by / June 17th, 2013 /

Neil Young & Crazy Horse – Dublin

Neil Young looks up to the heavens, scanning the sky as if searching for a sign. Cloud cover has finally settled over the RDS on an evening that has blown hard in the face of Canada’s greatest singer-songwriter and his wild-natured backing band. Hanging speaker stacks flanking the stage wobble in the stiff breeze and even Old Shaky himself has to hang on to his hat at one point. It’s nothing however compared to the storminess of the close-standing quartet who just a few minutes into tonight’s show stick a middle finger up to anyone who was hoping to hear ‘The Needle & The Damage Done’ softly picked from a highstool.

Instead, all 20,000 of us are swamped in uncompromising, Americana noise that is jammed out to the horizon and back, as if we’ve all been allowed sit in on four stoned teenagers making a din in their garage one Sunday afternoon. The 67-year-old, dressed like some manner of Mexican undertaker, leads the band of brothers through the scales. ‘Walk Like A Giant’ (from last year’s Psychedelic Pill) is a vast scuffed-up groove with dirt under its fingernails as the mercurial head honcho does exactly what he sings, wrestling his guitar into thunderous shapes. When it takes ten minutes of quaking feedback and false finales to end the song, the crowd is split between the “get-on-with-its” and the “fucking-awesomes”. (Perhaps the former had failed to notice the words ‘Crazy’ and ‘Horse’ on the posters – the clue’s in the name, folks.)

Everyone however is probably grateful when an acoustic interlude allows guitarist Frank Sampredo, bassist Billy Talbot and drummer Ralph Molina to catch their breath. A honey-sweet ‘Comes A Time’ gives space for softer reflection tonight, before Young drops a cover of ‘Blowing In The Wind’ (which may or may not be a tongue-in-cheek reference to this evening’s gustiness).

The brothers return, the pedals are triggered once more and the crowd are now coming to life. Just to be sure, ‘Cinnamon Girl’ slaps the last few cobwebs away. It’s a good prep for ‘Fuckin’ Up’ (“This is for all you people that are too fuckin’ cool,” Young sneers), which outdoes Super Furry Animals for F-word quotient. Encore time rolls into view and the mood is softened by both drizzle and the mellow, far-out crunch of ‘Cortez The Killer’. A bow, a wave and a “g’night” before Young and the Crazy Horses leave behind a crowd that is right now either ecstatic or irked, depending on how closely they read that concert poster.

Photos: Paulo Goncalves

  • Darragh Cahill

    great concert I was near the front sick of all the negative comments by people . i had friends that were seated and walked out because of the set up by the RDS no screens bad stage layout muffled sound in the distance. I think alot of the irish are like the weather changable and moody. and selling ALCHOLOL too many drunks. I loved the show the preformers noticed the constant yapping I just closed my eyes and tried to listen to the genuis of it all. (NY and Crazyhorse) I was estatic I read the concert poster. which only the diehard fans were there it would have been electric.

  • schnauser

    I had a great night too. Neil & the band played up a storm, but the volume was definitely too low for the Crazy Horse vibe. I was mid-left of stage and the sound was ok-ish. Mixed reactions from my mates who were with me. Put me off Aiken & RDS for anything else.

  • Ger Leahy

    So, do you think people should pay €70 and when the sound quality is terrible they should not comment about it. A very Irish sentiment indeed. It was a great gig, I was about half way back and I couldn’t hear the music properly. This is 2013, every time the wind blew, the speakers swayed and the sound came in waves of different volumes of noise. Aiken should know better.

  • Richie M

    I have seen him several times and this was the only bad experience. I love Neil and the horse but the sound was crap. Not the bands fault but I will never go to the RDS for a gig again.

  • Rotunda65

    Sat in my 60 euro seat ,back of stadium anglesea stand.pissed off at sound during Los Lobos.Went for a walk .People walking into standing area,tickets 70 euro+,no ticket checks.Ambled in !Sweet! Made the gig !bad organization alright!!

  • Arthur

    The sound was carp and so was Neil Young he should have played more of his classics that’s what people wanted not the shite self indulged guitar solos that went on forever

  • Lucy

    I was at the front, the sound was ok up there but there was too much jamming and not enough singing so it was disappointing. They were like a group of schoolboys playing on their guitars. No stage presence. In this day and age with not much money around, you expect a bit more.

  • Kags

    No stage presence??? You must be having a laugh!!

  • David C

    Sounded great where I was. Front right

  • Steve

    I thought NY & CH were awesome but seated as I was it was a terrible concert. Agree that we have right to complain just too many aimed in the wrong direction (not unlike the useless f’ing speakers!)

  • Conor

    A moron is what you are, you should have stayed at home and listened to Harvest. A number of classics were played, the man has 35 albums, he’s not defined by one. Great gig, ramada inm was the high point for me.