Mittwoch, 13. Oktober 2010

Neil Young & The Stray Gators - Norfolk, Virginia 1973 (Soundboard)

Over three months, Neil Young planned to visit 65 cities and stop for a break at the end of March. The "Time Fades Away"-tour would resume in August and shift to Europe in November, playing seven shows in the UK. Then back to America to play the final dates in New York, Boston, two shows in Ohio, Chicago and finally in Berkeley.

The Stray Gators lasted only till end March and were replaced by the Santa Monica Flyers for the rest of the tour. It is also well-documented that by March, Young’s voice was shot and he asked Linda Ronstadt, David Crosby and Graham Nash to join him to offer vocal support. This is also the famous tour where the band asked and received a hefty salary increase. "Harvest" had become a multi-million seller and the money was rolling in. Young was furious but paid them anyway. Perhaps he felt guilty about the way he had dismissed the late Danny Whitten, with $50 and a plane ticket. Whitten used the money, scored heroin and died of an overdose.

Young had figured correctly. He opened with an acoustic set, playing the ballads from "After The Goldrush" and "Harvest", winning the audience completely and setting the stage for his electric set with the Stray Gators. By then, the crowd was waiting for rock ‘n’ roll and Young delivered some new songs ("Time Fades Away", "Look Out Joe", "New Mama", "Don’t Be Denied") with some of his well-loved rockers "The Loner", "Southern Man" and "Cinnamon Girl". Everybody went home happy. The critics praised his shows. The only unhappy man was Neil Young - at his band, at his voice and at the audience. According to David Downing’s "A Dreamer Of Pictures", Young "found the audiences too loud during his acoustic set, too quiet in the electric portion of the show. He started screaming at them to wake up." Young was obviously stressed out.

Everything came crashing down at the final show in Oakland, March 31. If you know the "Citizen Kane Junior Blues" show, you can listen to Young explain how it all ended:

"I was singing away - Southern Man, better keep your head, don’t forget what the good book said - and this guy in the front row, he was about as far away as you are from me, he jumped up and yelled, ‘Right on, right on, I love it!’ He felt really good, I could tell. And all of a sudden, you know, this black cop just walked up to him, you know, and it just was the scene the way he looked at him, and he just crunched him."I just took my guitar out and put it on the ground and got in the car and went home…" Rock ‘n’ roll was not making him happy and Young felt disconnected from his fans. This unhappy period is documented on "Time Fades Away", the album. No doubt it remains unreleased because Young wants to forget. It would take the successful 1976 tour with Crazy Horse to lift his spirits and set him in a new direction as a rock ‘n’ roll survivor.

Of all the shows from the ’73 tour, this is one of the best in sound quality. The vocals are upfront and Young sings well. There’s also the rare "Here We Are In The Years". The drums and guitars are properly balanced and offer a solid backing to the singing. So is this a professional recording? This show was taken from a torrent site. According to the seeder, it was copied from a vinyl bootleg, "The 1973 Tour", re-pitched and remastered. The sound is excellentfor the acoustic portion but is a bit muddy during the electric set. You can hear the clicks and pops here. Quite hissy at loud volumes. Never officially released.
- Professor Red,

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