June 25, 2023

Neil Young & The Santa Monica Flyers: massive "Tonight's The Night" in Chicago in 1973

Scott Bunn of music blog Recliner Notes has posted an extensive article of a legendary rendition of Tonight's The Night by Neil Young & The Santa Monica Flyers at the Auditorium Theatre in Chicago, IL, on November 20, 1973. He carefully dissects each section, and offers background information on all the songs that were referenced throughout the massive - nearly 35 minutes! - of a non-crowd-pleasing performance that is heartbreakingly beautiful.

On November 20, 1973 at the Auditorium Theatre in Chicago, Illinois, Neil Young and his backing band The Santa Monica Flyers performed a rendition of “Tonight’s the Night” for 34 minutes and 53 seconds. That night in Chicago was the penultimate concert of the tour which had started in Toronto on October 29, moved on to Great Britain for seven performances, and then returned to the United States for five shows. The setlists for these concerts were dominated by a group of songs that Young and The Santa Monica Flyers — a band name adopted for this tour only — had recorded in Los Angeles in August and September of the same year, but which had not yet been released to the public. The centerpiece song for the tour was “Tonight’s the Night,” which was regularly performed twice and sometimes even three times a night. After hearing a batch of unfamiliar songs during this tour, restless audiences would clap enthusiastically when Young would say, “Here’s a song you know,” and then he would begin playing “Tonight’s the Night” all over again

A murky audience recording is all there is as proof of this remarkable performance, but the magic shines through it. Fans have not giving up hope that professional recording will surface.

» reclinernotes.com

(thru Neil Young News)

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