Neil Young and Crazy Horse, Los Lobos. Newcastle Arena. 10.6.13

It’s 7 days after the posting below and I was beginning to feel slightly guilty about maybe being a bit of a grumpy old man. I have since spoken to a few friends who were there and they pretty much agree that they could have done without the two x twenty minute ‘extended’ workouts too. The reviews from the Dublin gig have certainly provoked reactions ranging from those who thought it rubbish from start to finish, to those who would have been spellbound if they had played a 150 minute version of ‘Humpty Dumpty sat on a Wall’.  You get what you pay for with the man, to be sure!!  The point many seem to have overlooked is that they have bought tickets for ‘Neil Young AND CRAZY HORSE’, not ‘Neil Young’…and that is exactly what you got and should not have been surprised by it.

7.30 pm sharp and Los Lobos are on, playing to a half-full at best Arena. A surprise addition as ‘special guests’ and it’s not too long before ‘Will the wolf survive’. I was strangely unmoved though to start with, but things livened up towards the end. Maybe too much Spanish stuff (do we really need a drum solo?!) perchance? Finished with ‘La Bamba/Good lovin’.

I will admit to being slightly naughty by listening to gigs from NYCH’s tour, but I haven’t recorded and/or sold the discs which would have been VERY naughty. So I had half an idea what to expect. The opening ‘Day in the Life’ from The Beatles started up early, followed by the relevant National Anthem. Then the opening salvo of ‘Love and Only Love’ and ‘Powderfinger’. If there is a more OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAglorious racket elsewhere on the planet I have yet to witness it, and it’s a masterstroke to give an early airing for ‘Powderfinger’. ‘Psychedelic Pill’ is good but then I hit the wall that is ‘Walk Like a Giant’. I find the whistling so bloody irritating and coupled with all the no doubt very symbolic and meaningful row at the end (which makes it a 20 minute endurance test) , it took me ages to recover.

He has dropped ‘Heart of Gold’ and ‘Needle and the Damage Done’ in favour of ‘Comes a Time’ and ‘Blowing in the Wind’, and indeed there is nothing from ‘Harvest’ or ‘Goldrush’. So the quieter part sort of slips by me and thankfully ‘Cinnamon Girl’ gets things back on track. He has also dropped the ‘Time Machine’ intro to the song. The latest LP gets more promotion and OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA‘F**kin up’ also gets extended into 20 minutes, this time courtesy of interplay between Mr Young and Mr Sampedro. Again over-indulgence maybe, but maybe he can be forgiven! ‘Surfer Joe’ seems to have been given the occasional appearance and ‘Hey, Hey, My, My’ is power personified. ‘Rockin’ in the Free World’ is the encore, other gigs have featured ‘Everybody knows’, ‘Roll another number’ or ‘Hurricane’ . So he can’t be accused of standing still regarding the set, indeed the following night saw ‘Powderfinger’ moved to the end. OK, he did throw a bit of a strop with a heckler, but maybe it gave food for thought?

I really need to lighten up re ‘Walk Like a Giant’, because this was a great show by arguably the best group in the world. Only AKUS are fit to be in the same ring.   I have to mention the stifling temperature. Her Ladyship was hallucinating and close to passing out, I was soaked too. It was airless, with all those hot bodies down below contributing to the heat up top. A basic design flaw.  £35 for my ticket, which is about the same as a bloody copy group , Brit Floyd, are charging. I must be hallucinating too!

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