Neil Young Reunites The Santa Monica Flyers, Performs 2 Classic Albums At The Roxy
Tonight’s The Night and Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere were played from front to back in celebration of the venue’s 50th anniversary.
Neil Young & Crazy Horse took the stage with Micah Nelson on Wednesday as The Santa Monica Flyers at The Roxy for the first of two benefit concerts honoring the Los Angeles venue’s 50th anniversary. Young, Nelson, multi-instrumentalist Nils Lofgren, bassist Billy Talbot and drummer Ralph Molina played Neil’s 1975 album Tonight’s The Night in its entirety before ending the night with a complete performance of Young’s 1969 LP, Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere.
Last night’s concert came 50 years to the day after Neil Young and The Santa Monica Flyers opened The Roxy with two sets each night from September 20 – 22, 1973. Highlights from the 1973 run, which was played shortly after Tonight’s The Night was recorded, were released in 2018 as the Roxy: Tonight’s The Night Live archival album. Proceeds from Wednesday’s show and tonight’s concert will go towards The Painted Turtle and The Bridge School.
Neil Young hadn’t performed publicly with his Crazy Horse bandmates since 2019. Micah Nelson was originally brought in to replace Nils Lofgren, who was on tour with Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band. However, Lofgren decided to take part in the celebratory concerts after Springsteen postponed a series of September shows due to illness. The Santa Monica Flyers backed Young for a series of concerts in 1973. Nils Lofgren, Billy Talbot, Ralph Molina and the late Ben Keith were the members of the short-lived outfit.
The 12-song performance of Tonight’s The Night that kicked off last night’s show was bookended by both parts of the title track. Micah Nelson handled lead vocals on “Come On Baby Let’s Go Downtown” and moved between electric guitar and lap steel. Neil Young played both parts of “Tonight’s The Night” and “Speakin’ Out” on piano but was on electric guitar for the rest of the first album performance besides when he brought out an acoustic for “New Mama.” Lofgren showed off his versatility on electric guitar, piano and accordion. Tonight’s The Night cuts “Borrowed Tune,” “Lookout Joe” and “Tired Eyes” were each performed for the first time since 1973.
After completing Tonight’s The Night, Neil Young and The Santa Monica Flyers made their way through the seven tracks featured on Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere in the order found on Young’s sophomore solo album. Last night marked the first time Neil Young performed “Round And Round (It Won’t Be Long)” live. He was on acoustic for the debut and electric for the other six songs including the “Cowgirl In The Sand” finale.
Watch fan-shot video from last night’s benefit below:
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Setlist (via Sugar Mountain)
Set: Tonight’s The Night, Speakin’ Out, World On A String, Borrowed Tune, Come On Baby Let’s Go Downtown, Mellow My Mind, Roll Another Number (For The Road), Albuquerque, New Mama, Lookout Joe, Tired Eyes, Tonight’s The Night, Cinnamon Girl, Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere, Round And Round (It Won’t Be Long)*, Down By The River, The Losing End, Running Dry (Requiem For The Rockets), Cowgirl In The Sand
* – Live Debut