Neil Young – Boston 1976 (no label)

Boston 1976 (no label)

Music Hall, Boston, MA – November 22, 1976 (early)

Disc 1 (35:02):  Introduction, The Old Laughing Lady, Human Highway, Journey Through The Past, Pocahontas, The Needle And The Damage Done, Give Me Strength, A Man Needs A Maid, Sugar Mountain

Disc 2 (54:57):  Country Home, Don’t Cry No Tears, Down By The River, Lotta Love, Like A Hurricane, After The Goldrush, Cortez The Killer, Cinnamon Girl, Are You Ready For The Country?

Neil Young ended the short tour in November 1976 with two shows in Boston and two in Atlanta, right before playing in The Band’s final show in San Francisco.  The two Boston shows exist on tape and were released several years ago in the four disc set Well-Known Secret (Screamer-05028-031).  Both of the shows are in great sound quality and are one of the definitive releases from this era.

Boston 1976 features the early show from that date from the newly surfaced Dan Lampinski tape.  The difference between this the tapes is the same as between the two Pink Floyd tapes from June 1975.  Both are excellent, clear, detailed and powerful recordings.  The older source is contains less audience noise and is “cleaner.”  Lampinski’s has more atmosphere and picks up some of the audience’s entertaining reactions to the music, including the out-of-tune singing in “Sugar Mountain.”

The early show is very laid back with a quiet, attentive audience enjoying the show.  “The Old Laughing Lady” starts off the show with a reference to “Guilty Train” by the end.  Young throws in John Ehrlichman and Ann Margaret in “Pocahontas” along with Marlon Brando and himself.  

An emotional highpoint is reached with the melodramatic “A Man Needs A Maid” and before the final song “Sugar Mountain” Young has to tell the crowd that he really is much happier than he appears.  

The set with Crazy Horse begins with “Country Home”, the usual custom on this tour.  A short delay follows.  “He says it’s too loud?  No?  I think there’s some mice in the speakers” Young says before they launch into “Don’t Cry No Tears.”

Another delay follows “Down By The River” as Young is trying to tune his guitar.  “I can’t use this thing.  It sounds awful. … I supposed after leaving you alone for so long while I got my guitar I should come back with a big hit.  But I’m not gonna…. Here we go with another new song I love to play.  Sell that other guitar please.  It’s a little off, but so is everything else.”  He follows with a shaky version of “Lotta Love.”

“After The Gold Rush” was normally played in the first half with other acoustic numbers, but for several shows he moved it to the second half as a break in the long and heavy electric numbers.  The audience cheers loudly when he sings “and I felt like getting high.”

“Cortez The Killer” is very powerful here and the band begins the final song of the set “Cinnamon Girl” out of tune.  The encore, “Are You Ready For The Country?” is played at a slower tempo.  Boston 1976 is packaged in a double slimline jewel case with various photos from the tour and is a good title to have from Young’s second and final solo tour that year. 

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