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Neil Young & Crazy Horse – Alchemy 2013: London June 17 (Godfatherecords G.R. 930/931)

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Gr930

Alchemy 2013: London June 17 (Godfatherecords G.R. 930/931)

O2 Arena, London, England – June 17, 2013

CD1 (72:26) 1. Intro (A Day In The Life & God Save The Queen), 2. Love and Only Love, 3.  Powderfinger, 4.  Psychedelic Pill, 5. Walk Like a Giant, 6. Hole in the Sky(previously unreleased), 7.  Red Sun,  8. Comes a Time, 9. Blowin’ in the Wind (Bob Dylan cover), 10. Singer Without a Song (previously unreleased)

CD2 (73.54) 1. Ramada Inn, 2. Cinnamon Girl, 3. F*!#in’ Up, 4. Mr. Soul (Buffalo Springfield song),  5.  Hey Hey, My My (Into the Black), Encores: 6. Like a Hurricane, 7. Roll Another Number (For the Road), 8.  Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere

As 2012 rolled around Neil Young fans were excited to hear that he was again going to tour with his legendary backup band Crazy Horse after a 10 year break.

But as outlined in this cryptic press release,  by Young’s American record label Warner Bros, little did fans know that the  thinking was that this tour was the third part of a Rust tour trilogy which included the 1978 Rust Never Sleeps tour  and Weld in 1990.

“The third episode of A Rust Trilogy, which began with Rust Never Sleeps in 1978, and continued with Weld in 1990, now concludes with Alchemy in 2012. Things have changed, yet they stay the same. Alchemy, like Rust and Weld, finds the boys at another stage of life’s journey. Time has taken its toll, yet the spirit seems unstoppable.”

This led to much speculation in the press that this may have been the last Neil Young tour with Crazy Horse and sadly for fans the fall 2013 European tour and future U.S. dates had to be cancelled due to a hand injury to guitarist Poncho Samprado. I always found that touring with Crazy Horse seemed to inject new Life into Neil’s playing so let’s hope this really is not their last tour together.

While I love Neil Young’s music I am not what you might consider a hard core fan but I always admired the fact that he was not afraid to mix his set list up from his massive back catalog and not rely on his hit songs just to appease the casual fan and this concert was an affirmation of that practice.

If fans attending  were expecting a greatest hits set list they likely went home disappointed as the bulk of the set was made up of a nice mix of acoustic and electric songs from the 2012 release Psychedelic Pill and albums dating 1975 and later. The performance on this night was an intense celebration of fuzz drenched guitars and long solos.

I could really pick just about any song (s) as highlights, as there was not a beer break song in the whole setlist IMHO, but  for me the two yet unreleased songs “Hole in the Sky” and “Singer Without a Song” were a nice surprise.  I also really enjoyed tonight’s versions of “Ramada Inn”, F*!#in Up, Roll Another Number For The Road and one of my all-time favorite Neil Young songs Cinnamon Girl.

The back of the usual high quality Godfather mini album trifold packaging states this is a Soundboard/ Audience matrix and at times it does sound like a matrix, especially on the quieter acoustic songs, but on the louder electric songs it sounds more like an VG+ to EX- audience recording to me as I could not hear much soundboard influence in the mix. It seemed to be recorded reasonably close to the stage but it had some venue reverb and hollowness you get with an audience recording.

The vocals and guitars are dominant with the drums back in the mix to the point where the bass drum is very muted for most of the songs and the bass guitar is a barely heard rumble in the background. This might be why I found the recording to be overly bright, emphasizing the high frequencies at the expense of any mid frequency warmth, which I found caused listening fatigue at times for me when listened to at high volume.

Despite the brightness of the overall recording at times this Godfather release lives up to their reputation for quality releases and is an enjoyable listen. When you add in the excellent quality of the performance this release will most likely appeal to any Neil Young fan and would make a nice addition to any collection. 

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Neil Young & Crazy Horse – Alchemy 2013: London June 17 (Godfatherecords G.R. 930/931), 3.6 out of 5 based on 4 ratings

5 Comments

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  1. Avatar of classicrawker
    November 6, 2013, 6:30 pm

    No worries Stuart, sound quality is very subjective and every opinion is welcome. I spent considerable time listening to this release in several very different environments and I am comfortable in the fact that I gave an accurate description of what I heard. Too each his own. (shrugs)

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  2. Avatar of Stuart
    Stuart says
    November 6, 2013, 2:59 pm

    With all due respect classicrawker I’m going to have to side with our other two readers here, I can’t hear the discrepancies that you mention.
    A wide, crunching splatter of reverb and echo is prevalent to Neil’s live sound obviously but from my modest hi-fi and headphones I don’t hear the hollowness of the audience recording, I’m sorry. I did, however, tip the bass up on my stereo to give it a little extra weight and that seemed to work.
    I’d like to see some more people chip in with their views regarding this recording. As Classicrawker says the more opinions to our reviews, the better.

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  3. Avatar of classicrawker
    November 5, 2013, 4:30 am

    hello Mojo, booboo thanks for the feedback, rating are a matter of opinion and I listened to this title 3 times with good quality headphones, in my car and on my home system to be sure I was giving it a fair shake and I stand by my opinion. I found the sound quality on many of the electric songs to be unbalanced and overly bright which is the reason for my rating. I don’t doubt it is a SB/matrix but on the electric songs it sounded more like a quality audience recording to me due to the instrument balance issues and the venue reverb in the recording. While it may be a matrix it is not without its flaws IMHO which is all I was trying to report for the readers here.

    As I said it is a good listen and any fan would be happy to own it but I have to be honest in what I hear but I always appreciate hearing yours and other fans opinions even if they differ from mine as this gives the reader different perspectives for a bootleg. Your comments regarding this being the best recording of the Euro tour is valuable information for anyone looking for a title from that tour so please keep them coming.

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  4. Avatar of booboo
    booboo says
    November 5, 2013, 3:41 am

    I also can’t believe it being graded as VG+ Ex- it’s the best recording available from the Euro tour .

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  5. Avatar of mojopin72
    mojopin72 says
    November 5, 2013, 1:56 am

    Music, as sound quality is matter of taste but marking this source as VG+ EX- in the electric parts is unbeliavable.
    It’s clearly a sbd/aud mix and I would add that this source is perfect for Neil and Crazy Horse live sound.
    But you honestly write that you are not an hard core fan, so this is probably the reason for your point of view.

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