Deep Chrome (no label)
Hammersmith Apollo, London, England – March 9th, 2008
Disc 1: Intro., From Hank To Hendrix, Ambulance Blues, Sad Movies, A Man Needs A Maid, No One Seems To Know, Harvest, After The Gold Rush, Mexico, Try, Old King, Love Art Blues, Don’t Let It Bring You Down, The Needle And The Damage Done, Heart Of Gold, The Loner
Disc 2: Dirty Old Man, Spirit Road, Down By The River, Hey Hey My My, Too Far Gone, Oh Lonesome Me, The Believer, Powderfinger, No Hidden Path, The Sultan
Neil Young concluded the 2008 European Chrome Dreams Continental Tour with nine shows in the UK and six of those at the Hammersmith Apollo in London. Deep Chrome documents the fourth show of the set and was followed by a two show excursion to Manchester before Young returned for two more shows in London. This is actually the second commercial release of the March 9th show. The first was on 4th Night In London (Trial-299), the pro-CDR label. Deep Chrome is on pressed silver and is, according to the label, a significant improvement. With excellent sound quality, this is a crystal clear and well balanced recording capturing every detail of the performance. The taper shouts out “Separate Ways” after “No One Seems To Know.”
The set list and structure of the show with the first half acoustic and second half electric recalls the classic tours from the seventies. Although some songs from Chrome Dreams II are played, the weight of lies upon the older numbers that hadn’t been played in a long time. One bloke commented: “Went to the Sunday gig which was fantastic. Always hoped to see the man live but never expected to hear so many great numbers as well. Only marred by the Geordie bloke and his Welsh lady friend standing at the back of the circle talking through most of both sets. They only shut up when one of them went for a smoke or a beer, he then complained at the songs he missed! Let’s hope they don’t breed!”
The acoustic half begins with the common songs from the tour including “From Hank To Hendrix” and a nine minute version of “Ambulance Blues.” After “Sad Movies” Young says, “I found a new chord I haven’t heard before. That wasn’t you, was it? It was me. You can talk.” “A Man Needs A Maid” is followed by its sequel “No One Seems To Know.” Since being introduced back into the set list after thirty years they have taking on a life of their own and both are played with an interesting augmentations to the piano melodies. “After The Goldrush” is introduced by Young saying, “I wrote song a long time ago about earth. And this is it.” “Mexico” is played for the first time and will appear again in the March 15th setlist. “Old King Blues” is a fun song but the trio of “Don’t Let It Bring You Down,” “Needle And The Damage Done” and “Heart Of Gold” express an emotional intensity that is overwhelming.
The second disc contains the electric set and as if to complete distance himself from the first half Young lets out a scream of electric feedback and fuzz. “Down By The River” is eleven minutes of improvisational genius. After “Too Far Gone” an eyewitness writes: “Neil cracked a fingernail in his pick/strumming hand 1/2-way through electric set, checking it several times and eventually having a plaster/bandage of some sort applied by a stage hand twice. This cut (ehem) into his ferocity of playing, but of course didn’t diminish his energy or power.” “Powderfinger” begins with another blast of fuzz and the set closes with the twenty minute intricate “No Hidden Path” and “The Sultan.” Although the show on March 8th has a more interesting set list (“Flying On The Ground Is Wrong” and “On The Way Home.”) Deep Chrome is an excellent recording of a great show 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)