It’s a tall order, I know: nowadays, Clancy can’t even get in the front door for less than a hundred bucks, and that’s if the poor fella was lucky enough to find one of the cheap seats at the Wiltern when it was available. But there are many things that make this particular rock-star reunion worth contemplating a massive splurge on scalper seats for their remaining LA show tonight, or perhaps a mid-week road trip to the Santa Barbara Bowl, for which a few reasonably-priced seats can still be found.
The vitality of the three principal players remains high – Richie Furay’s voice was beautifully intact when the group first reunited last fall at Young’s annual Bridge School Benefit Shows, a testament to the power of clean living. While Steven Stills has had an on-again/ off-again relationship with his own voice for the last decade, reports are in that he’s on the upswing after discovering a new hearing aid a couple of years ago. And anyway, his ability to play lead guitar – particularly with a fire like Neil Young under his ass – has never been in question. As for Young himself, his recent tours – none of which has made it to LA since 2007, oddly enough, so I’ve had to experience them via bootlegs – show evidence of a man still possessed, still capable of driving the band right off the cliff if they’re following along.
And then there’s the repertoire, a thing of rare beauty. Being that its creators haven’t managed to get it together to play these songs since 1968, it’s not likely that you’ll ever have another chance to hear Young and Furay’s aching harmonies on On The Way Home, or the fevered dual-guitar attack that lifts Bluebird off the ground. Legend has it that this band came alive onstage in a way their studio work never captured, and even at this advanced age, I’m betting they have enough gas left in the can to make it happen again.