Neil Young - Frisco 1997 (review)

The show diagnosis

     As the graph indicates that, the interest of the show is to hear unusual songs brought up to date. The fact, that the band didn’t repeat them enough, segments too much the continuity of the show and presents some irregularities in the performance quality about some or other song. These jolts and stammerings, by intimate candlelight, make us witness about the difficulty of creation and bring us straight in the heart of the Broken Arrow garage that Neil Young and Crazy Horse have always known how to go about to beat it.

(Graph produced from ratios obtained by the graph "Songs diagnosis".)

The songs diagnosis

My definitions of the criteria

To turn upside down the garage: To blow away the cobwebs from the racks, to unearth treasures.
To plunge your eyes in the dream: To fill you with wonder, to amaze you, to make you a laugh, to shake your ears up.
To stick out his tong at you:
To notice you, to give you a start.
Not to break the atmosphere:
To connect songs.

My comment

To turn upside down the garage: Crazy Horse has brushed away the cobwebs from ten songs in this show. "Hard Luck Stories" comes from the "Landing On Water" album (July 21, 1986). At the end of this song, Neil Young says to us at once: "How are you doin’? I still play my songs... They come from different albums. Songs I never used to play." Neil Young is lucid that he hasn’t won yet because he continues saying: "The latter one was too slow, we’ll try playing next one too fast." Later in the evening, Neil will pick out from this album with rhythmical tones, the song "Hippie Dream" which, over this beautiful surprise, will keep the dust of its cardboard. Atishoo! However it would have deserved well to get a second chance in the second set. Crazy Horse revisits five songs from "Mirror Ball" (Neil Young w/Pearl Jam). One of the characteristics of this album is its wild rhythm conducted by the drummer Jack Irons. So it is the race and Ralph Molina is very good. "Razor Love" is still unreleased in album in 1997 but this song has been in our ears since Neil already played it to us nine times in 1984 (w/ The International Harvesters), and once when he played solo in Europe in 1989. Although "Don't Be Denied" was played, until this evening in 1997, 120 times on stage [1973 (w/ The Stray Gators; w/ The Santa Monica Flyers), 1974 (w/ CSN), 1983 (solo)], it remain unreleased in CD - the excellent album (his best one?) "Time Fades Away" (October 1973) in which this song appears being in the batch of the Missing six. "Mellow My Mind" is also another song dating from the 1973 dark period (Tonight's The Night). Played 31 times, it was adorn with banjo at the time of the set solo in 1976. And it’s a real pleasure to see it just as it was in 1973: electrical and tormented with the support of harmonica that Neil extremely seldom uses with Crazy Horse.

To plunge your eyes in the dream:
Each one of us has his own scraped knees, so we don’t need to show them among ourselves. Let go for a dip! The last getting into water is homeless. Ocean has beautiful airstreams. Then, we desalinate ourselves with the razor of dad. We flush out the book only in the fifth corner. It’s a modern tale that gives us a start with many unexpected developments. And we daydream about illuminated shop windows with strong amperage that our purse doesn’t tolerate. And then all that it’s only a piece of crap. It’s well-known when we pay for this they palm that off onto you. It is really not true. Of course that’s true! And what about your father? That’s not true he got the hell out of house? Finally, we lose ourselves in strange metal heights. Foot after foot, we draw our teams. The play is a success. But when is the game over? Now? No? There! Really? Is it over? We mooch around as a corpse. The first downtown area is a diamond... the second is even further. However, the streets drag a dust from oubliettes. The five and ten hundreds, which we salvaged, give us an exceptional blue harp. We bite into it before yawning for sempiternal and inaudible consultations. What will we do now? The dustbins are repainted tastefully then broken for fun. We’re also that, but now it’s the snack. We’ll know if we got our strength back or if we are clumsier. Small scratches on the old black one gives the clue to you before torment. We paint our pans and we drum the faces at the window. We recall our memories and our treasures. Genuine generous harvest. Stop having a good old gossip with your old friends. You are much better. The exit is not as bad as you say to us. It is sweet like a small rain. Suddenly, we’ve got an urge to run. Just for fun. Throw your chemical roots in our strides if it suits you. Ah! Ah! We’re the Master of our gallop! The reins are pulled and the delivery is drunk! Then we place our soul in the paradoxical dream. Now this one is restless and thunders as it never thundered. The six neurons held out. We are really lucky! The dream chooses a short frantic race, chooses a second surprise already contemplated. The words are brought to us behind a fluttering of eyelashes. Our cauliflower crumple. The dream is quenched a thirst. On the sand of our pile, we draw some nice riddles. We shake our head when the bad sesame is given. Another riddle. We count in our head up to three and we take fresh heart. Bingo. The spine of the sea is raging. We surprise ourselves seeing us all dancing in the tumult of the vertebrae. The lumbago erupts after six short minutes.  We play musical chair while pulling faces at the deaf clowns selling of insipid wafers. We leave the garage, dirty and fulfilled.

