Jimmy Guterman's blog

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Neil Young and Crazy Horse: Twin “Hurricane”s in Rio

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Neil Young week continues.

Here’s a good example of how the same song — in this case a more-than-quarter-century-old warhorse — can feel fresh when the band playing it every night is Neil Young and Crazy Horse.

I’m pretty sure the two versions of “Like a Hurricane” I’m pointing to here are from the band’s two nights at the Rock in Rio megaconcert in 2001. Please write me if I’m wrong.

The first version is the standard live version, exciting even in the little YouTube box on your computer screen, with an outstanding final solo:

The second version, though, which may be only one night away from the first, is dramatically different. It starts off on a less elevated plane, but Neil feels his way around the first solo to carve out some new wrinkles. Then, during a breakdown around five-and-one-half minutes in, one of Neil’s guitar strings breaks and chaos ensues. Rather than call for a new guitar, he lets the dead string sway against the five live ones, he moves briefly to the piano, he pulls out the other strings, he shakes the guitar, he supervises pandemonium. You must see this. The last two feedback-drenched minutes of this version are what the end of the world may sound like:

P.S. As a bonus, for the historians among you, let’s revisit the song as performed in 1976:

P.P.S. And let’s not forget its most unlikely cover:

Written by guterman

June 19, 2008 at 9:24 am

Posted in music

2 Responses

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  1. Great stuff. My favorite version is on a scratchy bootleg from the 1978(?) Rust tour, now consigned to the vinyl archive.


    June 19, 2008 at 12:08 pm

  2. […] in recent weeks were Barack Obama, Rolling Stone, and the secret of one great magazine cover and Neil Young and Crazy Horse: Twin “Hurricane”s in Rio. They’re two of the more substantive posts here from the past month. Neither post will change […]

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