Friday, 14 June 2013

Neil Young - Glasgow - 2013

Glasgow SECC

13th June 2013

It’s a rare treat indeed when you are presented with a support act you would probably have gone to see anyway.  Los Lobos were one such, the chaps opening and closing their set with perhaps their two most recognisable tunes:  Will The Wolf Survive and a rather grunged-up rendition of La Bamba.

In the half-hour between these eighties bookends, the band took us along a dizzyingly eclectic journey through Louisiana, Tijuana, Chicago, East LA and a clutch of interesting places along the way.  Great Fun.

The main event began with a cabaret involving a clutch of guys in wigs and white coats trying to work out how to lift the covers off the giant speakers which dominate the stage set, all to a musical backdrop provided by The Beatles' Life in a Day.  The band themselves wandered on stage, then stood in reverence as, even more bizarrely, Flower of Scotland was played to general acclaim...  Mr Young clearly knew how to get a Glasgow audience on his side.

Young and Crazy Horse then crashed into Love and Only Love, and we were pitched headlong into a mesmeric vortex of distorted guitar and general noise which the band kept up for much of the following two and a half hours.

My own personal NY fave Powderfinger was just perfect, even down to Neil f*!#in' up by singing the same verse twice in succession.  Perhaps he intended to, who knows?

The first new song, the title track from the Psychedelic Pill album signalled a host of the full-bladder brigade to scurry off to the loos, but had they known the new album they would have realised a couple of the other new songs being aired tonight would offer plenty of scope for a more than leisurely toilet break. 

Even a 16:27 Walk Like a Giant is only the third longest effort on the band's most recent album and, as this particular composition (appeared) to wind to a close, you could tell who had not bought the new album as half the hall began to prematurely applaud.  Us clever folks knew The Giant had still to come stomping across the land, and there followed 10 minutes of aural mugging which made Lou Reed’s Metal Machine Music sound almost mainstream.

“Get on with it” a guy to our left bellowed, and a middle aged woman behind us moaned to her hubby, but I thought the band just managed to keep this side of self-indulgence with this section.  But only just.

Our ears were given a brief rest with a short acoustic section, before another new epic Ramada Inn had the boys sifting out guitar blow-out after guitar blow out, all driven along by drummer Ralph Molina’s almost metronomic 4:4 beat.

Cinnamon Girl got the place bouncing, before the guys led us through the lengthy tongue-in-cheek pantomime that is F*!#in’ Up.

By the time of The Stones’ influenced Mr Soul, I was perhaps reaching my grunge saturation point, and could possibly have lived without hearing the last three songs, although the crowd were lapping ‘em up.

Like most folks, I had expected Like a Hurricane to perhaps close out the evening, but with hindsight this classic is so familair I was reasonably content that Young chose to give it a miss. 

For with ears ringing and grey matter fried I was sated.

Love and Only Love
Psychedelic Pill
Walk Like a Giant
Hole in the Sky
Heart of Gold
Blowin' in the Wind
Singer Without a Song
Ramada Inn
Cinnamon Girl
F*!#in' Up
Mr. Soul
Hey Hey, My My (Into The Black)

Roll Another One
Everyone Knows This is Nowhere

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