Fans usually know what to expect from Neil Young‘s Farm Aid set. He’s performed every single year since the first one in 1985, and he usually plays his pro-weed anthem “Homegrown,” the environmental plea “Mother Earth” and a bunch of tunes from his 1978 LP Comes a Time, along with classics like “After the Goldrush.”
At this year’s show at the Saratoga Springs Performing Arts Center he went in a very different direction. With the exception of “Heart of Gold” and “Old Man,” he played nothing but covers by his favorite songwriters. He opened with Bob Dylan’s “Blowin’ in the Wind” and added Gordon Lightfoot’s “Early Morning Rain,” Ivory Joe Hunter’s “Since I Met You Baby,” Tim Hardin’s “Reason to Believe” and Phil Ochs’ “Changes.” He had never played those last four songs at any prior show.