Neil Young & Crazy Horse performed at London’s Hyde Park last night (July 12).
The gig, part of the Barclaycard presents British Summer Time series of gigs, featured a number of lesser known tracks from Young’s catalogue, along with a handful of classics and a new song.
Young arrived on stage just before 8pm along with Crazy Horse members Frank ‘Poncho’ Sampedro and Ralph Molina, as well as Rick Rosas, standing in for Billy Talbot who recently suffered a stroke, and two backing singers. They immediately began playing ‘Love And Only Love’ from their 1990 album ‘Ragged Glory’. Two more songs from that album, Neil Young And Crazy Horse’s sixth together, the others being ‘Days That Used To Be’ and ‘Love To Burn’. They also played ‘Barstool Blues’, from 1975’s ‘Zuma’.
The set, which lasted just over two hours, also featured more-recent or more obscure material. ‘Separate Ways’, for example, would’ve featured on Young’s scrapped and unreleased album ‘Homegrown’, recorded in 1974 and 1975. They also performed ‘Goin’ Home’ from 2002’s ‘Are You Passionate?’ and the title track from 2012’s ‘Psychedelic Pill’. They did, however, play a reworked version of ‘After The Gold Rush’ from Young’s 1970 album of the same name.
Noticing some members of the crowd calling for more well-known songs, Young kicked off a short acoustic section of the set by saying: “You sad bastards out there stop crying and complaining. This one’s for you sad bastards,” and went straight into ‘Only Love Can Break Your Heart’ on his own, although the grin on his face, and the way he playfully threw a grape into his mouth, suggested he was either joking or being deliberately provocative.
He then covered Bob Dylan’s ‘Blowin’ In The Wind’ and played ‘Heart Of Gold’, which got the best reaction of the night. Switching back to electric guitar, Young then started playing ‘Barstool Blues’ before the rest of the band had returned to the stage. “I just want to see what happens,” he said, band members joining in as they arrived.
Finishing up the main part of the set with ‘Cinnamon Girl’ and ‘Rockin’ In The Free World’, the band quickly returned for the first of two encores, playing new song ‘Who’s Gonna Stand Up And Save The Earth?’, a song loaded with environmental messages and criticisms of governments and big corporations.
The opening verse and first chorus goes: “Protect the wild/Tomorrow’s child/Protect the land but free the man. Take out the dams/Stand up to oil/Protect the plants and renew the soil. Who’s gonna stand up and save the earth? Who’s gonna say that she’s had enough. Who’s gonna take on the big machine? Who’s gonna stand up and save the earth?” You can watch a version of the song below, filmed in Cork earlier this month.
The band then left the stage and returned one final time, to play a 16-minute version of ‘Down By The River’, from Neil Young And Crazy Horse’s 1969 album ‘Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere’. It was dedicated to bassist Billy Talbot, who was forced to sit out the European tour while he recuperates. The band then took a bow at the centre of the stage, before walking off eating the grapes Young had in a large whicker basket at the back of the stage.
British Summer Time has seen headline performances from Arcade Fire, Black Sabbath and The Libertines so far. Young topped a bill that also included Lucy Rose, Half Moon Run, Caitlin Rose, Phosphorescent, Midlake, Tom Odell and The National.
Neil Young played:
‘Love And Only Love’
‘Days The Used To Be’
‘After The Gold Rush’
‘Love To Burn’
‘Only Love Can Break Your Heart’
‘Blowin’ In The Wind’
‘Heart Of Gold’
‘Rockin’ In The Free World’
‘Who’s Gonna Stand Up And Save The Earth’
‘Down By The River’