man or garage rock sounded like the world's greatest rock & roll guitar player. In fact, at this point, it's hard to think of anyone who can match Young, night after night.
During the three 40-to-45 minute sets, Young played obscure gems like "Prisoners of Rock 'n' Roll," off his neglected Life album, and "Drive Back," as well as well-known classics including "Like A Hurricane" and "Powderfinger." During a devastating "Down By The River" that clocked in at about 20 minutes, folks were slow dancing at the rear of the club. Cool.
This was the fourth night in a row that Young was workin' out at this bar. Although nothing is official, I understand that he's warming up for a tour of Canada, Europe and the U. S. As one of his crew laughed between sets, "A month from now we'll be playin' to 100,000 people, not 150."
For some reason that I can't quite put my finger on, when Young played "Prisoners of Rock 'n' Roll," and the crowd sang along with him as he delivered the chorus, "That's why we don't want to be good," it felt real, real good. Maybe it was because the music was so, so, fine.
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