NEIL YOUNG - BIRMINGHAM, UK 1987

October 5, 2019 – 5:39 am

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NEIL YOUNG & CRAZY HORSE
Birmingham 1987 [no label, 2CD]

Live at the National Exhibition Centre Arena, Birmingham, UK; June 2, 1987. Fairly to very good soundboard.

Thanks to velvettaper for sharing the show at Dime.

velvettaper noted:

Got this DAT in a trade app. 20 years ago. One nof the very few soundboard recordings from back then.
This is the tape as I got it. No editing.

Issues:
Track 109: first second missing due to original tape flip
Track 109: 2 second drop out at 4:39
Track 206: last part missing, probably due to original tape flip
Track 207: first part missing
Track 207: some audience might have been removed after the track


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markbrow, Dime:

The sound is a definite upgrade to the circulating boot. Thank you!

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Notes from liberated boot, Long Walk Home:

In 1987 Neil Young remembered England, at the end of a European Tour with Crazy Horse. At the outset things did not look too good. A number of concerts were cancelled due to disappointing ticket sales. Other shows were re-scheduled to leave a 28-date tour taking in Spain, Italy, Germany, Austria, Luxemburg, Switzerland, Holland, Belgium, France, England and Ireland. From a European perspective Young’s profile was rather low: no concert appearances since 1982, and those had not been well received; a series of increasing bizarre un-commercial recordings and a cancelled tour the previous summer for rather unconvincing reasons.

When the tour kicked off in Barcelona it was not the full scale theatre of the 1986 ‘In a rusted out garage’ shows in North America. Possibly things were better in Europe without the mice, cockroaches and irate neighbour. The songs from the ‘Landing on Water’ album were dropped. In true perverse fashion, the ‘Life’ album was released immediately after the tour, although some of the better songs from that album had survived from the 1986 tour to be played in Europe.

In comparison with the relatively ‘staged’ American dates the shows were somewhat ragged. Talbot claimed ‘We rehearsed for the tour for three hours. We played two new songs, one that had no words yet and we jammed. And that was it’. The ‘Muddy Track’ video offers incontestable evidence that things were not harmonious, as does concert footage from the Milan show (which was interrupted by an audience riot), in which Young casts a chilling look towards bass player Billy Talbot during ‘Powderfinger’.

The set list remained stable for the early dates, but then things became more interesting. The German dates in early May were variable: another outbreak of audience unrest in Frankfurt was the low point, the incendiary performance in Munich a memorable high. Significant changes occurred in France at the end of May: in Toulouse two new songs “American Dream” and “Name of Love” were added to the set and in Paris “Tonight’s the Night” was the middle of three encores.

By the time Young arrived in England things sounded a little weary and, in truth, the set at the first UK date does take its time to get going. Down by the River is sedate in comparison to some performances, comparing poorly with the astonishing slow burn of Munich. But things improved steadily, beginning with a delicate acoustic interlude which includes an engagingly wistful ‘American Dream’, momentum building with ‘Drive Back’ and ‘Opera Star’ and, by the time the band kicked into ‘Cortez the Killer’, the garage band power of Crazy Horse at its best is becoming evident. Indeed the songs ending seemingly goes through a series of gear changes, with Young striving to escape from whatever is shackling him and encouraging the band to greater things.

Then during the second acoustic set comes a moment of confrontation with the audience and the remaining tension is released. The volume is turned way up for the home run and from an awesome, ear-damaging ‘Mideast Vacation’ onwards the show takes off, with the closing pair of ‘Powderfinger’ and ‘Like a Hurricane’ providing the perfect climax.

The enduring memory of anyone who was there is almost certainly the encore. ‘Tonight’s the Night’ has never in this writers opinion, sounded more real or more scary, and ‘Hey Hey, My My’ – broken string notwithstanding – drains what little energy is left from the band and audience.

Now, too many tears later, the show can be heard by all in glorious soundboard quality for the first time. Enjoy the music of the man who used to sing a song in a shakey voice that’s as real as the day is long. Remember England – this was the last time Young performed indoors here with a band here in the 20th Century.

Insert:

The complete soundboard including Hey Hey My My. This is a liberated bootleg called “Long Walk Home”. Superb sound quality on a great show. Neil seems sullenly silent in between many songs and it’s not hard to understand why. By Birmingham the tour had seen riots in Milan and, claims Neil, he and the band had been abandoned in France for four days. And then on to England. This wasn’t a happy Neil…

He says before launching into Sugar Mountain on this show….”I thought it’d be great after touring Europe to get to England where I could understand what was going on. But I guess it’s too late. I’ve been out there too long. …….Is this [music] good or bad? I mean what is going on here. I don’t understand it. It’s like either ‘Hey Neil’ or ‘Go Back to Your Bus’. Or something I dunno. Maybe someone in the front can translate for me.”

