The 2012 Alchemy tour swept through the K Rock Centre with a loud, meaningful revival. Neil Young and Crazy Horse stood at attention during the rising of the Canadian flag and the singing of our National Anthem. This was surprising and an unusual gesture, but one that evoked a great sense of homecoming. After all, he was born in Ontario.
At the core of the show was an impressive theatrical performance. The tremendous talent and energy of Mr. Young and Crazy Horse, was at times rivaled with the Elvis style microphone which stood as a statue, anchoring the performance. As the lights dimmed, A Day In the Life, by the Beatles, filled the arena. While the Beatles serenaded the crowd, men in white lab coats entered and began to assemble what would become a vintage musical arena. Speakers descended from the sky, and the Alchemists worked tirelessly to prepare the stage. Shortly before the band made an appearance, a gigantic microphone was lowered and took center stage. It filled the space with mesmerizing psychedelic lights; a perfect entrance for the godfather of grunge.
It was easy to see that Neil Young and his friends, Crazy Horse, love to perform. It comes so seamlessly and so easily. Their incredible chemistry helped them to put on an energetic show, demonstrating their seasoned musicianship.
Some of the younger fans might not have fully appreciated this genuine and heartfelt performance, filled with spontaneous musical interludes, and long guitar solos. Those who love live music and embrace being taken on a musical journey of the moment were treated to an unbelievable spectacle. I am always puzzled by disgruntle fans who spend their time and money and demand the artist to be an automaton, leafing through the best songs from their vast catalogue. True, their best songs deserve to be played, but a live performance should also elevate beyond the recording. It is a chance for the artist to speak and continue the musical experience even years after it had began.
The evening was beautifully summarized by two drunk friends sitting behind me.
“What a great show. This was just a bunch of old buddies having a great time”.
Truly, there is no need to say anything else.