Don’t Spook The Crazy Horse (no label)
The Catalyst, Santa Cruz, CA – November 13th, 1990
Disc 1 (49:56): Audience, Country Home, Surfer Joe And Moe The Sleaze, Love To Burn, Days That Used To Be, Bite The Bullet, Cinnamon Girl
Disc 2 (68:02): Audience, Farmer John, Cowgirl In The Sand, Over And Over, Dangerbird, Don’t Cry No Tears (False Start), Don’t Cry No Tears, Sedan Delivery, Roll Another Number, Fuckin ‘Up
Disc 3 (65:14): Audience, T-Bone, Homegrown, Mansion On The Hill, Like A Hurricane, Love And Only Love, Cortez The Killer
Before Neil Young & Crazy Horse toured for Ragged Glory in 1991 the played a few warm up gigs in small venues. The second date they visited The Catalyst in San Jose, a venue they performed in several times since 1975. Young played three sets that night and all were recorded in an excellent stereo DAT audience recording. An earlier silver pressed release came out several years ago on Cowgirl In The Santa Cruz (Seymour-77/8/9).
It has been suggested that this is the greatest Neil Young concert available on any format, legal or illegitimate. After a decade which saw Young start out at the height of his popularity and see him going through extreme stylistic changes and fights with his new record company, he reasserted himself with Freedom and Ragged Glory.
His live performance hearkens back to the his best as well. There are no acoustic numbers in this set but a full electric assault recalling the improvisational mindset, not from the late seventies, but from the early seventies where they would expand songs with endless solos and fun jamming.
At close to three hours, this is also one of the longest Neil Young concerts on record. The first set starts off the familiar “Country Home.” It sets the tone for the evening by being pushed to ten minutes long, almost double it’s usual length. It is followed by “Surfer Joe And Moe The Sleaze” from Re*Ac*Tor played for the final time live.
The band begins to loosen up by the end of the first set. Neil gives an introduction to “Cinnamon Girl,” saying: “A little bark grew on us while we were gone. A little rust. We’d like to bring this golden oldie out of the pocket for you. From the rust bucket. I hope this won’t prick you now, you’ll get tetanus.”
The second set begins with “Farmer John,” a song that had its live debut the previous night in La Honda. Although it would never be a regular part of the live set, having been played only twelve times, it would be included in some important shows in the intervening years such as Farm Aid in 1994.
“Rattle your brain … Shake the cobwebs out” Billy Talbot says before they embark on a fifteen minute “Cowgirl In The Sand.” Later in the set they play “Over And Over” for only the second of two times live (the first on the previous night in La Honda), and “Dangerbird” receives its live debut.
The third set starts off with the only live performance of “T-Bone,” with it’s heavy feedback to set the tone for the final extraordinary hour. There is some familiarity in the long jam session of “Like A Hurricane” but “Love And Only Love” caps the evening. At eighteen minutes long, it culminates with all of the mannerism of Neil Young and Crazy Horse which is real fun to listen to. “Cortez The Killer” is played as the encore.
Don’t Spook The Crazy Horse is a fantastic release worth having. It is one of the best Neil Young performaces out there and is worth having.If you liked this review, buy me a cup of joe. (Suggested: $3 a shot or $7.5 for a double)