Concert: Neil Young & Crazy Horse in Bridgeport, CT
It may have been the second to last evening of the current leg of Neil Young's U.S. tour with Crazy Horse, but yellow flyers posted around the Webster Bank Arena in Bridgeport, CT, proved that there is apparently no moss -- or rust -- growing on the vintage rockers who filled the venue to capacity Tuesday night (12/4).
The flyers put concertgoers on notice that recorded material for an as yet unnamed future Neil Young project was being gathered that evening, and that anyone with a ticket has assigned permission for their image to be included if and when such a project occurs.
Could Bridgeport be among the venues where Young and his Crazy Horse bandmates -- Billy Talbot (bass, vocals), Ralph Molina (drums, vocals), and Frank "Poncho" Sampedro (guitar, organ, vocals) -- planned to gather content for the third installment of a promised live trilogy that began with "Rust Never Sleeps" in 1978, and continued with "Weld" in 1990?
Only time will tell.
But based on the "Rust"-centric T-shirts and posters at the merch stands displaying the "2012 Alchemy Tour" handle, perhaps the band has put a stake in the ground and is ready to produce its next, and perhaps last, live project in the coming months.
Irrelevant of the many video cameras, and recording microphones scattered around the stage and sound board, fans got an earful of classic Neil Young during his stop in the Park City, leaving them cheering for more even after the house lights came up following the encore and stoner anthem "Roll Another Number."
The show began with more than a dozen lab-coated roadies milling about the stage and mixing it up with orange-vested workers in hardhats who slowly hoisted the oversized road case covers from huge amplifier props that have been a staple of Neil's shows going back to the "Rust Never Sleeps" era.
The four musicians sauntered on-stage as the house lights dimmed, but instead of donning their instruments, they stood at attention as a monstrous American flag unfurled upstage and the National Anthem played.
But from that point on it was all TCB, with the musicians wasting no time cranking up their instruments and drums to open the two-hour-plus set with "Love and Only Love." Clustered in front of Molina's drum riser in semi-huddle formation, the instrumentalists let the power chords build until Young turned to the mic, rocking back and forth, alternately sneering and delivering the vocals.
The band's first song hastened patrons to their seats, and fans filled the open arena floor just in time to hear one of the more popular numbers in the evening's repertoire, "Powderfinger." "Walk Like a Giant," from Young and Crazy Horse's latest studio effort, "Psychedelic Pill," was the first of several epic tunes, spanning nearly 20 minutes and featuring a trademark feedback-heavy conclusion in and of itself lasting almost five minutes.
Less hearty attendees were then granted some relief as Young re-emerged from the wings with an acoustic guitar to croon his beloved ballad "Needle and the Damage Done," segueing into another brand new tune, "Twisted Road." He then switched to a honky-tonk upright piano for "Singer Without a Song," accompanied by Sampedro on acoustic guitar and utilizing Talbot for additional harmonies.
"Ramada Inn," another new song in the vein of "Crime in the City," provided a lengthy narrative following the downward spiral of a couple whose kids are grown and gone. After seeking out a change of pace traveling to see old friends, the man in the story finds his inevitable destination at the bottom of a bottle.
The remainder of the show first harkened back to "Rust Never Sleeps" with "Cinnamon Girl," before "Fuckin' Up" delivered a tongue-in-cheek tribute to those who seldom get things right -- and sometimes revel in their inabilities.
A cranked up "Mr Soul" revisited Young's brief tenure with Buffalo Springfield, followed by "Hey, Hey, My, My (Into the Black)" to close out the main set.
Young and Crazy Horse have turned their final show of the U.S. tour -- Thursday (12/6) at the Borgata Casino in Atlantic City, NJ -- into a benefit for the storm ravaged region. While he invited any musicians in the area to stop in and participate, there has been little pre-show news of any major guests planning to drop in.
The Australian leg of the "Alchemy Tour" commences in early March with about eight dates before wrapping things up with a couple of final shows in New Zealand on March 19 and 21.