Neil Young has dug into his archives and unearthed video of a complete concert he played with Crazy Horse at Buffalo’s War Memorial on February 16th, 1991 on the Smell the Horse tour. He posted it for free on his Neil Young Archives website. (Update: Young has since taken down the show.)
“This is raw,” Young wrote. “Untouched sound…we normally would have fixed some things and we will get to it, but we are sharing this with all of you just as it is ‘in all its Ragged Glory’ as [my late producer David] Briggs would have said. We are not waiting.”
The show mixes Crazy Horse standards like “Cortez the Killer,” “Like a Hurricane” and “Welfare Mothers” with songs he’d recently released on Ragged Glory like “Love to Burn” and “Fuckin’ Up.” The tour launched just as the Gulf War began and every show featured a special rendition of Bob Dylan’s “Blowin’ in the Wind” in response. The setlist didn’t change much throughout the course of the tour, but this Buffalo gig is one of just two nights where he broke out the 1976 obscurity “Campaigner.”
The live album Weld was cut on this tour, but only “Blowin’ in the Wind” and “Like a Hurricane” were recorded at this Buffalo gig. The complete show has never been seen anywhere. “We can’t get into the archive vault to retrieve the master for a remix,” Young wrote, “but it’s debatable whether one is needed at this moment.”
Young was planning on touring America with Crazy Horse this year, but the coronavirus forced him to postpone it. In the past couple of weeks, he’s posted two homemade Fireside Sessions concerts that he filmed at the Telluride, Colorado, house he shares with his wife, actress Daryl Hannah. They are packed with rarities and fan favorites like “On the Beach,” “Little Wing,” “Homefires” and “Words.”
A third edition is coming soon. “There was a brief delay, as my lovely wife was ill for several days and had to isolate herself, even during our isolation,” Young recently wrote. “It proved particularly challenging on the food front, however, she recovered, all is well and now we’re back on track.”
They initially tried to livestream the show, but their internet connection was too slow to make it work. Hannah now shoots the show on her iPad, edits it and then leaves the device on their doorstep for a friend to bring into town, where it is uploaded to the web.
As we await the new Fireside Session, check out the 1991 Crazy Horse gig. It’s Young at his Godfather of Grunge prime and a great gift for fans stuck in their homes.