Neil Young delivers a show for the ages in Istanbul
ÇETİN CEM YILMAZ ISTANBUL – Hürriyet Daily News
Taking to the stage with his loyal band Crazy Horse, Young delivered a long and rocking performance on July 15. DHA PhotoNeil Young is never one to compromise, but the Canadian rock legend's first-ever show in Istanbul was as fan-friendly as it gets.
Taking to the stage with his loyal band Crazy Horse, Young delivered a long and rocking performance on July 15, wowing 6,000 spectators in Istanbul’s Küçükçiftlik Park, making up for their long wait to see the hero in Turkey.
They started the career-spanning show with “Love and Only Love,” a number from Neil Young & Crazy Horse’s “Ragged Glory.” The 1990 record was largely hailed as a return to form for Young after his inconsistent string of records in the 1980s, but here it was the most represented song on the set, along with “Love To Burn” and “Days That Used To Be.” An electric guitar-driven garage rock record, the spirit of “Ragged Glory,” fitted in very well with the mood of the Istanbul show. Powerful guitar solos shared between Young and Frank Sampedro were unchained, but never out of control. They had the garage rock energy, but the classy touches of a blues guitar as well.
The first three songs of the set, “Goin’ Home” and “Days That Used To Be” following the opener, clocked in at more than 30 minutes. Not that there were many people asking him to take his foot off the gas. Young then continued on with “After the Gold Rush.” This is of course one of his most well-known songs, and on July 15, it was among the ones that got the greatest reaction. Following two rare gems, “Love To Burn” and “Separate Ways,” played with long instrumental parts, then came Young’s treats for everybody: “Only Love Can Break Your Heart” was played with such beautiful grace, before Young was left all alone on stage. He delivered a rendition of Bob Dylan’s classic, “Blowin’ In The Wind,” which got the crowd singing-along. (It should be noted that Texas rockers Midlake, one of the two opening acts with Turkey’s playful Büyük Ev Ablukada, had also covered a Dylan’s, “I Shall Be Released.”) Young is not one to enter into dialogues with the spectators, but he rather speaks through his selections. “Blowin’ In The Wind” was not particularly chosen for Istanbul, as it is a recent addition to set list fixture, but the song is so relevant with its anti-war and freedom themes. Young completed the trio with “Heart of Gold,” another of his classics, again all by himself and with a perfect touch.
Young continued his hit-after-hit setlist with a trio of “Powderfinger,” “Down By The River” and of course, “Rockin’ In The Free World,” arguably the song that electrified the whole crowd. In a brief encore, the band played “Who’s Gonna Stand Up and Save the Earth,” with Sampedro ending the song by pointing his finger at the crowd and shouting “You! You! You!”
Neil Young is not the only member of the rock’n’roll hall of fame that is still releasing records. But when it comes to playing his songs with such intensity, shredding the guitar almost with urgency and choosing a group of songs not as a nostalgic act but as they have immediacy, he is the only one that comes to mind.