May 16, 2024

Neil Young and Crazy Horse played Forest Hills Stadium (Night 2)

Neil Young and Crazy Horse changed things up for night two of their back-to-back shows at Forest Hills Stadium.

Sometimes you go to a show and think "that was so good I need to go again." I have that thought often, but it's not always an achievable thing. So, after seeing Neil Young and Crazy Horse for their first show at Forest Hills Stadium in Queens, I knew I had to go back for round two. Now, for many bands and artists, that may be redundant as it's not too common for drastically different set lists each night unless you're going to see a jam band or a jazz act. Interestingly enough (perhaps), I've still yet to experience my Dead phase and most of the jazz artists I'd love to see have since passed away so partaking in this kind of double-feature isn't one that presents itself very frequently for me. In fact, Neil might be the closest I get in either direction and before you start to question Neil's relation to jazz, I highly recommend getting a copy of Miles Davis' Fearless which is a live album from his setting opening for, you guessed it, Young and Crazy Horse at the Fillmore East on March 7, 1970 (there's actually a live album from Neil's set as well if you really want to go for the full experience). Making my way to the pit once again, I began to overhear others in conversation about the prior night's show and knew I was in good company. Starting once again with "Cortez the Killer," the flood of emotions instantly returned and I was swept away in the wondrous haze of his swirling guitar. Going from a song about white industrial colonialism to one about being deeply in love and both hitting with such power is the true testament to Neil's songwriting ability and no matter how many times you hear these tracks, they can still wallop you with a hell of a punch as their beauty unfolds in real time. Changing things up, Young unleashed a bruised and batter rendition of "Fuckin' Up" that had the crowd bouncing along and chanting back with supreme pleasure before Young slouched into the sludgey masterpiece "Down by the River." Crashing into that chorus was a special moment and one of the first of the night that would highlight the unique joys that Young is putting into these set lists night after night. It hit me hard when he broke into "Roll Another Number (For the Road)" that there might not be another artist out there who could play only one track from my favorite album of theirs and still think each night's set list was as close to perfect as possible. Neil's catalogue is just that vast and meaningful. Digging deeper into his nineties renaissance album Ragged Glory, "Mansion on the Hill" was another fun twist in the night and following it up with a stunning "Danger Bird" was nothing short of genius, the song's slow burning effect cascading over the crowd as the lightest of drizzle rained down adding brilliant effects to an already magical evening. Of course, "Powderfinger" once again knocked me over like only it can, the sheer joy that runs through my veins is nearly impossible to describe, but it only elevated when Neil took a swig of his always on-hand Labatt Blue mid-song before launching into a blistering solo in without a doubt one of the coolest motions I've ever seen on stage, never missing a beat and crushing the song with undisputed power. For the acoustic portion of the set, Neil kept things mostly the same and when "Human Highway" went off without a hitch, it triggered him to stick with it and he swiftly went into "I am a Child," rendering the entire stadium weak in the knees. To keep things on pace, "Sugar Mountain" came next and it damn near seemed like the crowd as a whole was going to weep with joy. Somehow more prevalent than on night one, the sing-a-long aspect of the solo set really carried over the audience and felt uniting in a way that never occurred the night before. Closing things out with two epic barnstormers, the horse roared through "Hey Hey, My My (Into the Black)" with everyone in attendance once again shouting back "ROCK AND ROLL WILL NEVER DIE" with all their might, ripping away at bombastic solos and huge rushes of sound. A defiant and blustering "Like a Hurricane" was the final astounding blow that sealed the night's epic status with the glistening feedback ringing over the sea of people, arms all raised in the air to show their love and praise for one of the greatest to ever do it.

Set list:

01 "Cortez the Killer"
02 "Cinnamon Girl"
03 "Fuckin' Up"
04 "Down by the River"
05 "Scattered (Let's Think about Livin')"
06 "Roll Another Number (For the Road)"
07 "Don't Cry No Tears"
08 "Mansion on the Hill"
09 "Danger Bird"
10 "Powderfinger"
11 "Love and Only Love"
12 "Comes a Time"
13 "Heart of Gold"
14 "Human Highway"
15 "I am a Child"
16 "Sugar Mountain"
17 "Hey Hey, My My (Into the Black)"
18 "Like a Hurricane"

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