NYCH In NYC (Rockmasters RMC-013AB)
Palladium, New York, NY – November 20th, 1976 (early show)
Disc 1: Audience, Mister Soul, Old Laughing Lady, Journey Through The Past, Pocahontas, Mellow My Mind (aborted), Mellow My Mind, The Needle And The Damage Done, Roll Another Number, A Man Needs A Maid, Sugar Mountain, tuning, Country Home, Don’t Cry No Tears
Disc 2: Down By The River, Bite The Bullet, Lotta Love, Like A Hurricane, After The Gold Rush, Cortez The Killer, Cinnamon Girl, Helpless. Bonus tracks, Berkeley Community Theater, CA – November 2nd, 1976 (early show): Cowgirl In The Sand, Peace Of Mind
When Neil Young began working again with the reformed Crazy Horse after a five year hiatus in 1975 to record Zuma, they scheduled well received tours in California (Rolling Zuma Review), Japan and Europe. And the draw was strong enough to make Young decide to leave the Long May You Run tour with Steven Stills in the summer of 1976 and schedule the second tour with Crazy Horse. The autumn dates were the first proper tour with the new band and took in nineteen shows between November 1st in Los Angeles and November 24th in Atlanta with Young appearing solo the following night at The Band’s final show at Winterland in San Francisco. Young played two shows at the Palladium in New York on November 20th. The early show exists in a very good to almost excellent audience recording and is presented in full on NYCH In NYC. A half hour of the evening show exists on tape and might have made a good bonus to this one, but Rockmasters chose to include two songs from the second show of the tour in Berkeley.
The tape has very little cuts between some of the songs but captures all of the music. It is a very good audience recording that captures the atmosphere of the event well. The top end is a bit dull reducing the clarity somewhat and was previously released about ten years ago on Carolina Queen (F*!#IN’ UP FUPCD-2018/19). It begins with seagulls squawking as Young takes the stage for the opening acoustic half of the show and plays Buffalo Springfield’s “Mr. Soul.” This was a regular inclusion in the set list for the summer tour with Stills (for obvious reasons), but played for the only time in his tours with Crazy Horse. “Old Laughing Lady” has a reference to “Guilt Train” by the end. Afterwards Young says to the crowd, “Good to see you folks here tonight.” “Pocahontas” contains references to John Ehrlichman and the first family in addition to Marlon Brando.
He whips out the banjo for the only performance of “Mellow Mind Mind.” This was played regularly in Japan and Europe but receives its only rendition in November in this show. Young stops playing after thirty seconds after discovering his banjo is grossly out of tune. “This thing’s out of tune for the song. Give me another chance Mr. Mac.” After a bit of tuning he says, “that’s better. So here it goes. This is especially for you critics.” “Roll Another Number” is played for the first time on this tour and will be played one more time two nights later in the Boston evening show. “A Man Needs A Maid” receives the loudest ovation in the acoustic set. “No One Seems To Know,” which followed “A Man Needs A Maid” on every date in Japan and Europe, was dropped from the regular autumn set list and only made five appearances in the nineteen shows.
Normally when a 1976 Neil Young show is pressed the manufacturers place the acoustic set on the first disc and the electric set with Crazy Horse on disc two. Rockmasters chose to place the one minute tuning for the second set and the first two songs, “Country Home” and “Don’t Cry No Tears,” at the end of disc one. “Bite The Bullet” made its live debut at the last Young-Stills show on July 20th and was played in most of the November shows before begin recorded and released on the following year’s American Stars ‘N Bars. “We’d like to try a few new tunes here” Young says before “Lotta Love” which would be released almost two years later on Comes A Time, and the nine minute epic “Like A Hurricane.” Afterwards Young plays “After The Goldrush” alone on the piano. Normally this song was played during the first, but on several dates it was used as a metaphorical “caesura” for the second.
The final two songs of the show are the languorous “Cortez The Killer” and the happy “Cinnamon Girl.” Four full minutes of audience cheering are tracked with the final song before “Helpless” is played, the show’s only encore. As a bonus Rockmasters includes two songs from the November 2nd Berkeley early show “Cowgirl In The Sand” and “Peace Of Mind” played for only the second time. This is sourced from a fair audience recording that is thin and distorted and works well as a bonus but would be rough going for two hours. NYCH In NYC is the first release on the Rockmasters label in almost two years and this is a good job in presenting an unjustly overlooked Neil Young show from this fabled tour.