Too Far Gone (SC-NY-76-12)
The Auditorium Theatre, Chicago, IL – November 15th 1976 (late show)
Disc 1: Heart Of Gold, The Old Laughing Lady, Journey Through The Past, Too Far Gone, Give Me Strength, The Needle And The Damage Done, A Man Needs A Maid, Tell Me Why, Sugar Mountain
Disc 2: Country Home, Don’t Cry No Tears, Peace Of Mind, Lotta Love, Like A Hurricane, After The Goldrush, Are You Ready For The Country
Neil Young’s 1976 tour started on 1-18-76 in Indiana for a 3 song performance with guest, Joni Mitchell, and concluded on 11-25-76 with a 5 song contribution for his infamous inclusion in The Last Waltz in San Francisco. His 1976 Tour of Japan & Europe with Crazy Horse included 22 dates. The 1976 Stills-Young Band Tour delivered 20 shows before Young abruptly ended the tour midway through it. His 1976 US Tour with Crazy Horse began on 11-1-76 in Los Angeles and concluded in Atlanta on 11-24-76 after performing 20 more shows.
Too Far Gone (SC-NY-76-12) is divided into acoustic + electric sets in excellent soundboard quality. “Heart Of Gold” finds Young in fine voice and is played in an aggressive + faster pace offering a fresh version than ends in gentle fashion. Young states afterwards: “It takes a particular kind of crowd to come down in the middle of the night.” He plays “The Old Laughing Lady” which saw its release on his debut album, “Neil Young”, in 1968. After “Journey Through The Past” he remarks: “This is a beautiful theatre folks.” The title track, “Too Far Gone”, was finally released on Young’s Freedom album in 1989. He addressed the crowd after with: “I got so many new songs that I wrote. You know you gotta keep going.”
“Give Me Strength” is from his unreleased country-rock album, Homegrown, which was passed over by the release of “Tonight’s The Night” in 1975. “A Man Needs A Maid” was performed with a rich pipe organ intro. “Tell Me Why” had a nice bounce to it that you could easily dance to. Young, the master of dry wit, commented after: “I like these late shows.” He concluded his acoustic performance with “Sugar Mountain”. The sound quality on this set was stunning and offered a continuous feed with an active and lively audience heard throughout.
The electric set begins with “Country Home” which was released on the Ragged Glory album in 1990 and this live version sounds fresh + invigorating. “Don’t Cry No Tears” clocks in at 2:40 in short pop style with a stellar rendition. “Peace Of Mind” was released on the Comes A Time album in 1978. Crazy Horse performed sparse + restrained but precise backing lending tremendous + deserving support for Young’s incredibly varied set list. Young tells the crowd just before his intention to play “Like A Hurricane”: “I did it after Bob Dylan did it. But I did it. Who is that person. It’s great to be here. I like it late…” The crowd excitement and enthusiasm can be heard after. “Like A Hurricane” came to a rather surprising and quick close at 11:18 and was right on the mark. Young reverted to piano + harmonica accompaniment for “After The Goldrush”. He remarks: “We’re going to do a song we’ve never done before. It’s a song you know. It’s just we’ve never played it.” Young ends with “Are You Ready For The Country” with a piano and harmonica lead that felt like it was missing something as he was not headlining the track with his signature lead guitar.
This 11-15-76 late show performance was previously released as Chicago Hurricane on Luminous Records (LUM-003/4). I took a preference to the acoustic set as it offered increased gain and a vibrant audience feed. The electric set was a pleasant surprise as Crazy Horse sounded like a top 40’s band rather than exhibiting their usual distinctive raw swagger. This title includes beautiful graphics and comes highly recommended.