Neil Young & Crazy Horse played their first show since 2019 at The Roxy on Wednesday night (9/20), 50 years to the day after Neil and The Santa Monica Flyers headlined the venue’s opening night in 1973. It was a benefit for The Painted Turtle and Bridge School, and he’d revealed earlier this week that they’d be playing two albums live, and that “all songs will predate the Original Roxy opening 50 years ago.” 1975’s Tonight’s The Night and 1969’s Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere were on the menu, marking the first time Neil had ever performed classic albums from beginning to end, and the first performances of Tonight’s the Night tracks “Borrowed Tune,” “Lookout Joe,” and “Tired Eyes” in 50 years. Rolling Stone‘s review reads:
“Borrowed Tune” was the first of several “Oh, shit!” moments of the night, since it was last played in January 1973 by the Stray Gators on the Time Fades Away tour, before the Santa Monica Flyers even formed later that year. (It’s sort of amazing that the Rolling Stones didn’t sue him over that one, since he admits in the lyrics that he directly ripped off the melody from “Lady Jane.”) That was followed up with an oddly joyous “Come On Baby Let’s Go Downtown,” with Micah Nelson handling Danny Whitten’s original vocal parts. (His ability to step into the shoes of any absent or departed band member is quite remarkable, especially when you consider that Nelson has spent the past couple of weeks battling a rough case of vestibular neuritis that left him dizzy and barely able to walk at times.)
A tender rendition of “New Mama” was dedicated to Young’s eldest son, Zeke, who was in the audience. That led right into the first “Lookout Joe” since August 1973, and the first “Tired Eyes” since November 1973. The latter song tells the tale of a cocaine deal that left four men dead. “Please take my advice,” Young pleads in vain to the entire drug culture of the time, which was growing increasingly violent and desperate. “Open up the tired eyes.” It’s one of the darkest moments on the album, and it’s easy to understand why he put it aside for all these years, but hearing it again was extremely moving.
Read their review in full here, and watch attendee-taken video from the show, and see the full setlist, below.
Neil Young and Crazy Horse play a second sold-out show at The Roxy tonight (9/21).
SETLIST: NEIL YOUNG & CRAZY HORSE AT THE ROXY, 9/20/2023
Tonight’s the Night
World on a String
Come On Baby Let’s Go Downtown
Mellow My Mind
Roll Another Number (For the Road)
Tonight’s the Night
Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere
Round & Round (It Won’t Be Long)
Down by the River
The Losing End
Running Dry (Requiem for the Rockets)
Cowgirl in the Sand