Christopher Victorio Neil Young and Crazy Horse last night at Outside Lands Festival.
See also: More Outside Lands Festival news from SF Weekly
While he's putting everything into a solo, Neil Young's face looks like his electric guitar sounds: flush with feeling, vaguely threatening, and thoroughly aged. Not old as in frail, but venerable; geologic. On the chilly, windy opening night of San Francisco's Outside Lands festival, Young the legend and his old group of noisemakers treated the sold-out crowd to a demonstration of rock as dinosaur music: gray hair and ancient, howling amplifiers, unapologetic nostalgia, 15-minute jams, the singer's O.G. nasal twang spooning out at times a bit too much lyrical honesty to keep the buzz going. (Even if they then built it back up.) It was the exact opposite of today's byte-sized, hyper-compressed, we'll-do-anything-to-hold-your-attention music culture. And it was great -- occasionally.
Christopher Victorio Neil Young and Crazy Horse at the Outside Lands festival.
Young never apologized for the set list, but he did obliquely quip about its newness: After a long, bleak new tune about alcoholism, he said, "I wrote this one this morning" -- just before launching into "Cinnamon Girl." You could feel a collective sigh of relief from the shivering masses. "Fuckin' Up" brought a familiar, reckless joy, and Young trading middle fingers and sumo-dancing in sync with Frank "Poncho" Sampedro, his longtime guitarist. All four musicians spent the show close to one another, often maintaining eye contact, which contributed to the feeling that the performance was more for benefit of the guys onstage than the tens of thousands watching.
Young musing on songwriting: "We can't help ourselves, we're trained like chimps. They trained us to write songs and we don't know how to stop."
1. Love and Only Love 2. Powderfinger 3. Ontario [New Song] 4. Walk Like a Giant [New Song] 5. The Needle and the Damage Done (Young solo acoustic) 6. [New song about hearing "Like a Rolling Stone" for first time] 7. Ramada Inn/ Every Morning Comes the Sun [New Song] 8. Cinnamon Girl 9. Fuckin' Up 10. Party Girl [New Song; "Sign of Love" with different lyrics] 11. Hey Hey, My My (Into the Black)
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