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Neil Young - Atlanta 1991 (review)



Your special correspondent reporting live from Atlanta gives you these some rusty words. Crazy Horse is under way. The dark hulk breaking the sight too. Iím excited to attend to the show of this band more than mythical and Iím wondering whether I have guts to face these four fellows whose the leader is and remains a mountain of the Rockíníroll! I close my eyes. No musical erosion gets along on its Rust anthem. Even better! This mountain is growing in beauty with time, bringing here and there about some rock escarpments, some shaded and touchy nooks, some carpets of rare and wild plants, at the same time merry and whining, magnifying this set radiating the life. Eyes must credit that. Mine seem magnetized and are pinned on the spotlight line. One glance on Neil Young is done fleeting and I plunge into the night. Go on Denis! The gigantic mike and its yellow standard of the first gulf are well there. Why "first"? But although I regard you as my friends, Iím not going to disclose my divinatory talents here. It isnít the moment whereas my eyes are obsessed with the giant mike and his floating yellow standard. What else? Neil!!!!! Heís there! Wearing his shirt with check, he is at his ease as much as in his garage. Itís a pleasure! If Neil, when he was a child wanted to be a fireman, now heís a fire-raiser as well by music as by lyrics. The poetical fire, which emanates from that, moves me in a frenzied way, and do you feel that as well? Neil swings nervously on his feet during the peaceful time of this speech about crime. A blow. Yes, in a short time just long enough for only one blow so that one blow comes from the Neil guitar. The vibrato tailpiece is used all along this dylanian song. Thereís only echo with some voices to the Neil lament. Is he aware of giving us shivers by this version so much itís apocalyptic, itís wonderful? Neil helps along the detail of the blow until giving one on his strings by way of conclusion. Old songs like "Cinnamon Girl" or those of his last opus (Love To Burn, Mansion On The Hill), his performance is without failure and not devoid of interest. Remember. At the time of his acoustic Eurotour in December 1989 (Paris, it was the eleventh), Neil had played us two new songs: "Dreamin' Man" and "Fuckin' Up". And itís the latter that is put in the electric hands of Crazy Horse! Itís fantastic! Neil and his bass player Billy Talbot gesticulate. Neil wiggles facing Poncho but this one is sticking to his static position in his accompaniment. Finally in the long run, Poncho begins to shake a little bit the torpor of his body. Itís Ralph Molina who, with one clash of cymbal, has the last sound. Come back to Zuma with the mythical and fabulous "Cortez The Killer" which hasnít been played since May 1989 with Lost Dogs band and if itís necessary to look up a date with Crazy Horse, it would be in June 1987! Almost one lustrum without to be played! Itís incredible! How Neil can he do that to us? But donít spoil ourselves our pleasure with so dark thoughts. This evening, Neil and Billy are extremely friendly, and they go there having their chat and their broad smiles. This very beautiful song finishes in a very long grating bringing the shade. Thinking that heís shielded inside this one, Neil gives his guitar to his accredited technician and nevertheless friend Larry Cragg who tunes it losing his John farmerís hat, character that he plays in this memorable tour in this beginning of the year 1991 in which itís scheduled that Neil plays fifty three shows in ninety-six days! And this one, in Atlanta, is the thirtieth show! You know what you have to do! All is not lost yet! Neil came back to the light. The introduction, which follows, is recognizable of all! Neil makes resound his guitar a long time being all ears in order to check it. This "Powderfinger" version is nervous like a powder spitting in a beautiful sparkle. The audience in front of the stage is as quiet such the guy who controls his mixing desk! Wake up, hells bells! Itís Crazy Horse! You arenít in your living room to view them on your TV screen! They are there in the flesh for you! Neil savours his sing in several pitches about the repetition of "break it down" in "Love And Only Love". A large musical part permits to help Neil to escape. He sweats energetically. In this long run, he seems to get puffed a little bit, but he remains very convincing however! If you think that Neil will take a rest, you are... WRONG! Now, he thrashes about like a very devil, heís doubled up, gesticulating during his effort on his guitar. Neil feels the need to tighten the teeth. One break? Certainly nay! Neilís style isnít to sleep in his shoes! Especially when comes the moment from his freedom anthem strikingly true to life when the known things as are thus. Yes, nowadays babies end up lonely in dustbins, are abandoned in gardens. People shuffle along towards