May 18, 2024

Neil Young and Crazy Horse played Xfintiy Center (MA)

Neil Young and Crazy Horse continued their way along the east coast with a show outside of Boston at the Xfinity Center in Mansfield, Massachusetts.

As they've been doing, Neil Young and the all-time great backing band Crazy Horse kicked-up some dirt with their raucous sound of distorted, blown-out guitar fuzz as they rolled into Massachusetts on Friday night for another killer show on their Love Earth Tour. Roaring feedback and melding guitar tones, as rusted as ever, continued to elevate the band's sound of ragged, barnstorming rock and roll making for a loud start to the weekend. In some ways, many things have stayed the same for Neil and the band over the years, from their tight-knit on-stage huddle where they stand so close it's as if they'll smash their guitar necks into each other at any moment, to their larger than life stage props which include towering guitar amps and over-sized road cases that loom over the stage to heighten the sense of their fuzz-bomb sound. The intimacy they encompass makes it feel as if you've been invited into their rehearsal space to witness the ultimate jam session amongst old friends. It's a remarkable site to behold time and time again and with each passing show, they fly off the cuff, making live calls on stage as to what will come next. It's a raw and primal experience, witnessing such legends in their element as they blast away through timeless hits with the greatest of ease. Continuing the tour's theme of "Cortez the Killer" as the opening track, the band slowed down the pace once again to allow for the extensive, near drone-like stomp to build up and really drag out the notes with electric fever. The newly added "lost" verse preserving the length of the track before diving head first into "Cinnamon Girl" and picking things up with fever-induced pitch. Headed towards his nineties revival period, "Fuckin' Up" was another loaded gem and the newest song of the night, 1996's "Scattered," was dedicated to David Briggs per usual and led into a strident "I'm the Ocean" from 1995's Mirror Ball. The rest of the night was pretty much the greatest hits as expected starting with "Roll Another Number (For the Road)" before dusting off "Barstool Blues" for the first time in a decade. A real treat and new surprise for the tour, the track howled with rich textures and more of Neil's crippling lyrics. As always, "Powderfinger" was a highlight, getting the crowd back on their feet and cheering with ecstasy as we all shouted back with true passion. The acoustic portion was still an emotional and effective segment of the night, his words once again hitting with real elegance and feeling as we all reeled on the thought of "how can people be so unkind," an idea that still feels as relevant now as when he put the pen to paper back in the day. The blistering punch of "Hey Hey, My My" helped close out the main set with the horse chomping at the bit behind him, preserving the spirit of rock and roll with each thunderous crash of the drums and unhinged strike of the guitar. After taking their bows, the group returned for the double-whammy encore of "Down by the River" and "Like a Hurricane," each track stretching out past the fourteen minute mark for extended bliss and undeniable triumph. Neil's elaborate solos never faltering and somehow surging with added intensity. The spiritual release that came with each number was astounding and the band's skills dazzled with almighty power that displayed their unwavering abilities to keep things rocking for over half a century. Their enduring spirit shows no signs of fading away and to be in the presence of their greatness isn't something that seems to ever burn out with distain. Rather, the lords of grunge have proven time and time again that there's no slowing down the horse. Long may they run!

Set list:

01 "Cortez the Killer"
02 "Cinnamon Girl"
03 "Fuckin' Up"
04 "Scattered (Let's Think about Livin')"
05 "I'm the Ocean"
06 "Roll Another Number (For the Road)"
07 "Barstool Blues"
08 "Mansion on the Hill"
09 "Powderfinger"
10 "Love and Only Love"
11 "Comes a Time"
12 "Heart of Gold"
13 "Human Highway"
14 "Hey Hey, My My (Into the Black)"
15 "Down by the River"
16 "Like a Hurricane"

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