Recorded in San Francisco toward the end of his much-maligned mid-'80s Geffen period, Cow Palace 1986 shows that Neil Young was still a force to be reckoned with on the stage, if not in the studio. A bootleg of the final date of his Live in a Rusted Out Garage tour, this 25-track collection features the whole two-hour spectacle in all its glory, alongside a few less illustrious moments (the "comedy" skit "Neil's Mom Calls" and controversial standup Sam Kinison's expletive rant feel entirely out of place). Despite the obstacles of the rather rowdy sell-out crowd and the KLOS FM-recorded quality, the iconic Canadian, alongside his regular backing band Crazy Horse, sounds in fine form, whether it's rattling through the Rolling Stones pastiche "Mr. Soul" and the widely quoted "Hey Hey, My My," showcasing his harmonica skills on signature hits "Heart of Gold" and "After the Goldrush," or venturing into prog territory on the 12-minute live staple "Like a Hurricane." The set list wouldn't be many concertgoers' ideal choice, with seven performances of tracks from his then forthcoming 1987 effort, Life (the lowest-selling album of his career) including the politically charged "Mideast Vacation," the record company-baiting "Prisoners of Rock 'n' Roll," and the acoustic balladry of "Long Walk Home." But with material spanning from 1969's Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere ("Down by the River") right up to 1986's Landing on Water ("Violent Side"), Cow Palace 1986 is still a surprisingly listenable bootleg which combines familiar fan favorites with a couple of underrated classics worth re-investigating.
01 Introduction 02 Mr. Soul 03 When You Dance 04 I Can Really Love 05 Down By The River 06 Too Lonely 07 Neil's Mom Calls 08 Heart Of Gold 09 After The Goldrush 10 Inca Queen 11 Drive Back 12 Opera Star
13 Sam Kinison Calls 14 Cortez The Killer
01 Sample And Hold 02 Computer Age 03 Violent Side 04 Mideast Vacation 05 Long Walk Home 06 The Needle And The Damage Done 07 When Your Lonely Heart Breaks 08 Around The World 09 Powderfinger 10 Like A Hurricane 11 Hey Hey My My 12 Prisioners Of Rock 'n' Roll