Neil Young & Crazy Horse
Madison Square Garden, NYC
November 27, 2012
Download FLAC: Amazon Drive
01-Intro & Anthem
02-Love and Only Love
04-Born in Ontario
05-Walk Like a Giant
06-The Needle and the Damage Done
08-Singer Without a Song
13-Hey Hey, My My (Into the Black)
14-Roll Another Number
Lineage: Stealth recorded and minimally produced by mrsaureus, standing center floor thirty feet back from the stage. Core-Sound High End Binaurals (DPA-4060 capsules) to Sony PCM-M10 (48 kHZ, 24 bit), WavePad Sound Editor to chop and FLAC only. This is an audience recording that aims to document the experience of being in the crowd at the show, and features occasionally loud but appropriate crowd noise. This is the first time this recording is being shared.
Well, very late in the season I have a new and very strong contender for best show of the year.
And a show in MSG yet. I actually really like GA (standing room) at MSG. I was as close to the stage as I would have been at any Bowery show, but in an arena that holds 18000 people. The last time I saw Neil Young in MSG was in 2008 (incidentally, the first show I ever recorded, on a Zoom with the built-in mics), and I sat next to a couple whoíd flown from Israel to NYC for 3 days, to do some light sightseeing since they were here, but mainly to see the show. Surrounding me on the floor this time was a polyglot group, lots of whole families, moms, dads, kids, speaking the whole spectrum of European languages, as well as some neatly dressed and attractive young people who did not share Americaís quaint revulsion for the smell of the healthy human body. Iím wondering if a lot of them came to NYC mainly for the show. First the Johnny Hallyday gig and then this, and jeez it seems that a startling number of Europeans jet over to NYC for music. This, then, is the happy face of globalization.
If they did in fact fly over, I think theyíd say it was worth it. Neil put on a show, and not just music. There was a loose framing conceit and some stage gags. Half the roadies were dressed as mad scientists and the other half as construction workers, and they clowned a little as they set up the stage and raised the gigantic amp case props that held the gigantic Fender Bassman amp props which in turn presumably held real amps, which you coud see glowing through the painted cloth. Noboby would confuse this for the comedy genius of Rush, but whenever you got a Canadian in charge you get some funny. After everything was ready they slowly lowered a giant microphone to the stage, and then something really unexpected happened. A giant American flag back drop was revealed, the roadies lined up hands on heart, and Neil and the band, without any fanfare, casually walked out and joined them. After the national anthem played, they picked up instruments and went to work. It was without a doubt the most unassuming entrance Iíve ever seen a rock megastar make.
Neil looked ornery. Haggard and jowly, with lank straight hair swinging limply from a pale bald dome, flannel over t-shirt and work pants, he looked liked heís survived a disaster, and he played like the forces of creation and destruction themselves. Father of punk rock? Check. Heck, grandfather of post-punk? Check. Did he rock? Indeed he did. As weíre finding out over and over now, rock is a perfectly good old manís game. That should have been no surprise considering its connection to the blues, and the empirical evidence can no longer allow for doubt.
The show did get just the tiniest bit preachy in the middle there. Neil would have us believe there is some sort of environmental catastrophe looming and (Get this! No, Iím serious!) we should do something about it. During the protracted, glorious apocalyptic fuzzed out noise fest that ended Walk Like a Giant, a roadie now dressed in a rain slicker threw trash into a fan so that it blew onstage and piled up. Thing is, it was pretty trash. Fresh newspaper carelessly wadded with casual artistic panache and clean white plastic bags billowing like jellyfish. Movie prop trash. The trash you see in Bergdorf Goodman window displays. Trash Iíd gladly burrow into and nap. So the message I get is that rich people have great trash, and what everybody really wants, if they have any sense, is to be rich.
Neil didnít dig very deep into his vast catalog of hits, and listening to the chat in the interminable lines at elevators on the way out, it seemed like everybody wished heíd played something he didnít play. But like Rush, Neil Young continues to insist that he is not a nostalgia act. His new album is seamlessly connected to the past but perfectly modern, and the songs from it took their place beside the classics like comrades-in-arms, while three generations from at least two continents gathered in great numbers in NYC to hear them.