nowhere for the wellbeing of the masters. Neil makes one of his beautiful rackets at the end. Ralph strikes his cymbals furiously. While Billy and Poncho leave their guitar, Neil puts his ones to his face level and shakes it for ultimate quivers that weaken this old world for the foundations setting up about free world. I have just time to write this to you that Neil comes back to us and waves his hand to us in greeting: "Crazy Horse". At this moment, there is a peculiar noise. That doesnít come from any instrument. Itís like a noise of chain unwinding in its badly oiled gears! A chain of dove? No, boxes of protection ones. Neil goes in satire with his "Welfare Mothers make better lovers". This uneven assistance which has a lot of inequality often causing tragic consequences! Something or somebody in the audience makes Neil and Billy laugh. With his hand, Neil touches the face of Billy. Now everyone talks in private but only Neil is in front of the mike. Finally, Billy replies Neil who shows with his hand up there. Neil talks to us under a noise of din. Poncho sets on his swinging bird. Neil calls upon the Great Spirit: "Hurricane! Hurricane! Hurricane!" Itís the first time I hear that! The anthological song really starts then! The long yellow ribbon fixed at the mike flies with colours. These four rogues bent on their instruments reminds me of the rustic painting of Millet "Gleaners", whose Van Gogh was abundantly fed in his large paintings to depict physical effort of the dear hard-workings. Here, on stage, their so particular sound leaves from their pores. Don't you smell this good odour of "Crazy Horse" who is in full labour kicking up to the slipped disc? And you want to remain inactive in front of these skilful workers, to admire them to work in their imposing task? Wealthy! Come on to give us a hand! Get up off your backside! We hear some strange noises, always the same ones, when the guitars finished their tornado. Billy leaves his guitar. Is this the end of the show already? No! He takes it again straight away. Neil moved towards him and both begin to talk. Then, Neil joined Poncho, who seems to keep slightly to himself this evening, has a word in his ear about something while catching the guitar neck of our unsavoury individual. The first notes come from "Tonight's The Night"! Neil smiles at us. But thatís him already bent on his work! Poncho keeps himself in a state of meticulousness and of concentration once again. One cymbal trembles. Neil repeats "Telephone" a long time. And Larry comes! With a telephone? No, at least I donít think that. No, itís not a telephone that he has but a guitar. Larry attracts attention with a touch on the Neil shoulder at the time this latter sets about a beautiful guitar squeaking. Neil is surprised, he doesnít understand! They swap guitars but the song doesnít have any break. This moment is something between magic and acrobatics! I leave it to you to choose according to your preferences. I chose... both! The many "Tonight's the night" sung by Billy and Poncho reply to those of Neil. Leaving these two friends singing, Neil goes near the audience, and says something to him! But what did he tell to this people? I donít know what you feel about that, but Iím peculiarly excited by this suspense! This Neil behavior isnít very usual this year. Yes, my friends! Something is going on!
Neil: Bruce Berry was a working man
Audience: He used to load that Econoline van.
Neil: A sparkle was in his eye
Audience: But his life was in his hands.
Thatís sung with the only sound produced by Ralph banging his drumsticks one against the other one and by Billy clapping the rhythm with his hands. And that continues for the next verse!
Neil: Well, late at night when the people were gone
Audience: He used to pick up my guitar
Neil: And sing a song in a shaky voice
Audience: That was real as the day was long.
Itís crazy! What did Neil do to us this evening? Now Neil and Billy play nervously. Both ensured the show by their very great vitality and ease! Neil holds out his guitar to Larry. Billy waves his hand to us in greeting before he goes out. Thanks Crazy Horse! I thank you who remained until now for this splendid show. Neil and his companions will be in four days in Orlando in Florida. And this next show, will it be as splendid as this one? I sincerely hope that. Yes indeed! I may be in the audience with you and for you! So long for new rusty words.

Denis Between The Rusty Words.
(27-05-2005) ©
© IDDN 2005

My original text 





Setlist from this show : w/ Crazy Horse ; 03-03-1991, The Omni, Atlanta, Georgia

Hey Hey, My My / Crime In The City / Blowin' In The Wind / Love To Burn / Cinnamon Girl / Mansion On The Hill / Fuckin' Up / Cortez The Killer / Powderfinger / Love And Only Love / Rockin' In The Free World / Welfare Mothers / Like A Hurricane / Tonight's The Night
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Band :

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