Most bands giving a headlining performance at a major festival would keep their set list to the greatest hits side of things. Or perhaps play a bunch of songs off the record they just released. Not Neil Young and Crazy Horse. They spent nearly half of their two hours last night trying out new tunes from their upcoming album -- songs no one except Young obsessives have heard yet. "Ontario" and "Walk Like a Giant" both sounded like classic, dirty Crazy Horse dirges, but our favorite was the new acoustic song about hearing Dylan's "Like a Rolling Stone" for the first time. There wasn't a single selection from the album of Americana covers Young and Crazy Horse put out this year.
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.