Neil Young – Le Grand Rex Second Evening (Crystal Cat CC 871-873)

Le Grand Rex Second Evening (Crystal Cat CC 871-873)

Le Grand Rex, Paris, France – February 15th, 2008

Disc 1, Pegi Young:  Shine On Shine On, Heterosexual Masses, When The Wildlife Betrays Me, Sometimes, Sometimes Like A River (Loving You), Starting Over, Love Like Water, Number Nine, Wrestle Awhile

Disc 2, Neil Young acoustic set:  Intro., From Hank To Hendrix, Ambulance Blues, Sad Movies, A Man Needs A Maid, No One Seems To Know, Try, Harvest, After The Goldrush, Mellow My Mind, Love Art Blues, The Needle And The Damage Done, Heart Of Gold.  Bonus tracks, RAI Theater, Amsterdam, Holland – February 20th, 2008:  Love In Mind, Old King, Campaigner, Old Man

Disc 3, Neil Young electric set:  Mr. Soul, Don’t Cry No Tears, Dirty Old Man, Spirit Road, Bad Fog Of Loneliness, Winterlong, Oh Lonesome Me, The Believer, No Hidden Path, Cinnamon Girl, Rockin’ In The Free World, The Sultan

Le Grand Rex Second Evening documents the complete show on February 15th at Le Grand Rex in Paris and was issued by Crystal Cat at the same time as the tape for the previous evening.  Unlike the other, this one is a three disc set which contains the opening set by Pegi Young on the first disc.  Technically the third disc, with Neil’s electric set, is dubbed the “bonus disc.”  Crystal Cat use perfect stereo audience tapes for both sets.  It is so good it sounds much better than many official releases and this can be ranked among the greatest tapes to circulate from Young’s Continental tour.  The opening set by Pegi Young lasts for about a half hour and is a mixture of originals and country covers.  Her voice is pretty but although not distinctive and she leaves the stage before wearing out her welcome.

Neil Young’s acoustic set on disc one is very businesslike with very little elaboration or story telling on his part.  This is in sharp contrast to Amsterdam where he spends a significant amount of time talking politics and art.  The tape begins with the mc presenting the artist before beginning with “From Hank To Hendrix.”  In an interesting note Neil changes the lyrics at the end where “new distance between us, you and me” becomes “new closeness between us, you and me.”  This is followed by “Ambulance Blues” and these two numbers open ever show on the tour.  In fact, ever show (except the March 6th show in Hammersmith Apollo in London) have the same four songs.  After “A Man Needs A Maid” (with pretty piano ornamentation) Young plays “No One Seems To Know.”  

“Needle And The Damage Done” makes its tour debut and will be played only two more times, making it a bit of a rarity.  The acoustic set ends with the expected “Heart Of Gold.”  The label also includes four bonus tracks on the second disc, adding four songs from the February 20th RAI Theater acoustic set, “Love In Mind,” “Old King,” “Campaigner,” “Old Man.”  The entire tape was pressed recently on Dutch Master, but Crystal Cat significantly increase the volume of the tape.  These are included since they were not played in Paris but also because they are the more interesting selections in the Amsterdam show.

The electric set on disc two opens with the electric Year Of The Horse arrangement of the Buffalo Springfield song “Mr. Soul,” followed by the old classic “Don’t Cry No Tears” and the acerbic “Dirty Old Man.”  The latter is a tough song to take and makes one wonder if it is a bitter retort to “Old Man.”  The way that Young spits out the words in this show is a wonder to hear.  After “Bad Fog Of Loneliness” Neil introduces the band, but is confronted by some loudmouths shouting out to him.  “I’ll have what he’s got” he quips.  After announcing the band the same loudmouth shouts, “who are you?”  “I’m nobody.  I’m sponsored by water.  I’d like to do this next song for a former band-mate who’s not with us this evening because he’s in heaven.  Or at least on his way there.  He may have had a few snacks.  Mr. Danny Whitten.” 

“Oh, Lonesome Me” is introduced as a song written by Don Gibson.  “No Hidden Path” clocks in at a paltry nineteen minutes and the set closes with “Cinnamon Girl.”  The first encore is a long, distorted version of “Rockin’ In The Free World” which Young introduces as “is as like a bad drug, it keeps coming back” and shakes the foundations of the movie theater, and the final song of the night is “The Sultan.”  Le Grand Rex Second Night is packaged in a fatboy jewel case with color glossy photos and a twelve page picture book included with several candid photos at the venue.  There have been many different releases from this tour in the past month or so and all of them are excellent and worth having.  This one is unique for the inclusion of the Pegi Young set (none of the others do) and of course the gorgeous Crystal Cat packaging.   

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