But Neil has always reckoned his best work has come from totally exhausted and demoralised colleagues (or so maybe that was just with CSNY) and this soundboard gives some evidence to support the theory on a “running on empty” slowed down but interesting 15-minute version of Down by the River and a very loose and lovely 12 minute Cortez. Unreconstructed rockers (like me) will love the soundboard versions of Too Lonely and Opera Star. And the acoustic American Dream is a nice insight into the song ahead of its release the following year with CSNY.

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Lineage:
Soundboard > Cassette
> DAT
Playback: SONY ZA5ES
> SoundBlaster Z > Adobe Audition CC >
Traders Little Helper (Flac level 6 - Align on sector boundaries)

Click on the highlighted tracks to download the MP3s (320 kbps). As far as we can ascertain, these tracks have never been officially released on CD.

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Disc 1
Track 101. Mr Soul 4:49
Track 102. Cinnamon Girl 3:08
Track 103. Tonight’s The Night 4:22
Track 104. Down By The River 10:35
Track 105. Heart of Gold 5:34
Track 106. See The Sky About To Rain 4:08
Track 107. Too Lonely 3:12
Track 108. When Your Lonely Heart Breaks 5:52
Track 109. Drive Back 4:58
Track 110. Opera Star 4:36
52 mins

Disc 2
Track 201. Cortez The Killer 12:36
Track 202. Sugar Mountain 7:30
Track 203. American Dream 4:00
Track 204. Mideast Vacation 5:12
Track 205. Long Walk Home 5:48
Track 206. Powderfinger 5:49
Track 207. Like A Hurricane 11:58
Track 208. Tonight’s The Night 14:15
Track 209. Hey Hey, My My (Into The Black) 7:42
75 mins

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  1. 18 Responses to “NEIL YOUNG - BIRMINGHAM, UK 1987”

  2. Rumor has it Neil gots a Average Un

    By U L E on Oct 5, 2019

  3. Fuckin A man . Neil Young rocks . Keep shit like this coming and no shit from the fucked up world today . Stay with the fuckin program.

    By Derrick on Oct 5, 2019

  4. I’ll say it again some Led Zep would hit the spot

    By Derrick on Oct 5, 2019

  5. Looks brilliant, I’m sure it will sound the same - thank you, BigO.

    By Brian Griffin on Oct 5, 2019

  6. Track 103 is actually When You Dance I Can Really Love.
    Tonight’s the Night is track 208, as listed.
    Neil Rocks

    By Steve on Oct 5, 2019

  7. This was one of Neil’s finest tours . Thanks

    By Bill on Oct 5, 2019

  8. Also Tom Petty 1950. 2017 RIP . Two years three days and counting since he left us . Music and the world the worse for it . Wound is still fresh . Tom you are sorely missed .

    By Bill on Oct 5, 2019

  9. Given that Bill and Derrick are of course one and the same person I hope no members of Cactus croak soon, or he’ll probably do himself in.

    By The Ghost of Tom Petty on Oct 5, 2019

  10. Ce concert est une véritable tuerie. Cette période est, de loin, la meilleure de NEIL YOUNG.
    Merci, encore, Big O pour tous ces concerts que vous postez. BRAVO!!

    By Bernard (France) on Oct 6, 2019

  11. Fuck you motherfucker . I don’t even like Tom Petty all that much. How many folks you pretend to be Dic face .

    By Derrick on Oct 6, 2019

  12. You is probly one of the dic suckers pretending to be Anti . Asshole piece of shit

    By Derrick on Oct 6, 2019

  13. People here try to stir things up even when people are being respectful. I also miss Tom Petty . He was still relevant up to the end .

    By Tom on Oct 6, 2019

  14. Hey Derrick whick cocsucker is saying hes me

    By THE ANTICHRIST on Oct 6, 2019

  15. Some assholes use other regulars names here Anti then accuse other folks of doing the same ‘ seen your name signed bout being born again and likin coons and Jews now . Just sayin.Knew that wasn’t you .

    By Derrick on Oct 6, 2019

  16. Wasn’t dishin Tom Petty . Just more of a metal guy . Led Zep more to my likin ‘ also the stones .

    By Derrick on Oct 6, 2019

  17. Sounds like a dirty filthy Jew cocsucker tring to imitate the lord of the underworld, Derrick. Thanks for the headups

    By THE ANTICHRIST on Oct 6, 2019

  18. Neil is one of the Best!!
    Thank you

    By Frank on Oct 6, 2019

  19. Today sees the release of ‘Time Drags By’ by Cliff Richard. I had been booked to play harmonica on a session at EMI Studio Number Two and discovered that it was for Cliff Richard. The song had been written by The Shadows and Cliff. They were super gracious and encouraging and it was a pleasure to have worked with some of the UK music aristocracy(sic).
    This song was later to feature in the film ‘Finders Keepers’. I was still at school and I couldn’t really talk to the other kids about this so I kept it to myself.
    In 1982 on this day I was relieved to get a 12 month conditional discharge for possession of cocaine which had become quite a little habit by now.

    By Jimmy Page on Oct 7, 2019

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