To stick out his tong at you: Neil Young takes care of his followers and addresses us as soon as the end of the first song informing us of what he intends to do in this evening. Undoubtedly, he’s counting on us to support him in his step of equilibrist. He carries on after "Razor Love":  "All right! Nice to be here tonight!". He feels forced to let us into the secret delivering an excuse to us concerning the break of "Hippie Dream" and announcing to us the second attempt by "Take 2."  Neil Young greets the theatre with a simple "Thank you." that is said on a most sincere tone. Furthermore, some false notes are amazing coming from Neil Young! Triumphant after that he plays solo in "Truth Be Known", Neil launches out into two soli in "Piece Of Crap" that merits to remain in the Archives oubliettes. Even Poncho makes fun of Neil without scruples! However strange noises, which aren’t intentional, aren’t sought by Neil and they stretch until he’s bothered just like us. I give the example of "Razor Love" where the sound system produces a note in a high squeal and at once Neil reacts waving his two hands to his ears. "Throw Your Hatred Down" and "Razor Love" played twice at the time of this evening indicate the Neil Young freedom of action but also his will to play correctly these songs which are close to his heart.

Not to break the atmosphere: The first set with its unusual songs doesn’t help to be effective. It seems it’s really caused by the lack of preparation. It’s also possible Neil Young still has his mind in the première of "Year Of The Horse" presented at 7 PM in Castro Theatre. Neil has been there and he has surely slipped away from there to join us at Trocadero. The think, breaking the free flow, isn’t still lyrics that are put on the Neil music stand are changed between each song (in the second set, Larry Cragg brings "Razor Love" lyrics at Neil’s request without Neil stops the song) but it’s that Neil changes guitar! This will to do things properly is much to his credit. The big faintness lies in the fact of long conversations that are necessary between the three guitarists between each song! Even before playing "Rockin' In The Free World". Ralph Molina deserves a medal to be patient. The second set really contains running well songs of the Crazy Horse repertory drawn from albums like "Rust Never Sleeps" or "Neil Young" or "Broken Arrow" defended on stage in 1996. Nevertheless, we need to wait the fifteenth song in this night with "Big Time" (third in the second set) for a real link with the previous song that is "Sleep Away". Neil will fill a long inescapable silence, by the fact that he tunes his guitar before "The Losing End", while speaking to us without discontinuity. In the same way, Neil saves atmosphere playing chords that look like a "Cowgirl In The Sand" introduction whereas it’s probably a soundcheck. The advantage in the second set, which can also turn out to be a drawback musically speaking, is that Neil keeps his legendary Old Black on these nine last songs. Apart from these various points, to find the good rhythm of songs is a concern in this evening. Indeed, Neil Young makes five fresh starts in "Crime In The City". Before starting "Hippie Dream", Neil starts to dance in order to remind the rhythm. It's a waste of time and effort, he stops this song on the pretext: "I've got the wrong guitar". Here, Neil uses his usual sense of humour because he doesn’t exchange his Old Black for another guitar.

Denis Between The Rusty Words
(25 juin 2005) ©

My original poem 

Setlist from this show: w/ Crazy Horse; 05-08-1997, The Trocadero, San Francisco, California

1. Hard Luck Stories / 2. I'm The Ocean / 3. Razor Love / 4. Crime In The City / 5. Truth Be Known / 6. Piece Of Crap / 7. Don't Be Denied / 8. Throw Your Hatred Down / 9. Downtown / 10. Hippie Dream / 11. Mellow My Mind / 12. Rockin' In The Free World // 13. Hey Hey, My My / 14. Slip Away / 15. Big Time / 16. The Losing End / 17. Sedan Delivery / 18. Throw Your Hatred Down / 19. Razor Love / 20. Cowgirl In The Sand / 21. Prisoners Of Rock 'n' Roll

Neil Young: vocals, guitar, harmonica
Frank Sampedro: guitar, vocals
Billy Talbot: bass, vocals
Ralph Molina: drums, vocals
Larry Cragg: tambourine, technician